Senator McCain, as an across-the-board conservative, I plan to vote for you in November—unless a more authentically conservative ticket emerges or you choose a liberal running mate, such as Mitt Romney. You would be superior to a President Barack Obama in protecting and defending America and promoting free market reforms and limited government. Like many other conservatives across America, however, I have some significant concerns with some of your positions, which I hope you can clarify here on Townhall.com.
Abortion: Senator McCain, you have stated that you would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and the issue of abortion returned to the states. If you consider abortion murder, why should individual states have a right to legalize it? How is your position that abortion is a "states' rights issue" any different from Stephen Douglas' position on slavery-that it too was a "states' rights issue?" Isn't the right to life guaranteed in the Declaration of Independence ("life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness") as well as our Constitution (under the 5th and 14th amendments)? You have stated that you believe individual states should determine the issue of abortion because of your belief in federalism. Doesn't our federalist system give the federal government the right to amend its own constitution? Is there ever a justification in your mind for amending our federal constitution that wouldn't violate the principle of federalism?
Marriage: You said of same-sex marriage: "I think that gay marriage should be allowed if there's a ceremony kind of thing, if you wanna call it that, I don't have any problem with that." Do you stand by that statement, as you have also stated that you personally oppose same-sex "marriage?" You don't offer a section on your website dedicated to this issue, which continues to make national headlines.
The California Supreme Court recently postulated that limiting marriage between one man and one woman was unconstitutional. Last week you appeared on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" and didn't respond to Ellen's comment that she could "now legally get married." You have said that issues such as abortion and marriage should be decided via the voters of the individual states. Since the voters in California already voted to define marriage in 2000 (by 61%) as the legal union of one man and one woman, and since that voter approved statute has not changed and can't unless revoked by the people themselves, why did you not remind Ellen that "gay marriage" isn't legal in California because the courts' declaratory opinion, containing no court order, hasn't changed the current marriage statute which does not include any provision for members of the same sex to marry ? Why have you also not called on Governor Schwarzenegger to uphold his sworn oath to only enforce the current marriage statute in California since he has stated that he will "honor the court's decision and uphold its ruling" and authorize the issuance of marriage licences without a legally binding accompanying statute just as former Governor Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts? Why are you undermining California Supreme Court Justice Baxter's dissent, in which he forcefully and compellingly defended constitutional separation of powers, by lending credence to the lie that a court can grant to a legislature powers denied them by the constitution and overturn the people's definition of marriage? [v1]
Illegal Immigration: You state on your campaign website that "our border must be secure" and that you "will secure the border." You voted "Yes" on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, requiring 700 miles of double layered fencing to be built on the U.S.-Mexican border. Only 13 miles has been built. If elected president, can you assure the American people that you will order the completion of the fence within the first year of your presidency? Also, will you support the immediate deportation of all illegal aliens in our federal prisons currently being subsidized by American taxpayers?
Global Warming: [v2] You recently stated that "time is short and the dangers [of climate change] are great" and have proposed a "cap and trade" system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. What do you mean by climate change? Isn't the earth's climate always changing naturally? Do you mean global warming? And if so, how do you validate the potential threat of global warming when, according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, there has been a slight cooling since 1998?
You have also proposed a 66% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (from 2005 levels of 5.8 billion metric tons). According to historical energy data, Americans last emitted that little an amount of CO2 in 1910 when, according to the Wall St. Journal's Steven Hayward, we had 92 million people and per capita income of about $6,000 in current dollars. The Census Bureau estimates that by 2050, we will have 420 million people, which means that per capita emissions would have to fall to about 2.5 tons per capita in order to meet the goals you have set (vs. 20 tons per capita today). How do you plan to accomplish this?
The Heritage Foundation recently estimated that your proposed "cap and trade" plan, co-authored by Senator Joe Lieberman, would have enormous transaction and compliance costs. The additional tax on energy to businesses and consumers would result in a loss of $1.7 trillion to $4 trillion in GDP. Your bill would also impose tariffs on other countries, such as China and India, that don't reduce carbon emissions. Please explain your "market based" plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which increases taxes and reduces GDP by 15% to 25%, and makes foreign imports more expensive for consumers. How will an almost imperceptible impact on the earth's temperature (.14F per year decrease with perfect Kyoto compliance) benefit Americans?
Social Security Reform: Senator McCain, you have always favored allowing workers to divert a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes to individual retirement accounts that would earn market rates. Now, you state on your website that you favor individual retirement accounts to supplement the full Social Security system. Why the change? Why should younger workers, who will never see any of the money they put into Social Security, continue to pay into the system?
American Sovereignty: In a speech before the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California, this March, you said:
"Relations with our southern neighbors must be governed by mutual respect, not by an imperial impulse or by anti-American demagoguery. The promise of North, Central, and South American life is too great for that. I believe the Americas can and must be the model for a new 21st century relationship between North and South. Ours can be the first completely democratic hemisphere, where trade is free across all borders, where the rule of law and the power of free markets advance the security and prosperity of all."
What do you mean when you say that "the Americas can and must be the model for a new 21st century relationship between North and South?" What type of relationship do you propose? What does our "rule of law" have to do with citizens in Canada and Mexico? Millions of Americans are deeply concerned that our government is advancing a North American Union, similar to the European Union, to integrate the economies, labor, and security of Canada, Mexico, and the United States without the consent of "we the people." Can you promise the American people that, if elected president, you would never enter into an agreement with Canada or Mexico that would abrogate our sovereignty?
Energy: Senator McCain, energy is not listed on your campaign website "issues page." You have stated that we must develop and market alternative technologies, such as nuclear energy, to reduce carbon emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. What are your immediate strategies to reduce energy costs and our dependence on foreign oil (i.e. domestic oil and gas development, increased refining capacity, lower taxes, etc.)? The Department of Energy estimates that the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) could produce about one million barrels of oil a day—a 20% increase in crude oil production over U.S. levels, which would likely bring prices at the pump down. In the single largest oil find in U.S. History, "The Bakken Oil Formation" in Montana and North Dakota offers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, 4.3 billion barrels of immediately recoverable oil—with the potential of up to 500 billion barrels! Do you support efforts to bring these proven reserves on line to bring down energy costs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil? We have not built a new refinery in this country since 1976, which also contributes to high gas prices. What will you do to promote increased construction of new refineries in the United States?
Gregg Jackson is a radio talk show host on WRKO in Boston and author of "Conservative Comebacks to Liberal Lies: Issue By Issue Responses to the Most Common Claims of the Left from A to Z."
Be the first to read Gregg Jackson's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.