Thursday, June 19, 2008

John McCain: A Democrat's Support of John McCain by David R. Carlin


I have been supporting John McCain with my time, treasure and talents, small though they be, since last Spring.

Other like minded Democrats saw in McCain his capacity for leadership and talent for righting the course of America.

A young Democratic (twenty-something) Korean American woman, Lisa Hwang of Chicago's Lincoln Square community admires McCain, but is still on the fence about her vote.

Nevertheless, Ms. Hwang sent along a Commonweal Op Ed essay by Democratic veteran legislator David R. Carlin.

Here is the sum and substance of a Democrat's support for John McCain:

Still, I think the Democratic contenders are wrong and McCain is right about the things that matter most. They’re wrong because they are beholden to the ultras who have seized control of the national Democratic Party. I mean the MoveOn.org wing of the party: people who have good educations, good jobs, good incomes, good neighborhoods, good wine, good coffee, etc., plus a disdain not only for traditional morality and religion but for those Americans-we boobs, nincompoops, and potential fascists-who approve of traditional religious-moral beliefs and values. Obama is more beholden to these folks than Hillary is, but if she becomes president she won’t be able to defy many of their wishes, so great is their power in the party.

But what are the big issues as I see them? For me the single biggest issue is, and has been for many years, abortion. For those who believe, as I do (and as the Catholic religion does), that abortion is unjustifiable homicide, there is no logical way to vote for the presidential candidate of a party committed to the preservation and extension of abortion rights. As for the common argument given by a certain kind of Catholic-namely, that the Democrats are right on so many other things, and together these outweigh abortion-that seems to me to be an argument that is either intellectually careless or downright disingenuous. For how can anything outweigh the slaughter of innocents? Catholics who make this argument may say they believe abortion to be homicide, they may even actually think they believe this; but they can’t possibly believe it. For how could anybody really hold such contradictory beliefs? McCain has a prolife voting record in the Senate, Hillary and Obama have prochoice records. On this count, then, it’s easy for me to choose McCain.

Another important issue is Iraq. I agree with McCain that the 2003 invasion was justified. For me it wasn’t simply, or even mainly, a matter of weapons of mass destruction. Saddam Hussein was a chronic and incorrigible troublemaker in one of the most sensitive regions of the world. He had waged a terrible war (with, it must be admitted, U.S. encouragement) against Iran; he had invaded Kuwait; he was a vicious tyrant who oppressed his own people (most notably Kurds in the north and “marsh Arabs” in the south); after being defeated in the “mother of all wars” (the first Gulf War), he repeatedly violated agreements he had made with the victors; he allegedly plotted the assassination of a former American president; again and again he defied United Nations resolutions; and if he did not in fact possess weapons of mass destruction, he gave the proverbial “reasonable man” every reason to believe that he did. Since I don’t believe that every troublesome nation has an inviolable right to sovereignty and noninterference (this perhaps made sense in the good old days of Woodrow Wilson but makes little sense in the days of Rwanda, Bosnia, Iraq, and a few other places), I felt that the U.S. policy of “regime change” in Iraq made sense: a policy adopted, it should be remembered, during the Clinton presidency and implemented during the Bush presidency.

But I also agree with McCain that the postinvasion occupation has been a disaster. This is due to at least two things: a great deficiency in the number of occupation troops (a point McCain has emphasized again and again), and a profound ignorance of Mesopotamian history and culture. During World War II it occurred to somebody in the U.S. government that our occupation of Japan might go more smoothly if we first took the trouble to learn something about Japanese culture. And so the government hired the famous anthropologist Ruth Benedict, who produced her classic study The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, which contributed to the tremendously successful American occupation of Japan. Apparently nobody in the Bush administration had a similar thought about Iraq.

I also agree with McCain that the “surge” has been successful, proving that he was right when he insisted, against Donald Rumsfeld, that many more “boots on the ground” were needed. Rumsfeld deserves grades of A-plus for the invasion and F-minus for the occupation.

Most of all I agree with McCain when he says that, regardless of the merits of having invaded in the first place, the United States cannot afford to be defeated in Iraq. Such a defeat would hand a tremendous victory to Al Qaeda. I realize, of course, that if we “lose” in Iraq it won’t be due to Al Qaeda alone; it will also be due, and even more so, to Sunni-Shiite animosities. But it will be almost universally perceived as a victory for Al Qaeda.

For better or worse, the United States is seen as the world’s number-one “policeman.” We are expected by nearly everyone-even our European friends who love to find fault with us-to take the lead in maintaining international order (remember Kosovo?). If we are driven out of Iraq, it will be a defeat not just for our national prestige but, more important, for the cause of international order. Maybe we should never have accepted the call to be the world’s policeman in the first place, but having accepted it we are not free simply to abandon our post in Iraq, which is what Hillary and Obama want us to do. They believe (or profess to believe) that by doing so we will force the Sunni and Shiites to become friends. This seems to me a stunningly unrealistic expectation.

Then there is McCain’s proven ability to work “across the aisle.” The United States is badly polarized along ideological lines, red-state conservative ideologues versus blue-state liberal ideologues. McCain is not an ideologue, and he has a strong track record of defying the ultras of his own party. Hillary and Obama are not ideologues either. But Obama has no track record of defying Democratic ultras, and Hillary has only a slight record of doing so-I refer to her vote (which she’s been trying to explain away for the last year or two) giving George W. Bush permission to invade Iraq. If elected, neither of the two will be able to do much to mitigate the nation’s ideological divide, for they both have their feet firmly planted on one side of that divide. Obama is likely to lessen the nation’s racial divide, and to do this would be no small achievement; but the racial divide is no longer America’s number-one division.

Finally, there is McCain’s tough-minded patriotism. I don’t doubt that Hillary and Obama are patriots. I don’t even doubt that the upscale secularists who have taken over the Democratic Party are patriots; but theirs is a “soft” patriotism, a patriotism twice diluted, once with the waters of cosmopolitanism, and again with the waters of something tasting of pacifism. McCain, by contrast, is a “hard” patriot, not in the least a pacifist. But isn’t there a danger that a patriot of this stripe will prove to be a warmonger? Yes, some danger. But George Washington wasn’t a warmonger, and neither was Dwight Eisenhower, and neither, I think, is McCain. Retired warriors are willing to fight, but rarely do they yearn for another battle (think of Colin Powell).

At this confusing moment in history, a far greater danger, I submit, is to have the world’s most important nation led by a political sect (the Democratic ultras) whose patriotism is soft and whose commitment to a strong military is dubious. So two cheers for Senator McCain-and three loud raspberries for Democratic ultras!
Click my post title for the full text of Mr.Carlin's great essay.

Thanks Lisa! I hope that your instincts and wisdom will give John McCain another vote!

1 comment:

Zak Carter said...

Isnt this ironic - your crossing the aisle for John McCain, while I'm leaving the aisle because of him.

A Declaration of Withdrawal from the Republican Party

My reasons for leaving the Party that I’ve felt at home in since I became politically aware are numerous. I will start with quoting countless conservatives who feel as I do - I didn’t so much leave the Republican Party, it was the Party that left me. The elected Republican officials failed to implement a conservative agenda, despite having the Presidency and both houses of congress. No Child Left Behind, Prescription Drug Entitlements; they even tried to force Amnesty for illegal aliens upon us. They have given us a government that would make even LBJ blush. Our businesses and land have more regulatory red tape to deal with than ever.

Where is the Republican Party that stood for limited government, personal responsibility, a strong national defense, and against being the world’s policeman? As recently as the 90’s Republicans railed against a foreign policy of “making the world safe for democracy”, (which is historically the Democrats foreign policy, ala Woodrow Wilson) when Bill Clinton was President and he took us to war in Bosnia and Kosovo, without U.N. approval I might add. Which reminds me, the United Nations is something the GOP used to believe we needed to get out of, not an institution to be defended when a rogue nation violates U.N. resolutions.

I am also reminded of former Senator Robert Taft, who was known in his day as Mr. Republican, when he said “I do not believe any policy which has behind it the threat of military force is justified as part of the basic foreign policy of the United States except to defend the liberty of our own people” and my favorite President - Thomas Jefferson, who said “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, and entangling alliances with none.”

From its inception, the Republican Party advocated a humble foreign policy in line with our founding fathers recommendations, now, with John McCain as the leader and voice of the GOP, we are told to get behind his idea for a “League of Democracies” which sounds terrifyingly similar to Wilson and his “League of Nations” almost 100 years ago.

We are also being told by McCain that we will have to Cap and Trade our liberty and our pursuit of happiness in the fight against global warming, essentially that if we don’t give government more money and power, utopia will never be reached.


Some have told me that I should support him because he will appoint conservative judges, but I ask these questions - 1. Who’s definition of conservative are we talking about? And 2. Why would I trust the man on this issue when he is one of the “Gang of 14” who was blocking President Bush’s conservative lower federal court and Circuit Courts of Appeal judicial nominees? His long-standing, but little-noticed association with left-wing donors such as George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry is receiving new attention among his Republican critics and definitely troubles me. I would also remind you of his historical propensity to appease those even more liberal than himself. His version of “reaching across the aisle” looks more like a group hug when he crafts legislation like the McCain / Kennedy and McCain / Feingold bills. McCain / Feingold happens to be the reason McCain should not get the NRA’s endorsement, the NRA spent years fighting this trampling of our 1st amendment rights. McCain has not been the solid 2nd amendment supporter he would like you to believe he is - he cosponsored legislation which could require registration of attendees at gun shows and even ban such shows. Add to this the barely passing “C” grade from the NRA in his last senate run in 04‘, the “F” grade the Gun Owners of America gives him today and reflect on the work he did in 2000 with Americans for Gun Safety, an anti-gun group with a deceiving name, and you get a very different picture than the one he wants us to see.

The differences between McCain and Obama are minimal, when you consider that both believe big government can save you from yourself, and that we can save other nations from themselves as well. Given McCain’s track record of conciliatory dealings with Democrats, I fear what this man would do with a Democratic House and Senate. I will not play along with the game of lesser of two evils, as I believe that is part of what has plunged this nation into the mess we find ourselves today.

Once upon a time the Republican Party stood against special interests, corruption and abuse of power. Today their candidates campaign is “ of the lobbyist, by the lobbyist, for the lobbyist.” A man who admits Washington’s corruption has tainted him. Google Keating 5 and read all about it.

The Republican Party today would be unrecognizable to my favorite Republicans of yesterday, such as Barry Goldwater, who said “ A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away.” President Eisenhower, who warned us of the Military Industrial Complex, and one whose party membership is a surprise to many today but shouldn’t be, Martin Luther King Jr. “ Violence is a poor chisel for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” The party is just as unrecognizable to myself and others of my generation.

I had to draw a line in the sand, and the Republican Party wasted no time in crossing it, when they and the President pushed for “economic stimulus checks.” The only problem is this, the money isn’t money that we have, its money we are borrowing, and our excessive borrowing becomes a tax on future generations, as we wont be paying it off any time soon. Want to try to sell this as economically conservative? Excessive borrowing and spending has the added affect of devaluing our currency, so it acts as a hidden tax on us today. As I heard one of the presidential candidates say in regards to these stimulus checks, “ Whose economy are we stimulating here? Ours or Chinas? We are borrowing more money from China so everyone can go buy more stuff made in China.” I get it, others in the GOP get it, so why doesn’t the party leadership?

I can’t take anymore disrespect for conservative values, and unless the Republican Party wakes up and gets it’s head on straight real soon, I will be taking my vote, my time, energy, money, and passion from the GOP and taking it to the Libertarian Party to send a message to the Republican leadership that I will not be taken for granted. I believe that it is solid conservatism that wins the day and elections - limited government, individual responsibility, and a strong national DEFENSE (secure the borders!), not conciliation and surrender to Democrats to the point that our differences become blurry.

The Libertarian Party seems to be a perfect temporary home, the GOP has its work cut out if its sincere about winning me back, even President Reagan said “Libertarianism is the very heart and soul of conservatism.” I will be doing everything I can to sway like minded conservatives to join me in this exodus and vote for Bob Barr for President and Wayne Root for Vice President on the Libertarian ticket. Both of them were recently Republicans, and are among those countless conservatives I‘ve heard myself say “ It wasn’t that I left the Republican Party, it was the Party that left me.”


Thanks and God Bless, from Zak Carter