The Conservative Case Against John McCain In 2008

There is no Republican up on Capitol Hill more disliked by his own GOP brethren than John McCain. That’s why, despite the size of his fan club in the mainstream media, McCain seems rather unlikely to capture the party’s nomination for President in 2008.

Here’s a short, but sweet primer that may help explain why so many conservatives believe John McCain would be a very poor choice as the Republican nominee in 2008.

The Age Issue

John McCain will be 72 years old in 2008, which will make him 3 years older than Ronald Reagan was when he became the oldest man to ever be inaugurated as president back in 1981. In the Senate, where doddering fossils like Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd can be elected over and over, McCain looks like a spring chicken in comparison. But, Reagan’s age turned out to be a campaign issue and McCain, who would be 80 years old at the end of his 2nd term, would certainly have a lot of people questioning –with good reason — whether he’s up to the job. Were McCain to be the nominee, his age could be the deciding factor that puts a Democrat in office.

How Electable Is McCain Really?

The mainstream media loves John McCain and they regularly write fawning articles referring to him as a “maverick” and a “straight-talker.” Because of this, McCain polls well among Democrats and Independents.

However, the reason McCain is so well liked by the media is because they’re liberals and they love it when he trashes other Republicans. But, what would happen if John McCain actually became the Republican nominee? The same members of the mainstream media who gush over him today would turn on him in a Minnesota minute and once his great press ended, his poll numbers with Independents and Democrats would start to drop precipitously.

Moreover, it’s no big secret that McCain is roundly despised by more than a few conservatives. The thinking there usually goes, “Well, what are they going to do, vote for Hillary?” No, they won’t, “vote for Hillary,” but will they contribute money to McCain, volunteer for his campaign, or defend him from attacks made by Democrats or the press? No, they won’t.

More importantly, they may throw their votes away by voting Libertarian or for the Constitution Party in 2008. Given that the outcome of three of the last four elections may have been decided by these sorts of protest votes (for Perot in ’92 and ’96 and Nader in 2000), this is not an issue that should be taken lightly.

What’s Wrong With Actually Having A Loyal Republican As The Republican Nominee?

One of the most galling things about the idea of having John McCain as the Republican nominee in 2008 is that whether he’s a loyal Republican or not is a question that can’t truly be answered. Back in 2001, there were rumors that McCain might, depending on how the election turned out, switch parties in order to help the Democrats retain the Senate. In 2002, there were rumors that McCain was considering switching parties and running for President as a Democrat. In 2004, “on several occasions,” McCain talked with John Kerry about becoming his vice-president. Obviously McCain hasn’t pulled a Jim Jeffords yet, but you have to wonder about where he really stands.

How Can You Be Pro-Life And Pro-Roe v. Wade At The Same Time?

Overall, John McCain does have a fairly solid pro-life voting record (The glaring exception is that he has gone off the reservation on embryonic stem cell research). However, McCain has specifically said, on more than one occasion, back in August of 1999, that he opposes overturning Roe v. Wade:

“I’d love to see a point where (Roe v. Wade) is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even-the long-term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”

“I would not seek to overturn Roe v. Wade tomorrow, because doing so would endanger the lives of women.”

Has McCain also said he wants to repeal Roe v. Wade on many occasions? Yes. But, how can pro-lifers trust a man who has flip-flopped like John Kerry on Roe v. Wade to appoint the Supreme Court Justices who may end up deciding the issue? Simply put, we can’t.

Kyoto By Any Other Name Would Still Smell As Rotten

John McCain has proposed a radical bill, the McCain-Lieberman Stewardship Act, that is not all that different from the Kyoto Protocol. McCain’s bill would do cataclysmic damage to our economy. In the name of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by an insignificant percentage, that not even the biggest proponents of Kyoto believe would have a significant impact on the weather, here’s the damage John McCain would be willing to do to our economy (from an article by Marlo Lewis in National Review):

“Proponents will undoubtedly argue, as they did last fall, that we need not worry about the bill’s economic impact because Phase I (of McCain’s bill) is just a “modest” first step in addressing global climate change. A recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) analysis suggests otherwise. According to EIA, Phase I would increase: gasoline prices by 9 percent in 2010 and 19 percent in 2025; natural-gas prices in the industrial and electric-power sectors by 21 percent in 2010 and 58 percent in 2025; and electricity prices by 35 percent in 2025.”

Would you support a Republican candidate for President who pledged to sign America on to Kyoto Protocol? If not, then why support John McCain, who wants to do almost the same thing under a different name?

McCain Vs. The Bush Tax Cuts

Most conservatives believe the biggest domestic success of George Bush’s first term were his tax cuts. John McCain voted against them, more than once, before finally flip-flopping and voting for them this year. Enough said.

McCain May Not Like Bush’s Tax Cuts, But He Loves Illegal Immigration

McCain has teamed up with Ted Kennedy to propose a bill that rewards illegal aliens by allowing them to stay in the US permanently after they pay a modest fine, brings in hundreds of thousands of new guest workers as well, and does almost nothing to enforce immigration law or prevent new illegal aliens from entering the country. In other words, if you love George Bush’s illegal immigration policy, John McCain is offering more of the same. On the other hand, if you believe we need to clamp down on illegal immigration, John McCain is not a candidate you should support.

The Gang-Of-14 Disaster

Just as Republicans in Congress were about to step in and put an end to the Democratic filibusters of judges once and for all, John McCain and the rest of the “Gang-Of-14” stepped in with a deal that kept the filibuster alive. This got John McCain and the other participants in the deal lots of favorable press, but the GOP paid a real price so that the “Maverick” could be in the spotlight again. Several GOP judges were thrown over the side and have, as of yet, never been allowed to get a vote.

Furthermore, the Gang-of-14 deal explicitly no long applies after the 2006 elections occur. So, if the Democrats gain seats in the Senate and decide to start filibustering again, it’s entirely possible that this time, the GOP won’t be able to muster the votes to stop them. That means that if a liberal Supreme Court Justice steps down during the last two years of Bush’s term, because of John McCain and Company, it may not be possible to replace them with another Alito or Roberts. That’s the price the party may have to pay so that John McCain can continue to be the New York Times’ favorite Republican.

The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Debacle

John McCain’s signature piece of legislation is the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill, which was one of the worst pieces of legislation to make it through Congress in the last decade. The idea behind this nightmare, which was a failure on every level, was that it was going to, “take the money out of politics.” Well, not only did McCain-Feingold fail to, “take the money out of politics,” more money was spent than ever before during the 2004 elections. Moreover, the bill unconstitutionally curbed free speech, protected incumbents, gave a fund raising edge to the Democrats, and opened up the door to regulating bloggers. If McCain says that he’ll do for America what he did for campaign finance reform, it should be taken as a threat.


That should give you a pretty good idea of what some of McCain’s biggest flaws are, but what you’ve seen so far is by no means a comprehensive list. Keep in mind that McCain opposed Bush’s attempt to protect marriage by enshrining it in the Constitution, committed adultery in his first marriage, attacked the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, endangered the lives of all Americans by handcuffing our military interrogators, had a meltdown over a boxing commission…you can go on and on like this.

The long and short of it is that John McCain is a deeply flawed candidate who’s unlikely to capture the Republican nomination, unlikely to win the presidency, and is unlikely to be a good President even if he somehow makes it to the White House.

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