It's true that McCain is unpopular with Reagan conservatives because he decidedly is not, on far too many issues, a Reagan conservative. But it's more than that. He is the anti-conservative. He instinctively sides against conservatives and relishes poking them in the eye.
He enjoys cavorting and colluding with our political enemies and basks in the fawning attention they give him. Adding insult to injury, he now pretends to be the very thing he is not: an across-the-board Reagan conservative. This fraudulent pretense inspires fundamental distrust among Reagan conservatives.
Consider: Robert Novak has corroborated John Fund's account of McCain dissing Samuel Alito as too conservative, or as "wearing his conservatism on his sleeve." True, McCain voted to confirm Alito, but that's a far cry from nominating such a judge in the first place.
McCain’s characterization of Alito is troubling on another level, as well. There is a difference between a judicial-restraint philosophy and judicial activism that promotes conservatism. McCain wholly ignores that distinction and echoes the liberal line of disinformation that judges like Alito are conservative activists. This type of thinking is born of liberal instincts; McCain often thinks like a liberal.
That's unfair, you say? Well, isn't it true? Doesn't he have liberal instincts, or at least an irrepressible desire for liberal approval on global warming? Don't liberal assumptions underlie his crusade for campaign-finance reform?
How many times have we heard him say: "Money corrupts all of us. We need to get money out of politics"? Assuming he really believes money ineluctably poisons every politician, it is astonishingly naive to believe such ubiquitous corruption can be eradicated with a mere finger on the dike aimed at restricting certain avenues where money enters the process. It's as insultingly ludicrous as John Edwards' promise to end all poverty.
Plus, it's not as if the campaign-finance-reform experiment is just a well-meaning but harmless enterprise. On top of its woeful ineffectiveness, perhaps even counter-productiveness, it also has egregious consequences: It does violence to free political speech -- the most important category of speech essential to the preservation of our republic.
McCain's tunnel vision on this and his refusal even to consider the speech-suppressing aspects of his reckless, utopian fantasy bespeaks an ends-justifies-the-means attitude, also typical of the liberal mindset. "We know what is best for you, so there is no harm in our beneficent suppression of the most important freedom guaranteed by the Bill of Rights."
But perhaps most troubling about McCain is his habitual resort to class warfare. While he now says that he opposed the Bush tax cuts because he received insufficient guarantees that they'd be coupled with spending cuts, his stated reason at the time was that they were cuts just for the rich. This is demonstrably untrue.
The reductions were across the board and skewed, if anything, in favor of the middle- and lower-income earners. Only liberals mouth these disingenuous and destructive platitudes -- destructive because they alienate and polarize people, stirring resentment and demonizing producers and wealth. And don't forget that McCain was only one of two Republican senators who opposed the plan. That speaks volumes -- and it should open the eyes of those resisting the truism that McCain is not a reliable Reagan conservative. They're the ones with blinders on, not those of us laboring to unveil the truth.
Lest you think McCain's opposition to the Bush tax cuts was just a single exception to his stellar conservative economic credentials, I cite the recent California debate, in which McCain similarly disparaged big business, profits, producers and wealth. This constant harping against the engine and fruits of capitalism is tantamount to waging war against the American ideal. McCain's liberal instinct once again rears its unflattering head.
Whoa, you object. When it comes to the most important issue of all -- the war -- McCain is more hawkish and more conservative than anyone. But even that is not entirely true on closer inspection. He's been good mostly on Iraq -- from a conservative perspective -- but very disappointing on opposing tough, life-saving interrogation techniques, in wanting to close down Gitmo, and in favoring constitutional protections for enemy combatants. Only liberals think like that. Only liberal instincts tell us that if we are tough on them, they'll be tougher on us -- as if they need any excuse to be barbaric toward us. They just are.
It ought not to be necessary to have this debate about whether McCain is a Reagan conservative. Beyond the non-exhaustive list here, just look at the people who are constantly cheering him on -- liberals in the mainstream media, Hollywood and New York entertainers, and Democrats. Why? Because McCain not only often thinks and acts like a liberal, he also routinely and joyously sticks it to his own team; he's the "maverick" -- the anti-conservative in our huddle.
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