Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I simply find the Republican Primaries fascinating this year. You see a lot of people pulling the pragmatic argument out for John McCain. You hear Rush Limbaugh make the Idealist argument, which now only applies to Mitt Romney. And you hear people on Meet the Press giggle with joy about McCain downing the Republican establishment. It is not all that dissimilar an argument from the Church Growth movement about do you make people Christian so they will join the church or do you get people to join the church and hope they become Christians later. I am unable to get enough of this much for same reason you have to slow down to watch trains wreck.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I prefer the Idealist argument made by Mr. Limbaugh. However, after listening to Limbaugh rant today I still do not think he has it right. Limbaugh blames John McCain for wanting to pull the party to the left, and so did a lot his callers. However, I do not believe that is the case. The blame rests mostly on President Bush and a little on Limbaugh/conservatives himself/themselves. Let me explain.

People are up in arms about the perceived left-ward stance of ‘Maverick’ John McCain. They point to Campaign Finance Reform, they point to McCain’s stance on Amnesty, and they often point to other things like his environmentalism on display after his endorsement by Gov. Terminator in California. Opposition to tax cuts also makes the list, but I will deal with that in a minute. When you look at all of the above things (tax cuts excluded) John McCain is no more to blame than George Bush. Bush signed into law Campaign Finance Reform. Bush promoted Amnesty. Bush had liberal Republicans like Arnold and Rudy Guiliani speak at the Republican Convention in 2004. That was the glimpse of the future of the Republican Party, and commentators like Limbaugh missed it. Or at least they did not make enough of a fuss. It makes no sense to fight against McCain and accept President Bush. President Bush was elected in 2000 on a more conservative platform, although he told Republican it would be a modified Conservatism by the simply title ‘Compassionate Conservative’. He passed things like No Child Left Behind and then went completely away from his conservative roots after 9/11. 2004 saw everyone stand by their Commander-in-Chief, and they overlooked the non-conservative nature of his governing. He tried to push Harriet Meyers as a Supreme Court Justice and tried to push Amnesty for illegals. His short lived attempt to revamp Social Security did not receive the same sort of effort put into adding Prescription Drugs to Medicare.

The only difference between George Bush and John McCain is tax cuts. McCain has a stronger belief in a balanced budget than does President Bush, but neither actually believes the government should shrink. Not at all. They fundamentally believe that the government ought to have your money to fill its needs first, then maybe you can have some back. That is what not voting for tax cuts until the budget is balanced means. Government first, tax payer second. The conservative revolt ought to be a revolt against Bush, but for some reason it is completely directed at John McCain. They are two peas in a pod.

The other thing that I do not think is getting enough attention is Congress. Lots of people talk about the 2006 victory for the Democrats. Some, Rush included, chalk that up to the Conservative base being upset. To some degree I believe that is true, but what no one really ever mentions is that this is the effect of having a liberal Republican heading up the party as the Conservative Revolution of 1994 expired. Many people were stepping down because they promised in 1994 to only serve 12 years. Bill Frist is a good example. He was the majority leader, but had served his time. Senator Frist is not the most conservative of men, but he is just the first example off of the top of my head. True conservatives were not able to be recruited because the leadership of the Republican Party was not conservative. They pulled funding from winnable seats like Representative J.D. Hayworth in Arizona because he stood for being conservative. You won’t find any conservatives running this time either and very winnable seats like South Dakota’s Senate seat occupied by Tim Johnson will go without a challenge because what conservative can follow John McCain as a standard bearer. Again this fact has been passed on by powerful leaders like Rush Limbaugh. He broke the immigration bill when it was in the legislature, but he seems slow to speak out on the liberalization of the Republican Party under President Bush. Now he wants a return to conservative roots rather than follow Bush’s example with McCain. It is too late now. The only option conservatives have is a new party.


Jay said...

Excellent point about the similarities between Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain. I hadn't thought about it that way.

But with regard to the budget, isn't it more "conservative" to demand a balanced federal budget before you make any tax cuts? I recall balancing the budget to be a big emphasis for Republicans in 1994. It seems to me that if you are strict on balancing the budget without raising taxes, it will at least slow the growth of government. Whereas if you don't care about balanced budgets, government can grow regardless of revenue.

Anyway, very interesting points. McCain is starting to look inevitable now. What's your prediction on Obama vs. Clinton?

Lee said...

I think that balancing the budget is a very conservative idea, but I also think doing that with lower taxes is a conservative idea. Here is why I think opposing tax cuts makes John McCain unconservative. If one is opposing tax cuts until the budget is balanced, I believe it inherently says two things. One, that lower taxes will not stimulate the economy. A growing economy will increase revenue for the Federal Government and aid in balancing the budget. Opposing said tax cuts shows that the trickle down theory of economics has been rejected. Two, it says that money should belong first to the government. John McCain is saying to the American taxpayer, "we have to balance our budget first by taking your money, and then you can worry about balancing your own budget." This means McCain thinks the government has a bigger need and more of a right to my money than I do. That makes him liberal and not conservative. All of this is made worse when you consider he knows he will not get spending cuts by the Neo-Con President or the Democratic Congress.

I think McCain may come out as the nominee. He looked rather weak last night in my opinion. The Liberal Republicans (Neo-Cons) showed their strength in New England. The Theo-Cons (big government/Christian values) showed their strength in the South. And PaleoConservatives showed their strength in the West with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul's strong showing in Montana and North Dakota.

As for Obama, he will win the Democratic nomination going away. A woman will not win the Presidency. The African-Americans got the right to vote before women, and they will field a candidate for the presidency before a woman. I say this because I think no one in the mid-west will vote for a woman. I point to results from North Dakota, Kansas, and Minnesota to show that Hilary will win nothing out here. I also think that Obama will win D.C., Maryland, and probably Virginia. I think Nebraska may be Saturday which Obama will also win. This will give him huge momentum that Hilary will not be able to stop.