Thursday, May 15, 2008

McStatism: The Legacy of John McCain

A few thoughts on John McCain as president.. (with the understanding that the two other resident statists aren't viable options)
  • Can anyone say Machiavelli Junior?
  • He's voted to reauthorize the PATRIOT act and extend its wiretapping provisions. As if it didn't have enough spying provisions already!
  • He voted against having the CIA report to a congressional committee every 3 months regarding its activity (S 3930). And his views on the accountability of his presidency are probably quite similar.
  • In May 2005, he jointly introduced a immigration bill allowing nearly all of the estimated 12 to 20 million illegal immigrants to become permanent U.S. citizens (nothing against immigration on my side here, but it's a curious move for someone who wants to build walls at keep illegals out). Ostensibly, these immigrants will re-elect Mr. McCain.
  • He's said of Hillary Clinton: "I am sure that Senator Clinton would make a good President." By saying that he either demonstrates a lack of sense (for believing such an outrageous thing) or dignity (for saying such a thing even though he doesn't believe it)
  • He's voted against tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and he's known for touting a spooky "wage insurance" plan (the basic idea being that if you lose your job and get paid less, the government tops up the difference)
  • Does this sound familiar?: “We are fast becoming a nation of alienating individualists, unwilling to put the unifying values of patriotism ahead of our narrow self-interests”. No confusing this man with Ayn Rand, that's for sure!
  • John McCain said of Osama Bin Laden: "I will follow him to the gates of hell". Some of us, however, would rather not follow him there. This quote is characteristic of McCain's tendency toward one-dimensional enthusiasm. Tenacious, but perhaps a bit over-tenacious?
  • In the words of Douglas Wilson: irascibility is not the same thing as conservatism
  • He's supported energy tax bills and "mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions". This is something somewhat new for McCain. Perhaps he needs the "green vote"?
  • He's been touting junk science.
  • His campaign finance bill was found to be an unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment. The response was akin to "The 1st ammendment ain't that good anyway". He said “I would rather have a clean government than one where quote ‘First Amendment rights’ are being respected that has become corrupt.” Or maybe Mr. McCain has just misidentified the cause of corruption. It certainly isn't political contributions in and of themselves, but perhaps is what comes after the contributions, like what Mr. McCain is quite experienced in! The good ol' boy wink and nod.
  • He advocates a Nanny-State.
  • McCain spoke out against the Sudanese government, but while he did that his wife had $2 worth of mutal funds that had some holdings in Sudan. And of course they promptly sold it once the media got the info. Is this what McCain means when he says he wants to use "stiff diplomatic and economic pressure" on Sudan? Perhaps he should advocate a Sudan embargo? Oh wait.. that's reserved for Cuba.
  • He was involved in the Keating Five Scandal of the 1980's, an association which lined his pockets. Most of McCain's speeches about corrupt corporate money could refer to what he has been involved in
  • He is known to use federal agencies (FCC, etc.) to threaten people who refuse to support his initiatives.
  • He supports Bush's doctrine of pre-emptive war, has no problem with staying in Iraq for 100 years if casualties are low, etc.
  • In the word's of Lew Rockwell, he is "more statist on both domestic and foreign policy than even the typical Republican"

Whether a few of these points are negative or positive is genuinely debatable. But they do add up to a big deal. McCain, Obama, Clinton. Any way you roll the dice, guess who get's to pay the price? Baring a miracle in Ron Paul's favor, I tip my hat to my American friends as they face some more years of statism.

I hate to be so hard on an individual. But when one puts themselves in the public limelight and claims to have special competency towards leading a country (as John McCain so emphatically pronounces), there ought to be a bit of scrutiny.

If I had the choice of the three musketeers (McCain, Obama, or Clinton), I'd chose an emphatic NONE OF THE ABOVE. If it involved a gun to my head, I'd deliberate a bit and probably vote McCain with my fingers crossed behind my back. But really, for all the big noise that is made about this political race, we know at least three things that will happen regardless of whether Obama, Hillary, or McCain get the job: 1. The size of government will grow. 2. The USA (and the Western world with it) will continue to dig themselves into a financial hole and practice bad stewardship. 3. The USA will continue to have an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy. They differ on other issues, but on those 3 issues they are all generally agreed.

My advice to my fellow evangelical brothers and sisters is this: Don't be afraid to abstain from picking any of the musketeers. It is not letting the other side win or shirking your responsibility. Nowhere in the Bible are you instructed to select "the lesser evil" when performing your civic duties. Is "He Ain't Hillary" or "He Ain't Obama" enough of a basis to cast an affirmative vote for an individual? If so, things don't look too bright for the future. It would mean that any buffoon who writes "Republican" beside his name will be elected (or close to elected) just because he isn't a Democrat.

If you can vote for McCain with a clear conscience because he takes the right stand on some of the other issues, more power to you! I hope my fears about him prove to be wrong!!!! Just watch out though, because there is a great incentive for politicians to pose as social conservatives. And many of them do! Possibly even two or more that ran for the Republican nomination this year. The Right has been betrayed by many posers, and so has the Religious Right. The real "payload" comes in a few years when these posers NEITHER give you social conservatism NOR sound policy in other areas. If a politician is very pragmatic and tosses his positions to the wind, he will abandon social conservatism the minute it isn't to his advantage. But at that point it becomes too late, he is voted in and additionally he receives the "moral authority" of your vote!

In my opinion (and I grant it is a fairly controversial one), I'd rather let "the lesser evil" get in without my vote (hence, if done in large numbers, calling into question the validity and moral authority of the candidates election). Perhaps McCain could prove me wrong and turn out to be a good president. From what I've seen so far, I wouldn't put my chips on that one. U.S. politics is so nasty that even a GOOD start is hardly enough (let alone going into office with a long rap sheet to begin with!)

Alas! That's my perspective as a Canadian, libertarian, evangelical Christian, disenfranchised-right-winger-but-not-left-winger-either. If you've made it this far, I take it you must be fairly open minded. Or you're just planning a refutation! I grant other people may have different thoughts and have some good reasons for them! All I ask from you is that you understand that it is INDEED possible to reject McCain without by definition condoning the other musketeers. None of the above is a valid option! Especially when the roster contains the likes of Hillary-Obama-McCain.


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