Hate the Spending, Love the Spenders


Time to check in on the implosion of John McCain's presidential bid. He's explaining to CBN why he dissed a Club for Growth event:

Ronald Reagan taught me the 11th Commandment, and that is you don't speak ill of other Republicans.

That's right—you engage in "straight talk" about other Republicans. A crucial difference!

The reason we don't have a majority in the Senate today was the attacks the Club for Growth made on Lincoln Chafee, the senator from Rhode Island, a liberal Republican senator who would have voted for Mitch McConnell to be majority leader of the Senate.

A week or so ago, McCain had an entirely different explanation for the loss of the Senate.

I think the Republican Party lost because of our failure to control spending and earmarking, which then led to corruption, which then led to members of Congress going to jail.

If that's true, might Chafee have lost support because of his big-spending tendencies—the ones Club for Growth-backed challenger Steve Laffey was challenging? Or might Sen. Conrad Burns, the Montanan who spent the 2006 campaign bragging about his pork-wrangling skills, be a better target for McCain? This "straight talk" thing, it confuses me.

They have continuously attacked Republicans who they don't agree with. I believe in a big tent party. I believe there's room for someone from Rhode Island who may not agree with everything I agree with, but I still want them in the Republican party.

This is bunk; no politician believes this. McCain's goal, if he's honest, would be to produce a large Republican majority that agrees with him. If he doesn't care if apostates on spending and taxes (and from his perspective, war) hold swing votes in the GOP, he must not care very much about spending and taxes.

That's not the case with the Club for Growth. So I'm not sure what the Club for Growth and I have really in common.

Well, McCain claims to have learned from Ronald Reagan. Reagan challenged an incumbent president, Gerald Ford, because he wanted to pivot the direction of the party (and the country) in what he thought was the right direction. The Club for Growth wants to do the same thing. So, yeah, I don't know what the Club and McCain have in common.

That said, this is an interview with CBN. McCain's probably just telling the evangelical audience "I don't hate you guys anymore, my ire is directed elsewhere." Clever.

I profiled the Club late last year.