Barry Goldwater

Barry Who?

|

On Monday, Michael Moynihan blogged about an interview with John McCain that the New York Times published over the weekend. I thought there were a couple of exchanges* worth further note in these worrying times of Freddie/Fannie bailouts, loose talk about re-regulation, seemingly limitless imperial responsibilities, and libertarians tiring of being kicked to the curb by the Republican Party:

Q: How do you think of yourself as a conservative? Do you think of yourself more as a Goldwater conservative or Reagan conservative or George W. Bush conservative?

Senator John McCain: A Teddy Roosevelt conservative, I think. He's probably my major role model; we could go back to Lincoln, of course. In the 20th century Teddy Roosevelt. I think Teddy Roosevelt, he had a great vision of America's role in the 20th Century. He was a great environmentalist. He loved the country. He is the person who brought the government into a more modern ? into the 20th century as well. He was probably engaged more in national security slash international affairs that any president ever been. […]

Q: Roosevelt wasn't really a small government person. He saw an active role for government. What thing in your record would you say are in a similar vein of using government to do things that….

Mr. McCain: Campaign Finance reform ? obviously he was a great reformer ? is one of them. Climate change is another. He was a great environmentalist […]

Q: Was it a good idea for the federal government to intervene in Bear Stearns?

Mr. McCain: I think we had to. American is in extremely difficult economic times. I agree with literally every expert on the economy: If Bear Stearns had collapsed it would have had a ripple effect in the market. And that's why this latest mortgage crisis with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, are ? excuse me, with the home loan mortgage people ? is that we worry of the ripple effect of their collapse. […]

Q: Do you think the government is ultimately on the hook for Fannie and Freddie, if the worst-case scenario materializes?

Mr. McCain: I don't think the question is so much, is it on the hook, as much as it is, could we afford to have a collapse? And I keep being asked about a quote, government bailout. I don't know if a government, quote, bailout is necessary now. Because there are other courses of action that are being explored in order to ensure their survival. But I don't believe we can afford to have them fail ? because of their impact on the overall economy, and the housing situation which we already know is in dire straits ? and I've head that there is various options. I also note with sorrow that their stock continues to go down, and the situation becomes more and more severe.

People often ask me what kind of president I think McCain would make; what would be surprising, etc. With the important caveat that I don't really know, I think many would be startled by just how far (back) to the interventionist economic left McCain would be willing and eager to traverse with an emboldened Democratic majority attempting to "fix" a worsening economy. Yes, he would veto the crap out of some spending bills larded with earmarks; and yes, for my money he has a much more favorable posture toward both entitlement reform and international trade (at least, with those few countries he doesn't want to slap punitive economic sanctions on).

But on Democrat-friendly stuff like government bailouts, global warming legislation, and atrocious nanny-boo proposals to keep "predators" off that Internet thingie he's heard so much about, McCain's foundational and occasionally creepy T.R. crush would mean considerably more than just sticking the Great White Fleet 2.0 under the tent of every tinpot dictator able to photoshop missile-launch pictures. When even Barry Goldwater's own replacement turns down a softball opportunity to give cheap props to a guy so far removed from modern-day politics that the Democratic Party is happy to fertilize his grave with empty praise, it might just indicate something.  

* I actually cleaned up some of the punctuation in the NYT transcript; stuff on the level of adding question marks and changing commas into semi-colons.

NEXT: Beyond Chandra Levy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Be Afraid of a President McCain. Sounds like a good title for a magazine article.

  2. Jesus fuck we’re boned.

  3. I’ll FUCK YOU UP, Welch.

  4. I will NOT vote for John McCain for POTUS. The only reason I read this stuff is to repeatedly validate that he is unsuitable.

    I haven’t ruled out Obama. Yet.

  5. My car proudly displays a “We’re Screwed ’08” sticker. If I’m going to get fucked up the poop chute no matter what happens in November, I may as well have some fun with it, and quite possibly get a jump start on the “I told you so”s.

  6. And I keep being asked about a quote, government bailout. I don’t know if a government, quote, bailout is necessary now.

    Why do they all say quote, government bailout? The quote, taxpayers will be the ones doing all the quote, bailing!

    And every time McCain says “quote,” I feel like Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams when she said, quote, I can’t stand it. Makes me want to scream and claw my face, unquote!

  7. Q: Do you think the government is ultimately on the hook for Fannie and Freddie, if the worst-case scenario materializes?

    Mr. McCain: I don’t think the question is so much, is it on the hook, as much as it is, could we afford to have a collapse?

    No dick, the question really was if the fed gov’t is on the hook.

    And GG – I was going to comment about the same shit.

  8. He is the person who brought the government into a more modern ? into the 20th century as well.

    John McCain: building a bridge to the 20th Century.

    I trust John McCain when he says he, too, will bring us into as he calls it, “my century, the 20th century.”

    Also, what’s up with the talking point item “Don’t call them Freddie Mac and Fannie May, call them ‘the home mortgage people?'” Those are their names. I know the GOPers love this stuff – “tax relief,” “death tax,” “Democrat Party,” but what is supposed to be accomplished by saying “the home mortgage people” instead of “Freddie Mac and Fannie May?”

  9. It’s no surprise that McCain looks up to TR, since TR was profoundly psychologically disturbed.

    I can’t think of any other President who brought more raw adolescent neurosis and masturbational fantasy to the office than TR.

    TR was like Kipling, but without the occasional self-deprecating awareness or irony.

    Having TR be President was like having a 12 year old version of me emerge from the basement with an armful of Avalon Hill games, and fate pushing that version of me into the White House for a “Fantasy Government Role Playing Experience”.

    I hate McCain so much I can barely express myself.

  10. I hate McCain so much I can barely express myself.

    You do a pretty good job, actually….

  11. If it had not been for TR’s reputation for being brave, maybe foolhardy, in battle, McCain might have answered that he’s a Rockefeller Republican. He has access to the lifestyle of the very wealthy as did Rockefeller. Plus nothing could have been closer to the “Straight Talk Express” than when Rockefeller flipped the bird on national TV at the Republican convention. That was in 1964?

  12. Teddy Roosevelt SHOT LIONS DEAD. A lot of them. I bet McCain hasn’t even shot one lion. Advantage: Roosevelt

    By the way, why no thread so far on the dueling Obama and McCain insult cartoons?

  13. If it had not been for TR’s reputation for being brave, maybe foolhardy, in battle”

    I heard that Teddy sent the black troops up the hill before he & the white soldiers did. Don’t know if that’s true. But considering how imperialistic he was I would be surprised if he wasn’t racist in addition to be a warmonger.

  14. “By the way, why no thread so far on the dueling Obama and McCain insult cartoons?”

    I second the motion.

    Here’s my take: The New Yorker tells us what’s funny. Not the other way ’round.

  15. So Fluffy, you played Squad Leader as well?

  16. I haven’t ruled out Obama. Yet.

    Check out the policy positions on his campaign website and see how long you last.

    As far as McCain, I’m not sure how I feel about printing every backtrack and phrase check in his responses.

    On the one hand, it’s a transparent ploy by the NYT to make him sound like a doddering Civil War general losing control of his faculties; not to mention making the whole thing harder to read.

    On the other, it is nice to see what a self-conscious moral coward McCain is in conversation.

  17. On the other hand, Obama is just a disaster of a somewhat different flavor.

    I’m not sure how anyone could vote for either of them. I’m on strike this time around.

  18. Yes, when I was a lad I would play Squad Leader, and Battle of the Bulge, and Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, and about a million SPI games that came out of the old Strategy and Tactics magazine.

    And that group of twelve year old kids hunched over cardboard counters and paper maps would engage in juvenile conversation that I imagine sounded a lot like the foreign policy meetings of the McCain campaign.

  19. You do a pretty good job, actually….

    Wow – praise from Caesar…

    …so to speak.

  20. I actually cleaned up some of the punctuation in the NYT transcript; stuff on the level of adding question marks and changing commas into semi-colons.

    Clearly, you don’t know the first thing about the proper use of a semi-colon. I’d advise against ammending someone else’s work with one. In fact, no one should use a semi-colon. Ever. That hideous hermaphrodite should be banished from the language.

    Thanks.

  21. Personally I think that McCain has a scary amount in common with Nixon. Personality-wise, economic/regulation-wise, etc etc. I bet he says the most colorful things when he thinks he’s not being taped….

  22. We used to play Avalon Hill games in junior high too. I like Diplomacy and Kingmaker the best, although we also played Tactics 2, Third Reich and 1776. I don’t think that the youth of today have the patience for those games.

  23. We used to play Avalon Hill games in junior high too. I like Diplomacy and Kingmaker the best, although we also played Tactics 2, Third Reich and 1776. I don’t think that the youth of today have the patience for those games.

    I can say from personal experience at least that Diplomacy is as alive and well as it always has been, stodgy old people’s notions of youth attention spans notwithstanding. Don’t know about the others.

  24. How’s that for a bumper sticker —
    John McCain – Roosevelt/Nixon ’08

  25. @squarooticus, 6:04 — this is 10 inches wide @ 600dpi. I wasn’t quite sure about the font weight; but with bold, I’d have had to reduce the font size.

  26. “If Bear Stearns had collapsed it would have had a ripple effect…”

    Yeah, of Ron Paul supporters like me loudly-saying “I told you so” to statists like McSame & the rest. We can’t have annoying libertarians being proven 100% right before an important election like this!! (And besides, things like that Ron Paul copper Liberty dollar are the problem with America, not massive taxpayer bailouts of our financial contributors!!)
    JMR

  27. My friends, I’m taking the terrorists down to Guantanamo to waterboard them!

  28. “And that group of twelve year old kids hunched over cardboard counters and paper maps would engage in juvenile conversation that I imagine sounded a lot like the foreign policy meetings of the McCain campaign.”

    I don’t know about you guys, but I think this line is full of win.

  29. A Teddy Roosevelt conservative, I think.

    Holy Crap, Is McCain so fucking clueless that he thinks of TR as a conservative? Well, I guess if George Woodrow Willson (that’s what the “W” is for?) Bush is one TR is too.

    I can’t think of any other President who brought more raw adolescent neurosis and masturbational fantasy to the office than TR.

    Well said. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it summed up so well.

    If it had not been for TR’s reputation for being brave, maybe foolhardy, in battle…

    In one of John Dos Passos’ books he writes something to the affect that as the Rough Riders raced up the hill they passed the regulars who had already taken the hill coming back down.

    I will give TR credit for one thing. He continued the Republican practice of maintaining a widespread network of patronage that filled federal government positions (some even quite high level) with blacks. Under the Republicans the Army also had blacks in combat units, although segregated and the Navy allowed blacks to take on trades beyond the galley and the messroom.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.