McCain's looking better already
By Michael M. Bates
Ann Coulter says conservatives should vote for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the GOP's nominee. Ann Coulter is wrong.
For one thing, right now it looks as though Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate, if his swooning supporters don't manage to get him declared a saint before then. His lack of substance has transformed him into today's John F. Kennedy, another empty suit who realized you don't have to fool all the people all the time, just half of the voters plus one.
For another thing, for all of John McCain's deficiencies in satisfying conservatives, he'd make a far better president than either the empty suit or the pantsuit.
Maybe it was Sister Annie's temporary insanity that emboldened Ms. Chelsea Clinton, taking a day off from her $100,000 plus gig at a hedge fund operation, to make a startling claim. She alleges that Mumsie is the "most fiscally conservative candidate running."
She didn't identify the criteria she used to arrive at that conclusion, likely because no such criteria exist. One nonpartisan organization measuring every congressional vote that significantly affects taxes and spending is the National Taxpayers Union.
The NTU awarded Mrs. Clinton an F grade for each of the first six years she served in the Senate. Obama disciples need not rejoice; Barry's also gotten an F for his first two years in Washington.
John McCain more often than not has been assigned an A by the NTU over his Senate career. The lowest grade he received in the past dozen years was a B-.
The contrast between McCain's fiscal record and those of Clinton and Obama mirrors that of the one between their parties. In 2006, Senate Republicans averaged 75 percent on the National Taxpayers Union scorecard. Senate Democrats averaged 15 percent. In 2005, Republicans averaged 69 percent and Democrats 12. For 2004, it was a 71 to 17 landslide for the GOP.
Of the 13 senators most recently designated NTU's Taxpayers Friends by virtue of getting an A, every one of them was a Republican. There is a big difference between the parties. On spending, there is a huge difference between John McCain and his Democratic opponents.
Chelsea's claim of her Mom's fiscal conservatism is preposterous. Then again, her judgment is suspect. It was Chelsea who wrote that immediately after learning of the attacks on 9/11, she started "expounding on the detriments of Bush's tax cut." There's a gal who's got her priorities straight.
John McCain isn't my first, or probably tenth, choice for president. His conservative critics are right in excoriating him for his complicity in granting amnesty for illegal aliens. He shouldn't have voted against the tax cut that so troubled young Ms. Clinton.
McCain's been on the wrong side of issues like global warming, campaign finance reform and Guantanamo. He alienated evangelical conservatives when he described some of their prominent leaders as "agents of intolerance."
It's not just right wing pundits like Ann Coulter who have been turned off by the Arizona senator. In his home state, self-identified conservatives gave Mitt Romney 47 percent of their primary vote while McCain garnered only 36 percent.
Mike Huckabee was struggling until almost everyone else dropped out of the GOP race. Now he's winning primaries and caucuses because he's the only semi-feasible alternative to John McCain. Conservative dislike for McCain will plague him until at least the convention. But will it extend into the election?
In suspending his own campaign, Mitt Romney stated his reason was to prevent the catastrophe of an Obama or Clinton presidency. Romney believes that either of them will surrender in the war on terror. John McCain will not.
It's a valid point. Consideration should also be given to the type of judges appointed by the future president. Clinton or Obama would undoubtedly appoint liberals such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. McCain has pledged to support judges committed to the Constitution, not to legislating from the bench.
Many Republicans were disappointed by their choice of presidential candidates this year. The relatively low turnout of primary and caucus participants underscores how discontented they are.
Hoping for another Ronald Reagan to magically appear on the scene is an exercise in futility. No one even close to the Gipper has emerged. If Republicans are serious about avoiding a liberal restoration in the executive branch, they'll have to make do with what they have.
Voting for what you perceive to be the lesser of two evils is never satisfying. Even less palatable would be a President Clinton or Obama.
This Michael Bates column appeared in the February 14, 2008 Reporter Newspapers.