YOU, SIR, ARE NO RONALD REAGAN
Re: Peter J. Wallison’s Reagan and McCain:
Did John McCain III offer you a job picking tomatoes at his ranchero at $50 per hour?
— Burton Hollabaugh
You successfully articulated everything I wanted to say but didn’t have the literary gifts to do so!! I’m a Pennsylvania Republican who has voted for the likes of Sam Rohrer, Arlen Specter (regrettably) and Rick Santorum.
I love and embrace McCain, when the rest of this hypocritical group called the “base” has rejected him!! My brother is in manufacturing (the industry everyone said was done in America about 10-15 yrs ago).
He tells me there’s no recession on his part — and his industry is actually the one here in America that MAKES STUFF TO BE SOLD OVERSEAS!!
Let “Ken Doll” Romney crow as much as he wants about his resume w/ Bain Capital. He’s John Kerry but with a Red suit on. McCain is the only one w/ the gravitas to be first and foremost “COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF”! Thank you for that article.
— Doug Olexy
You are correct. McCain is so similar to Reagan it is staggering. It takes no effort to imagine Ronald Reagan slandering the Swift Boat activists as “dishonest and dishonorable,” deriding the Bush across-the-board tax cuts as “only for the rich,” legitimizing the filibustering of judicial nominees as a member of the Gang of 14, crusading against Guantanamo, favoring re-importation of drugs from Canada, opposing free speech in political campaigns, opposing drilling in ANWR, and favoring conferring veto rights to Mexico on building a border fence in our country.
I did not make any of this up — it came right out of John McVain’s mouth. The only bigger blowhard in the Senate is Teddy Kennedy, but he is probably on scotch most of the time.
Keep wasting your time trying to push this fairy tale. It will only prevent you from backing a genuine conservative candidate. Perhaps that is your objective. I am not buying it. I wouldn’t even rent it.
— Carroll Melton
Nice try, Pete, but I’ll take McCain’s mother’s views about her son over your comparisons to President Reagan any day, anytime! That is truly Straight Talk!
President Reagan believed in upholding the Constitution. He never put limits on free speech (McCain-Feingold); he never pushed for a gang of 14 to change voting rules for judges; he was against any future amnesty for illegals; he was in favor of cutting taxes.
All this was sort of an eighties updated version of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.
My mom always said to me, “You’ll always be known by the company you keep.” Hanging out with Senator Chappaquiddick (Kennedy), Senator Speech Therapist (Feingold), Senator Leftwing Independent (Lieberman) and Senator Swift Boat tells me more about Senator NY Times Endorsee McCain than any points you postulate in your column.
Sure, he talks tough on the war in Iraq, and rightly so. But, I fear McCain suffers from a Walter Mitty fantasy: he is hoping for a chance to lead a fight and so retire memories of the Hanoi Hilton. McCain, I believe, is a backward-looking small man seeking personal redemption for a perceived failure in a past war. He will never get my vote.
— Wolf Terner
Fair lawn, New Jersey
Hmm, authentic, eh? Right. But, you see, there’s that immigration thing. Once burned, twice shy. John McCain? No way, Jose!
— Mike Showalter
I have only one response to Mr. Wallison’s article on John McCain; he must be kidding!
I am a conservative but I have already decided that if McCain is the Republican nominee I am going to vote for Hillary just to keep that SOB out of office. My extended family and many of my friends are either committed to or contemplating doing the same.
— Paul Martell
Mr. Wallison should spend a bit more time studying what Mr. McCain does, rather than what he says.
At every turn when he’s had a chance, McCain has gone for bigger and more intrusive government: limits on free speech, resisting tax cuts, ensuring that the bench remains liberal, activist, and intrusive.
To portray McCain as an adherent to the principles of President Reagan is to utterly misread McCain.
To suggest that he can gain the support of the “Reagan coalition” is to indulge in fantasy.
— Ralph Kalal
The article written by Peter Wallison is an insult to Ronald Reagan’s memory. McCain couldn’t shine Reagan’s shoes. McCain whether by bravery or by chance when he was a prisoner of war became brain washed and somehow embraced authoritarian socialism. When you look and the things that he has embraced, McCain Feingold (the attack on the first Amendment) Kennedy McCain (the attack on America in favor of Mexican invaders) and the rest of his betrayal of trust and oath of office, the only similarity between McCain and Reagan is that they both were humans, both spoke English, and had the same physical attributes such as, arms, legs, eyes, ears, nose, mouth etc., etc. After that, NOTHING!
Please don’t begin to denigrate your magazine with stupidity such as Wallison’s absurd comparisons, they are plebian and without merit, he should be writing for Slate or perhaps the New York Times.
— Tony Managan
Please stop trying to tell us that this anti-second amendment, Republican-in-name-only liberal is like Reagan. He is clearly a Liberal, has always been one, and no matter how many silly arguments you put forth this fact will not change. Surely you do not think that we buy your specious argument put forth in this article. You sound like a mouthpiece for the mainstream press. The article is insulting. Reagan had charisma, chutzpah, and a strong dislike for the press. John McCain has none of those qualities. Reagan had the ability to lift up the hearts and minds of America, and he led us into some of the greatest conservative gains that we have ever had in this country. He lead by his heart, McCain is publicity driven. He couldn’t hold a candle to Reagan. Wake up, a McCain presidency will set back our freedoms, destroy our party, and dumb-down conservatism until every liberal will call themselves conservative too.
— Tom Everett
One disadvantage Romney has is that he is unknown nationally. Romney is the new guy — the outsider so to speak. Thus he needs to make a good impression with every appearance. On the other hand, McCain is well known. That is one reason McCain takes heavy flak from some on the far right. Having been an active Senator for over two decades it would be a miracle if he had not displeased some people occasionally.
On Friday, Rush Limbaugh attacked McCain for almost the whole three hours of his show. One of his prime arguments was that if the New York Times endorsed McCain, then McCain could not be a conservative.
Whatever your view of McCain is, its hard to deny that he (a) passionately opposes earmarks, (b) is the most qualified to support national defense, and (c) is honest in the sense the he tells the truth.
— Rod Hug
Santa Rosa, California
Romney being Romney is the first step in getting elected. (To quote the Bard, “To thine own self be true, and it follows as night follows day, thou canst be false to no man”) Too often when Romney spoke, no matter how eloquently, and often because he was so eloquent, he seemed phony and his principled stands appeared simply to be positioning. (A maturing view point is not flip flopping: only two types of people never change their minds: dead ones and fools.) American have a long history of respecting men of business — as long as they earned their money honestly. By brandishing his ethical business successes, he, like Senator McCain, can make a claim of honorable service. Romney’s honor does not come from military service, but not everyone is given an opportunity to serve as bravely as Senator McCain. The reverse is equally true: very few can claim to have created and distributed wealth as Romney did when he was a venture capitalist. No, Romney is not Reagan, but that mantle hangs poorly indeed on McCain.
Mr. Wallison writes, “John McCain is like Ronald Reagan in the most significant respect of all: he is an authentic person, not a confection designed by consultants.” He is correct on this point, but Senator McCain’s authentic beliefs are antithetical to Conservative and Libertarian ideals. While he may take an authentic and principled stand on amnesty for illegal aliens, Social Security credit for illegal aliens, criminal trials for terrorists, stem-cell research on human embryos, nonsensical global warming legislation and free speech-crushing campaign-finance laws, this does not make him a Reaganite, let alone a Ronald Reagan simulacrum. Simply stated, Senator McCain, no matter how principled and authentic, is no friend to those who believe in the least intrusive government and freest of societies.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
I’ve read the pro-McCain commentary this past week and most of it seemed pretty desperate. He is the only Republican who can win the election (didn’t work for John Kerry). Then he was the seemingly lone Republican voice that supported the war and the surge (not true). I experienced a chill when I read about the peril the Supreme Court would be in if a Democrat moved into the White House and failed to warm up to Senator McCain’s gang of fourteen participation that cut short the PR gains the President was making at the time. That group didn’t gang up against the explosive spending and earmarks of the last few years so I am left combing my memory for efforts other than grand statements by Senator Electable.
Sure, some of Senator McCain’s supporters grudgingly and dismissively acknowledge his more memorable positions that were contrary to the Republican Party and its constituents. Those are too numerous to list here.
The only principles the Senator embraces are those that promote his standing with the MSM and the independents (the buffet, Punxsutawney voters). So I am forced to read insults to my intelligence and one even came from Victor Hanson on January 20 when he wrote disgruntled Conservatives who are threatening to sit it out were engaging in “braggadocio.” We’ll see.
— Diamon Sforza
Mr. Wallison writes “The similarities between Reagan and McCain begin with their extraordinary attachment to principle.” Mr. Wallison is presumably implying that “extraordinary attachment to principle” is inherently a positive characteristic. It is, in fact, a neutral one. All of the greatest tyrants of history were men of principles, those being horrifically malignant principles.
The other political party has a comparable siren song of “change.” But “change” is also a neutral concept.
Therefore it is necessary to enumerate an individual’s principles and then decide whether the individual is desirable or not. Senator McCain has declared his principles of:
(1) Voting against the Bush / Republican tax cuts at the time they were enacted, and also at the time making comments about tax cuts for “the rich” being unjustified. That the “progressive” tax structure inherently compels “the rich” to pay the vast majority of income taxes and thus naturally implies that an income tax cut would mostly affect “the rich” is apparently irrelevant to Senator McCain’s principles.
(2) Supporting amnesty for illegal aliens and being a driving force behind the recently defeated amnesty bill. The staggering cost of importing poverty, its affect on hospitals, schools, crime and general employment, is apparently irrelevant to Senator McCain’s principles.
(3) Blocking the appointment of conservative judges by virtue of his “gang of 14” that eliminated the “nuclear option” that would have allowed Presidential judicial nominees to have been approved or disapproved by a simple majority of the Senate and not a supermajority of sixty.
(4) Limiting freedom of political speech by virtue of his McCain Feingold Act banning certain political advertisements.
(5) Imposing a staggering burden on American industry and consumers by artificially increasing the cost of carbon based fuels. Senator McCain has swallowed the bogus science of man-made global warming hook, line, sinker, rod, reel and boat. And his principles require all of us to accept the same hook.
That said, there are many admirable qualities of John McCain. As the peerless Mark Levin has said, if John McCain did not have so many liberal political positions, he would be a terrific candidate for the Republican Party and President of the United States. But the reality of his positions requires a conservative to reject the Senator because of his principles.
— Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Sorry, Mr. Wallison. John McCain is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a man of principle in the mold of Ronald Reagan. Mr. McCain is an opportunist of the first order, even as he pretends to being a straight talker. He doesn’t talk straight about illegal immigration; he doesn’t talk straight about taxes; he doesn’t talk straight about his support for the surge; he didn’t talk straight about the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth; he didn’t talk straight about the tactics his campaign used in SC and MI in 2000. No, the good Senator McCain is not to be trusted, particularly since he is no different than Billie’s wife at root. How long must we all pay for his Keating 5 transgression?
— P.A. Melita
I am still in shock after reading Mr. Wallison’s article comparing McCain to Reagan. I find such a comparison highly insulting to the Reagan legacy. I watched that little, weasel McCain try to arrogantly fool this country into swallowing his amnesty bill. When talk radio and Internet bloggers exposed his legislative tricks, he screamed bloody murder and accused those who opposed his bill of being racists (what party always seems to resort to that)?. This told me loud and clear that what the so-called, straight-shooting McCain most fears is an educated and informed electorate. His arrogance alone disqualifies him from any comparison to Reagan.
Is Mr. Wallison not aware of Senator McCain’s assault on free speech in McCain/Feingold? Are we to believe that someone who argues for domestic trials for Gitmo terrorists and who opposes water boarding is the right person to lead the war on terror? Should we trust McCain to lead our economy when he opposed Bush’s tax cuts? Is the straight shooter going to give us a logical reason why he voted against drilling in Anwar?
If Mr. Wallison wants to compare McCain to another politician then it seems pretty obvious to me who that should be. He might look better than her in pantsuits but what he’s trying to hide is just about as bad.
— Carner York
How did that guy sneak into the American Enterprise Institute?
Principle! We besmirch Ronald Reagan because he had principle and somehow it is concluded that so does Senator McCain. Among the definitions we find in Webster’s, of the word principle, is “habitual devotion to right principle.” With the senator, we have found him to be more at home with the left than the RIGHT. The last of the Republican candidates we find comparable to Reagan is McCain!
The thought of him as President makes my blood run cold! With Hillary we know it’s -What you see is what you get. It will be ever more painful if we elect him and predictably he cozies up to the loony left probably before the inaugural balls are over. After the election, should he win, the same bodies would people the transition teams-Carville-Kennedy staffers-the forehead et al. Interchangeable with Hillary’s minions. Ronald Reagan took Tip O’Neill to the woodshed! McCain will take Teddy to bed.
Was it principle that caused McCain to give us the unconstitutional finance reform mess? Or was it a severe case of conscience because he got caught with his hand in the Keating S&L cookie jar? You see it’s always about McCain. His psychotic need to show how pure he is, drove THAT one. It was not principle.
The Bush tax cuts, which all but leftist Democrats hail as the engine driving our thriving economy were opposed by McCain. He and a couple of other RINOs voted NO! Twice! Principle? Hardly.
The maverick gang he led to give the leftist democrats cover when they were stonewalling Conservative judicial candidates, including an eminent Hispanic conservative, was NOT an example of Mr. Wallison’s beloved “principle.” What it was (as Andy Griffith used to say) was among many examples of his enmity for Conservatives Republicans and George Bush. After all, he had to get even for their dissing him in 2000, didn’t he?
Hand in glove with the swimmer, most democrats and the usual RINO suspects he tried to shove 10,000,000 ++ illegal immigrants down our throat under the cover of darkness. Thank god we were aided in figuring it out before and his buds could pull it off. Lately he begrudgingly admits to something in re this but on analysis is unapologetic. One day (maybe Sunday) he will try again, but with more guile. It’s hilarious to attribute this perfidy with principle!
Close Guantanamo!!! Send the terrorists to Florida so their lawyers can file a blizzard of paper the way of the ACLU, with the overall goal of loosing the murdering dogs the way they do in our major cities. Cincinnati knows of this-and Detroit-and Houston- and Los Angelis and St Louis and many others. The D’s rail(they did yesterday) about “Torture.” There he goes again! It’s about him. Are we to conclude his position springs from what the godless, blood thirsty communist N Vietnamese did to him and his fellows should be compared with our military in this time of war?
I could go on and on and on. But instead consider a telling reality. The New York Times just endorsed the senator. For his principles? Come on!
— Morris J. Turkelson
Perhaps, it is the water, for I cannot arrive at another explanation. I would, therefore, urge the office manager at the American Enterprise Institute to check out their water coolers for hallucinogens that may have been covertly added, for how else can one explain Peter J. Wallison’s paean to Sen. John McCain?
Full disclosure: for more than a year, I have, on this webzine, described the wrecking ball that John McCain will be to the GOP’s chances of winning in ’08, a prediction that, incidentally, has now become standard fare amongst many of the well-known personalities of talk radio. Yet, with all the evidence that surrounds us to confirm that catastrophe, the aforementioned Signor Wallison insists that the temperamentally challenged Senator from Arizona is a candidate that will bring us together, for, he intones, Sen. McCain is the living embodiment of Ronald Reagan. What claptrap!
It would take a very long rebuttal to critique adequately Wallison’s article, but allow these observations: McCain, our author claims, has “…failed to toe the line of conservative orthodoxy.” Really? You mean McCain’s objection to tax cuts, his aiding and abetting bigger government, as in expanding Federal powers in the field of education, his refusal to accept the premise that big government is “part of the problem, not part of the solution,” his open betrayal of this country by sponsoring and serving as floor manager of an “amnesty” that would have ruined these United States forever, and his role in “the Gang of 14,” which made it harder for any conservative jurist to become one of the Supremes, was just, how to put it, a slight error in judgment, but still congruent with President Reagan’s philosophy. What flapdoodle!
Then this: “The similarities between Reagan and McCain begin with their extraordinary attachment to principle.” There he goes again! And what principles might they be? Clearly, Wallison cannot enumerate any other than “staying the course” in Iraq, a position held by all the current GOP candidates, save Ron Paul, and the “Fellows” at the AEI. I suggest that Mr. Wallison leave the confines of the Beltway, desist from reading the doting coverage of McCain’s campaign in the Washington Post, and, rather, observe the sentiments and deep seated dissatisfaction with McCain, with or without his “attachment to principle,” particularly for his pandering to the “open borders” crowd. Our scribe will be in for a rude awakening.
“He (McCain) had a consistent and firmly held set of views that he intended to pursue as president.” I would like to inform our author that in every one of his previously held views, Senator McCain, the heir-apparent of the neo-conservatives at the American Enterprise Institute, and, albeit temporarily, the Washington Post, has made a partial, and in others, a complete, about face, although he still insists that his, along with Sen. Kennedy’s stewardship in the Senate of the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, was not “amnesty.” Today, however, he would secure the Borders; yet, for the past seven, he has been a “gran amigo” of that other stalwart of American sovereignty, former President (of Mexico) Vicente Fox. Sorry, Mr. Wallison: John McCain cannot be trusted, and I have no doubt that, God forbid, he is nominated, to quote Mr. Limbaugh, “The Republican Party defeat will make the 64 election returns for the GOP look like a tea party.”
A GOP official in the state of Virginia told our group, and I quote verbatim: “John McCain is not temperamentally suited to be president.” He was only expressing what is the now not so hidden secret of the party: a McCain nomination will split and sunder the GOP in a way that will take decades to redress. It would be, then, supremely ironic that the man who will, surely, destroy the grand amalgam of conservatives, Republicans and blue collar Democrats is being insidiously compared to the man who created it.
— Vincent Chiarello
American Council for Immigration Reform
McCain was wrong on immigration, wrong on McCain Feingold. Keating 5, remember them? Continues to be wrong about tax cuts. The guy ain’t no Reagan. To make this supposition is pathetic.
— Mike Williams
“The similarities between Reagan and McCain begin with their extraordinary attachment to principle.” The only, minor difference being that Reagan’s principles were pro-freedom, anti-government and right and McCain’s are anti-freedom, pro-government and wrong. I don’t know his work, but I’m guessing Wallison is another Doris Kearns Goodwin, another historian as hero-worshiping masochist.
I vehemently object to the analogy in Mr. Peter J. Wallison’s article comparing Sen. McCain and President Ronald W. Reagan.
Mentioning McCain in the same breath in polite company is sacrilegious.
1. What made President Reagan a great leader was the ability to “truthfully communicate heartfelt ideas and policy.”
2. McCain isn’t electable because “Conservatives” don’t trust this arrogant, directionless self-aggrandizing monomaniac.
3. President Reagan possessed true principle not contrived beliefs or media created poll tested principle.
4. President Reagan never changed his views on Communism, or questioned America’s inherent greatness while the other changed on Illegal Immigration, taxes, coddled SECDEF W. Cohen and savaged SECDEF D. Rumsfeld, harsh interrogation techniques, campaign finance (incumbent protection), gang of 14subversives, allied w/Democrats to file amicus brief against Wisconsin’s right to life.
5. President Reagan believed in reducing taxes, federal power and regulation allowing for capital markets; the other individual has routinely demanded that federal power be used to tame perfectly legitimate private enterprises, from energy and pharmaceutical companies, to media companies and anything else he considers ‘corrupt.’
6. President Reagan was a true environmentalist; he believed man has dominion over the Earth but must balance progress with preservation. The other fellow in lock step with the “Y2K” Global-alarmists cult seeks to impose their weird science on the world.
He and his record are equally unappealing to conservatives and Senator McCain deserves comparison to only one president…Bill Clinton.
— Shyron Beavers
The significant difference between Reagan and McCain is the Senator’s taste for apostasy. He has an itch to curry favor with the liberal establishment; something that would have made Reagan blanche. Sure, the Senator is talking a good game now, but his relatively recent positions on immigration, taxes and free speech give abundant pause. Would a 72-year-old maverick president hew the Reagan line, or would he spin off on tangents? I think it’s a question that’s giving a lot of conservatives headaches.
— Jeff Schmidt
Reagan and McCain. I really want to thank you for enlightening me. Until this article, in my ignorance and lack of perception, I would never have put those two together. How silly of me. Let’s see: Reagan as staunch enemy of tax cuts. How could I have missed that one? Reagan as champion of trashing the U. S. Constitution and squelching free speech. Of course — it’s as plain as the nose on your face! Reagan as promoter of big government — how could I have been so blind?
You’ve truly opened my eyes. How can I ever thank you? Now that you have me thinking right, how about some more you may not have considered? McCain and Mahatma Gandhi. McCain and George Washington. McCain and Thomas Jefferson. McCain and Winston Churchill. Come to think of it, McCain and Jesus Christ. They are EXTREMELY similar. (Both are human, both are male, both walk upright, both use their mouths to speak — the list of similarities is endless).
Or, alternatively, you might consider another list to which John McCain could be considered IDENTICAL: Daschle, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy, Clinton, Clinton, Obama.
One other thought — didja ever think of actually reading this trash before you put it up on your website?
— Keith Kunzler
‘McCain has promised restore this essential element of Reagan’s vision.’
Go sell crazy someplace else, Mr. Wallison. We’re all stocked up, here.
To equate McCain with Reagan in any way, shape, or form is nothing short of ludicrous. John McCain is no conservative. Since the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina, he has consistently elevated his own ambition above the needs of the Party and its members, something that Ronald Reagan never did.
Conservatives have had enough of Republicans like McCain. Either our Party supports us, or they don’t.
And if they don’t, then they can troll for votes somewhere else. For many of us, a McCain candidacy would be the last straw. If the Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party is victorious, and John McCain is the Party’s nominee in November, I will not vote.
And I am not alone.
The Party’s “leadership” would do well to heed this message.
— Gavin Valle
Peapack, New Jersey
I do not know what Mr. Wallison is smoking, but he had better return to the “factory jobs.” I was around during the fabulous Reagan years, I knew Ronald Reagan and John McCain is no Ronald Reagan.
Reagan would have never colluded with Russ Feingold to limit the speech of Americans during election campaigns. Reagan would have never condoned requiring a super majority to confirm judges in the Senate. Reagan would never have spoken out for terrorists to be given “trials” with ACLU lawyers in tow. And voting against tax cuts? Against tax cuts? Please.
Sorry, Mr. Wallison, no sale, no way, no how is John McCain anything like the great Ronaldus Magnus.
— Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri
Your inbox will probably overflow with this one! Let me be among the first.
First off, John McCain does not adhere strongly to principle. He has recently switched opinions on illegal immigration (if we believe him), tax cuts and further in the past he was not pro-life as he loves to tout.
In addition, he does not have Reagan’s positive attitude. McMe is all about McCain and he’s a very sore loser. He punished Conservatives and George Bush for seven years with a small time out to campaign in 2004 before going back to his dark ways.
Does anyone remember when he placed holds on ALL George Bush’s nominees including judges? He did it in 2001 and 2002 to force the appointment of a liberal woman to the Federal Election Commission.
If he’s elected, look for some of his liberal democrat friends in the Cabinet. What a disaster. This guy is a legend only in his own mind!
— Judy Beumler
This article is a joke right? John McCain and Ronald Reagan have about as much in common as Nancy Pelosi does with Rush Limbaugh. Senator McCain, as we have so painfully learned, will and has sacrificed his conservative principals in order to become the mainstream, lamestream, left-wing media darling. Ronald Reagan stood on conservative principals. John McCain, although a national hero, stands on favorable media coverage. So please don’t try convincing me or anyone else that John McCain and Ronald Reagan have something in common. About the only thing they may have in common is they both wear pants with zippers. After that, all bets are off.
I am a staunch conservative, but I can tell you this, if it comes down to Hillary versus McCain, I’m voting for Hillary. At least I know where she stands (which is whatever the polls show on a given minute) and the difference between Hillary and McCain can be summed up on the tip of my baby fingernail. If you want to compare John McCain to anyone, compare him to Hillary. As a recent past popular president once said, “give me a break.”
— Jim L.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts
As they say in today’s vernacular, I would have really “jumped ugly” on you, Mr. Wallison, but for my being tempered by Michael Tomlinson’s letter in the Reader’s Mail section before hand. That said however, I take strong exception to your premise of mutual principles between Reagan and McCain. Your selective comparisons, are well, rather like McCain himself.
McCain is an arrogant, angry, insufferable Washington knows best, elitist. Never could one say the same about Reagan. Reagan admired the Constitution and the concept of limited government. Can you say McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14? As you noted, Reagan famously said “government is not the solution, government is the problem;” you left out however, that McCain recently said, “distrust in government is a ceiling to our greatness.” Similarities in principles did you say?
McCain’s pious line about losing an election rather than a war, does not square with the facts. McCain’s grudge driven attacks on Sec. Rumsfeld, his demand for the closing of Gitmo, his extending Constitutional protections to foreign terrorists, and his Kennedyesque demagoguery of water boarding, mock his Pattonesque “gates of hell” sound bite. Ronald Reagan would never have said these things, especially in times of war. And those tax cuts, not so long ago, McCain sniffed that he could not support Bush’s tax cuts because they helped out too many of the wealthy; to which, I suspect, Reagan would have replied, “there you go again.”
Finally, your idolatry of McCain’s campaign “straight talk,” fails to note how selective he is with audiences, especially on immigration and his new kick, anthropogenic global warming. What do you suppose Reagan would have said about Al Gore’s anti-capitalist religion? As Mr. Tomlinson wisely reminds us, Reagan did indeed compromise. He even took stances we conservatives strongly opposed. I don’t agree, however, that did them out of abandonment of conviction. You should know that, you wrote the book. Can you really say the same about McCain?
— A. DiPentima
Was Ronald Reagan ever endorsed by the New York Times? How can McCain possibly be considered a conservative when he is endorsed by that crowd. Sure, he is a maverick and that shows guts and principles, but his guts and principles usually seem to work against conservatives and not for them. Be nice to see him go maverick on Ted Kennedy and HRC but I’ve never seen or heard anything about that. As a matter of fact, I can remember him saying that HRC would make a good President — that sure puts him out of the Reagan league in my humble opinion.
If McCain is a Reagan conservative then I’m a monkey’s uncle.
— Christopher Holland
Gee, can I have a job at AEI? After reading Wallison’s panegyric, it seems clear an AEI scholar needn’t trouble himself to become acquainted with a candidate’s record. How can Wallison so blithely ignore McCain’s role in the Keating 5, the Gang of 14, amnesty for illegal immigrants, opposing tax cuts (a la Reagan?), advocating ruinous environmental policy (a feature of small government?), seeking constitutional rights for terrorists at Gitmo, and abusing the First Amendment through campaign finance “reform”? Sen. McCain may have spent his first 35 years serving his country, but the second 35 have been an exercise in self-promotion, not principled conservatism.
— John McGuinness
When McCain devised his “Gang of 14” maneuver concerning judicial appointments, he in effect capitulated to Democratic intransigence in the Senate. When he now claims to want a border fence to stem illegal immigration (i.e. “We’ll give their G– D— fence if that’s what they want”), he is changing his colors on immigration policy to conform with the realities of the Republican base. How about tax cuts for the rich? He now supports retaining the Bush tax cuts after he was one of only two Republicans to vote against them in 2003.
I’m sorry, but I’m afraid Mr. Wallison is confusing obstinacy and contrariness with devotion to principle. As a proud Republican and an often disgruntled constituent of John McCain, I find him very much wanting as the Republican candidate for the Presidency and comparing him to the sainted Ronald Reagan is a flight of fancy.
— Jerome Brick
Beaver Dam, Arizona
First of all most real conservatives view McCain as a RINO (Republican in Name Only) because of his stance on immigration, shutting down Gitmo, and his views on water boarding being torture. I doubt very seriously that Reagan would hold the same views as McCain on these issues. McCain also was an instrumental traitor to conservatism and his own party when he compromised on the Nuclear Option with the Democrats so don’t try to tell real conservatives that he is like Reagan, cause that dog just won’t hunt.
— Carl F. Rollin
I am generally amazed when and otherwise intelligent person blathers about something that leaves others scratching their heads. I will agree that McCain does have an attachment to principle, but I would say that it would be more appropriate to label it obsession as no amount of contrary fact will sway McCain away from what he thinks is principle.
His most notorious acts — founding of the “gang of 14” to oppose the judicial nominees of Bush, and his betrayal of the American people with his illegal immigrant amnesty proposal, render the man utterly unfit of any office, including his current Senate seat, much less the presidency. His multi-cultural obsession does not allow for a view of what is best for the U.S., but what is best for the world.
Bluntly, we need a Republican, not a Democrat, running for the Republican nomination. McCain, alas, is just another slimy RINO who would be more at home with the Dems.
— Richard L. Hardison
Waynesville, North Carolina
You’ve got to be kidding me! I voted for RR twice, and John McCain is no RR.
— Wade White
Franklin, New York
McCain is no Reagan! McCain is a big lib — always has been. He is only out for McCain — where Reagan was out for America!
Shame on you. McCain is a dangerous open-borders liberal.
— Jane Aitken