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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Friday, December 02, 2011

RETHINKING MCCAIN

"Well, at least he wouldn't have bowed to anyone."

McCain
I didn't vote for John McCain in 2008. I wrote in a name, knowing it wouldn't matter and would never be elected. I don't think a lot of people did that, but some did, and we all did it because we couldn't stand the man and could not imagine him as president. Some even voted for President Obama because of the two, he was the least disliked.

Senator McCain (R-AZ) strikes me as unstable, the kind of man likely to fly into a fury at the slightest thing. He takes ridiculous stances on topics based on little information, and holds conservatives in unveiled contempt. I didn't think he'd make a good president and I believed he would actually make matters worse. He has a history of disliking big spending bills, so fiscally he could have been okay, but he betrayed that with his vote on the TARP legislation. So no, I couldn't vote for him.

Someone asked in a comment a few days ago "would it have been worse if McCain had won?" and that got me thinking. Honestly, no. It wouldn't have been, in fact it would have been better. Let me explain.

HEALTH MONSTROSITY
A President McCain would not have pushed for a government health insurance takeover bill. Even if the Democrats tried for it, he wouldn't have lobbied them for it and fought to help it pass. The bill was nearly dead when President Obama had a bunch to the White House and begged them to vote for it. He infamously said "vote for this or I'll look like a tool" and he was right: if this didn't pass, he'd look pathetic. President Obama sees this as his big legacy, his FDR act. President McCain wouldn't have seen it that way, and without that extra push it probably wouldn't have passed, or even gotten far.

It isn't that McCain wouldn't have worked with congress had they tried to pass such a bill, he just wouldn't have driven them to pass it so hard, he wouldn't have lobbied for it and used White House resources and money to advertise for the bill, for instance.

STIMULATING NOTHING
The Stimulus package is another major legislative effort that wouldn't have been the same without President Obama. I suspect, based on his idiotic support of TARP that some kind of Stimulus bill would have been set up, but it would have been much smaller, much more targeted on infrastructure, and I seriously doubt it would have just been handed to Nancy Pelosi to lard up with leftist dream projects. So while there would probably have been a "stimulus" package, it would have been a lot smaller and would have been differently targeted under President McCain.

For example, President Obama has this delusion that green energy is the future of technology and America, so he's dumped billions into propping up companies that wouldn't make it without the federal funds. One after another, these businesses keep collapsing anyway. President McCain wouldn't have anything like that focus, and would not have pushed for those sorts of bits in the bill, and might have just vetoed - and certainly threatened to veto - any such spending.

EXECUTIVE ABUSE
One of the biggest problems I have with President Obama is his unconstitutional abuse of executive power to exert control over the economy without legislative approval. Can't get the DREAM act passed? Use agencies to do it. Can't get a ban on drilling passed? Use agencies to do it. Can't get card check passed? Use agencies to do it. President Obama has been held in contempt for his abuse of power, and he keeps doing it, with the various agencies under him mounding regulation after regulation onto business until the economy has ground nearly to a halt.

This is an area President McCain absolutely would not have duplicated at any level. President Obama wants to "fundamentally transform" the US into a socialist nation, and President McCain would have had absolutely no such interest. This is the one big area he'd have been different from President Obama, and it would have been an immense difference. Its likely at this point we'd have seen an impressive recovery because businesses would have had fewer regulations, no massive health insurance bill looming over them, and a president who didn't seem to be so incredibly hostile to business in office.

GUNS FOR VILLAINS
Fast and Furious wouldn't have ever happened under President McCain. Absolutely never would he have authorized a program to hand guns to brutal, murderous criminal organizations in Mexico to try to gin up support for gun control. Never.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT
President McCain probably would have handled various crises differently than President Obama. Take the Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak, which President Obama was slow to act on, slow to try to fix, and spent his time demonizing oil, BP, and drilling in general rather than trying to deal with the problem. It took weeks to get oil cleaning ships in place, the booms weren't sent for weeks, and President Obama used this as more an opportunity to try to stop drilling than to stop the environmental damage. President McCain wouldn't have had any such inclination, and further, since BP was buying goodwill at the Obama administration with "green" lobbying, he might have even been more inclined to nail them for violations than give them a safety award, as the Obama administration did - but probably not.

Looking back at the campaign, there's an event that really stood out and made a difference in the eyes of voters. Senator McCain was lousy at following up on it, but it was where things started to turn around for him. That event was the Russian invasion of Georgia (the country, not the state). Senator McCain came out with an immediate condemnation of Russia, support for the Georgians, and calls for sanctions against the Russian nation. Senator Obama said both sides should stop being mean and whimpered a little into his man purse. Voters saw the stark difference and McCain's poll numbers started climbing.

And that gives a good idea how differently President McCain would have handled things than President Obama. Consider Iran, where the people rose up in violent protest against a totally rigged election and abuses by the tyrannical Islamic despots in power. President Obama took over a week to say anything, and it was tepid and thin. He condemned both sides again for violence, and did nothing against Iran. President McCain would have immediately come out with a statement of support for the rebels, action against the Iranian government, and calls for the region to support these people.

When Egypt erupted into protests, President McCain would have been less likely to push for the swift removal of Mubarak for two reasons. First, he wouldn't have felt compelled to act more decisively this time after looking pathetic in Iran. Second, he wouldn't have had stars in his eyes of wonder and love for the rebellion and would have seen it for what it was: an attempt to push the present government aside for a hardline Islamic one. Oh, to be sure, the guys shown on TV were all those young college students on facebook and twitter that were the face of the rebellion but they represent about a tenth of their numbers, at most. They pushed for change but had no power to do it or do anything once it happened. The real face of this rebellion was the guys who attacked reporters.

All of Arab Spring would have been differently handled, because President McCain wouldn't have been inclined to slash the funding for Bush's initiatives in the area, would have used pressure to try to shape the results, and would have been viewed not as a pathetic confused weakling but a potentially insane powderkeg. Nobody in the world fears President Obama, no one. Plenty would fear President McCain, and that really changes how people act.

And President McCain wouldn't have sent troops into Libya. He might have wanted to, but after Iraq, a Republican president simply wouldn't have the political capital to do it, he just wouldn't have been able to.

And all that flooding and damage in the midwest where President Obama was slow or refused to send aid? All the tornado damage and storm destruction? President McCain wouldn't view these people as political enemies and would take action immediately when needed.

FOREIGN POLICY
And finally we come to foreign policy. In many ways, he probably wouldn't have been all that different from President Obama in this area. Obama has been remarkably different than I expected, probably because when he got to office he found that all his rhetoric and ideas were utterly idiotic and wrong. That said, there would have been some fundamental differences.

Iraq probably would have a US base in it as the troops are pulled out. It is likely that he would have pulled the troops at about the same time, but President Obama specifically didn't work to get a base in the nation, and McCain would have tried to get it to happen.

In Afghanistan, when the generals asked for more troops, President McCain would have definitely said yes, and given then whatever they requested. He also would have had more reasonable, workable rules of engagement especially after having fought in the Vietnam war.

So yeah, President McCain would have actually been better. In some ways, he'd be a lot better. That said, in some ways, he'd be worse too.

The biggest chance would come from the press. Here's where things would have been really different because instead of trying to protect "the first black president" and their hero, the press would have been quite hostile toward President McCain. Instead of ignoring bad news or downplaying silly things, they'd have vilified McCain and continually found fault. The things they shrug at from President Obama, they would attack from President McCain.

Economic reporting that is brushed over or minimized now would be trumpeted loudly and continually under President McCain. Unemployment rates of 4% were called horrible under President Bush. Growth of under 2% is disastrous but downplayed under President Obama. What is "unexpected" now would be constantly predicted under President McCain. That's just how it is. And you can see how that would affect the economy, but things would still be better, I believe.

President McCain definitely would have his problems. He would be pushing stupid campaigns like an attempt to ban violent video games. He would be cantankerous and insulting to people, attacking anyone who disagrees and sneering unpleasantly at the screen. Anything that went wrong would be built up enormously. Killing Osama Bin Laden would be attacked as a brutal assassination, not lauded as a wonderful deed of heroism. Predator drone strikes that harm non combatants would be decried as miserable murders. Protesters would fill the streets crying about the warmonger president, on and on.

But ultimately I have to admit that my thinking has changed. I wouldn't want President McCain in office, but having seen the damage that President Obama has done, we'd have been better off without him in office. In short, I should have voted for McCain, despite my serious reservations and dislike of the man. I was wrong.

And that brings us to the current crop of presidential candidates. Who would suck the least? Who could do the job better? I don't care for pretty much any of the GOP candidates, but any of them are still better than a second term of President Obama with nothing to lose. And that realization makes a pretty big difference for me.

*UPDATE: A commenter brings up a good negative about a McCain presidency: the 2010 election would probably have turned out differently, and I would go so far as to say that without the Stimulus package and Health Insurance bill, the Tea Party movement may not have gotten as much momentum and fury. Its true that TARP was the trigger - started by President Bush - but a lot of the energy the Tea Party had was sustained by watching the federal government go berserk spending in these two areas.

***UPDATE: Kick me if you must, I probably deserve it but consider this: not enough of the population was like me to have changed the outcome of the election; there just wasn't 6+% of us out there. Obama would have won anyway. And we had good reason to not vote for McCain, and still do.

26 Comments:

Anonymous Jimmy J. said...

It's all conjecture, but I agree that McCain, in spite of his RINOism, would have been light years better than Obama. I surely don't want to hear anyone saying they hope Obama wins a second term of the Republican nominee isn't their perfect cup of tea.

Cannnot.Believe.How.Bad.Obama is.

3:02 PM, December 04, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if you want 1 more reason on how to vote in 2012, remember that in almost every case since George Washington, a president's second term has been less successful than their first.

I leave it to you to define "less successful"

7:56 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Throckmorton said...

Am I understanding that the downside of a McCain presidency would be harsh press coverage?

Do you seriously believe that it would be less pleasant to read the press whining about Palin than the 3 years of Obama-felching we've just experienced from the media?

That, and do you normally consider the media's feelings when you vote?

Also, you forgot to mention that we missed the opportunity for another Roberts or Alito instead of Sotomayor and Kagan. Since you did not vote for McCain I hold you responsible for these two clowns being on the SCOTUS.

7:59 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger buckland said...

A couple of thoughts. I'm going into some counterfactuals, but I think they're pretty firm:

1. We wouldn't have gotten the current health care bill, but we would have gotten one. McCain was unteathered to principle on this one. McCain would have signed a bill that was a consensus of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Maybe not as bad, but with the the "bipartisan" moniker on it.

2. There would have been a Cap and Trade bill passed. McCain always liked the idea of working across the aisle. This is an area he could have worked out a compromise.

3. Democrats would have made further gains in the midterm election by running against McCain. The party in the Oval office suffers when things go bad. 2010 would have made 10 years of Republican rule, and the midterm would have horrific. Getting close to 2/3 majorities in both houses.

So, overall I'm glad that Obama was elected. McCain would have been a conservative disaster as his policies would have been worse than Bush's but would have been stamped as 'conservative' in the press. Not somewhere I want to go.

8:12 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Dr. Mom said...

so why should anyone take your advice on any candidate THIS time? Seems to me, anyone that thinks theylre conservative and didn't pick McCain over Obama ought to sit out the next election, pundit-wise.

8:13 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

My concern about the press is that they'd damage the economy, instead of helping prop it up like they are now.

And I don't actually think we'd have gotten a health care bill because it only (barely) passed because of Obama's pushing for it.

And as for the cap and trade bill, even the Democrats in congress didn't want to vote for one, with President Obama pushing it. I don't see that going anywhere under President McCain, but we're all just guessing here anyway.

I do agree that 2010 would have worked out differently in congress, however.

8:15 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous West said...

Barn door. Horses.

8:22 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Squid said...

No, no, a thousand times NO!

Inside the Beltway, there exists the Democrats, who are determined to take over as much of the economy as they can, and the Republicans, who are determined to take over as much of the economy as they can get away with. The latter look at Obama and figure they can run the worst technocrats and go-along-to-get-along insiders and other statist big-government types, and we'll be forced to go along with it, because "the alternative is so much worse."

This is nonsense.

The turmoil we see in the GOP right now is because where the insiders see Obama II as the perfect opportunity to install their favorite big-government puppet in office, the reformers from outside the Beltway see Obama II as the perfect opportunity to install an actual reformer who can roll back the terrible policies of the last 20 or 30 or 80 years.

We are not obligated to vote for whatever empty suit the GOP puts in front of us. The obligation lies with the GOP, which is obligated to present us with a candidate who will actually lead this country away from the precipice it's heading for.

When your choices are a madman who'll drive you into a wall at 120 mph, and a slightly less unstable maniac who'll drive you into a wall at 75 mph, you're just stupid to pick either one.

8:33 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Duh. You people drive me crazy.

Sotomayor. Kagan.

'Nuff said.

Idiots who didn't vote for McCain got exactly what was predicted by sane and rational people.

8:38 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Panamared said...

I did vote for McCain expecting him to loose, but my hope is that the Obama Presidency has provided an inoculation from further progressive ism. As Jimmy Carter led to Ronald Regan, we can only pray that Obama will lead to a small government conservative, but this time we need to fight to give him a supportive congress.

8:44 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot the ONE issue that counts: IMMIGRATION. McCain tried for all he was worth to sell out the country on immigration in 2006. He has never accepted that millions of third world peasants could pose a problem for the United States (see California). If demography is destiny - and it is - McCain's likely support of amnesty policies ensuring the demise of the Republican party and the eventual failure of the country is nothing short of treasonous.

9:00 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

I agree that McCain was awful on immigration, but between the two there wouldn't have really been much difference in terms of policy, so I call that a push.

However, I doubt McCain's choices for the Supreme Court would have been significantly worse than Obama's. Both nominees replaced reliably leftist judges in any case, so that's a push as well.

9:06 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger RebeccaH said...

We can thank Obama for showing us one thing in stark terms: what an unworkable, European-style welfare state would mean for us.

We aren't getting any prizes in the Republican field this time around, but anybody would be better than four more years of Obama.

9:16 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also voted FOR a write-in candidate, rather than AGAINST Obama.

I didn't vote for McCain, because he would have made the Republican party radioactive (especially in the wake of Bush's 2nd term) for years, possibly decades, to come.

Obama (Reid, Pelosi, et al.) have exposed the unthinking canard that the left has become. Even with allies in the MSM, the Democrat party has become a punchline.

Two steps back, three steps forward...hopefully.

9:27 AM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Matthew Borcherding said...

Justice Sotomayor replaced Justice Stevens. Stevens is 72 -- a spring chicken by Supreme Court standards. He probably would have stayed on the Court under a McCain presidency.

Justice Kagan, on the other hand, replaced Justice Stevens, who is now 91. Stevens might have held out, but maybe (probably?) not. Stevens is not dead yet...

So a President McCain would have prevented a Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan. But adding additional conservative judges to the court? Maybe one. Maybe none.

9:37 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Demosthenes said...

"When your choices are a madman who'll drive you into a wall at 120 mph, and a slightly less unstable maniac who'll drive you into a wall at 75 mph, you're just stupid to pick either one."

If those are your only two choices, and you refuse to pick either one, then you end up at the mercy of whichever one can wrest control of the wheel.

These last three years, we've had the one who likes to go at 120 mph. How's that working out, for you and the country?

It takes a lot of chutzpah to label someone else as stupid for making the right call in a dilemma from which you stupidly abstained.

9:40 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A President McCain probably would have appointed judges more in the mold of Justices Souter and Kennedy, rather than Roberts and Alito.

9:42 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Amos said...

Yes, but you're forgetting the single most important thing about the last election: Sarah Palin neither killed her own filthy, disabled child nor leaned on her daughter to kill her child.

That makes her unqualified for human civility, much less the Vice Presidency. And that disqualifies McCain.

Duh. Hope! and Change!

10:23 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain was a liberal just like Bush2, not as liberal as OBama but still...

He would have done bailouts, massive spending, weak dollar, debt, more govt and on and on.

10:29 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Save your excuses. I think that last Presidential election was more style than actual substance.

I voted for McCain with warts and all in the primary because I like what he said. He has a history of petulance and played both sides of the aisle, but I think he had a descent platform. I think it all went south for him because of his support for TARP. By then, John McCain appeared desperate. Any of the conservative base that he was trying woo with his choice in Palin turned against him when he supported TARP. In turn, most moderates were turned off by Palin because of her lack of experience.

On the other hand, Obama ran a campaign as the non-Bush candidate with his own loge. Let’s face it, Obama had a see-through resume and his elusive style. Here's a guy who campaigned as anti-war candidate, but by the end of his candidacy he wanted to send more troops to Afghanistan and had no real troop withdraw plan from Iraq. For someone who built his credibility on such anti-war stances, he was certainly handed the benefit of the doubt for changing.

The funny thing is every time I met Obama supporters they rarely mentioned Obama's superior ideas. They almost always started with how stupid McCain's VP pick was and almost never mentioned specifics about John McCain - other than he's just like Bush, but almost never explaining why. They might then go on to mention how cool and even tempered Obama was - and oh, by the way, he's much smarter than Sarah Palin. I found it strange that for someone getting voted into the highest position in the land Obama was a complete stranger.

11:02 AM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry. In 2012 you can vote for Romney, then in 2014 you can write an article about how you should have voted for Obama.

12:25 PM, December 05, 2011  
Blogger Christopher Taylor said...

There are no circumstances under which I would have preferred to vote for Obama. I didn't in 2008, as I said clearly in the first sentence of the article.

2:29 PM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "conservative" position is to vote for the best VIABLE candidate. Not the one you lovingly gaze at who promises you the moon, the sun and the stars. Because those people aren't available.

You go with who will do the least damage to the country, if that's all you have. Obama always was a walking, talking diaster who clearly loathed this country. Anyone who did not vote for McCain because he wasn't "conservative enough", was a complete fool.

2:36 PM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another rube bites the dust!

4:43 PM, December 05, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and you didn't even mention Obama's appointments of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor to the SCOTUS. For many years hence, they will be a powerful force toward expanding federal power at the expense of individual rights.

7:18 AM, December 06, 2011  
Anonymous Glitchus said...

Hey, the "Stimulus" didn't stimulate nothing, it did exactly what it was designed to do, which was to fatten the democrats campaign coffers and stimulate their 'insider' investments.

9:11 AM, December 06, 2011  

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