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Monday, January 7, 2008
posted by Kyle Hampton | 4:00 PM | permalink
At this point in the campaign, there's almost nothing new to write about the different candidates. So I looked back at the different arguments that I've made this past year that have dealt with John McCain and thought I would give you a healthy sampling of them:


McCain would still vote against the Bush tax cuts - see the video.


Judged by his record:
McCain tries to conflate what he has done (debate and vote) with what a president does (execute laws). While McCain’s record of experience is lengthy, it is in developing an entirely different skill than what a president does. It would be foolish to assume that the two are equivalent. Indeed, McCain’s experience is more pundit than president. He has spent his time making arguments like a pundit. The difference is that McCain makes a vote at the end of the day. Such a distinction seems to hardly qualify McCain more than George Will or Rush Limbaugh.


Harkening back to a previous debate, Mitt Romney and John McCain had a scuffle over waterboarding.

McCain, of course, is supposed to have "moral authority" because, as a naval airman decades ago, he was tortured at the hands of his North Vietnamese communist captors. (By the way, were any of them ever tried for war crimes?) Moral authority, however, is not a substitute for accurate information.

Furthermore, it is a matter of controversy whether waterboarding constitutes torture. McCain's position is certainly a defensible one, but we find his instinct unsettling. There are going to be gray areas in the war on terror, and we'd rather have the man at the top be someone who, when faced with difficult questions, errs on the side of protecting American women and children from being murdered rather than protecting terrorists from being treated unpleasantly.



McCain's New Entitlement:

On the morning of the debate about economics, McCain offers this economic proposal:

He suggested that government should supplement the income of older workers for “a few years” so they could afford to take lower wage entry-level jobs in newer industries.

Uh…really? Government should be supplementing worker’s income? How much should it supplement their income? How long is a “few years”? Where's the talk of fiscal restraint? How will this be paid for?

Count me unimpressed.



McCain the Ideologue:

McCain’s absolutist position on the surge, while admirable in his support of our troops, is almost the dictionary definition of ideologue. It’s not the facts that convinced McCain that the surge is working, but the idea itself. In McCain’s mind it would be working whether or not the facts showed it, because the idea is right in his mind. This is the same kind of stubbornness that has kept him supporting “comprehensive immigration” when the facts don’t support him. Similarly campaign finance reform has been an abject failure, but McCain still supports it because the idea is right, in spite of the facts. Likewise McCain has come to the correct conclusion on the surge, not lead by the facts, but lead only by the idea. McCain is right more out of luck than any sort of analytical process that lead him to the right conclusion. Such a blind adherence to ideas is unsupportable, which, luckily, is what most Republicans have come to conclude.

The episode, to me, illuminates one of the areas where Romney stands above other candidates: his strict adherence to facts and analysis. Romney’s “let’s let the facts be told and then decide” sounds so ordinary and common sense in the normal world, but yet so out of place with politicians. No rational person would make decisions like McCain (and, honestly, most other Senators), giving unfailing support to ever failing ideas. Romney’s analytical processes are much more reasonable and certainly more reliable to produce the best results.

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