In my final post on the subject before the polls close on Super Tuesday I want to address three areas related to Mitt Romney and John McCain:
1. the perception that McCain is the candidate of outstanding character while Romney lacks character,
2. why an evangelical like Wayne Grudem and a conservative jurist such as Robert Bork have endorsed Romney, while James Dobson cannot vote for McCain and,
3. the issue of electability.
McCain: The Candidate of Strong Character vs. Romney: Flip-Flopping Weasel
Jonathan Martin of Politico.com reports, “Put simply, McCain is winning the character contest. In exit polls and interviews with McCain supporters, the former naval aviator and Vietnam POW has emerged as the candidate of choice for voters who make their decision based more on intangible personal attributes than on issues. In every state since New Hampshire where exit polls have asked voters what was more important, a candidate’s position on the issues or a candidate’s leadership and personal qualities, McCain has won among those who said that character mattered more than policy stances.” It is not my intention to attack McCain’s character in this post. Rather, I want to encourage those who tout McCain’s character while calling Romney’s into to question to pause for a moment and consider that the criticism works both ways.
Note this quote from the Orlando Sentinel’s endorsement of John McCain: After acknowledging a couple changes McCain has made, they said, “[McCain] stuck to his principles at the risk of sinking his campaign.” While Romney “abandoned positions that would have alienated his party’s conservative base.” This is the conventional wisdom. Romney’s flip-flopping has been widely commented upon. His policy changes have caused some to call him a political opportunist, slimey, and power-hungry. Romney’s changes on key issues does give me pause. But what about John McCain?
McCain is supposed to be the candidate of character and a solidly, dependably pro-life candidate.
Two key, foundational Republicans principles are lower taxes and the right to life. McCain opposed Bush’s tax cuts twice due to concerns that resemble class warfare [see John McCain’s Top 10 Class-Warfare Arguments Against Tax Cuts]. He didn’t like the tax cuts for the rich. Now, he wants to make Bush’s tax cuts permanent. Huh? This is a more recent flip-flop than any of Romney’s. McCain’s John-Kerry-moment: “I’ve been involved in all of these issues, I know now stop the irresponsible spending. I’ve always been for tax cuts, I have always…uh… although, I voted against the first tax cuts, but these tax cuts have to be made permanent…” Wow. Didn’t we roast Kerry for doing the same thing?
Conservatives take great solace in the fact that McCain is solidly pro-life. I agree, he is pro-life. But wait. In 1999, John McCain told the San Fransisco Chronicle, “Certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in American to undergo illegal and dangerous operations.” But in November of 2006 he told George Stephanopoulos he for overturning Roe v. Wade: “I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.” Well, I’m glad he is now for overturning Roe v. Wade.
This one isn’t a flip but it is an example of how the “gotcha” game works against John McCain too. McCain: “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” [source] On January 28, 2008 on Meet the Press, McCain denied he ever said such a thing. MR. RUSSERT: “Senator McCain, you have said repeatedly, “I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated.” Is it a problem for your campaign that the economy is now the most important issue, one that, by your own acknowledgement, you’re not well versed on?” SEN. McCAIN: “Actually, I don’t know where you got that quote from. I’m very well versed in economics.” Russert goes on to show McCain exactly where he made that statement. Oops.
The John McCain who was the only Republican implicated in the Keating Five scandal is the same one who has spent so much time and energy lecturing the nation about the corruption of money in politics.
I could go on. Do the research. There are several issues where John McCain has flipped and flopped over the years. Romney gets slammed for it while McCain gets a pass. McCain supporters: check your own candidate’s record of changing positions before questioning Romney’s character because of his. If Romney is a slimy, opportunistic, power hungry politician because he changed positions, made questionable decisions, and questionable comments: why isn’t John McCain? And, by the way, to be a flip-flopper you actually have to flip and then flop back again. Romney has flipped on abortion and has stayed there.
I’m not trying to get down and dirty on McCain. I just think that those who are making very strong statements about Romney’s character due his changing positions and conflicting statements need to examine McCain’s record just as thoroughly and hold him to the same standard.
Wayne Grudem, Robert Bork Endorse Mitt Romney. Dobson can’t vote for McCain. Why?
Of course I don’t expect anyone to blindly support a candidate just because someone else endorses them. However, here is some of the reasoning behind some very widely respected and noteworthy conservative’s support for Mitt Romney.
Wayne Grudem: Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney.
– “First, he is the best-qualified candidate, and second, he holds moral and political values consistent with those in the Bible.”
– After commenting upon Romney’s intellectual ability, record as Gov. of Mass., businees success, and chairmanship of the Olympic Games, Grudem states, “This is Romney’s consistent track record: he solves large problems.”
– “Conservative positions: Romney’s positions on social, economic, and international issues are all soundly conservative. On major issues such as protection of the unborn, a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, strong national defense and victory against radical Islamic terrorists, securing our border, a signed pledge of no tax increases, promoting school choice, and appointment of Supreme Court justices who will interpret law, not make new law, Romney holds solidly conservative positions. His positions are the ones the majority of evangelicals have supported in the past.
Some people object that Romney has “flip-flopped” on some of these positions. I think that accusation is exaggerated. He hasn’t flip-flopped back and forth, he has simply become more consistently conservative. I think that’s a good thing in a political and media climate that is more and more liberal. (In fact, Ronald Reagan also changed from signing a liberal abortion law as governor of California to being a consistently pro-life president.) Evangelicals have worked for decades to persuade people of the pro-life position, and Romney has been persuaded, and he is strongly on our side on this issue.”
Robert Bork: “Throughout my career, I have had the honor of serving under several Presidents and am proud to make today’s endorsement. No other candidate will do more to advance the conservative judicial movement than Governor Mitt Romney. He knows firsthand how the judicial branch can profoundly affect the future course of a state and a nation. I greatly admired his leadership in Massachusetts in the way that he responded to the activist court’s ruling legalizing same-sex ‘marriage.’ His leadership on the issue has served as a model to the nation on how to respect all of our citizens while respecting the rule of law at the same time.
Our next President may be called upon to make more than one Supreme Court nomination, and Governor Romney is committed to nominating judges who take their oath of office seriously and respect the rule of law in our nation. I also support Governor Romney because of his character, his integrity and his stands on the major issues facing the United States.”
And this just in from James Dobson. In an interview with Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President of Criswell College in Dallas, TX: “Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances.” Why? McCain statements such as”I think, uh … 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.” McCain-Feingold was also a factor. According to one article today: “He [Dobson] noted that legislation he’d just been discussing on the program [Jerry Johnson Live], regarding an attempt by Democrat leaders in Congress to create obstacles for ministries such as Focus to reach constituents with action messages about pending legislation, is being supported by McCain, too. ‘That came from McCain, and the McCain Feingold Bill kept us from telling the truth right before elections … and there are a lot of other things. He’s not in favor of traditional marriage, and I pray that we won’t get stuck with him,’ Dobson said.”
The Issue of Electability
Dennis Prager: Memo to Both Parties: Vote for Who’s Best, not for Who’s “Electable”
– “I humbly but strongly suggest to Democrats and Republicans alike that they not vote today on the basis of who they think will win in November, but on which candidate they think will make the better president.”
– “Republicans and Democrats who vote on the basis of who will win rather than who they think would make the better president may well be making a big error. Between now and November is far too long a period of time to make any predictions.”
– “If there is any major terrorist attack in a Western country, not to mention in the United States, everything can change. If the economy tanks or prospers, everything can change. If the war in Iraq continues to improve and/or al-Qaida seems to be weakening, many more Americans may come to view the war in Iraq as having been worth the sacrifices Americans paid. If one of the candidates stumbles, everything can change.”
– “Republicans, if you think John McCain would make a better president, vote for him for that reason, not because you think he’ll do better in November. And if you think Mitt Romney would be a better president than John McCain, vote for him. Don’t deprive him of your vote because you don’t think he’ll win. Prophecy ended a long time ago.”
Wayne Grudem might not like that last statement!
There you have it. A few more things to consider if you have not already cast your vote today.