If you’re a Republican thinking of voting in the primaries for John McCain, read Mark Levin first
I don’t pretend to speak for President Reagan or all conservatives. I speak for myself. But I watched the Republican debate last night, which was held at the Reagan library, and I have to say that I fear a McCain candidacy. He would be an exceedingly poor choice as the Republican nominee for president.
Let’s get the largely unspoken part of this out the way first. McCain is an intemperate, stubborn individual, much like Hillary Clinton. These are not good qualities to have in a president. As I watched him last night, I could see his personal contempt for Mitt Romney roiling under the surface. And why? Because Romney ran campaign ads that challenged McCain’s record? Is this the first campaign in which an opponent has run ads questioning another candidate’s record? That’s par for the course. To the best of my knowledge, Romney’s ads have not been personal. He has not even mentioned the Keating-Five to counter McCain’s cheap shots. But the same cannot be said of McCain’s comments about Romney.
Last night McCain, who is the putative frontrunner, resorted to a barrage of personal assaults on Romney that reflect more on the man making them than the target of the attacks. McCain now has a habit of describing Romney as a “manager for profit” and someone who has “laid-off” people, implying that Romney is both unpatriotic and uncaring. Moreover, he complains that Romney is using his “millions” or “fortune” to underwrite his campaign. This is a crass appeal to class warfare. McCain is extremely wealthy through marriage. Romney has never denigrated McCain for his wealth or the manner in which he acquired it. Evidently Romney’s character doesn’t let him to cross certain boundaries of decorum and decency, but McCain’s does. And what of managing for profit? When did free enterprise become evil? This is liberal pablum which, once again, could have been uttered by Hillary Clinton.
Anybody who’s aspiring to end the month with a few more bucks in the bank than they had when they started is working for a profit. I think that describes what pretty much everybody wants, even though some people have more trouble getting there than others. For the latter, there’s Dave Ramsey.
Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule — McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers’ bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?
Of course, if people cared about issues rather than atmospherics, if they worried about policies rather than the horse race, Fred Thompson would be the Republican frontrunner. More and more, it’s looking like that’s the worst mistake the American people have made so far this political season. Andrew Ferguson writes[*2] in the Weekly Standard:
In his recent memoir, Alan Greenspan says he’s been pushing a constitutional amendment of his own devising. It reads: “Anyone willing to do what is required to become president of the United States is thereby barred from taking that office.” If the Greenspan amendment is ever enacted, it will at last clear the field for Fred Thompson, who might then become president. But not until then.
Thompson withdrew from the presidential race last week. He ended his campaign as he had conducted it, with a minimum of fuss and no wasted words. He released a withdrawal statement over the Internet. It was three sentences long, and he hasn’t been heard from since. My guess is we’ll be missing him dreadfully by spring.
For better or for worse, Mitt Romney is the only guy left that a small-L libertarian like me can possibly support for President. I don’t like Romney particularly, but everybody else is worse. Some, like McCain, like Hillary, have exactly the wrong combination of bad temperament and bad policies which make them worse than their opponents. Obama, for instance, has a decent temperament and bad policies. But Romney is the only one left with the temperament and the policies to be President.