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Compare And Contrast

John McCain is no Ronald Reagan.

Someone once said that there are two political parties--the Evil Party (Dems), and the Stupid Party (GOP). Occasionally they will band together and do something both evil and stupid. This is called bi-partisanship.

And in many such instances, it goes by the name of "McCain-SomeDemocrat." As Levin notes, there would have been no "Reagan-Feingold," or "Reagan-Kennedy" bills on restricting free speech or abandoning the borders. And that is why, for many Republicans (or at least for many conservatives), they will need extra strength nose plugs to pull the lever for him this fall, if they can muster the will to do it at all.

[Update on Sunday night, during half time]

Bill Quick lays out the bill of particulars against John McCain.


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» Pull the lever anyway... from Random Jottings

Rand expresses it so well... Someone once said that there are two political parties--the Evil Party (Dems), and the Stupid Party (GOP). Occasionally they will band together and do something both evil and stupid. This is called bi-partisanship. And in... Read More


K wrote:

Politics in this country are at their most rancorous in years. The gulf between left and right are huge. Yet, the political choices are virtually non existant. McCain? Obama? Hillary? What's the difference?

There's something we need even more than health care, or anti-Islamo-terrorism or AGW fixes. We need a healthy republic and the election choices this year indicate that the republic is sick. The ship of state is moving in counterclockwise circles and the only choices are how tight do you want to go?

I submit that it would be better for those on the right to vote for a Democrat than for a RINO. The short term effects may be onerous, but it would make for a much healthier government in the long term. Jimmy Carter => Ronald Reagan.

McGehee ? wrote:

I still hope Super Tuesday voters will make it unnecessary, but I'm prepared to go looking for a minor-party ticket that approximates what I hoped the GOP ticket would look like, and that ticket will get my vote.

When you always play by the house's rules, the house ultimately wins. And this year the house's rules are offering only one thing to recommend its bill of fare: that it isn't Hillary Clinton.

They have vastly overestimated the power of HDS.

Steve wrote:

The problem is that in November the choice will be voting for a RINO we hope won't screw us, and in voting for Democrats that are on record saying repeatedly, and at varying levels, that they will.

The only difference in the two groups is just how screwed we'll get.

Steve wrote:

The problem is that in November the choice will be to vote for a RINO we hope won't screw us, and in voting for Democrats who are on record saying repeatedly, and at varying levels of how deep and long. Face it, we will indeed be grasping our collective ankles.

Steve wrote:

The problem is that in November the choice will be to vote for a RINO we hope won't screw us, and in voting for Democrats who are on record saying repeatedly, and at varying levels of how deep and long. Face it, we will indeed be grasping our collective ankles.

Steve wrote:

sorry about the repeats I got errors, checked to see if the comments went, restarted then suddenly all three showed up


Scott wrote:

Anyone who cannot see a difference between McCain (who I despise), and Clinton/Obama is either being willfully blind or simply not looking. There is much to complain about with McCain (immigration, first ammendment, AGW silliness, etc.), but he is solid on the threat of Islamicism, and (reasonably) trustworthy on judges. Given the fact that we are condemned to a Democratic House and Senate for the foreseeable future, the potential for damage under a Clinton or Obama administration far, far, far exceeds anything that McCain might do.

Note I am NOT saying that McCain is a good choice, or even a choice that anyone should feel good about, but there is a clear difference between him and the alternatives. For those who feel he is too far to the left, if you think sitting this one out and hence giving tacit support to the Donks makes any sense at all, you are simply engaging int he politics of the tantrum.... Lets leave that to the left and work to improve the choices the next time around.

JD wrote:

Since I consider both Clinton and McCain to be weasels (can't call non-Caucasians names or you'll be accused of "racism" so I guess Obama gets a pass) I hereby present the new Republican Party campaign slogan.

"Vote for the lesser of two Weasels!!!"

Something I learned in my years helping the LP was that one of the problems with voting is there is no structured way to "qualify" your vote. When a candidate wins they tend to think that everyone voted for them even if intellectually they know that's not the case. There isn't any clear evidence to smack them upside the head with.

So I wonder if there is a way to create a specific and measurable way of creating consequences for McCain if he gets the nomination? A class action lawsuit against the Republican Party by its members for breach of contract? Something that will tell McCain that even if he does win the Presidency there is no reason why he can't be un-nominated in 2012.

BTW, I'm torn: do I write in Fred Thompson or do I vote for Romney?

Raoul Ortega wrote:

A class action lawsuit against the Republican Party by its members for breach of contract?

This is the sort of leftwing-lite thinking that caused me to get away from the Libertarian Party. That a libertarian would consider using the courts as a way to get what they couldn't get democratically shows how low things have gotten.

Anyone who cannot see a difference between McCain (who I despise), and Clinton/Obama is either being willfully blind or simply not looking.

Okay, how about you actually enumerating those differences, instead of implying that our dislike for a man who as repeatedly shown his contempt for his Party and what a large segment of it believe in deserves more than 36% of its vote.

You cite two reasons, one which applies to any candidate who gets elected, the other (judges) is not supported by his behavior as a Senator. C'mon, if the guy is so great, then give us a real list instead of just calling us stupid. Leave that sort of mean pettiness to your candidate.

We are about to be given a choice between Hillary Carter, Barry Carter and John McNixon. The only time the Dems have been stopped has been when they had to take responsibility for running the whole gov't, and not had a GOP president (or congress) running cover for them, if not doing their dirty work for them. If a Dem controlled congress is inevitable, then why do we want provide cover for them in the person of Mr. Reach-Across-The_Aisle?

Jonathan wrote:

You cite two reasons, one which applies to any candidate who gets elected, the other (judges) is not supported by his behavior as a Senator. C'mon, if the guy is so great, then give us a real list instead of just calling us stupid. Leave that sort of mean pettiness to your candidate.

You are mischaracterizing the argument for McCain. I don't think any of us thinks he is a good presidential choice. But he is the lesser of evils. McCain has been a principled and unwavering supporter of the war against Islamic fascism. Hillary, depending on the time and audience, is either for immediate withdrawal or mildly supportive of a pro-war consensus that was shaped by McCain, among others. Obama, depending on the day, is either incoherent (we should consider invading Pakistan) or a pacifist fool (he wants a Muslim leaders' summit to which the USA can apologize). McCain has a mixed history on judicial appointments, but Hillary and Obama could be depended on to nominate left-wing-activist judges, who would be confirmed given that Congress will remain Democratic.

I wish McCain weren't going to be the Republican nominee, but it seems likely that he will be even if I "support" Romney (I already voted, for Giuliani). Go ahead and vote for your preference in the primary, but the next question, barring the improbable, is whether to vote for McCain or Hillary/Obama. Given that I'm not a socialist or pacifist I don't see any alternative to voting for McCain.

John Weidner wrote:

We should keep in mind that the election of a president means thousands of appointees, and they may have, in aggregate, as much effect on government as the president.

McCain will, I assume (cross my fingers, say a few Hail Marys) be filling these many offices with Republicans. That's a very big deal.

You are not just voting for John or Hillary, you are voting on who will fill "civil rights" commissions, or labor commissions, or be US attoneys, or Solicitor General.

Jardinero1 ? wrote:

Just because certain pundits have crowned McCain the presumptive front runner doesn't make it so. As far as total votes won - not first, delegates earned - not first, money raised - next to last, cash on hand - next to last, ability to draw ire - number one. How's he the front runner?

I don't believe he will be the nominee. After Super Tuesday, McCain will be in a dead heat with Romney for delegates with Paul and Huckabee fighting for third and fourth. Then it's a war of attrition through the other 51 percent of the delegates in the other states with no one getting a majority and a brokered convention.

In a brokered convention all bets are off and anyone can become the nominee. Fred Thompson even has a chance if he can manage to drag his lazy ass to Minneapolis.

Scott wrote:

First to respond to Raoul, I believe that Jonathan says it quite well. McCain is clearly a strong supporter of the struggle against Islamicism, and isn't afraid to treat it as more than simply a question of law enforcement. I don't share his views on Guantonamo, but at least this is an area where reasonable people might differ. The alternative is Hillary or Obama, who differ primarily in terms of how fast they will surrender. If you cannot see that difference (on what is to me THE key issue of our time), you simply aren't looking.

On the question of judges (and other appointments), once again Jonathan has it nailed. I don't doubt that many of McCain's choices won't be to my liking, and some of them will simply be awful. That said, his choices are likely to be much, much closer to anything I (or anyone else with even mildly libertarian leanings) could accept than would be the case with either Hillary or Obama, both of who are quite far to the left on most domestic social and economic issues. All you need to do is take a look at Bill Clinton's appointments (we do have an eight year history there), and keep in mind that Hillary and Obama are both openly to the left of him. Once again, if you don't see the difference, you simply aren't looking.

Perhaps we could all enjoy a few moments of (quite frankly childish) pleasure by staying home or voting for some third-party protest candidate (the effect of the latter being the same as the former), but the next morning that cheap thrill would have disappated, and we would be left with the 4 to 8 year hangover of a hard-left Democratic administration. Lets also remember that a Democratic victory in November would also be married to a Democratic House and Democratic Senate (particularly if the same standards of ideological purity were applied to the GOP House and Senate candidates), so few if any effective checks on the worst excesses of such an administration would be present.

As to the comment by Jardinero1, I must disagree in toto. McCain is NOT who I want to see, but only by ignoring every scrap of polling and demographic data can one believe that this campaign (on the GOP side at least) is all but over. I would strongly prefer Fred Thompson or Rudy Guliani myself (and could tolerate Romney if I had to), but we are most likely stuck with McCain and had best learn to make the best of it. I hope that I am wrong, but realistically doubt that I am.

If, however, you would care to place a wager, please contact my via email. I will be happy to discuss terms if the amount is sufficiently high.

Offside wrote:

I love it. A choice between two Democrats. McCain wins, mad-radio loses. Ann Coulter campaigns for Hillary. How much better can it get?

Scott wrote:

Enjoy your gloating now (in fairness, you have more than sufficient reason to), but remember that either way the Dems go down in flames this November. I for one will take some solace in that...

Anonymous wrote:

Scott, What flames? If Obama is the nominee, you will have a roaring fire that isn't going down. Now maybe Hillary will win the nomination, and then McCain wins. Fine by me. Who do you think is going down other than mad-radio?

Bill Maron wrote:

I thought mad radio already lost. Isn't Air America in chapter 11?

Mike Puckett wrote:

Yep, if Obama wins the nomination, there will be a roaring fire alright. It will be Hillary scorching the democratic party from pure spite.

Hillary and Obama are in a knife fight and nobody wins a knife fight, one only loses it less. The only way to win a knife fight is to not get in one. McCain seems to not be in one.

Robert wrote:

Yay!! It's a choice between Douche and Turd again!!

Scott wrote:

Obama is even less likely than Hillary to win in a general election. I will certainly concede that Hillary does a better job of trashing THE REST of the Dem ticket (House/Senate/State races, since the GOP voters who will come out to vote against her are likely to stay and vote a straight ticket, helping down-ticket races), but in Obama is less likely to be able to cobble together 270 electoral votes than would Hillary, though in truth neither of them can. There is no question that Obama would roll up enormous majorities in some Democratic strongholds, but a 70-30 win in CA nets the same 54 electoral votes that a 51-49 win would provide. Meantime, Obama is unlikely to be able to contest even a single swing state that the Dems would have to peel off in order to get to 270, while the demographics of his appeal (and no, I do not mean simply black voters) is likely to put several Dem wins from 2004 (notably PA and WI) in jeopardy.

In the future, try to show some class and leave a name.

Leland wrote:

First, a hat tip to Jardinero, who put out a little bait that Scott couldn't help but gulp down. Scott, you can claim you don't want to see McCain, but you jumped at the chance to agree with the pundits that do. Jardinero provided hard facts to support his position.

From the tea leaves I see, I fear an Obama candidacy most of all. I think a wide spectrum of people will vote together against Hillary. However against Obama, I'm not sure the GOP will get out the vote for a lackluster Congressional slate and something not quite a Conservative at the top of the ticket. If the Congressional slate improves, I really wonder how many people would pull a lever at the top for McCain vs abstaining against Obama.

In all this ire against McCain, I had forgotten why I didn't support Romney before... Glenn slapped me back to reality this morning with his post on RomneyCare. For all his negatives, I don't think John McCain supports universal healthcare (though wouldn't surprise me if he did).

I got a few more weeks before Texas has a say. I think my part of it will be a write-in for Thompson (he may still be on the ballot). It would be a lot easier voting in November if Fred was somewhere on the ticket. Otherwise, I'll vote against Hillary and Obama, in November. I won't say I voted for the Republican choice.

Finally, I think it is good for people to threaten a no vote on McCain. I hope they don't allow Hillary or Obama to win, but they can certainly let McCain know now that he won't have a mandate for his views. You can't get that message across by saying, "well, ok, I'll vote for him." Better to let McCain know he doesn't get a free pass.

Scott wrote:

It seems to me Leland that you make my point for me. You also oppose McCain, but you are going to vote against Hillary or Obama...precisely how is this different than many comments? The legal profession likes to call this 'a distinction without a difference', and I might suggest that this is a perfect example...

As for agreeing with the pundits...sometimes they are correct (a stopped clock and all of that), and simply because they agree with me doesn't mean I should dispose of my confidence (grin). At the end of the day I would have preferred almost anyone to McCain, but McCain is who I am stuck with, so I will live with it. The stakes are way too high for delusional 'anything can happen' reasoning (though I confess I would love to be surprised, and will happily pay off any losing bets I have on this nomination), and certainly too high for the sort of infantile 'send a message' nonsense than some conservatives are embracing by way of a tantrum.

Obama might encourage fewer GOPers to vote come November (Hillary would be a golden opportunity to break turnout records), but that really has more to do with down-ticket races than the big prize. Neither Donk is going to get to 270, and that is the only number that matters in the long run.

J Garcia wrote:

Well as a conservative Republican, here is my take. If Clinton wins the Democratic nomination then I hold my nose and go vote for the Republican - who ever it is. If Obama wins I probably stay home. It actually would be kind of nice to get a black president in so that we can shut up all of the race-baiters out there. Then four yearts after he screws everything up we can get back to electing the best person regardless of race!

Jim Muncy wrote:


That very smart person who paraphrased Disraeli (who said that the Liberals were the Evil Party and his Tories were the Stupid Party) and then added the witticism about bipartisanship is my wife, Maureen Muncy. Quoted by me at last year's Space Access Society Conference.

- Jim

JohnW wrote:

"Someone once said that there are two political parties--the Evil Party (Dems), and the Stupid Party (GOP)." That someone would be the Sage of Plano, Kim Du Toit.

Jonathan wrote:

[Scott:] Neither Donk is going to get to 270...

Anything can happen.

Leland wrote:


The distinction is made by the next poster after you. J Garcia states he would vote McCain over Hillary, but not Obama. Gee, that seems to be what I predicted from the Tea Leaves.

You may have my vote for McCain, if he indeed makes it to the General Election. However, I'm not as foolish in believing he will bring out the GOP voters better than Romney. I'm sorry if you don't see that distinction. Because as it stands now, I hope no potential candidate wins anything like a mandate in November. I truly think that is the best hope for conservatives and libertarians at this point. 4 years of deadlock and MLB doping inquiries will be better than univeral health care for millions of immigrants recently given amnesty.

Scott wrote:

Jonathan, Anything can happen, but some things are far less likely than others. The Donks took most of the close races in 2004, especially in states that were trending the other way (i.e. towards the GOP). To get to 270, they have to repeat that feat, AND take another state (Ohio seems like the only realistic option for that), which strikes me as extremely unlikely. Add to that the fact that this time the GOP is NOT running Bush (who was unpopular even in 2004) during an unpopular war (which had negative approval ratings in 2004), and it is very difficult to imagine how the Dems improve upon their performance in 2004. McCain puts several states in play (notably NM, WI, and PA) and one of which would put the election out of reach for the Donks.

Leland, Romney might well be a more appealing candidate to the GOP conservatives, but he isn't going to be there anyway so this is somewhat irrelevant. Like you I find many of McCain's policies obnoxious in the extreme, but on the war (and who the enemy is), he is solid, and that means that I cannot simply sit back and say 'a plague on both of your houses', no matter how much glee I might get from it. Mr. Garcia may be entirely sincere about his disinclination to vote from McCain if he faces Obama (strange choice, as Obama is way to the left of Hillary, and might be a far worse result especially paired with a Democratic House and Senate), but if the election looks close by Labor Day, I suspect he will reconsider. The Russians have a saying 'Better is the enemy of good enough', and while I don't think that McCain is good enough, he is certainly good enough when compared to the alternatives.

As far as Romney being a better choice in terms of bring in the maximum number of GOP voters, I honestly believe you are mistaken. Romney is an uninspiring campaigner at best, has already been framed as a dangerously far right conservative (fine by me, i am dangerously far right, and has some holes in his resume that won't look good come November. With that said, he is certainly a better choice than McCain on the merits, but aside from the 25% or so of GOP voters who are self-described conservatives, McCain is far more likely to bring in the voters come November. McCain is much harder to portray as an out of touch extremist (the plaintive whines from the right only make my point here), and eventually the right will simply have to choose whether they wish to have a RINO like McCain or a REAL liberal like Clinton/Obama. I dont' think that choice is going to be too hard, and to be honest, I think most conservatives are way too smart to permit their tantrums to last past this summer.

After all, we are smarter than the KOS kids...

J Garcia wrote:

Scott, actually you missed my point. If The wife of ex-president is the democratic nominee then I will absolutely vote for the Republican candidate, I don't care who it is. If Obama wins the democratic nomination then I may just sit this one out. None of the Republican candidates are any good in my opinion. But my absolute hate for the wicked witch will be enough to cause me to hold my nose and vote for the republican.

On the other hand if Obama wins it might be fun to watch him try and be president. The fact that a black man has become president will hopefully shut a lot of the whiners up and as soon as he's done screwing things up we can get back to electing the best candidate.

So in summary:
If Hillary wins the democratic nomination - I vote for the republican no matter what.
If Obama wins - I sit it out and watch the idiots paint the castle.

Jonathan wrote:


AFAIK Intrade provides the best assessment of current odds, based on people betting their own money, and Intrade's odds for McCain, Obama and Clinton have converged on almost even money. I think Intrade's numbers confirm that no one has a clue about what's going to happen. Certainly the situation is more fluid than it was even a few weeks ago, when it appeared that Hillary was the heavy favorite.

It is possible that your or my interpretation of the odds is more accurate than an oddsmaking consensus, but that's usually not the way to bet.

Scott wrote:

Actually J, I didn't miss your point, I simply don't believe you. I loathe Hillary as well (one of the few good things about Obama is that he is brining serious pain to that awful witch), but in the long run, I am unwilling to concede the White House (particularly with no balance in the House or Senate) to someone even further left than her just out of pure spite or some putative sense of amusement to watch things crash and burn over a 4 year period. You describe yourself as a conservative Republican, and I will take you at your word...hence I hold you to a higher standard than some of those here and presuem you are samrt enough to understand the consequences of an Obama victory. The idea that any rational person would be willing to chance that just to show distaste (however justified) for McCain seems unlikely to me.

I see many conservatives doing such venting right now (I live in Dallas, though I am about to move to KC, and work in the heart of a very conservative area), but ultimately this is no different than what many Donks did in the last three elections, complain about Clinton/Gore/Kerry then vote for him anyway, because the alternative is perceived as far worse. However much I disagreed with their assessments, they were sincerely held and they acted rationally given those beliefs. Unless you can convince me that you truly see Obama as less of a downside than McCain (and I rather doubt that you will try), I simply do not believe you will do any different than those Donks who felt the same way.

Voter behavior study after voter behavior study shows the same pattern...politically aware and involved people do NOT sit out elections no matter how unpleasant the choices. Rather, they rationalize their choices on any number of basises and ignore the contradictions.

J Garcia wrote:


Here is a little rationalization for you. Look at McCain's record. He consistently sides with liberal (not moderate) democrats on critical bills. He has assaulted free speech with campaign finance reform and, unil very recently, supported amnesty for illegals with Kennedy of all people (by the way, the only non military senator that has killed another human). By the way, my ancestors came here 200 years ago - legally.

So if he is going to be liberal and do liberal things, which will screw this country up, I would rather a democrat get all of the credit for screwing things up and not have republicans get the blame. There is little difference between McCain and the democrats.

The only exception to my feelings is if the wicked witch gets the nomination - she is truely dangerous and much worse than just having a liberal in office. She has to be stopped.

Scott wrote:

I am not going to defend McCain, but to suggest that he 'consistently sides with liberals' is to ignore his real differences with them (Iraq? Judicial appointments?) on issues that simply won't wait four years for resolution. I would rather have someone else, but if you cannot see the difference between McCain and the REAL liberals (who are bad on immigration and free speech too, in some cases far worse than MCain), then it is simply because you aren't looking.

And while I certainly dislike Hillary as much as anyone else, if you believe 'she has to be stopped', it is simply silly to argue that Obama (with a much more liberal voting record) represents less of a threat to the country.

This sounds to me more like a question of who will be blamed than who is the better (or in this case 'least-worst') candidate. I will believe (until you prove otherwise) that you are a thinking conservative, and hence that you will not be willing to see harm oome to our country simply to 'send a message'...that is the sort of thing liberals do...

I have wasted enough of everyone's time here...lets move to another thread...

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on February 2, 2008 10:22 AM.

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