You, Sir, Ain't No Barry Goldwater


Over the weekend the Denver Post published an interview with me, conducted by occasional reason contributor David Harsanyi, on the topic of John McCain. Here's an excerpt:

DP: McCain followed Barry Goldwater in Senate, yet his voting record reveals little Western-style libertarianism. What is McCain's guiding political philosophy or ideology? Does he have one?

Welch: Actually, Goldwater was never really warm toward his replacement, which is something McCain, to this day in my judgment, has never properly understood. McCain's guiding philosophy is National Greatness Conservatism - he wants to restore your faith, and my faith, in America as the singularly blessed shining city on the hill, a confident and self-aware superpower whose destiny is to keep the world safe for democracy. Anything that jeopardizes that faith, or otherwise sows public cynicism, is a legitimate target of McCain's - and the federal government's - considerable wrath.

I'm also quoted at length on same by this weekend's Scotsman; and this Washington Post/Slate roundup of McCain-related books says that mine is "a meticulous upending of the candidate's public identity."

One book that Post/Slate left out, and which I found helpful particular in its knowledge and reflection on various military traditions and subcultures, is John Karaagac's hard-to-find 2000 volume John McCain: An Essay in Military and Political History.