Saturday, December 01, 2007

Why I'm Rooting for John McCain

1) He says stuff like this in Iowa, about ethanol.
2) He says stuff like this about torture and bogus "ticking bomb" scenarios.
3) He was right all along that anthropogenic global warming is happening, back when his party was denying it; and having been right all along, doesn't need to get hysterical now by overselling it as some world-ending catastrophe.
4) He was right all along about how an increase in US troop numbers in Iraq really could make a dramatic decline in violence, even when everybody else (including me) was ignoring him.
5) No one can ever call him a "chicken hawk," not him or his sons (one in the Marines, one in the Naval Academy).
6) His toughness is about a particular issues (Iraq, Osama bin Laden) in which the US is engaged in struggle right now. It is not simply generic "toughness" for toughness's sake (see no. 2 and no. 7).
7) In debates he emphasizes the humanity of immigrants, and it's not just because they are a vote bank for his party.
8) He votes against pork, and doesn't just talk about voting against pork.
9) He is pro-life, and has a long-standing pro-life record, and his one compromise (supporting embryo-destroying stem cell research) is likely going to become a moot point anyway.
10) Another big area where I seriously disagree with him -- campaign finance reform -- is one where I can at least understand why he votes the way he did, and anyway the vast majority of the American legal class is of the same opinion.
11) The question of health insurance and entitlements are big ones, with unexpected ramifications in the coming years. His record shows he doesn't pander to public illusions (see nos. 1, 2, 8), is willing to go against party orthodoxy (see no. 3, 7), and is a conservative (this year's American Conservative Union rating 65%).
12) He doesn't express some desire to destroy American institutions that have a long track record of working pretty well (like the Federal Reserve), just because they don't fit his ideological dogma. (Read the story of the 1987 crash here, and think how it might have ended without the Fed and its branches.)
13) His campaign is actually related to promoting solutions to current practical problems; it's not about pandering to interest groups, or about projecting some mythic "Reagan" mystique, or about fleeing current practical problems in a throwback to policies that were shown by experience decades (or a century) ago to be inadequate.
14) It's a way of expressing my already deep (and steadily deepening) regret for not supporting him in the primary of 2000.
15) He's not getting traction because somehow people think of him as the past, the old fuddy-duddy, the has-been, and supporting him is a way of striking back at the "15 minutes of fame" mentality in American politics.

UPDATE: Turns out, I'm with Jim.

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