Wednesday, April 23, 2008

McCain's Confidence

Jeremiah Wright is one of Barack Obama’s most obvious vulnerabilities. The sight of this crazy pastor bellowing “God Damn America” or observing that 9/11 was just “chickens coming home to roost” would make almost anyone have second thoughts about voting for Obama. It is difficult to gauge the damage that Wright did to Obama, but the controversy certainly didn’t help him in Pennsylvania, where Hillary crushed him by ten points. Wright should be an effective hot-button issue for the GOP this fall.

Except he won’t be, at least if John McCain has anything to say about it. John McCain has declared the subject out of bounds. Apparently, McCain is “committed to running a respectful campaign based upon an honest debate”, and he seems to think that questioning Obama’s relationship with his crazy pastor is disrespectful.

That idea really doesn’t make much sense. Obama’s involvement in Wright’s church can certainly be seen as a tacit endorsement of Wright’s ideals. Furthermore, anyone who wants to lead America has a responsibility not to support such ideals. McCain is wrong not to take advantage of the Wright issue.

This same attitude can be seen in his dealings with Obama’s friendship with former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. After Obama compared Ayers to pro-life Senator Tom Coburn, McCain responded by meekly saying that such attacks “certainly [aren’t] in keeping with the [presumably Obama’s] overall attitude.” Hardly an effective response, especially considering the weakness of Obama’s position on the issue.

This episode reveals something of John McCain’s character. He runs his political career based on an unshakable assumption that he is absolutely in the right on every issue. This attitude can be both beneficial and harmful for McCain.

It helped McCain on the issue of Iraq. When nearly every Republican attempted to distance themselves from the war, McCain proudly and vocally stood for it. At the time, the war was seen a political killer, but McCain persisted in calling for the surge anyway. Now, McCain can be proud of the fact that he was one of the few Congressmen whom stood firm and full-heartedly supported our effort in Iraq.

But sometimes his obstinacy has very negative effects. McCain also stubbornly supported the illegal alien amnesty bill, which was anathema to conservatives. The rest of the GOP field realized the feelings of the base, and quickly shifted position, leaving McCain to face the brunt of conservative opposition. McCain has and will not budge on the issue, which will almost certainly cost him support from conservatives in the general election.

McCain’s overwhelming self-confidence is a mixed blessing. If he is right on an issue, conservatives can count on him defending his position to the death. However, if he is wrong, he will defend his incorrect decision equally strongly. Translating that philosophy to policy positions, that means that he will probably be wonderful on issues such as the war, abortion, and earmarks—but absolute death to conservatives on issues like immigration or global warming. McCain’s stubbornness, if he gets elected, will at times encourage and at other times enrage conservatives.


At April 24, 2008 at 5:49 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Another fine blog Daniel. He is stubborn and you've got to give him that.

If I may just add that while McCain is a hawk on earmarks, be it known that earmarks alone isn't going to cut it from a fiscal standpoint and I don't know why other Republicans and/or Conservatives aren't addressing this.

Earmarks, while they are sizeable amounting to around $17 Billion, still don't equate to much when you're looking at an over $3 Trillion Budget.

Not to mention that while cutting out the pork that is earmarks is commendable, if you're just going to fill it with other tax increases (be they regulatory or otherwise) addressing the earmarks issue is all for not.

At April 24, 2008 at 7:12 AM , Blogger Beth said...

Rush Limabugh started Operation Chaos he says precicely because of what you say here, Daniel, that McCain will not bring the stuff out about the Democrats that he should, so in keeping the two of the Dems going against each other, they are bringing it out against each other, or in Hillary's case digging their own grave with her stupidity. If Obama wrapped it up long ago, things like the Wright controversy and the Bosnia sniper fire would never come out, and the Dems true nature would not have come out, because McCain will not take them to task about it.

Now I don't like dirty politics, but when it goes to their character and judgement, then I say these are things we need to know about our candidates!

At April 24, 2008 at 9:27 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

Perfect example of McCain falling on the wrong side of the fence:

McCain asks NC GOP not to run ad


"We asked them not to run it," McCain told reporters traveling with him in Kentucky. "I'm sending them an e-mail as we speak asking them to take it down.

"I don't know why they do it. Obviously, I don't control them, but I'm making it very clear, as I have a couple of times in the past, that there's no place for that kind of campaigning, and the American people don't want it," McCain said.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean piled on, saying McCain should call the party chairwoman personally.

"If John McCain means what he says, he should call the North Carolina Republican Party chairwoman and tell her not to run this ad," Dean said. "Sending an e-mail and turning a blind eye as the state party ignores him is not leadership."

A) if John McCain was the staunch fighter that the GOP faithful make him out to be, he wouldn't be running for cover from an ad that is not a distortion but rather a factual account; and

B) And, certainly most importantly is the fact that John McCain is once again taking a position which is counter to the First Amendment on this issue (just like he did with McCain-Feingold).

If McCain wan't to take a good leadership role on this, he'd challenge Howard Dean's assertion that something ought to be done to prevent the ad from airing on the basis of First Amendment rights.

I don't see that happening.

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