Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Is McCain the New Goldwater?

Here’s some evidence that he is. I agree that they share the characteristic of being senators from Arizona. Being Goldwater is certainly admirable but not so promising for November. Barry’s campaign was one of the worst ever, and he had to rally at the end just to lose by an unprecedented margin. But of course Obama is no LBJ; he infinitely prettier and more personally popular. This article does do well in laying out the conservative virtues of our honorable candidate: his resolute opposition to earmarks, new entitlements, new taxes, and all that--not to mention his unquestioned patriotism. The trouble with that list is that it’s all about self-sacrifice, all pain and no gain. Mac has a hard time making it clear that his job will be to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. (A big exception here is his fine market-based health care reform, which maximizes both coverage and choice.) And Mac does share Barry’s libertarian aversion to the vulgarity of social conservatism. Lots to talk about in this thoughtful article...

Discussions - 15 Comments

Peter, that was a KEY insight, "all pain, no gain." That's a bullseye. There's too much military virtue in the McCain campaign, and that is about taking one for the team, or advancing through fire to reach and destroy target. Where's the payoff? Where's the windfall for the electorate. Reagan promised a turnaround, he promised to restore America to herself. What does McCain promise, more hardship, more sacrifice for victory. There has to be more to McCain's campaign than a clarion call for sacrifice.

McCain's campaign has to be more than earnestness and patriotism.

A real energy agenda would be an issue where he could say "this is what I'm going to do for you, and that's drop the price of filling up."

Dan and Peter, re "no pain no gain." Perhaps in the realm of petty political prudence gains are what wins elections. However, if the American people are no longer willing to sacrifice and are no longer inspired by the Christian ideal, then I expect it doesn't really matter which party controls the WH. McCain isn't asking us to ration gasoline, rubber, be drafted, or undergo anything similar to the sacrifices of the past. McCain, and sensible Americans, would be happy to see a little sacrifice in our luxurious standard of living. When gas prices go up, don't call for government action but find a way to cut usage. When you can't afford to send your parents to a nursing home, don't wait for the government subsidy but adjust your life to care for them.

Is this extreme, militant, or even politically undesirable? People used to respect the virtues taught by military service, and I expect that they still do-outside of the blue-blooded Obama supporters and the academia. Something is working for McCain b/c he's running even with Obama in a year when no other Republican can win--even in Mississippi.

"And He summoned the crowd with His disciples and said to them. Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake or the Gospel will save it."

"And Mac does share Barry’s libertarian aversion to the vulgarity of social conservatism."

Easy, off-handed comments like this one remind me why I finally just stopped visiting & reading, uh, No Left Turns a few years back (after the 2006 election). A new campaign season has lately piqued my curiosity to check out what the New Republican intelligentsia has on it's mind this go-around... and I think I got it, now.

Uh, thanks, um, "No Left Turns". I can see the 2006 trouncing of the GOP was no accident. And, from the way polls, at least the congressional, look, it certainly appears you New Republicans won't have to put up with our "vulgarity" much longer, now. Shoot, with any luck, Mac will loudly declare his aversion to gun-clingin', Bible-totin', truck-drivin' "bitter Americans" just like Obama did. Hey, it sounds like a real winner, folks!

Excellent piece by Hillyer. The comparison is quite apt. Professor Lawler, are you saying social conservatism is "vulgar," or just that McCain and Goldwater think (thought) so? I certainly hope it's the latter. While there is a vulgar manifestation of social conservatism, that's true of every ideology one can think of. Many social conservatives and some expressions of social conservatism are vulgar, but in fairness one should not single them out. I fail to see why social conservatism as such is vulgar. I see far more vulgarity, in fact, in knee-jerk social liberalism. There was (is) also a vulgar side to Goldwater and McCain, by the way.

2: Yes, very true.

M. Stephen Lamb, please read that last bit of the post again. The "libertarian aversion" is not that of Peter Lawler, but he imputes that to McCain and to Goldwater.

I would point out here that McCain has a good record of support for issues important to social conservatives. Goldwater was not firmly pro-life and was pro-choice in the last years of his life.

Where is McCain expressing aversion to social conservatism? I must have missed it. It's not that I need another reason to be upset with McCain; I just don't see that libertarian streak that is mentioned in the post.

This article does do well in laying out the conservative virtues of our honorable candidate: his resolute opposition to earmarks, new entitlements, new taxes, and all that-

The price tag for McCains global warming and amnesty plans will make the Great Society seem frugal. McCain is much more like another Nixon.

By all accounts, Goldwater was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. His most memorable words were those others put in his mouth. In that sense McCain is like Goldwater.

Easy, off-handed comments like this one remind me why I finally just stopped visiting & reading, uh, No Left Turns a few years back

Yes, I thought that was a bit much. I guess the much greater vulgarity of libertarianism gets a free ride.

And the site is oddly named.

Consider the fight against outrageous government spending. No major party nominee since Goldwater, Reagan included, has been as consistently and bravely dedicated to fiscal discipline as has McCain.

What a peculiar statement. I think he just attacked Reagan for cutting taxes.

No offence Kate, I think you're a great commenter. But "social conservatism" is not simply about abortion. And McCain is seen in right-to-life circles as a phony ally, probably correctly.

The "New Republican intelligentsia," of which I speak, has become comfortably perched upon a too lofty tower for us lowly everyday folks to relate to. As they look down upon our everyday, mundane, socially conservative lives, they can't help but see abject "vulgarity." I mean, we've got bills to pay, children to raise and we've never enough time to think clearly and loftily upon the deeper issues of life... like they, properly tenured and such, do.

Ah, but the good Mac paid his "Hanoi Hilton" price to sit loftily upon his perch. He's got the right, you know, to gaze upon our little-minded "vulgarity." And he's got the right, too, to tell us we got no mind to say nuthin' bad about none of those perched loftily with him up there during the election time. Hell, he made sure of that with his lofty CFR attack on the First Amendment of the United States Constitution!

Votin' for President is always about as fun as kissin' yer sister. Even Mac, perched loftily, still knows that (and is heartily banking on it). It's just the jerks like Peter Lawler, posting at phony "No Left Turns" websites, that really turn my "socially conservative" stomach.

Yech! :)

Mr. Lamb, Kate is right, it wasn't my opinion. Tell me you disagree that McCain regularly exhibits his contempt for social conservatives, and that Goldwater had that tendency to a less extent for a while, but...

...but McCain does not have Ronald Reagan making speeches for him.

Mr. Lawler wonders: "Mr. Lamb, Kate is right, it wasn't my opinion."

Perhaps you could post a McCain quote where he describes his aversion to the "vulgarities" of social conservatism. If such a quote is unavailable, why use such a strong and inflaming adjective like "vulgarities" in addressing his, not your, blanket aversion "social conservatism"?

p.s. Funny how "judicial activism" seems to be the only real legislative response to such "vulgarities" these days, eh? What? Do you think John McCain might indeed find the American voter vulgar, Mr. Lawler?

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