Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain't Get No Satisfaction

What to do about John McCain's surprisingly meteoric rise to GOP front-runner status? Is he really who he says he is?

McCain has cast himself as the stoic "straight-talker" who can help our troops win in the Middle East, stop pork-barrel spending in Congress, and stand up for America on the world stage. Unfortunately, he's also the Democrat-enabling Senator who help construct monstrosities like McCain-Feingold (curbing free speech via "campaign-finance reform"), McCain-Kennedy (the lovely amnesty bill Congress tried to ram down our throats last summer), and most recently, McCain-Lieberman-Obama (his newest effort to wring money from taxpayers to stop global warming). He's the guy who voted against the Bush tax cuts twice. He's the candidate who proudly touted his New York Times endorsement in the face of the conservative base. It seems as though he's thrown his "straight-talk" gimmick out the window, especially after Florida and last night's debate, when he insisted Mitt Romney wanted to withdraw troops from Iraq (despite nearly every single media outlet that investigated the issue calling him on the smear).

There's also this little chart, showing that McCain's lifetime conservatism ranking in Congress is lower than Chuck Hagel's. Granted, he wasn't always so liberal, but the longer McCain stayed in Washington, the less conservative he became. Inconceivable!

The newest charge McCain has to face, obviously, is whether or not he is a flip-flopping RINO--the same charge that has been leveled at Mitt Romney since he announced his candidacy. The difference, it seems, is that while Romney held liberal positions in the past, he now claims he has different views, and is asking America to let him prove his conservative bona fides; McCain, on the other hand, used to be more conservative, but claims to be one now despite his recent liberal voting and legislative record and dodging questions about his principles.

In the end, the question is not about who is or is not a flip-flopper (they are, after all, politicians). The question is this: do Republicans want to nominate a conservative? If the answer is yes, then I can't see how McCain is an acceptable candidate. Military valor and surge-support aside, he not only sponsors liberal legislation, he seems to have no problem spitting on the base whenever they dare question his principles. In my opinion, it's much more important to nominate a candidate you actually would want as president, rather than one you think might stand a better chance against the Democratic nominee. As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

UPDATE: Whatever happened to this guy?

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