McCain Matters

Monday, March 31, 2008

While Democrats have been duking it out in the primaries, John McCain has had the luxury of adopting a general election strategy. Stephen Moore, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board,and Mickey Edwards, former member of Congress (R-OK) and chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, take a closer look. Mickey Edwards' new book is Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great Political Movement Got Lost - and How It Can Find Its Way Back (Oxford University Press, 2008).


Mickey Edwards and Stephen Moore

Comments [43]


i'm voting green, screw politics!!!

Apr. 11 2008 04:32 PM
guy catelli from downtown manhattan

ref: #14

penny, there are many who feel the 'boyishness' of Presidents Clinton and Bush II, while it had its charms in both cases, on balance has not served America well.

perhaps America could benefit from having a real man in charge, for a change.

Mar. 31 2008 08:18 PM
Obama Supporter from Westchester

Dear Nick:

I'm not a "Republican troll," but rather a third-generation Democrat who has voted for very few Republicans in my lifetime -- I avoided voting for Giuliani on three separate occasions.

While I disagree with McCain on many issues, Iregard him as an ethical individual and no fool. Hillary Clinton loses that contest on both counts as far as I'm concerned. I'm not ampaigning for McCain, but I would never, ever vote for Hillary again, for any office. You can't trust a craven opportunist, particularly one whose obsession is power.

By the way, I read today on that Clinton neglected to pay approximately $500,000 in health insurance premiums for her campaign employees, putting the money instead into media coverage. Kind of shows where her priorities "lie," does it not? Do you think that John McCain would have failed to pay Aetna so that he could run a TV commercial?

Mar. 31 2008 05:25 PM
eva from spiritually? Newark

Nick, sorry, forgot to mention that your calling McCain a "mad man", as in your sentence:
"With all her flaws Hillary would make a much better President than mad man McCain"
doesn't inspire confidence in your argument. It's an extreme view, and somewhat solipsistic, don't you think? Many Americans see Hillary and Bill's behavior during the campaign as somewhat "mad". But I have yet to call them "mad" despite the fact that a lot of us are questioning the sanity of their somewhat desperate insistence that only they can hold the reins of power this time around...

Mar. 31 2008 12:30 PM
eva from spiritually? Newark

Nick, I take your point, but after 8 years of defending the Clintons, I am extremely wary of handing over the White House to them again, and if I'm to vote for someone who voted to authorize Bush to go to war, well, better it be a man who actually understands the costs of war.
You're kidding yourself if you think this is about "pettiness" - there are legitimate concerns about the Clintons, and there is genuine affection (yes, even among Democrats) for McCain. Personally, as a mixed-race American who lost family members in the U.S.-Vietnam conflict, it meant a great deal to me that McCain worked so hard to open up trade with Vietnam, despite his experiences as a POW. He's a good and smart man. Flawed, but I trust him. I no longer trust the Clintons. That's not "petty", trust is essential.
I have no illusions about either party.
Please be aware that even dyed-in-the-wool Democrats such as myself are not doctrinaire party hacks. I was appalled when my blue-collar uncle crossed the lines to vote for Reagan in 1980 and 1984. But now I find that I'm thinking similar thoughts about crossing over to vote for McCain.

Mar. 31 2008 12:23 PM
Nick Lento from NJ

IMHO Anyone who thinks that they should vote for McCain because they're upset about the ugliness of the Democratic primary is making a horrible mistake.

As a strong Obama supporter; I've come to see Hillary as a self absorbed stubborn fool who can't accept a loss; yet given the choice between her and McCain, it's not even close.

With all her flaws Hillary would make a much better President than mad man McCain.

I know that many Hillary supporters see her as a Goddess and Obama as a fraud.....and that's fine; but for any Democrat to think that John McCain is better than either Obama or Clinton is a form of unsanity.

The stakes are way to high for us to indulge our own petty pique.

Whoever the nominee is we all MUST come together; for the sake of, not just the country, but conceivably of the future of human life on Earth!!!

I have to wonder how many of the anonymous posters in various forums who claim they are Democrats who will vote for McCain if their candidate loses in the primary aren't actually Republican trolls trying to make the idea more palatable.

Let us not give in to smallness/pettiness and see the big picture.

Mar. 31 2008 12:07 PM
Nick Lento from NJ

McCain=Patriot March 31, 2008 - 10:06AM

The fact is that McCain/Bush is the opposite of patriotism.

Instead of being defensive on this; the case should be made that both Bush and McCain have sold out America to war profiteers. The case for the total/absolute corruption of the Iraq war is overwhelming.

If Democrats continue to simply defend; they lose again.

Bullies have to be taken on directly and thrashed in public.

Mar. 31 2008 11:40 AM
eva from spiritually? Newark

#33, Obama Supporter:
I have to agree with you. I was an Edwards supporter, but forced to pick anew when he dropped out. Obama has already shown considerable ability to get younger people involved in the political process, and of course, as a Democrat, I agree with his policies. He'd represent this country very well to other countries, which Hillary, with her lack of diplomacy, could never do.
So yes, if Hillary's the nominee, I will definitely consider voting for McCain, a politician I've admired for years, albeit with some major reservations. Years ago, I thought people were terribly unfair to Hillary, but after watching her throughout the campaign, she has lost any support I previously had for her.

Mar. 31 2008 11:35 AM
Obama Supporter from Westchester

I also note that several of the pro-Hillary posters on this website have posted personal insults about the Obama supporters, whereas the Obama supporters have stayed with the candidates and issues. That behavior reflects the attitude and tactics of their respective candidates. That Obama is in the lead in both votes and delegates indicates that voters are tired of swift-boating and other smear tactics and will not support candidates who indulge in such behavior.

Mar. 31 2008 11:20 AM
megan from Park Slope

Obama is just neo-con light.
Great Madison Avenue packaging -- American hucksterism at its best.

We need a Chavez here to start the new human revolution - of people - not corporate interests like Obama's big money donors.

But in the meantime, vote Nader.

Mar. 31 2008 11:16 AM
Obama Supporter from Westchester

Dear Michael (13),

I'm very, very awake. Your candidate is an opportunist who sacrificed American foreign policy ambitions to further her own political ambitions. She voted to authorize the war in Iraq when 23 senators -- including Kennedy, Leahy, Boxer and Byrd -- knew better than to do so. At that point, she lost me -- forever.

Obama has opposed the war from the start. He voted for appropriations to keep our troops in equipment and supplies, appropriations that were necessary regardless of what you thought of the war. He has never said one word in support of the war, whereas Hillary was maying hawkish speechesfor at least two years, until public opinion turned against Bush and the occupation. Moreover, Obama has been a careful but proactive Senator, just as he was a careful but proactive State Senator (833 bills co-sponsored in 9 years).

I will NEVER vote for Hillary, nor will my friends and family who are Obama supporters. If Hillary "wins" the nomination by manipulating super-delegates and forcing a floor fight on MI and FL, she will lose in November. She thinks that the public will forget how she won the nomination, just as she thought Democrats will forget (or that she could spin) her vote in Iraq. Not a chance, Mark, Howard, Lanny, James, Bill et al. Clinton will never be President -- but McCain will, if Obama is not the candidate.

Mar. 31 2008 11:16 AM
James from New York

McCain will find it a lot easier to attract many of Clinton's increasingly alienated supporters as they tend to be centrists who wouldn't consider an extreme right Republican, but having been driven out of the Democratic party by the STOP-SUPPRESS-THE-VOTE left-liberals intent on ramming Obama down the party's throat will be very willing to consider a relatively moderate Republican. If by some miraculous triumph of democracy in the Democratic Party Clinton manages to win the nomination at this point, the Clinton-haters, looney-left & first timer immature young people who won't vote for her are not likely to go to McCain, but will more likely go to Nader, Ron Paul, Gravel or stay home. So advice to McCain: don't worry about the religious right as large chunks of mature, regular-voting moderates will more likely be up for grabs & your's for the taking. This is why the Republicans have been united as one in claiming that Obama would be harder to beat than Clinton - they're playing games with the brain-dead left making them think a far left Senator with an ivy-league educated wife who has suddenly found reason to love her country & a Pastor who simply can't bring himself to love it will be embraced by middle America for President.

Mar. 31 2008 11:15 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Indeed. Republicans seem to be oblivious to the fact that the military is part of the government. It's a little odd to be so in favor small government while supporting massive expansions of the military. Of course, they've been working pretty hard to turn the military into a private corporation, but until that's complete it's still a part of the government.

Mar. 31 2008 11:06 AM
Steven Clark from Brooklyn

Please stop perpetuating the myth that Reagan was a fiscal conservate and the size of federal goverment decreased during his administration. The opposite is truth. I'm sure there are numerous examples online or in print. Here is one:

Mar. 31 2008 10:51 AM
Arthur Aptowitz from Forest Hills-Key Food-Queens Blvd and 108th Street

I'm currently reading Robert Dallek's "Nixon/ Kissinger" and though i remember the 60's and 70's well and trained as a historian, i am still amazed that if one replaces the word "VietNam" with "Iraq" it all sounds EXACTLY the same. McCain is still in that POW camp, at least as far as his Iraq thoughts go ("peace with honor" again? he still thinks WE lost VietNam), while that new ad sounds more like a Nazi commercial than something one would want to hear in 21st century America.
For Shame!

Mar. 31 2008 10:47 AM

I'll say one thing for McCain, it's refreshing to hear a repiglican finally admit he doesn't know much about the economy...which clearly they don't, despite the hype

Mar. 31 2008 10:45 AM

STEPHEN MOORE, is that how they say "Smoke and Mirrors" on some other planet !!! ???

Mar. 31 2008 10:42 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, Barack Obama MIGHT know something more about the economy than McCain simply because he hasn't had a government job his whole life.

Mar. 31 2008 10:39 AM
inquisigal from Brooklyn

McCain made this same comment about "not understanding the economy" during one of the Republican debates earlier this year, he did not sound self-effacing. He sounded like he didn't feel like he needed to, and wasn't concerned.

Mar. 31 2008 10:39 AM

GM's solution of helping the economy by offering zero percent down and zero percent interest for the first year? GREAT IDEA!

Now can we extend that to HOUSING??

Mar. 31 2008 10:39 AM
John from Brooklyn


It is precisely because Obama knows that McCain is going after the Reagan coalition that Obama said this week that his foreign policy will reflect the internationalist realism practiced by John F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

Mar. 31 2008 10:38 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

The problem with this idea of being "supportive of democracy" is that punishment of dictatorships and non-engagement doesn't lead to the spreading of democracy.

The problem with the former US policy was not that it talked to dictators and had alliances with dictators. The problem is that it never used any of that political capital they built up with those dictatorships to pressure the leaders of those countries to reform their systems. Since we were concerned only about our immediate interests, the dictatorships were deemed as "safer" for us.

Sanctions don't work. Cutting diplomatic ties doesn't work. Those tactics simply further entrench the leaders of those countries. If you offer someone nothing, if they are not dependent on you in any way, they have no reason to listen to you. We should be looking to use our economic might as a crowbar to open up these countries. Instead we put away our greatest tool by removing our economic incentive with sanctions.

Sanctions and non-engagement work best as threats against people you're already close with than as tactics against people who are already isolated.

Mar. 31 2008 10:37 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Blind Patriotism isn't enough folks’ you’ve got to have some smarts.

John McCain is repackaged Neo-conism. A friendlier style yet the same old same old. A same old that has seen failure in Iraq, failure of America’s economy and the list goes on. An old man living in the past.

Mar. 31 2008 10:35 AM


I also agree that the mcm and NPR has given McCain a free ride thus's incredible to watch...2000/2004 elections all over again

Mar. 31 2008 10:35 AM
Eve Sedgwick from New York City

Wasn't there a gentleman not so long ago who was gleefully singing "Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran"? That sounded a bit more heartfelt than this latest pious talk. Sounds like preventive warfare to me!

Mar. 31 2008 10:35 AM

Comment #1

How incredibly juvenile

Mar. 31 2008 10:34 AM
flossie samuels from new york city

The press has given John McCain a free ride. After listening to responsible newsmen,I have heard that John McCain is all about Country, honor. ect. and knows very little about policy. He is also hot headed with an unbelieveable temper. More of a hawk than Bush or Cheney. One of his replublican congressmen has said "he gets chills down his spine thinking of McCain as president"

Mar. 31 2008 10:33 AM
lisa evancavich from nyc

mccain repeatedly calls our next president 'he' , is this not an attempt to exclude any 'she's' from being seen as our next president?

Mar. 31 2008 10:31 AM
chris o from New York City

Even though it looks bad for the Dems now and you can say that the circumstances are a "dream come true" for Repugs, my view is that very little of what is going on now matters. The vast majority of people are not paying attention at all.

Mar. 31 2008 10:30 AM
penny from brooklyn

what about the gendered aspect of McCain's speach - he kept saying "man" when referring to the presidency... incredible that no one is talking about this.

Mar. 31 2008 10:30 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD

POST# 8 - Obama Supporter

You need to WAKE UP!

You have no idea what you're taking about.

Do some reseach!

Obama hasn't voted much since he's been in the senate for about 10 minutes.

Clinton and Obama have made vertually the same votes accross the board.

Patriot Act both of them voted for it!!!!

Mar. 31 2008 10:29 AM
Brad R

Are these guys trying to kid us? Conservatives opposed to this war? Conservatives questioning Bush? I call BS on both of them. Where have they been for the last 8 years? A couple of meek peeps now and then does not opposition make. I suggest a fact-checking montage of conservative commentary on Bush, the war, and on those opposed to the war since 2003. It would paint a rather different picture.

I do get that they want to spin McCain now, from his hawkish kowtowing to hard-core conservatives during the primaries to someone more palatable to the general electorate, and I do get that this will entail denying his (& their) support for this now terribly unpopular war (and this terribly unpopular president). But I dearly hope journalists won't let them get away with it. It's plain cr@p and needs to be declared such.

Anyone remember "Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran"? Was that the kind of alliance-formation we can look forward to from McCain?

Mar. 31 2008 10:22 AM
Obama Supporter from Westchester

The ad goes after Obama but is not too bad, considering what garbage Hillary has been putting out there. Inevitably, McCain will run on the "patriotism" ticket. I'm not too upset by this.

Mar. 31 2008 10:21 AM

Huh? Re: Kyoto -- what could be more conservative than conserving our "environment: via market based regulations and rule of law?

Just ain't right to characterize McCain's apparent awareness of environmental issues as the opposite of real conservatism.

Mar. 31 2008 10:20 AM
john from manhattan

The conservatives' contempt for the opinion and input of entities other than our own government would imply they are delighted with the domestic and foreign policies of the present administration. How much reverence does that entitle their position to?

Mar. 31 2008 10:20 AM
Obama/McCain from Westchester

McCain is conservative but quirky. He is not a paranoid nut like Cheney or a dope like Bush. He's basically a middle-of-the road Republican who is conservative on social issues such as abortion and gay rights, but who is intelligent, ethical and reasonable. The Democrats have worked with him in the past and will work with him again, either as Senator or President.

I'm an Obama supporter, but I cannot stand Hillary Clinton based on her voting record and her campaign. She is an opportunist, not a leader. I will vote for McCain if Clinton bulldozes her way to the nomination.

Mar. 31 2008 10:19 AM
guy catelli from downtown manhattan

dear Brian,

a number of Senator Obama's cheerleaders on the NY Times's Op/Ed staff have been jumping up and down like hysterical 12-year-olds at a rock concert -- iirc, in no small part because Senator Obama represents to them a more internationalist (if that's the right word) candidate.

well, that proposition cuts both ways.

your fan,


Mar. 31 2008 10:19 AM
michael winslow from INWOOD


Not only that he was at best a C student his whole life and despite what most people think he is NOT a war hero.

Rather a clumsy at best pilot who only made it into a plane because of his father's position in the NAVY.

We just had a president who cheated his way through college and graduate school let's not hire another incompetent WAR PIG.

Bush has lowered the bar and McCAIN will lower it even further.

Mar. 31 2008 10:19 AM

I would like to no more about John McCain's position on Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc. I understand pretty well where he stands on Iraq. And I think he makes a false argument when saying his vote to go to war with Iraq is history and unimportant. Does he support pre-emptive war as a concept?

Mar. 31 2008 10:19 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

The problem at this point, with regards to how long we'll stay in Iraq and what we'll do there is entirely dependent on how we choose to define victory and defeat at this point... is the Bush administration's original goal achievable at this point? Probably not. It's time to talk about damage control, but McCain still keeps talking about this post-messianic Middle East and using the kind of rhetoric that even the Bush administration has long since abandoned.

Mar. 31 2008 10:18 AM

To Post 1/McCain=Patriot

please pickup your Junior Provocateur lapel pin on your way out. Congratulations!

Mar. 31 2008 10:09 AM

Why did all the conservatives who are now knocking Bush as the anti-conservative support him in 2004?

Just as the "vote for the war" was the litmus test for Hillary's street cred --

that 04 "Stay the Course" endorsement for Bush's reelection revealed the stalagmites of flab that serve as bedrock to many of America's conservative editorial boards, think tanks, talk show hosts and other opinion shapers.

Mar. 31 2008 10:07 AM
McCain=Patriot from NYC

Patriotism is a necessary and attractive quality in an American president, one that B. Obama has consistently and stubbornly refused to display.

One can't help but conclude that Obama doesn't love America.

Mar. 31 2008 10:06 AM

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