Tuesday, February 5, 2008

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And in the end, I voted for....

John McCain.

I was tempted to vote for Romney -- not because I'm really a fan of Mitt, but because I wanted to se Romney push McCain on economic issues. I've never bought the supposition that candidates who lock up the nomination early are better placed for a general election victory. Competition is what brings out the mettle in a politician.

McCain has certainly been tested, and he deserves some credit for sticking to his positions even when they cost him the frontrunner status. I liked a lot of his Foreign Affairs essay, and I really like his take on executive power.

Still, like Ross Douthat, I can't shake the impression that McCain has reclaimed that status more by default, luck, and the utter incompetence of the rest of the GOP field.

Think about this. Giuliani self-destructed. Romney's pandering was about as subtle as a 15-year old boy would be in a room with the Pussycat Dolls. Paul's a bigot -- or quite friendly with bigots, I'm not sure which. Tancredo and Hunter were non-entities. Only Huckabee has improved his standing from the campaign he's run, but that's not saying much.

It would be good to see Romney, as the last man standing, push McCain to be a better candidate. In the end, when faced with his name on the ballot, I couldn't seriously pull the trigger on someone who appears to hold no core values whatsoever.

posted by Dan on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM


Why no love for Keyes. . . .

posted by: J on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

The problems I have with McCain..

The McCain of 2000 was willing to stand up, but we witnessed 8 years of him mostly being silent witness to the many excesses of this administration.

McCain of 2008 is willing to keep repeating the big lie that Iraq was about Al Quaeda (it is NOW, but it wasn't when we started). Again, and again, and again.

McCain is simply too old. He could easily beat William Henry Harrison's record.

Inspite of this, I'd rather have him as president then Romney or Huckabee.

posted by: Nicholas Weaver on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

Wow, I'm shocked to discover that NO candidate is absolutely perfect! Who would have thought?

posted by: Useless Sam Grant on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

I am constantly amazed that no one ever mentions that McCain was one of the "Keating 5". That was no small issue. McCain was officially bought out by one of the most destructive financial criminals of the century, but no commentator seems to care. Further, he simply blows off the accusation by saying he was cleared by the ethics committee, but this is not enough. At the very very least, it shows his extremely poor judgment, if not outright corruption. Maybe that is why he has been more serious about issues like earmarks, but I would like him to admit it. John Edwards would admit the crime of his voting for the war, and repent. McCain does not repent for being paid off by the man most responsible for the S&L crisis.

posted by: Joe M. on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

"In the end, when faced with his name on the ballot, I couldn't seriously pull the trigger on someone who appears to hold no core values whatsoever."

I would have no trouble pulling the trigger on someone who held no core values (assuming it was otherwise justified); it's voting for that person that would cause me problems.

posted by: nwlke on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

They wouldn't let you vote for a Democrat, huh? Poor guy.

posted by: David in NY on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

If you need help pulling the trigger, McCain is clearly your candidate. That's basically his only trick.

posted by: Kieran on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

Just close your eyes and repeat: the surge is working, the surge is working

posted by: chris canell on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

"In the end, when faced with his name on the ballot, I couldn't seriously pull the trigger on someone who appears to hold no core values whatsoever"

And thus if we have yet another value-less presidential election (Clinton vs. McCain) it will be awfully hard to vote. If McCain runs against Obama, McCain will have to 'fess up to *some* values, or die.

posted by: Joanne on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

I was going to post the following at The Volokh Conspiracy at but bizarrely enough my IP address has been banned from posting there:

As a libertarian Republican, this almost makes me willing to vote for McCain in the general election rather than for the LP candidate. Because of his opposition to Junior Bush's increases in domestic spending, McCain was my first choice among GOP candidates before Ron Paul got into the race.

Another plus is that McCain is not in favor of tax cuts; and the evidence now shows that "Starve the Beast" does not work, while raising taxes may actually lead to cuts in spending!

One of my main concerns is McCain's populism; he's all about helping the little guy and sticking it to The Man. It will help if someone can show him how the vast majority of government regulations and subsidies actually benefit the politically powerful at the expense of the poor and the hard-working Little Guys.

posted by: VentrueCapital on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

So, the Republican candidate who is most likely to ensure we'll have troops in Iraq 4 years from now is your choice. And if Paul's 20-year rumored (New Republic hardly has a rep for accuracy) association with bigots was enough to earn him your ire, how did McCain's use of the term "gook" earn him a pass?

And when did crashing 5 planes count as valuable military experience? If I crashed 5 cars, I wouldn't be able to call that valuable roadside experience.

posted by: KXB on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

No mention at all of Fred Thompson? Is he even less than a "non-entity"? I share your resigned acceptance of McCain as the "best" of a weak field, but as one commenter noted, we need to remember his part in the Keating scandal when considering his boasting of "straight talk" and reform. I am also very worried that he would totally punt on the immigration mess rather than upset any media elites.

posted by: Andrew Clem on 02.05.08 at 08:43 AM [permalink]

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