Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Will Questions McCain’s Prudence

George may not be being entirely fair here, but he’s right that these questions all do address the issue of Mac’s likely executive competence. Very reasonable people are raising them, and they need to be addressed before the campaign really starts.

Is Mac too ready to go to war with Iran? (And, at this point, with what army?) Will he be too ready, more generally, to pursue a "rogue-state rollback"? Does he have a realistic view of what success in Iraq could reasonably mean at this point? Does he really know what judicial review is? Is he too ready to spend billions of dollars in questionable or even counter-productive ways to fight global warming? Does he really want to criminalize Wall Street greed? And how, exactly, is that greed distinguished from "the socially useful pursuit of personal gain?" Doesn’t he realize yet that taxpayer funding of campaigns is a terrible idea? All in all, is the honorable man too moralistic or self-righteous to be consistently and authentically prudent? I don’t have all the answers. Divide up into small groups and discuss.

Discussions - 13 Comments


I assume you mean Iran in the second paragraph, rather than Iraq. Or perhaps there's some deeper embroilment in Iraq of which I'm not aware?

The guy who had the answers to those questions was rejected, his name was Giuliani.

The smart thing for conservatives to do this go around would be to quit whining about this guy not measuring up to their expectations. He doesn't? Duh! This does not mean that we ought not to take note of his deficiencies as Will does. We should note them. Note them well--fairly or not--and hold them in your heart. Understand who McCain is. Then, when he is president, do not expect that he will act in any way contrary to his deficiencies. Then you will not be disappointed and, sometimes, if you're lucky, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Counter his deficiencies after you've noted them by doing what you can to shore up the House and Senate with stronger conservatives during the next 8 years. And be prepared to fight him, but be realistic in your expectations of success against him--especially if you can't shore up Congress. There's no reason to hold back on the criticism of McCain . . . but I do hope that the criticism does not look as foolish and pouty as much of the criticism of Bush looked when conservatives were stunned by his "new tone" and by his buddy appointments. That's who Bush is and any half-awake child could have seen that in 2000 if he was honest with himself. McCain will be many things as President (some good some bad) but, above all, he will be McCain. It won't keep me from noting his flaws but it will keep me from being unpleasantly surprised and from living, as Obama likes to do, in the airy fairy realm of mere hope.

Is he too ready to spend billions of dollars in questionable or even counter-productive ways to fight global warming?

McCain is saying that America needs to reduce it's carbon emissions to the levels of 1990.

At the same time, McCain is arguing for an immigration position which would double America's population compared to what it was in 1990. Something is going to have to give way here.

Realistically, the whole global warming scam is just another excuse to increase government power, which is why McCain is on board with it. Carbon emissions are just a flimsy excuse for action.

I do hope that the criticism does not look as foolish and pouty as much of the criticism of Bush looked when conservatives were stunned by his "new tone" and by his buddy appointments.

Julie, have I commented lately on what a silly and obnoxious twerp you are? I suggest that you learn to keep yout own "foolish and pouty" thoughts to yourself, along with your "hissy fits", your "petulance", and so on.

What a maroon!

John, that 2d and 3d paragraph crossed a line.

And I think you know it. And upon reflection, you ought to post what the politicians would call a "clarification."

This "John" invents a whole new category - an anonymous, wannabe bully.

5: John, Julie's right on this one. "Whining" is exactly what many on the right are doing, and are inclined to continue doing until Election Day. We must call them on it. Even if they are named George Will. Whining is for odd-numbered years only. In even-numbered years, we need to win.

For a GOOD piece of work by George Will, see yesterday's Sunday NY Times Book Review. Will has the lead review, on Rick Perlstein's book "Nixonland."

We don't have the time to indulge in whining. We have to get it across to McCain that his Liberal agenda is DOA up on the Hill.

We have to make him understand that he's taken his ingratiating with the media about as far as its profitable to go.

And STEVE, let's not be hasty by saying old John is an Internet bully, let's just consider that for the moment, he allowed his passion to get the better of him. And that upon reflection, he'll have it under control.

John is dead right to be outraged by what McCain is proposing. It's just that he was dead wrong to direct his fire towards JULIE, because Julie didn't have anything to do with that legislation, nor has Julie been riding shotgun for the McCain campaign.

Some Conservatives need better skills at identifying political friend from foe.

Dan - Fair enough, but this is not the first time John has shown this part of him.

Tempers are running high.

Mine too. I'm livid with this administration, and I'm livid that the GOP settled for McCain.

His global warming proposals, if enacted, would prove enormously injurious to our economy, and to our standing as leader of the Free World, champion in arms of the Free West. McCain, like Bush, on many, many issues, simply hasn't a clue what he's chirping about.

The thought of McCain standing there in the debates, as the Republican standard-bearer, discussing economic and energy issues, should scare the living daylights out of all of us. And he's such a damn hammerhead sometimes that he won't listen to us.

Well, what will be will be. The Democrats will either blow it and hand it to McCain. Or McCain will blow it by a late in the campaign season attack upon the base of the GOP, hoping that such a last minute attack will pull "independents and moderates" his way.

To be clear, I did not suggest that this piece of Will's was whiny. It's a serious piece. Peter may be right that it is, rhetorically speaking, too harsh. But even that's debatable. I get and sympathize with both David F.'s and John's (how's that for charity?) anger. But if you put the two of them in a room to duke it out, guess where you'll end up? So I'd say both kinds of anger need to find a better outlet. Will hints at a more constructive outlet. I suggested supporting that kind of criticism AND moderating one's expectations from politics (particularly when the candidates and office holders give us so little to be expectant about). Much of our frustration with Bush was born out of the false hope (beginning in the 2000 primaries--then amplified by his strong talk in the wake of 9/11) that he was something other than what he is. Expecting him to be something more than what he is has often, in my view, made us blind to what is still "pretty good" (particularly when compared to the alternative) about him. And it has also made much of our criticism less constructive or effective than it might have been. For example: We got Alito . . . but at what price? I hope we will not make the same mistake with McCain. He is what he is. What he is is certainly less bad than the alternative. And in some respects it may even be pretty good. I don't expect to make that a slogan for the campaign. But smart conservatives will do well to remember it and to check their anger with it. We're not going to have our way this go around. There's still plenty of persuading to do.

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