(Page 2 of 3)
I’m sorry to admit, there’s not much I can say right now to lift your spirits in the short run. Look, I lived in Washington, D.C. for five years in the 1980s…and five years in the '90s….and yet in my adult lifetime I have never seen things as bad in Washington as they are today. The politics is meaner, less principled, less public-spirited, less conscientious, less honest, and also far more flat-out incompetent and clueless than I have ever seen it.
And it’s not like the Republicans are free from blame. Look, the Republicans in Congress have been screwing up lots of things since 1998. And the Bush White House has just as often been a hindrance as a help since Day One of its existence. It still stuns me that a Republican president and Republican Congress could have overseen domestic discretionary spending rising at more than double the inflation rate for six straight years…and a reckless expansion of Medicare…and a vast expansion of the bureaucratic, regulatory state — all without, for six years at least, a single presidential veto.
I know this is a Republican group tonight, but this record is why conservatives in Washington — and I am one of them — insist on making people understand that we self-identify NOT as Republicans … but specifically as conservatives. Because, unlike down here, conservatives and Republicans are two distinctly different breeds in Washington, or at least in Washington public office. Oh, yes, it IS possible to be both conservative and Republican in Washington still, but it’s sort of like being both a hunter and a golfer: any overlap is almost incidental; not UN-likely, mind you, but certainly not automatic either. …
NOW LET ME INTERRUPT this litany of woes to promise that this speech won’t be all doom and gloom. Eventually I’ll get to a silver lining, or at least maybe a chrome lighting or something. Oddly enough, that faint light in the dark cloud emanates from the presidential campaign.
In explaining this, let me be clear how odd it is that I am the one saying this. While I actually supported John McCain back in the primaries in the year 2000, I am anything but a big fan of his.
Witness the very first column I wrote this year for The American Spectator online, a column entirely about McCain entitled “Angry Old Man.” I detailed numerous examples of what I figuratively called McCain’s, quote, “regular muggings of conservatives.” And I had even worse things to say about him in numerous blog entries.
On the other hand, in late May I wrote another column on McCain, without contradicting my earlier column a single time, that approvingly called the Arizonan, quote, “the new Barry Goldwater.” Sorry to quote myself, but here’s what we in journalism call “the nut graph” of the column, quote: “On those issues on which Goldwater was strongest, about which he cared most deeply and on which he was most identifiably conservative, McCain is as strong or stronger than any national leader in the past 20 years.” End quote.
I went on to explain that those issues on which Goldwater was strongest were A) national security and overall support for our troops, and B) sincere, tireless and dedicated opposition to outrageous government spending. Likewise with McCain.
I also noted that McCain has proposed the most free-market health care reforms ever forwarded by a party presidential nominee.
Finally, it is true, not some sort of pretense, that John McCain loves this country in the same deep, palpable, gut-level, and dare I say spiritual way that Ronald Reagan did.
As the old saying goes, McCain may be an SOB, but at least he is our SOB.
AND LET IT BE PERFECTLY clear that John McCain can indeed win this election. He can win the election because this is still a center- to center-right country. He can win this election because Barack Obama is so incredibly inexperienced, so callow, so arrogant, and so phenomenally liberal — the SINGLE most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, according to the respected neutral ratings of the National Journal — that the great mass of Middle America has good reason and, I think and pray, still enough common sense, to be turned off by the notion of Obama negotiating with the ayatollahs and raising our taxes and regulating mom-and-pop businesses to death.
And McCain can win the election because most Americans still love America and are attracted to somebody who loves it as much as McCain does, who has sacrificed for it so mightily, and who has so bravely exercised independent political judgment on the nation’s behalf.
Many Americans, myself included, sometimes can differ with McCain’s interpretation of what constitutes the best interests of the nation, but even then we have confidence that he truly is putting his understanding of the national interest ahead of narrow political considerations.
And, as conservatives, we know that on the two great conservative issues, spending and defense, our understanding of the national interest is the same as his…and also that on lots of other issues his instincts are far more like our own than are Obama’s.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?