Saved by McCain

The presumptive nominee is a tonic for the party

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., endured boos amid the applause when he spoke at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference. Good for him. And good for the Republicans. Those boos may not have been music to McCain's ears, but they were one indication that he is the healthiest thing to happen to the Republican Party since Ronald Reagan.

This year's primary season has been so full of healthy developments that you could package it with oat bran and hawk it at Whole Foods. The country can thank its lucky stars that the process has pushed forward—in McCain and in Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama—the three most formidable figures in American politics. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, the result will pit the two most widely admired political figures of their generations against each other in a presidential race. The last time the country saw anything remotely like that was when Dwight Eisenhower faced Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956.

Democrats can be grateful they have two tough races on their hands, first for the nomination and then, as now seems virtually certain, against McCain in the general election. Remember LBJ and Jimmy Carter? When Democrats win against weak opponents or crippled parties, they overreach, underperform, and lose touch with the country.

But the healthiest news of all is McCain's emergence as the presumptive Republican nominee. Of all the Republicans in America, McCain is best positioned to undo the errors and correct the excesses of Bush-era Republicanism. If the Bush years were snakebit, think of McCain as an antivenin.

Not all Republicans see it that way, of course. Some would like to see more ruthless partisanship, more fiscal recklessness, more polarization, more presidential monarchism, more erosion of U.S. credibility on human rights, more immigration-bashing. Wiser Republicans, though, know better. They understand that the Big Four of post-Reagan, post-Gingrich Republicanism—President Bush, Vice President Cheney, former White House strategist Karl Rove, and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay—steered the party to a dead end.

Wise Republicans know, to begin with, that the party is lost if it cannot rebuild its own center and appeal to the country's. Bush-era Republicanism was all about suppressing the center and mobilizing the extremes, on the (correct) assumption that conservatives outnumber liberals. It worked, for a while, because of 9/11 and because the Democrats unwittingly cooperated. Forced to choose between the Republican Right and the Democratic Left, independents leaned Republican or just stayed home.

Unfortunately for Republicans, the Democrats wised up and started choosing candidates with centrist appeal. Forced to govern from the center of their party instead of the center of the country, Republicans meanwhile swung too far to the right. Independents cut loose. Blood rushed back into the political center. Republicans found themselves marginalized by their own polarizing strategy. The wiser among them now understand that the only way back is through the middle.

McCain stands unrivaled among Republicans as a proven magnet for moderate and independent votes. He has a long record of working and talking across party lines. He not only understands independents, he needs them, because polarized partisans don't trust him (for good reason). Even if he wanted to, he couldn't run a Bush-style "50 percent plus one" strategy of playing to the base and picking off just enough moderates. "He may be able to bring the party back to the center, and that would be deeply useful," says Steve Bell, who, as a longtime senior aide to Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., has observed McCain for years. (Domenici has endorsed McCain, despite past encounters with McCain's epithet-laced temper.)

Democrats control both chambers of Congress and are expected to consolidate their majorities this year. In 2009, a Republican president is unlikely to be able to scare Democrats into submission, as Bush did for a while. Instead a GOP president would have to do a delicate job of triangulating between the Democratic majority and a sometimes truculent Republican base.

With his long record of working across party lines—on campaign finance law and global warming and judicial appointments and much more—McCain is uniquely equipped to provide Republicans with the last thing they expected to see post-Bush: a productive Republican presidency. "I think we might actually get some stuff done," Bell says.

Most Republicans understand that their loss of credibility on spending restraint and fiscal responsibility has damaged the Republican brand. Wise Republicans understand, further, that supply-side dogmatism has become part of the problem. The supply-side movement made sense when the top tax rate was 70 percent, taxes rose with inflation, and tax cuts were only one part of a program that also included deregulation and lower spending. It stopped making sense when Bush-era Republicanism turned it into an obsession, fixated on the idea that if you just cut taxes and then cut them some more, lower spending, smaller government, and shrinking deficits will follow.

McCain has a long record of vocal opposition to pork-barrel spending and congressional earmarks; he makes a point of calling for entitlement reform; and he is not a supply-sider, having voted against both of Bush's biggest tax cuts. Supply-siders hate that, and it's true that he has now rallied to them with expensive and unpaid-for promises to extend the Bush tax cuts and abolish the alternative minimum tax. Still, McCain's heart belongs not to the supply-side absolutism of the Bush era but to the tightfisted rectitude of the Eisenhower era. If anyone has a shot at restoring Republican fiscal credibility, it is McCain.

Wise Republicans understand that Bush has severely damaged both the sustainability and the reputation of the war on jihadism by trying to run it on presidential fiat, by claiming effectively unlimited power to detain anyone forever, and by cratering the world's faith in American values. In the eyes of too much of the world and too many Americans, Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, and contempt for Congress have become hallmarks of the war on jihadism.

McCain is tailor-made to repair this damage. A torture victim himself, he stood up to his own president and party to pass the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act. He led this fight knowing that it would devalue his stock with Republicans. He likewise stuck out his neck to pass legislation that put military detentions and trials on firmer legal footing, again with no prospect of political reward.

Bush has regarded Congress and the courts as nuisances to be circumvented whenever possible. Perversely, if predictably, his insistence on strengthening the presidency at any cost has weakened it instead, and has left the war on jihadism balanced precariously on one legal leg. McCain has led the way back toward the constitutional and moral high ground, understanding that the war won't be sustainable unless it is firmly rooted in America's best legal and humanitarian traditions.

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  • JCoke||

    I don't know if McCain is really going to take the country in a better direction... What about his 100 years in Iraq thing, or the probability of American involvement overseas increasing dramatically? Defense spending will be much higher, and he loves public service so much he might try to get something passed about it (like Obama's idea- public service for college money). He doesn't care a bit about rights or liberties- for McCain it is all about the glory of the State.

  • Dr. Freud||

    Yeah, sure thing, McCain is a new kind of Republican...

    "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran."

  • ||

    I think that was satire....?

  • ||

    Frankly, I don't want the GOP to be saved. It's a disastrous destructive force that needs to be stomped out of existence.

    What's wrong with public service for college money? It's better to make people earn it than give it away for free. If 18 year olds have to work a year or two for a special benefit, that sounds like a good thing. What are the downsides?

  • adrian||

    McCain will change everything because he was tortured.


    that's all i got.

  • ||

    adrian | February 21, 2008, 8:28am | #

    McCain will change everything because he was tortured. "

    Define torture.

  • adrian||

    that article?

  • Fluffy||

    AAARRGGGGGHHHHHHH.

    How on Earth can a Reason contributor still think, at this point in time, that McCain is a voice against torture?

  • JCoke||

    Well, I have a problem with how much we subsidize education. This allows the universities to raise prices above market price. Tuition costs have been steadily increasing over inflation, and we are expected to give more in student aid in the near future. This makes it necessary for almost every student to apply for aid, and thus, sign up for public service. This is how mandatory national service will happen, since the Constitution forbids involuntary servitude, the government will have to tie it to provided benefits. Given the increasing number of benefits the government is expected to provide, this is bad news.

  • ||

    WTF? McCain is NOT a force for good, of any kind ... if anything good were to result from a McCain presidency, it would certainly be accidental, ala Clinton in the 90's ...

  • ||

    The Bush GOP swung us toward Christo-Fascism, a big-government, corporate whoring, militaristic police state than no one - including McCain, can undo until the party is completely purged of these very types that defined it.

    Under Bush/Cheney/DeLay/Frist government was used as a means to further corporate interest and profit. The individual has been snuffed out.

  • ||

    What's wrong with public service for college money? It's better to make people earn it than give it away for free. If 18 year olds have to work a year or two for a special benefit, that sounds like a good thing. What are the downsides?

    The downsides are that the service of an 18 year old isn't worth as much as that of a college graduate a few years older. Well, unless you're just looking for cannon fodder (which is likely considering we're talking about McCain).

  • ||

    I think that was satire....?

    Probably not. Rauch is part of the Michael Young faction of Reason, whose only saving grace is that they keep the place from devolving into an echo chamber.

  • megs||

    Yeah, so maybe McCain is great for the Republican party. Since when does anyone not of that party care about its health? When was the last time it did libertarians any favors?

  • ||

    It's also good to see Mr Rauch has swallowed whole McCain's assertion that the GOP lost the 2006 elections because of pork-barrel spending. Ignore the elephant in the dining room, people.

  • .||

    Wow, articles like this really bring the weirdo commenters out of the woodwork.

  • ||

    Stick around for the next article on drugs or immigration, old chap - those are really the best topics for weirdo attraction.

  • ||

    Rauch and Young should not be published by Reason. They should appear in the Weekly Standard or NRO Online. It is a disgrace for Reason to publish someone who thinks that MCCain will wage a "just war" on "jihadism". It is obscene for a libertarian magazine to push tax increases. This continuing publication of Rauch and Young sucks big time.

  • ||

    I think that was satire....?

    I sorta thought so too. It's like any article I've read on political blogs of the NYT or WaPo, written by democrats who think that McCain's centrism is a virtue because it means he agrees with them more frequently.

  • ||

    "The downsides are that the service of an 18 year old isn't worth as much as that of a college graduate a few years older. Well, unless you're just looking for cannon fodder (which is likely considering we're talking about McCain)."

    I was thinking about it the opposite way, that if an 18 year old were to experience what it's like to be a working adult, to have some structured path to a goal, that they might be more focused and studious in college, rather than party all the time. I still think they'll party and do stupid things, but I think they would be better students over the course of their college career.

    For the reason you stated, I don't like the idea of cannon fodder being the only option for someone who wants to serve publicly to earn for college. There are lots of things people could do in this country to help others, like help the homeless. That's not a task that will really be taking a job from anyone else and we might as well get something for the money we are spending to send people to college.

    Look, I don't like any government spending but if its gonna happen, I want to get more for my money. Ideally, I'd just rather see the government get out of the education business altogether.

  • Episiarch||

    If that wasn't satire, Rauch is fucking nuts. McCain is a centrist?!? Only in an insane Democrat's mind. McCain's motto is reverse Churchill: War war is better than jaw jaw.

  • Episiarch||

    So Nick, you support slavery then? Because drafts, whether for war or "service", are slavery.

  • ||

    No, Epi, I don't support drafts at all. It is my contention that doing some sort of public service as a way to earn public money for college is fair. No one has to do it. If you want public money you do A, B, or C. If you would rather work at McD's or Subway to pay for your college, or take out student loans, go ahead. How did it come off that I was suggesting anything was mandatory. I reject mandatory service altogether, for the same reason you do.

  • ||

    I'm John McCain and I approved this message...

  • LarryA||

    What's wrong with public service for college money?

    Define "public service." Or more accurately "government approved public service."

    A few years back there was a movement to say that you aren't really "volunteering" unless it's with a government-approved program, and shouldn't be entitled to income tax write-offs. The same with donations made to what the authors didn't think were "beneficial" non-profits. The hours I spend volunteering in a church music program, a little theater, a shooting club, a writer's group, etc. were just "kitchen table volunteering" and not of any real benefit. Therefore they should not earn rewards.

    I see this as a huge boondoggle. First you'll need a government bureaucracy to track participation and administer benefits. Then you'll have every lobbying group in the U.S. pushing to get their particular group's share of the public servants, primarily by classifying jobs so they qualify. (I'm a Public Servant. I'm coming into your home to make sure you sort recyclables properly and to collect your incandescent light bulbs.) The public servants will want to form a union to protect their "rights." Current unions will want to protect their jobs from being taken over. Employers will want tax breaks for having to hire public servants. HR departments will need another room of file cabinets. Education organizations (including trade schools) will extend the effort they now spend attracting those with GI education benefits to those with PS money, and making sure their schools qualify. (What do you mean the American Psychic College doesn't qualify?) And Congress will misuse the program in ways imaginable only to them. (We've shut down the borders so there's no one to pick fruit? Why look, we've got all these PS types sitting around!)

    I was thinking about it the opposite way, that if an 18 year old were to experience what it's like to be a working adult, to have some structured path to a goal, that they might be more focused and studious in college, rather than party all the time.

    What has this got to do with time in a government public service job? Of course if I wanted to be optimistic I might hope that early experience working for the government might just raise us a crop of raging libertarians.

    No, Epi, I don't support drafts at all. It is my contention that doing some sort of public service as a way to earn public money for college is fair. No one has to do it.

    Until Phase II.

  • Episiarch||

    Hey Nick, if you want to open the door of everybody working for the government, you are fucking insane.

  • ||

    A snowball's chance in hell is a sure bet compared to my chances of voting for Mr. Hundred Years. I'll write in Ron Paul or possibly vote for the Democrat nominee as payback for their disgraceful treatment of the only honorable candidate in this race. I've already re-registered Libertarian and I never pass up a chance to bad-mouth McCain and the slimebag party that pulls his strings. These are people that laugh(!)when the Constitution is mentioned. McCain? Not in this lifetime.

  • ||

    Maybe this article should be published in The Onion.

  • ||

    So, you're all saying its a slippery slope for people to do something to get money for college rather than just have it given to them for nothing? Helping the homeless and being a private in the military aren't exactly glamour jobs.

    Like I said, I'd rather the government get out of education, but I still think earning money is better than getting it for free.

    Epi, I don't see how it will open the door for everyone to work for the government. It might even turn people off and create libertarians like Optimist Larry suggests. If the public service jobs are shitty enough, and they should be, students are more likely to work somewhere else to pay for college, or take out loans which the government should also get out of the business of subsidizing.

  • Dr. Freud||

    Just look at Big Mac's record on Iraq. Not only is he a drinker of the Kool Aid, he's one of the people who helped mix it.

  • Kolohe||

    The oddest thing to me about the article is that he thinks McCain can win. Obama (or Clinton) could do something (or a series of somethings) to screw up and lose this thing - which granted gives the same result - but there is nothing McCain can do to win this thing if the Democrats play a solid game.

  • ||

    It is my contention that doing some sort of public service as a way to earn public money for college is fair. No one has to do it. If you want public money you do A, B, or C.

    Do you know where public money originates, Nick? The federal govt takes your money thru taxes and inflation, or borrows it using your future taxes as collateral, and then tells you you have to do ABC to get any benefit from that money. How again is that not coercive?

  • ||

    Nick,

    There aren't that many people who go to college for free on the federal govt's dime, aside from those being prepped for the military or national defense work. Most people get federally-backed student loans which must be paid back with interest.

  • ||

    Jeeze Louise!
    Nick does not want to take your money and give it to people to go to college in exchange for "public service."

    There is a difference between stating what you think is better between two possible options (publicly subsidized loans for public service, or publicly subsidized loans for nothing), and what your ideal situation is.

  • ||

    Now you want to compel public service just to get a loan? This is getting better by the minute...

  • ||

    I wonder if Nick and McCain would favor compelling retirees to do public service in exchange for their social security checks. I'm sure there's plenty of govt tasks that can be done even by the physically frail.

  • ||

    Now you want to compel public service just to get a loan?

    Maybe I misunderstood, but isn't this Obama's position? Maybe it's for actual money.

  • x,y||

    If the Bush years were snakebit, think of McCain as an antivenin. Not all Republicans see it that way, of course. Some would like to see more ruthless partisanship, more fiscal recklessness, more polarization, more presidential monarchism, more erosion of U.S. credibility on human rights, more immigration-bashing.



    Strawman alert. Because Republicans couldn't possibly have problem with McCain for other reasons. Not at all.

    For a magazine called ...

  • Ten Years Gone||

    According to a presidential approval poll I saw this morning, 67% of (what's left of) the GOP approve of the way the Bush is doing his job.

    67%...

    As a group, the GOP's snapped nutty as squirrel shit...

    McCain, having stumbled onto this sorry fact, will succeed in winning the nomination by industriously peddling fear to crazy partisans.

  • Joel||

    Wow. I wish I'd read this NRO-rejected article BEFORE I filled out that poll yesterday.

    Did Reason really just publish an article singing the praises of that warmonger? Is that something that really happened? At first I honestly thought it might be satire, and kept looking for the punchline. Stopped reading when I realized Rauch was dead serious.

  • ||

    For a magazine called REASON you sure do blah blah blah blah

  • ||

    Chris, please re-read what I have written. I have never justified the government's involvement in college education. I have only said requiring students to do SOMETHING in exchange for free or subsidized tuition is better than giving it to them for NOTHING. That is ALL I said. I never once suggested it was the best option of all those available. In fact, I stated twice I wish the government weren't involved at all.

    Yes, I am completely aware of what taxation is, how it is coercive, and that it is wrong. By the way, the elderly people that collect social security checks DID pay into the system (hopefully) so they did perform the required task before they retired. Your comparison sucketh.

    Reinmoose, thank you for comprehending. I hope Larry and Epi also figured out that I was not justifying government involvement, but how "charging" someone for a service is better than providing it for free.

  • ||

    but there is nothing McCain can do to win this thing if the Democrats play a solid game.

    With the exception of Clinton the First, name the last Democratic presidential conteder that played "a solid game".

    LBJ?

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think either Carter campaign was poorly run.

    Carter had a bad Presidency, and ran for re-election against the best campaigner the Republican party has ever produced. But he ran a textbook outsider campaign in 76, and a competent campaign in 80. Certainly he was no Dukakis or Kerry.

  • ||

    Keep on looking for that pony inside the pile of horse poo, Jonathan. I'm not voting for Obama or McCain, because neither is going to shrink the federal government's power over our lives.

    "But -- but -- he's not as bad as Bush" is hardly a ringing endorsement. That's a loooow bar to clear.

  • JCoke||

    Nick- the idea is this- the government gives aid packages based on how hard it is for a student to pay. The universities generally see this as an opportunity to charge more, and tuition goes up. Throwing in public service for the aid basically mandates national service if you want to go to college.
    This isn't some slippery slope thing either. Many public officials in both parties have tried to mandate national service and have been blocked by the Constitution. It has to happen this way.

  • Geotpf||

    One could make a reasonable (or even a Reasonable) argument in favor of McCain...except for the fact he thinks the main problem with the war in Iraq is that IT WASN'T BIG ENOUGH. Not that it was a stupid war in the first place; no, he thinks it was a bad idea because we sent 150,000 troops instead of 300,000. And he might just send those additional troops once he becomes President. Now, whether that is before or after he "Bombs, bombs, bombs Iran" is to be determined.

    If McCain wasn't a warmonger, convincing people to vote against him, especially here, would be quite hard indeed. But he is, so it's easy.

  • ||

    "According to a presidential approval poll I saw this morning, 67% of (what's left of) the GOP approve of the way the Bush is doing his job.

    67%...

    As a group, the GOP's snapped nutty as squirrel shit..."

    Maybe the unemployed server squirrels that used to gum up the H&R posts have migrated into the GOP to spread rabies or whatever.

  • ||

    JCoke, so giving it away for free is better? Either way, the government unintentionally drives up the cost. If they are going to do that anyway, why not make service a condition of receiving aid? Why would having a condition attached to your aid drive up the cost? Either way, the government is paying.

    Regardless, I'm not advocating this position. I oppose all government aid. But, I don't see how attaching conditions to a benefit is forceful? No one is required to participate. If the system that has a shitty condition attached to aid fails because no one wants to do it, wouldn't that end up lowering the cost?

    I think people would rather work in the private sector (or take out private loans) to pay for school rather than receive the government benefit that makes them perform a nasty task. Then costs would go down as government subsidies become undesirable.

  • Ryan||

    How is what's good for the current two-party establishment, in terms of "working across party lines", good for our individual rights?

    And why is it that we want a Republican president that will "get things done"?

    Rauch, unabashed partisan lovefests for the State, as long as it benefits the 'correct' interests, are why I don't subscribe to Reason and disrecommend it.

  • Kolohe||

    "According to a presidential approval poll I saw this morning, 67% of (what's left of) the GOP approve of the way the Bush is doing his job.

    67%..


    You could probably get a poll of Patriot's fans that would have 80% approve of the way Brady and his bunch played in the last game of their season.

    Obviously, GO TEAM RED, BEAT TEAM BLUE cheering is the significant factor in that 67%

    The suprising thing about the number is not that it is so high, but that it is so low. And here's the critical factor that pretty much doom's McCain's chances in Nov - my guess is that there is a significant non-overlap between that 67% and people whom have voted for McCain in primaries so far.

  • Lester Hunt||

    When I got to the part about how the three surviving candidates are of "formidable" stature, I thought this is delightful political satire. Alas, that is not how it was meant. How can you compare these people to Eisenhower and Stevenson? Compare McC's military experience (I was captured by the Vietnamese!) with that of Eisenhower (I conquered Europe!). I could go on, but why belabor the obvious?

  • JCoke||

    so giving it away for free is better? Either way, the government unintentionally drives up the cost. If they are going to do that anyway, why not make service a condition of receiving aid? Why would having a condition attached to your aid drive up the cost? Either way, the government is paying.

    On one hand you have the government handing out money and driving up costs, which is bad. If you are not wealthy, you will probably take federal aid.
    On the other hand, you have the government giving out federal aid, still driving up costs, and students that receive aid have to commit to public service. I don't believe (I know this is entirely subjective) that students will decline public service because most of my peers actually support mandated national service, without really considering the implications of giving the government that amount of power.

    And in a time when congressmen, senators, presidents, and magazine editors are calling for mandated national service and "giving back" to the country, I am extremely wary of anything that could give them a foothold.

  • Mad Max||

    "So McCain offers Republicans hope of a revitalized center, a connection to independents, a productive presidency, improved fiscal credibility, improved moral credibility, a restored constitutional balance, a firm instead of flimsy war on jihadism, and a way forward on immigration. You have to look back to Reagan to find such a serendipitous match between the man and the moment."

    Dear Mr. Rauch,

    You're supposed to take light puffs off of that bong, not just snort it all in at once!

  • TGGP||

    This has got to be one of the dumbest things I have ever read hear. McCain will just be Bush II, only possibly even worse. He never met a war he doesn't like, he doesn't give a fig for freedom at all (read Will Wilkinson & Matt Welch on this), he pushes idiotic things like McCain-Feingold that are utter failures and then never admits his crusade to save politics from cynicism (as if that were a good thing!) blew up in his face. And in case you didn't know, Bush was just as favorable towards immigration as McCain was and border policies aren't what "alienate" hispanics from the Republicans since they care more about the bread and butter issues that make minorities in general go for Democrats.

  • ||

    "If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, the result will pit the two most widely admired political figures of their generations against each other in a presidential race."

    This is satire, right?

  • ||

    Do I smell the stench of political pragmatism seeping from the pages of Reason?

  • ||

    President Bush has widespread support among conservatives, but liberals hate him with a purple passion. In regard to his domestic policies this is paradoxical. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" is often hard to distinguish from liberalism. He has pumped up the economy with deficit spending, he has poured billions of new funds into government schools, and he backed off from supporting an end to racial preferences in the UMich case. He has approval ratings in the eighties in sub-Saharan Africa, due to the massive funding he has provided to fight AIDS in those countries.

    It's true that he proposed to sub-contract some government welfare service to churches. That hardly makes him the theocrat that some of the above commentators claim that he is. In fact the federal government has long contracted out some welfare services to the Catholic Church. Bush merely proposed to loosen the rules a bit. In any case not much came of that.

    That Jonathan Rauch, who is a really smart guy, can claim that Bush is "far right" is a tribute to the predominance of style over substance in American politics. Bush's religious beliefs and that fact that despite his patrician background he is Southern "good ol' boy" in his speech and tastes put him beyond the pale so far as liberal and even "centrist" intellectuals are concerned. It is the "culture war" at it most shallow. If you read the New Yorker and credit the vapid liberalism in its pages you are a civilized and intelligent person. If you believe in hard work, individual responsibility, family, and love this country then you are an ignorant yokel and most likely racist to boot.

    What about Bush's foreign policy? Bush believes that Islamofascism must be met with force. It should be clear that Bin Laden and the rest can no more be appeased than could the Nazis and the Communists. Are Roosevelt and Churchill to be reproached for their defense of western civilization against Nazism? Does Ronald Reagan's restoration of freedom of thought on half the Third Planet mean nothing?

    As for the war in Iraq, yes, there were mistake made at the beginning and for far too long after the beginning, just as there were in the Civil War and World War II and every other war. But in the last year amazing things have happened. The Sunni tribes have switched sides and now make war on their former Al Qaeda allies. Al Qaeda is running out of recruits and is reduced to seeking them among mentally disabled children.

    We are not fighting in Iraq because Bush is "right-wing". As I have demonstrated, he isn't. We are fighting in Iraq because Bush really does believe that America is the last best hope of mankind, and that its survival is worth fighting for.

  • Ian||

    asking for service to get money is worse then giving it away. Because it sets a president, the government can bribe people to do things for it, demeaning, subservient things! Once the government starts doing this, all they have to do is increase taxes and services and they can tell us to do anything to get those services. This would probably happen if we ever get public health care, and has already happened to the states, if states dont keep the drinking age at 18 they lose federal highway funds, which come from the states! I understand that you're against federal aid, and it seems reasonable that if there is aid people should at least do something for it, but its counter productive because it is the first step on the road to slavery. I'm scaring my self, i never realized how fucked we'll be if Obama gets elected, not that I'd vote for McCain

  • Ian||

    And i highly doubt that Bulbie's post is satirical. But it could be McCain! He does raise some good points Roosevelt and Churchill did defeat fascism. But the stuff on Iraq is lunacy

  • ||

    Thanks for the chuckle this morning. What a pile of manure. I'ms so proud. This year I get to choose between a Nationalist and a Socialist. Doesn't that wanna make you vote?

  • ||

    I think McCain wants to bomb Serbia now.

  • ||

    Ian, the decision to invade Iraq may have been a wrong one, but it wasn't lunacy. Saddam Hussein continually violated the terms of the cease-fire of 1991. During the nineties there were 16 Security Council resolutions passed against Iraq. So even Saddam's French and Russian friends thought he was out of line.

    Congress authorized the use of force against Iraq. Apart from the far left there was little domestic opposition to the invasion. Around fifty counties sent troops to support the American effort. Among them were Denmark, Holland, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Japan. Were the leaders of those countries lunatics? You may disagree with their decision but it is hardly an example of lunacy.

    When stabilizing Iraq proved more difficult than expected the mainstream media, always eager for a chance to stick it to the Republicans, spread the story that "Bush lied us into war". In Europe the left had a field day. For the European left anti-Americanism is the equivalent of a religion (after all, the US represents "globalism" and "savage capitalism"). Fear of their growing and increasingly aggressive Muslim minorities also played a role in undermining the European countries' support for the American effort in Iraq.

    Pat Buchanan has the right line for those who believe that going into Iraq was a mistake. OK, it was a mistake, but to leave prematurely would result in a humanitarian catastrophe and a strategic defeat for the US in its struggle against Islamist extremism. Al Qaeda, an organization that has suffered major setbacks in its ability to operate in most places, would be revived, and having defeated the infidel, would attract large numbers of new recruits.

    Please try to see the big picture. Bumper sticker slogans about how stupid Bush is are a poor substitute for reasoned analysis of the available options for defending this country and the civilization of which it is a part.

  • Mitch||

    This kind of crap should NOT be accepted by Reason. Even if there's some decent information buried in this article, it's scary that Reason will publish it because some people reading this are probably dumb enough to believe it and somehow think that McCain is going to turn our country around and bring us in the right direction.

    You're free to believe in McCain's BS if you want, but I'll get the last laugh when he gets in office and acts as another puppet for the republican party. He'll be better than Bush by a little bit, but that kind of goes without saying.

  • ||

    In some respects Obama may be a better choice than McCain,in regards to Libertarian sensibilities. I actually would pay higher taxes to stop the provision of some of these "services" that I am already overcharged for at gunpoint (War on Terror, War on Drugs, Wiretapping, etc...)and Obama is probably the most likely candidate to alleviate these atrocities. It's not a total not a total loss if Obama would beat Mr. Hundred Years, the guy who turned his back rather than answer a question about medical marijuana.I'll write in Ron Paul unless it's really close, then I might vote for the Democrat nominee as payback for Ron Paul's shabby treatment. Really. Fuck those assholes.

  • ||

    gao xia en,

    Let me get this straight. You would prefer that the leftmost member of the Senate, a black nationalist socialist, be elected as president in preference r to John McCain, a man who is opposed to agricultural subsidies and all other form of pork, including ethanol, who in the middle of his campaign has declared himself a Free Trader, who has generally favored lower taxes (yeah, yeah, there are a couple of votes his critics on the right can cite, but the man is a fiscal conservative, no doubt about it). He is pro-life, but to his credit he does not advocate a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion. On top of that John McCain is a war hero who is deeply committed to the defense of this country in particular and civilization in general from Islamist extremism. By contrast Ron Paul blames the terrorist attacks on this country and its citizens over the last thirty years on the US. I don't know whether that view of Mr. Paul's stems from ignorance or lack of patriotism, or some combination of the two, but in any case it deserves the contempt of all freedom loving Americans.

    The American Conservative Union rates John McCain 82. What is Barack Obama's rating? 5? 0? Barack Obama gives every indication that if elected he will be lackey of the greedy public employee unions, including the Neanderthal teachers' unions, as The Economist has aptly called them.

    I agree that the War on Drugs is futile and counterproductive. What I don't agree with is your implication that foreign terrorist suspects should have all the rights of American citizens. That is a legal and moral absurdity. Under the rules in place until recently many attacks have been thwarted. If the Democratic leadership in Congress get its way we not be so lucky in the future.

  • ||

    Okay. Maybe I was getting carried away. I'll write in Ron Paul. I'm a registered Libertarian. But Obama shows signs of social libertarianism that may benefit the country in some way. And I think he'll beat McCain.

  • ||

    Actually I don't agree with Ron Paul on abortion or immigration. But the terrorists I fear most carry badges. The Land of the Free has more people incarcerated than any other country on Earth either per capita or raw number. We're witnessing a merger of the Military/Industrial Complex and the Prison/Industrial complex that will trample what's left of Liberty. Government is it's own biggest special interest group. I guess I should just face reality. The situation is hopeless.

  • economist||

    Bulbie,
    I agree with you on Obama, disagree with you on Ron Paul.

  • ||

    In response to the comment by gao xia I looked up Ron Paul's positions on abortion and immigration. They sound pretty good to me - conservative but not extreme. I don't like Ron Paul's views on defense, but I'm glad he's there. He is refreshingly different from most politicians.

  • ||

    gao xia en,
    Ya it does seem to be near hopeless to me as well. Can't you see that Reason employees these people(Rauch, Young, "ignition lock" Chapman) for a reason? It is a common technique of the intelligence agencies to either gain control of or have agents within the movements purporting to want political change. It is the job of these people to help pacify/neutralize those who really want change. There are clearly those at Reason who do have real libertarian ideas and agendas, but some of the agents are hear to quash any revolution of the sort that would seek to reduce government expenditures towards the military-industrial complex....on the left you see the same thing as the fine folks at the National council of Churches seek to take pacifists and have them push for more foreign military itnerventions abroad to stop dozens of genocides and higher taxes for the "millenium goals"...the RNC and DNC are both pro-big government as should be obvious...Fox News takes those who hate taxes and transforms them into supporters of trillion dollar war budgets. Reason has to have a Radko around to give them some anti-establishment credibility, but in the end they will help try and convert libertarian people and dollars over to the republican pro-drug war..pro-war, pro tax, pro draft party. This realization is growing...that is our hope...people who understand these machinations are making money and accumulating wealth and power, for we are not as easily fooled as the average american.

    Smearing is the last refuge of those who cannot neutralize revolutionary ideas...if someone or some group is getting too big they must be smeared as racist/kooky/non-serious or conspiracy theorist.

  • ||

    The two parties are moving to the middle, what a surprise. Now we can all feel good as one or the other wins the presidency and continues the relentless pursuit of expansive, coercive government and an overseas empire we can't sustain.

    Democrat or Republican? Take your pick-it doesn't matter.

    I can already hear America singing Kumbaya as a newly bi-partisan congress increases an already absurd deficit and prints money to deliver the undeliverable; free health care to a bankrupt nation.

    We'll use our worthless dollars, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, history books and any other documents we're no longer using to build the campfire.

    Grab a hot dog, it may be your last.

  • Nike Dunk Low||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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