Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why I support John McCain

It's looking like our choices at this point are McCain or Obama. It might be possible for Huckabee to prevent a McCain nomination on the first vote at the convention, but it's pretty unlikely. Even if he could I wouldn't support him in that effort. I don't like McCain, but he's the best we're going to get this cycle.

Huckabee may claim he's the most conservative candidate, but I find that claim extremely hard to accept. He's done several things that should make conservatives squirm in their seats, but what really bothers me is that I think he really believes that the Federal government is the perfect instrument for carrying out God's grace throughout the country. That's the one thing that ties his campaign together. He's for benefits to illegal immigrants because they're God's people too. He's for "working with" healthcare companies to make sure they provide what he thinks is good preventative medicine (which in Washington Speak usually means something between arm twisting and holding a gun to their head), because it's the right thing to do. About the only thing he really has going for him is the FairTax, which I think still needs some work before it's ready for prime time (Roth IRAs being my biggest complaint about it). All that being said, he has pretty much no hope of actually getting the nomination so this paragraph was a waste of your time.

The real issue is simply whether or not McCain is better than Obama (or Hillary, should she win). I stated in my previous post that there isn't enough difference between them for him to win the general. I'm still afraid that may be true, but it doesn't mean there isn't enough difference to compel me to support McCain.

He can win the war. McCain has been supporting the surge longer than pretty much anybody else. He is probably better qualified than any candidate, including all the ones that have dropped out, to wage war. He hasn't really shared a long term strategy with us, but the alternative offered by the Democrats is going to Al Qaeda and offering to sit down and sing Cumbya (or whatever the appropriate Islamic alternative is). Additionally, as Mark Steyn stated this morning, he's unpredictable, vindictive, and mean enough that he's got to bother Iran and North Korea as well. My main problem with Ron Paul was his position on the war (which ironically is almost certainly where he derived most of his popularity). We've gained and then abandoned allies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rowanda, Somalia, and Iraq (particularly the Shia in southern Iraq, but those in Iraqi Kurdistan as well). There's only so many times you can build up a force to help you and then leave them to death and torture at the hands of the enemy before potential allies and enemies both make the rational decision that you're feckless as a friend and ineffective as an enemy and chose the correct side of any fight. Additionally, if we follow Obama's policy of pulling out this promises to be much for a Vietnam than a Somalia or the previous Iraq. Bin Laden may have taken comfort in the fact that the US was a paper tiger following our pullout of Somalia when things got tough, but it didn't bring hope to nearly as many enemies as our complete abandonment of our long term allies in Vietnam just as they were getting strong enough to survive on their own. However retreat in Iraq is sold, it will be bought as proof positive that the US can be defeated by a determined adversary.

The next President will get almost certainly get 2, and maybe as many as 4, appointments to the Supreme Court. We're on the verge of having enough seats on SCotUS to actually start making decisions that in some way resemble the Constitution. To abandon that to Obama as Scalia gets ready to retire could be disastrous.

Not as big of a reason, but still a substantial one is simple politics. When the going gets tough McCain seems to side with Democrats about as often as he sides with Republicans, but at least he's willing to come out swinging against earmarks, for instance. If Clinton is elected the political side might be a wash. She's a very divisive candidate and backlash against her might end up helping conservative. If Obama is elected, though, it would be an absolute disaster for conservative politics. He's campaigned as bringing change to Washington and heralding a new era of bipartisan politics. Don't expect the fact that his actual policies are to the left of Ted Kennedy to change the message that he seeks bipartisanship when they fail. It will be entirely because Republicans are once again being divisive sore losers, just as they were when they shut the government down under Clinton and just as they were when they prevented the Democrats from having any say under Bush. Obama will still be a great uniter, he just won't get anywhere because those selfish, stingy Republicans won't pass his totally reasonable 500 billion dollar expansion of healthcare, and think of the children...


Unknown said...

How did he come out swinging on earmarks with regard to Arizona. The truth is out there.

Christopher said...

If you're referring to the 2006 proposal for funding of the Rehnquist Law Center it was not an earmark. It was a terrible bill, but an earmark is, by definition, attached to another bill. McCain was anti-federalist and I'll oppose him on those grounds, but proposing a seperate bill that can be voted up or down on its merits is a long way from hiding it in a defense appropriations bill.