Saturday, February 2, 2008

McCain: Talk Show Critics

Last night, I was on Eric Dondero's, and the host and I got into a good exchange about McCain. His point was that McCain was too liberal. My point was that the facts, such as the ratings by the American Conservative Union (ACU) the Club For Growth indicated that McCain was a conservative.

The host continued to disagree. I said that he had an intellectual and moral obligation to support McCain. I cited the "Club for Growth" rankings for 2005 and 2006 that gave McCain a (good) rating of 76% for both years. The host wondered if Hillary didn't also have some decent rating from that group. I cited The Almamac of American Politics, which showed the Club (fiscal conservatives) gave her a rating of 8% and 0% for the two years.

Thus, when Ann Coulter tells Sean Hannity that "Hillary is our gal," one wonders exactly is going on. Ms. Coulter is not a stupid person, but she is driven mainly by malice and a desire to say outrageous things, which endear her to the conservative "base." Coulter's entire career manifests a commitment not to conservative politics, but rather on increasingly pathetic attempts to call attention to herself. Her support for Hillary Clinton, who doesn't have a conservative bone in her body, illustrates that she has an agenda which is less conservatism than narcissism.

Ann Coulter may be something or other, but her backing of Mrs. Clinton shows that he is not in any sense a conservative. Calling someone a "faggot," as she did Edwards, does not miraculously transform a woman into Margaret Thatcher.

Last night, the Austin Statesman in Texas (see the column below) endorsed McCain and noted that over the years his rating from the American Conservative Union was 82.3%, which is a very conservative performance. The ACU rankings for Hillary Clinton in 2005 and 2006 were an anemic 8% and 12%.

The FACTS -- a category not much valued by Limbaugh and Coulter types -- show that McCain is a moderate conservative, and Mrs. Clinton (like Obama) is a robotic liberal. That is NOT my opinion. Rather, it is what the facts show.

John Kasich, former Ohio congressman who is one of the great conservatives of our time, said on FOX yesterday: "John McCain is NOT a liberal. In fact, John McCain is not really a moderate. John McCain is a conservative." Kasich, like many national conservatives (Tom Coburn, Rick Perry, Peter King, Saxby Chamblis, Jonny Isakson, Jon Kyl, Lindsay Graham) is strongly endorsing McCain.

I would say McCain is a conservative with a conscience. He is not anti-gay, nor anti-Hispanic, nor anti-Black, not anti-women professionals, nor anti-young people. He is a Republican in Arizona who wins his races there by huge margins (79% to 21% last time).

So why do the Limbaughs, Coulters, and Hewitts dislike John McCain so much? Part of it is their effort to boost ratings by making outrageous comments. A big element is the fact that McCain despises them for their shallowness and ideological fanaticism. Rush and his "proud dittoheads" have lost their grip on the Party. Their conservative alternatives -- Tancredo, Hunter, Gilmore, (Fred) Thompson, (Tommy) Thompson, and Paul -- couldn't come close to winning elections. They have NO support. Republicans across the country have rejected them. They have declared Rush and Sean and Laura and Ann and Hugh to be irrelevant to the nation's politics. A "dittohead" appears to be nothing more than a person incapable of independent thought.

I told my host/friend last night that he really didn't have a "right" to his opinion, because there were no facts behind his views. Opinions without any basis in fact are delusions. We have a constitutional right, I guess, to be wrong, but we don't have an intellectual or moral right to ignore reality.

I disagree with John McCain on a few of his votes, but frankly that doesn't mean I must be "right" and he must be wrong. When he voted against the anti-gay-marriage amendment, he said it was "antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans. It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states believe does not confront them." Is he really "wrong" when he cites the obvious? The American people's stance on something like gay marriage is that they're bored by the subject.

You will not find McCain's thoughtful, constitutionalist statements coming out of the mouth of Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham or Hugh Hewitt or Ann Coulter. Their listeners want red meat. They want slogans and venom. They live for polarization and animosity. The wear their bloody banner of Red State simplisms as if it were a badge of honor.

John McCain rejectes the politics of hatred. He will go down in history as a great man and, hopefully, as a great President. His talk show critics will continue to express their half-baked "opinions" to a diminishing group of people who drool heavily.

"For many Americans, John McCain is the closest thing our politics has to a national hero, a presidential candidate widely admired in 2000 and an independent leader of great force in the years after." (Michael Barone, The Almanac of American Politics, 2008, p. 95)

I received the following from Sharon. I agree with her completely.

Concur 100% -- don't waste time on the unappeasables that John McCain will never please no matter how hard he would try. All you have to do is look at how pro-life Sen McCain has been verus Romney and yet the so-called conservative leaders are going to Romney. Makes no sense. They have been pandered to for so many years that it is their way or no way even if it means losing elections. Believe this group has driven a lot of people in the Republican Party to quit being active or register as Independents -- we need to get them back in the Republican Party or we are going to keep losing elections.

Past time for the Republican Party to reach out to voters and welcome them without a litmus test. Long time Conservative who prefers to call herself a Common Sense Republican today.

Thanks for inviting those of us from the Rudy camp to join you! We will work just as hard to elect Sen McCain as we would have for Rudy.

Sharon Caliendo
Norman, OK

Note: Sharon is the founder of the Yahoo Group for Rudy Giuliani, which has now become the Rudy Supporters for McCain. She's one of the finer people in American politics.

The following is from Greg:

I did something last night that I said I'd never do....I watched the Fox News Channel. Specifically, the "All-Stars" on Special Report.

They were talking about whether conservatives could rally around Romney quick enough to change the dynamics of the race, and particularly by Tuesday. Fred Barnes said, "Too late." Mort said, "Romney should campaign hard for the nominee (McCain), and position himself as the next in line for the presidency." [Shudder] As usual, Charles Krauthammer had the most insightful insight: He noted, in looking at the polls running through this primary season, McCain and Rudy split about 50% of the Republicans, and with the post-Florida Fox News poll showing McCain with 48% of Republicans support, Krauthammer's conclusion is that McCain got ALL of Rudy's supporters.

And the reason for this is because of Rudy's behavior after Florida. Other candidates who have gotten out of the race and endorsed one of their opponents have never acted like Rudy -- joining themselves to the hip of their former opponent, being seen everywhere with them, going on The Tonight Show together. Rudy's enthusiasm -- genuine enthusiasm -- for McCain, apparently, has brought all of his supporters over to McCain. I know I wouldn't be very enthusiastic for McCain if it weren't for watching Rudy's support for him over the past four days. It's truly quite amazing.

As for conservatives rallying around Romney, the only ones I've seen over the past few days come to Mitt are some talkshow hosts -- Mark Levin, Sean Hannity. Rush hasn't formally endorsed, but he's been savaging McCain for weeks now. I think what's interesting is to see how little impact these people actually have among rank-and-file Republicans. GOP voters are ignoring these talkshow hosts, including Hugh Hewitt who has been shilling for Romney for the better part of a year. By dumping on the presumptive nominee, they're marginalizing themselves. Frankly, I'm delighted their flailing is falling on deaf ears.

Greg (of RudySupportersforMcCain on Yahoo)


Sanity102 said...

"I know I wouldn't be very enthusiastic for McCain if it weren't for watching Rudy's support for him over the past four days. It's truly quite amazing."

Actually, it's SMART. McCain is old and the presidency ages people. Rudy (my first choice) is setting himself up to step in as VP.

The amazing part is how no one seems to like Romney but everyone is "good" personal friends with McCain, the "non-conservative, bad tempered etc. etc." guy.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Hey Sanity, we people in our 60s don't regard John as old! You are risking having his 95-year-old mother confront you in an alley, although I guess she doesn't do allies anymore. Another great young leader who has been campaigning with McCain for three months is Lindsay Graham of SC. Rudy is a good possibility for VP and so is Lindsay. Sarah Palin remains a very intriguing possibility and just might get the nod, although she has been slow to endorse McCain, which of course I've been advising her to do. She didn't ask my opinion, but apparently she does read my blog. When she was visiting her son's graduation from infantry school, I got a hit from Ft. Benning, GA. Hmmmmmmm.

I think John's being in the Hanoi Hilton for five-and-a-half years aged him some, but he has shown tremendous energy in his campaign.