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McCain Migraine

Take a deep breath and count to Keating 5. Mark Steyn's friends. Huckawhat?? The real Romney record. Plus more.

1.15.08

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GO HOME, SENATOR
Re: John Samples's McCain vs. Madison:

Every time I come to ponder John McCain for any public office for which I may vote I remember one element of his career which seems to have been neatly forgotten: Keating 5. End of consideration.
-- Reid Bogie
Waterbury, Connecticut

Thank you for continuing to expose John McCain for the left leaner that he is; with the media in full swoon over him it is hard to find much being said about what this guy actually believes. People are much too willing to forget McCain-Feingold and how blatantly unconstitutional it is, and are much too willing to let it go by the boards.

For me, that one piece of legislation says all that needs to be said about McCain: he cannot be trusted to uphold an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. If a man is willing to ignore the plain meaning of the Constitution as it regards free speech, what other rights does he think should be subjugated in order to have a "clean" government? It is obvious to me that John McCain loves the American government more than he loves the Constitution. Such a man is clearly unfit to lead this nation.
-- Eric Edwards
Walnut Cove, North Carolina

My goodness, Mr. Samples has just made that 08 migraine really start to throb. Has it really come down to this, McCain v. the Constitution? What is it about McCain that Republicans don't quite get? Or rather, to be fair, that Independents and Democrats, his true coalition, don't get? After all, McCain doesn't hide his intentions all that well, except perhaps, his deceptive and mean spirited ploys with the Immigration bill, and his not-so-comical intellectual gyrations on behalf of the "Gang of 14."

As Mr. Antle pointed out Monday, McCain himself has said it all about the foibles of Washington pols; "Washington changed us." Indeed it has. I believe psychologists have an explanation for this desire by one of the Keating Five to punish the rest of America for his failings; it's called projection.

So let me see if I have this right; another Clinton presidency (oh, it really hurts now) will simply appoint liberal jurists to re- write the Constitution, with an international flair, while a McCain presidency (*%$#!!!) will simply cut and paste over the existing document, as has McCain-Feingold. Of course, both will do this with America's best interest in mind; after all, we all need to be protected from ourselves, or am I projecting here?
-- A. DiPentima

Unfortunately, Mr. Samples is correct. John McCain either has no understanding of the U.S. Constitution or doesn't give a fig about it. I suspect he doesn't understand it. But what else would one expect from someone who was at the bottom of his class at Annapolis? Or who was dumb enough to be bamboozled by Charles Keating? Unfortunately, one would have to say that Jane Fonda is more supportive of the Constitution than is John McCain. I for one would never vote for McCain under any circumstances. I appreciate his military service, but certainly not his political service, which has been highly detrimental to the nation. He in fact should not only cease and desist in his presidential campaign, he should retire his Senate seat, and leave with dignity. I am one American who has long since tired of John McCain's service to his nation, particularly as he wishes to dismantle the Constitution. Remember, Teddy Roosevelt is his idol, and Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive, who left the Republican Party, after the Republican Party (Taft, et.al.) "scotched" his attempts to vitiate the U.S. Constitution. Say it out loud, John: You are neither a Conservative nor a Republican, and have no use for the Constitution.
-- Kent J. Lyon
College Station, Texas

The most important paragraph in Mr. Samples's column is this:

"But as Welch points out, McCain sees distrust of government as 'a ceiling on our greatness' and contrary to fostering a proper pride in our institutions. Freedom of speech should give way to collective goodness."

Senator McCain wants us, the great unwashed, to trust in government to provide for the greater good, at the expense of individualism and our natural rights. He thinks that America is great because of government, not because of its citizens. On a philosophical basis, this puts him in the exact same company as Sens. Clinton and Obama. It makes me shudder to think that he could become a presidential nominee.
-- Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
Yorktown, Virginia

Okay, it's time to speak the unspeakable, to mention the unmentionable: the more I explore MCain's record in politics the more it strikes me that he got slapped in the head once too often during his involuntary stay at the Hanoi Hilton.

I honor and thank John McCain for his service to my country. I respect his courage under the duress as a POW. I don't accept that his military past should give him a pass now. He already received one pass as one of the Keating 5. I laugh aloud each time John McCain brazenly mentions Jack Abramoff in debate because he knows many Americans have short memories.

Then I recall John Glenn, another American who parlayed his hero status into a senatorial career and ended up a political hack, and was re-elected. And I worry about McCain's ability to convince himself that limiting speech for Americans was right. Because, as he keeps telling me, he knows better what's best.
-- Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey

HAPPY ACCIDENT
Re: Brooke M. Goldstein's Mark Steyn is Not Alone:

Was the placement of an article on the Islamists' suppression of free speech and Senator McCain's suppression of political speech deliberate? If so, bravo!

Those who seek to use the force of law to prevent their opposition from expressing itself, whether it is through the suppression of critical campaign ads or articles that document ties between "non-violent" and violent jihadis, do not do so out of the courage of their own convictions, but out of the fear that their weaknesses will be exposed. In an age where information can be disseminated at viral speeds on the Internet, the attempt to censor dissent is as futile as King Canute's commands to the tides, but in the short term, it's a good identifier of those who want to rule, but cannot lead, and fear those who can.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, USA

Brooke Goldstein writes that Islamic jihadists have been successfully using the legal systems of the free world to silence or intimidate those who criticize terrorism or terrorists (or, if you prefer, Islam).

Terrorists should not be protected under any law. There ought to be a bounty on them -- with no limits.

Mark (Live Free or Die) Steyn is on the front line against terrorism. Every American, everyone in the Western World, should support Steyn and those who stand with him against the jihadists...
-- Jack Hughes
Chicago, Illinois

This is an egregious affront to our constitution, in my view. It is a looming problem that need not exist in this country, or what used to be this country. I would certainly agree that the courts ought to simply refer to the 1st Amendment and throw all these cases out with prejudice.

I have, however, a small question. How is this any different, with the exception of the monetary judgements rendered, than the politically correct speech police within our society that have taken whole categories of discussion out of the public discourse. White folks who are NOT complete PC liberals are virtually banned from discussing anything to do with the black or Hispanic population. Men are essentially banned from discussing a whole range of topics to do with women, including such poisonous phrases as, "My don't you look nice today." Politicians are prohibited from criticizing the views and positions of their opponents without being told that they are "going negative."

When I was a youngster, back in the dark ages, we used to say, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Now it would seem that the operative phrase in society may be, "Sticks and stones are OK, but you better not say anything that offends me." I have never seen so many folks that spend their entire days going around looking for something or someone that offends them. It dang sure ain't the American that I learned to love anymore. Frankly, I have a whole list of categories of folks that I go out of my way to offend, like environmental wackos and tree huggers, and animal rights wackos and PITA, and homosexual rights militants, and Code Pink traitors, and more. A few years ago, I almost bought a Hummer just because it would upset the enviros every time I drove it down the street.

Well, I shall keep cheering for Mark Steyn and all in his predicament. May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the armpits of all CAIR members AND their wives. Now does the American Spectator have the cajones to print that insult?
-- Ken Shreve

Brooke M. Goldstein probably thinks she wrote a column about Islamist threats against free speech. What she really wrote about is the disgraceful evolution of jurisprudence in which unconscionably excessive legal fees have made the pursuit of justice impossible for far too many.

Despite all her ostensible high-mindedness, the bet here is that she, like so many others in her profession, is solidly against a "loser pays -- including court costs" system of litigation. And maybe she and her colleagues can explain why they think they're entitled to $500-plus an hour -- other than the fact that lawyers write most of the laws.

Is there any other occupation that can create its "raw material" out of thin air?
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

To Khalid bin Mahfouz, CAIR, and all the many other Islamic groups who wish to silence us. You may take our books off the shelves, you may bankrupt us, you may take our homes, your religion may murder us in cold blood, but there is one thing you will never ever be able to take away from us.

You will never silence us or take our freedom. Tyrants through the millennium have tried over and over, but freedom still lives and flourishes, as the tyrants turn into dust and fade into the dust bin of those who have tried and failed to silence the freedom loving peoples of the world.
-- Melvin Leppla
Jacksonville, North Carolina

I am waiting for someone to bring a legal sledgehammer down upon the thick, degenerate skulls of the Islamists so as to give them a taste of their own medicine.

I think talk show host Michael Savage is the only one to attempt this so far. I suspect CAIR will rue the day it started up with a wild man like Savage. We need to bury these disgusting clowns under an avalanche of pleadings, motions, discovery requests, and other cash-draining maneuvers.
-- Nathaniel J. Pomrenze

Why aren't any of the so-called Presidential candidates addressing this issue?
-- Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

ATLAS SLIMMED
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Huckabee's Wink at Roe v. Wade:

Jeffrey Lord is brilliant! I never would have made the connection between an airline executive's pay and abortion. Why, if we elect Huckabee, we're liable to have armies of abortionists dragging pregnant CEO's out in the street and aborting their children on the spot! And we'll pay for it with a CEO tax!

There must not be much to do in the QubeTV board room.
-- Randy Gammon
Drexel, Missouri

It is manifestly apparent that Mike Huckabee has never read any Ayn Rand, such as Atlas Shrugged. The true villains of a Huckabee Administration's "Office of Fairness in Executive Pay" (FEP) would be the myopic government bureaucrats and their heavy handed thugs. The first (Party) Secretary of FEP would probably look like Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, or Patrick Leahy. When the American economy stops dead in its tracks, the FEP executives would break out the cigars and champagne and congratulate themselves on a job well done.
-- David Shoup
Augusta, Georgia

I'm assuming you did not read Mr. Lord's article before releasing it for publication. His ridiculous rationale for associating abortion with CEO pay is offensive and more worthy of political chat rooms than The American Spectator. Furthermore, I fail to understand why he would associate his conclusions with Mr. Huckabee's views more than those of many other candidates. This article was nothing more than blatant propaganda. You surely raised your magazines bar for content quality with Mr. Lord's article.
-- James Turner

LIFE'S A BEACH
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's Letter From Palm Beach:

Informative article, Mr. Reiland, but, what, exactly, was the point? Beach front property is still very expensive in southern Florida? And I must thank you for making such a good point about evolution possibly being a tool of the Intelligent Creator, as that would be how Darwin himself would have seen it. And the notion of sending an entire task force to a mall to deal with a teenager's hanging pants greatly illustrates the slow creep of fascism into the United States.

But I fail to see what the underlying point of your article was, and while I'm sure you had a good reason for this article, it has escaped me. Seriously, could you let me know?

Thanks!
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

MASSACHUSETTS ON PARADE
Re: Deroy Murdock's Mitt's Mythical "Mass. Miracle":

In his hit-job on Governor Mitt Romney's economic record in Massachusetts, Deroy Murdock wrote in The American Spectator that Romney presided over a "parade of economic stagnation and retreat."

What parade was Murdock watching? It certainly wasn't happening in Massachusetts. I know, because as a Massachusetts voter, political candidate, and Republican activist, I was there for Mitt Romney's governorship, and what I witnessed was one of the rarest feats of economic leadership on the entire American stage, one which makes Mitt Romney's record as governor a stunning success.

The bottom-line analysis is strikingly simple: When Mitt Romney walked into the corner office on January 1, 2003, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts staggered under a $3 billion budget deficit. Romney quickly reversed the tide of red ink, delivering the citizens of his state a $1 billion surplus by 2006. And he did it while preventing a Democratic legislature from raising income taxes or capital gains taxes.

As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney displayed precisely the economic leadership needed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He stood athwart the most tax-happy legislature in the nation and shouted "stop!" And he won.

This was politically impossible, except for Romney's extraordinary abilities as an executive. The Massachusetts state legislature is dominated by Democrats to a greater degree that any other legislature in the country. When Romney took office, Democrats held 138 of 160 house seats, and 34 of the 40 seats in the state senate.

Murdock pooh-poohs these numbers, seemingly missing the mathematical force of such overwhelming opposition to Romney's governorship in the legislative branch. This imbalance means that the Massachusetts legislature was in a political position to absolutely ignore the leadership of a Republican governor. It could literally do whatever its legislative heart desired. The legislature had the votes to pass any bill and to override any veto.

Against these odds, it is remarkable that Governor Romney not only held the line on taxes. He also pressured the legislature to abandon its dark-of-the-night plans to impose a retroactive capital tax increase on Massachusetts taxpayers.

When was the last time in American politics that a veto-proof Democrat majority in any legislature failed to raise taxes, never mind being forced to reverse course on a tax hike they had already approved? Mitt Romney made sure they didn't get away with it.

In Massachusetts, Governor Romney did the politically impossible. He said no, stood firm, and we all watched the largest Democratic majority in the country turn tail and run away from its love of tax hikes. His success in this tax battle truly constitutes not only a "Massachusetts Miracle" but foreshadows far greater possibilities for achieving pro-growth tax reduction nationwide under the leadership of a Romney presidency.

Governor Romney achieved a Reagan-caliber victory on income and capital gains taxes in Massachusetts. Murdock misses this entirely, and snipes away on a variety of smaller economic issues, complaining that Governor Romney raised fees to help balance the budget, and that the Bay State lagged the nation in selected economic measurements. Those of us who live and work here, and who have campaigned here as Republicans understand what Murdock apparently doesn't: Massachusetts has suffered for nearly 50 years under a growing Democrat monopoly in the legislature, leading to one of America's most inhospitable business and economic climates.

When Romney was inaugurated Governor in 2003, the Massachusetts legislature was routinely ignoring the will of the voters on ballot initiatives, including their smack-down of the overwhelming people's approval of an income tax reduction which the legislature refused (and still refuses) to implement. Meanwhile, these same lawmakers continued a spending and regulatory spree pushing the budget into mounting deficits with no end in sight while suffocating entrepreneurial energy and reducing incentives for existing companies to stay in the state, never mind relocate here.

It's no wonder that Mitt Romney inherited a state economy that trailed overall national numbers in manufacturing, output, job growth, and employment. The real wonder is that, as a Republican governor entering this morass of economic opposition and obstructionism he was able to pull the budget into the black and build a big surplus, while forestalling an adversarial legislature on income and capital gains tax increases.

Murdock's article quotes Barbara Anderson, executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation, opposing a proposed "SUV levy" under Romney that was never enacted, and uses this quote to imply that, as head of the leading anti-tax group in Massachusetts, she is also anti-Romney in the presidential race.

Quite the opposite. This is the same Barbara Anderson who offers incredibly high praise and an immeasurably strong endorsement for Mitt Romney in her recent article "Why we need Mitt Romney to be president." In a sweeping positive assessment, Anderson concludes that "The nation needs leaders like Reagan and Romney to do what has to be done, to save the world for my grandchildren."

Here's the real story: Governor Mitt Romney, faced with the most hostile political environment in the country, attempted to do what few governors even with friendly legislatures attempt -- to promote and enforce pro-growth economic leadership on the two most important fronts: income taxes and capital gains taxes.

Mitt Romney not only attempted it in Massachusetts. He succeeded. Barbara Anderson knows it because she was here in Massachusetts to watch Mitt Romney's performance as governor. So was I. And here's another thing we know from being in the front row: Mitt Romney will make the best president.
-- Matt Kinnaman, member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee and a 2006 candidate for Massachusetts State Senate

ROBBING PETER TO PAY RON PAUL
Re: W. James Antle III's Right Frum the Beginning:

I'm trying to understand what problems Conservatism has solved in the last thirty years (Reagan era) that are no longer relevant? Reagan's marginal tax cuts, as well as George W's put money back in the economy where it produces even more revenue for the Government which gets this revenue without taking a single vote. It just rolls in every two weeks like clock work. The more productive I am, the higher a percentage of my income the government gets automatically. Why do I go to such lengths to fund the Government?

Tens of millions of workers now don't pay income taxes and many get checks from the Government for simply not earning enough. Add Social Security and alike to all this and the number of people getting a check from the Government vs. the number of people actually paying into the pot is quite revealing. In economic terms this is all called Government spending. When did Government spending decline in the last thirty years, real government spending which includes unfunded long term mandates like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid? Reagan's SS/Medicare fix raised my payroll taxes almost 25% which mirrors my income tax rate reduction. The system is still going broke. The last 7 years have seen even more long term unfunded debt added to these programs. These Social Programs are still growing out of control and will become the number one Federal and State expenditures not too far down the road. Is it Conservatives' purpose in life to continue to put a smiley face on Socialism or simply make it more "efficient"? This Karl Marx plan isn't going to go away and I would challenge any Conservative to illustrate how we are going to grow our way out of this that doesn't rob Peter to pay Paul?

Reagan's defense modernization was built up deficit spending just like all wars have been. He also had to bail out the S&Ls. We might see another such event if things keep going the way they are on Wall Street. What this nation built then for Defense is half gone now and can't be replaced at current spending levels. Government spending has continued to grow above revenue even as revenue has increased sharply over the last thirty years. Why? It takes more than a few Bridges to Nowhere to accomplish this feat.

If every able bodied person in this country paid what I pay in income taxes, the Federal Government would take in over 2 Trillion just in Federal Income taxes. The taxes passed on to every consumer in the form of corporate taxes (22% of every product) would flood the Treasury well beyond the current 2.8 Trillion Federal Budget level. The childless young couple down the street have newer cars then I do, have put more into their home than I can and pay 45% less income taxes. The retired childless couple down the street which still works pays over 70% less on the same dollar income. Half this nation's adults are unmarried and I still hear Conservatives say that families need a tax break. Really? Where in the Constitution does it say only married people pay taxes? I'm ready to marry one of my cats and adopt the other three to get on the same gravy train as my married friends. Some of them still have a twenty-thirty something child at home. When the Supreme Court mandates that homosexuals have the same marriage rights (aka as a 45% tax break) as non homosexuals you will understand my last point better.

I'm of the same mind as Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan on this matter. You don't change the Government by becoming part of the problem. Government is the problem and Conservatives need to stop trying to make the beast a benevolent dictatorship. It will consume this nation and all that it stands for. If the root word in Conservatism is "to Conserve" that which has proven over time to work and fight against that which has not, there is a very long laundry list of undone tasks that Conservatives started in the '60s and are still untouched. If Conservatives don't see these age old problems, then perhaps many that call themselves Conservatives just don't want to be called a Liberal Democrat. Either way, Conservatism hasn't accomplished a meaningful thing in the last 30 years if it doesn't understand the root problem is always Government and always remains so. That's why the Founders went to such lengths to put checks and balances on this Democracy. They had 3500 years of failure at self government to guide them.

Nothing has really changed since Reagan entered the Presidency and left it. Many just don't want to accept reality and step up to the plate and take a swing at doing what has to be done, no matter how painful that may be.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

OUT-AND-OUT HUCKABEE
Re: George Neumayr's Standing Athwart Huckabee, Yelling Stop:

I'm a little late in reading this article, and probably wouldn't have written in on it except, well, let's get real. My problem with Huckabee isn't that he's religious. And if any conservative would have a problem with Huckabee's open religion, it would be this agnostic. I'm not about to talk about religion, and I would rather it be out of the public sphere, but the fact that Huckabee is so open and honest about his is refreshing and one of his good qualities. His support of the fair tax is another.

No one can argue that Huckabee didn't do some good things in Arkansas. However, he did those good things through all the wrong practices. He taxed more, he spent more. His ideas on foreign policy remind me deeply of Jimmy Carter. The ethical scandals he's had level against him remind me even more deeply of Bill Clinton.

This man has stated that he would support a nation-wide smoking ban. Where ever you fall on the issue of smoking, you cannot deny that the use of the policing power of the federal government to enact a nation-wide public smoking ban is out-and-out fascism. He also wants to put the nation on a diet. These may be good-hearted things, but they're still all kinds of progressive and extremely liberal statements.

His statements on current American foreign policy do, as Thompson said on Thursday last, do sound suspiciously like the falls into the "blame America first" thinking.

Note, not a one of these things have a single thing to do with his open religiosity.

I don't like McCain or Romney for different reasons. Personally, I think Thompson is our best choice. And, oddly enough, for the exact same reasons that so many of the "chattering class" seem to dislike him so much.

But let's not get lost in the details here. Huckabee is a bad choice, and it has nothing to do with his religion, or free expression thereof. Come to that, if he showed some ethical consistency, had a good record, and was saying the right things outside of tax plans, he would have my support despite his religion.

The fact is, we're electing a President, not a preacher. His religion doesn't factor in, one way or another.
-- Charles Campbell
Austin, Texas

BIPARTISANSHIP IS FOR LOSERS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Victory, Not Bipartisanship:

I just read the article by Jeffrey Lord, and wanted to say how refreshing it is to read something that so squarely hits the mark of what conservatism really stands for, truth. Principles and conviction, but truth is the driver. Understanding the real human desire to stand for something and be true to that basic human instinct. Exactly why I have never understood, nor accepted Beltway speak, such as bi-partisanship. Actually, I really have learned to understand Beltway linguistics, that is why bi-partisanship is a loser strategy.

I live in Tulsa, and am going to keep a close eye on the confab in Norman, where a real bi-partisan, David Boren, President of OU, will most certainly be prominent.
-- Tom Shupper
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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