Friday, October 10, 2008

The problem with McCain revisited

Here's what I wrote in February:
McCain isn't a conservative. No one can point to that American Conservative Union rating to make the case. It is deceiving. A. Since 1997 his rating has been in the 60's. B. Look at the issues upon which he has LED:

- against Bush Tax Cuts (x2) as "tax cuts for the rich"
- for amnesty for illegals
- against free political speech
- against the Marriage Amendment
- against ending filibusters of conservative judges
- McCain called the pharmaceutical industry "the big bad guys and demanded the importation of medicines from foreign countries
- Closing Guantanamo Bay and harassing the Bush Administration on the mythical "torture" issue
- grow the size and cost of government AND hurt the economy with the stupid Climate Stewardship Act

NONE of these are conservative positions. They are liberal positions. McCain wants to advance liberal agenda items. He opposes conservative agenda items. He imitates some of the worst far-left talking points against private industry. He isn't going to fight the liberal Democrat congress. He's going to sign their radical bills and ruin this country.

The bottom line is: HE CAN'T WIN IN NOVEMBER. The reason: what reason to conservatives have to go vote? None. And don't give me that Hillary line. As we saw in 2004 (and 1996) visceral hatred for the other candidate isn't enough to get elected. He isn't just a maverick. He enjoys sticking it the GOP. Why be a loyal Republican, as he is demanding, when he's not been one for a long time? Well, there isn't [a reason].
I guess the only thing I was wrong about was that McCain would be facing Hillary instead of Obama. Regardless, the point still stands. It isn't enough for the GOP candidate for president to run on a platform that he isn't the Democrat, particularly when he acts and sounds like one half the time.

I was reminded of my February post after reading this:
McCain has consistently remained inconsistent, vacillating between promises and populism. From his support of cap-and-trade to his actions during the bailout, McCain's positions seem entirely focused on winning the middle- of-the-road vote.

No modern Republican has ever won the presidency solely focused on the ambivalent squishy inattentive center. These people don't care enough to name their political party, much less pay attention.

But he's a maverick. One of McCain's central arguments has been his uncompromising valor in opposing the Bush administration.

Here's a newsbreak: Disagreeing with the Bush administration on a handful of issues (often the wrong ones, in McCain's case) doesn't make you a maverick, it makes you an average American. And, sadly, the second debate proved that McCain would be incapable of making his party's philosophical or political case even if he genuinely tried.
THAT'S the bottom line. McCain isn't making conservative arguments against Obama because, he's either afraid to, or doesn't know or believe them. Well, if McCain isn't going to make those arguments, then they aren't going to get made. McCain is far more comfortable attacking the GOP than Democrats. Since the financial crisis hit a few weeks ago, McCain was unable to explain why the Democrats were largely to blame for this problem. He either couldn't make the argument or wouldn't because it wasn't seen as bipartisan. That's why he's going to lose.

In both debates he has done a great job of explaining his foreign policy views and has dominated Obama on those subjects. However, when it comes to the pressing issue in the election, the economy, McCain has a been a complete dud. He has some decent proposals on health care and tax cuts, but is unable to explain WHY they're good in logical terms that people will understand.

In many ways, this election is like 1992. The GOP has nominated a foreign policy candidate in a domestic policy year, and that's why this will be a bad year for Republicans.