Friday, February 01, 2008

Thinking about McCain

What do we think about John McCain? He makes us uneasy. Two things that bother other conservatives - immigration and Guantanamo/waterboarding - are less of a concern for me. These are difficult issues where the proper resolution is somewhere between the hard left and hard right positions.

I do not like the fact that he opposed the President's tax cuts, although he has been far better than the President on spending. We know that either Clinton or Obama will seek to raise taxes and spending. Tell me, clearly John, that you won't do that and all is forgiven.

His dalliance with the overwrought view of global warming is bothersome, although the Dems are all in on that particular mania. My guess is that reality will restrain policy on this and the science will eventually turn the other way (and, if it doesn't, then some more aggressive policies will be in order.)

Where I really freeze is the area of judicial appointments. As Ilya Somin points out, the notion of appointing conservative jurists and appointing people who will save what is left of McCain-Feingold are probably irreconcileable. It is hard for a textualist or originalist (whatever your version of originalism might be)to say that it is constitutional to tell people that they cannot criticize or petition federal candidates during an election in a way that is likely to be heard or seen by the public without jumping through some fairly narrow and restrictive hoops.

To get there, you have to be willing to say that the free speech guarantee - as applied to political speech - is not as absolute as it reads or as the original intent would suggest that it is. You have to adopt an interpretive method that emphasizes the need to address imbalances in wealth and power. (Although I think that you can make an argument that McCain-Feingold exacerbates, rather than relieves, such imbalances.)

Conservative jurists aren't likely to ee things that way.

So I need to know that his commitment to conservative jurists trumps his concern for any piece of legislation, including his own pride and joy. I need to know that the people who have recently endorsed him - folks like Miguel Estrada and Ted Olson - will be the people that he listens to when he appoints judges. I want to hear a few names of people that he would be inclined to appoint to the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, I know the types of people that Clinton and Obama would appoint. In this area, while I may be uncertain about McCain, I am pretty clear on the Dems.

Most importantly, John McCain is serious about foreign policy. Obama and Clinton simply are not.

I hope that Mitt Romney can derail the McCain boom on Tuesday. I don't think that this should be over yet if, for no other reason than that John McCain has more work to do with conservatives. But I suspect that Romney will be unable to do so and that, next week, we will be pretty sure that John McCain will be the nominee.

And I'll support him.


Anonymous said...

What you are seeing in the Republican party is the McCain Mutiny. Much of the current crop of Republican politicians has made careers out of screwing Republicans who vote for them.

McCain is a RINO, Republican in name only but then, so is the whole damn party Republican in name only.

Screw 'em.

Anonymous said...

McCain makes you "uneasy", but you're still going to support him?

Rick Esenberg said...

Obama and Clinton make me uneasier.

Nixon's Ghost said...

Immigration does bother me. Reasonable voices were calling for border enforcement first, tighter employer sanctions and the elimination of the "Z" visa in the proposed bill (or at least a rational approach to who would get such visas). In fact, McCain/Kennedy was an amnesty bill because everyone could get a "Z" visa almost immediately and once they had one, they could not be deported. All of the talk about a $5,000 fine and going to the back of the line only applied if someone sought citizenship. They didn't have to, they were here legally on the "Z" visa.

He also seems to delight in "seeing things differently" than Republicans. The Gang of 14 is a good example. The GOP majority in the Senate was on the verge of ending judicial filibusters when St. John swept in and got enough RINOs to eliminate the majority. Same thing happened when Congress was considering FISA and granting the President the authority for military tribunals. St. John was always there with a different "take" sucking momentum from the GOP and generally screwing things up.

It's will be a shame if he is rewarded for this with the GOP nomination.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the thoughtful post.

Anonymous said...

Rick, I am a big fan of yours. You are very very thoughtful, and you have the patience of a Saint.
Saint Patrick that is.
Where I disagree with you is in your mention of waterboarding.

Anyone who would be MY President, should be 1000% in favor of ANY method to protect you, me and my family, unless that method was clearly and utterly immoral 100% of the time.
Which brings me to.....waterboarding.
I support waterboarding IF and WHEN necessary COMPLETELY.
Not to be an ass, but, I believe you've been suckered into a moral spider web and weak kneed politically correct, phony issue that is being framed by the left in the usual way.
We are good,
You are bad.
WE wouldn't do that.
You shouldn't do that.
If WE do THAT.
We are AS BAD as (fill in blank)....ritual rapes, machete attacks, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Bergen-Belsen, Castro, Stalin, Hitler or.........Al Zarqawi.

The dialogue is framed by leftists, and WE (you) buy into it.
The position that we shouldn't do XY or Z, should be predicated on the circumstances in which we MIGHT do said, and not on some ever changing PC standard of blame America first.

No offense. You are awesome.

Anonymous said...

ANY method, huh? I take it you believe in a very energetic executive branch.

See Rick, I am comfortable reading your thoughts on the issues, but your supporters scare me (and small children).

Anonymous said...

If the dialogue of the leftists is the one that states all men are created equal and guaranteed certain inalienable rights, please include me in that group everytime.

The only person attempting to change some politically correct standard is you Mickey. It should always be politically incorrect to advocate for employing "ANY method" to achieve your objective.

Anonymous said...

McCain has the Military and the Social Security crowd, I think he's shaky with much of the younger crowd.

Romney isn't getting a fair shake out there. I'm not a Mormon but I know one and they are very conservative and family oriented. I can agree on many things politically with them. The problem I have with him is that business runs much of people's lifes and it would seem to me that he would zero goverment in on that even more. We need a good business enviroment but we also need a life and there is alot of uncertainity I have about him regarding these things.

Huckabee is a good candidate but the anti-Christian crowd is making sure that he isn't getting to much attention. It amazes me what the media does for a guy like Obama that isn't a leader and has some off the wall beliefs. How can so called Christians ooooh and ahhhh about him but ignor a Christian. It reminds me of that old commercial that said something about a frying egg, I think it was that this is our brain on drugs. We have to get people off all the prescriptions.

I would prefer either Huckabee or Romney over McCain, but like you I see McCain to be better than Obama or Hilary.

Anonymous said...

3rd way, your mischaracterization of my words bothers me not.
My family and my country are worth protecting.
If someone should enter my home without my permission (thereby endangering my family) ,WATERBOARDING would be the least of his concerns. Living in a theoretical shangri-la is really really groovy, I'm sure you sleep well knowing that someone else is doing the dirty work of keeping you and your loved ones safe.
3rd way, don't worry, others shall keep you safe. Your safety will be collateral.
I find it humorous that those of you who support baby killing on demand, are outraged at someone being "frightened" via waterboarding. FRIGHTENING someone is TORTURE!!! Frightening a terrorist is torture, scissors to a babys brain isn't. Your moral code and mine diverge friend.
You don't have a clue what it takes and has taken since time immemorial to keep America free and protected. And you don't care, because, it's always been afforded to you without any personal sacrifice on your behalf.
You're naive, and you're smug.
And I'm politically incorrect.
3rd way, you have that right, and I respect that. God bless.
A NOTE TO Joe C.... I said:
((Anyone who would be MY President, should be 1000% in favor of ANY method to protect you, me and my family, unless that method was clearly and utterly immoral 100% of the time.}}
Joe, maybe you missed what I actually said?? But I'd submit to you that HIROSHIMA and NAGASAKI were morally justified.
I'll bet that opinion scares you and your children! Libs have become accustomed to bullying others into disavowing their own beliefs. I'm not bullied Joe. Being unpopular or non-p/c is a badge of honor friend. Pin it on me Joe!!! If WATERBOARDING TERRORISTS is WRONG, I don't want to be RIGHT. And I certainly don't want to be LEFT.

Anonymous said...

It's okay, honey...come out from under the table...the bad man is gone now. You can go back to loving America."

Anonymous said...

Seriously, Mickey.

There is something impractical about banning all coercive methods of obtaining information from suspected terrorists, but there is also something distasteful about empowering bureaucrats to make unilateral decisions.

Congress should have the power to circumscribe the methods used by the intelligence community to gather information and indeed they have exercised this power to do so (with considerable obstruction).

Doesn't a fundamental belief in democracy require the executive branch to abide by the dictates of the people?

This is a broader debate than merely what tactic is justifiable in the name of security. John Yoo's elastic interpretation of legislative proscriptions and CIA's reliance on extraordinary rendition endanger something more valuable than security. Both, if not carefully considered, pose a threat to liberty and the rule of law.

No one on the left need apologize for advocating limits on power. If anyone should apologize, it is those on the right who advocate for the abolition of such limits.