Posted by Curt on 17 November, 2006 at 9:17 am. 1 comment.


First Pelosi is elected Speaker, then as her first act she supports a criminal for a leadership post. Not too surprising for the Democrats right? But she is defeated and the rest of the Democrats take her to task.

That was a bit surprising.

Now we have McCain from the supposed Republican side giving a speech in which he states that we need to return to conservatism. Even more surprising since I would like to know the time and place that this man EVER really embraced being a conservative?

WASHINGTON – Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took the first formal steps toward a 2008 presidential campaign Thursday and used a pair of speeches before Republican audiences to argue that his brand of conservative, reform-minded politics and hawkish foreign policy can restore the GOP to power.

On a day when he filed papers to set up a 2008 presidential exploratory committee, McCain served notice to rivals for the GOP nomination that he intends to move aggressively to try to put his stamp on a party now in the process of rebuilding after losing the House and Senate in last week’s midterm elections.

The former Vietnam prisoner of war said voters punished Republicans last week for having become intoxicated with power and he urged a return to what he called common sense conservative principles espoused by former President Ronald Reagan.

”Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us,” he said.

Whole speech here.

The gall of this guy. This is the man who came under a ton of suspicion in the Keating 5 scandal. This is the man who pushed through one of the worst political bills known to man, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

But worst then all this is his treason to our party with the Gang of 14: (via Hugh Hewitt)

On April 15, 2005 –less than three months after President Bush had begun a second term won in part because of his pledge to fight for sound judges– Senator McCain appeared on Hardball and announced he would not support the “constitutional option” to end Democratic filibusters. Then, stunned by the furious reaction, the senator from Arizona cobbled together the Gang of 14 “compromise” that in fact destroyed the ability of the Republican Party to campaign on Democratic obstructionism while throwing many fine nominees under the bus. Now in the ruins of Tuesday there is an almost certain end to the slow but steady restoration of originalism to the bench. Had McCain not abandoned his party and then sabotaged its plans, there would have been an important debate and a crucial decision taken on how the Constitution operates. The result was the complete opposite. Yes, President Bush got his two nominees to SCOTUS through a 55-45 Senate, but the door is now closed, and the court still tilted left. A once-in-a-generation opportunity was lost.

How about his votes? Voted no on the Marriage Amendment act, voted yes to raise the minimum wage, yes to affirmitive action, he worked with Ted Kennedy to come up with a Immigration Bill that supports the guest working program.

How about the fact that during Congressional year 2001 he was placed as the 6th most liberal Republican in Congress, but a few years later as his next Presidential bid was getting closer he became a bit more Conservative:

McCain’s voting record in the 109th Congress is the third most conservative (as of November 2005). On the other hand, his voting record during the 107th Congress, from January 2001 through November of 2002, places him as the 6th most liberal Republican senator, according to the same data and analysis at

He supports Stem-Cell research:

Like Frist, John McCain, the Republican senator with the highest national profile, has reversed his position on the issue and now supports an expansion of the research.

“It’s a very complex scientific issue,” McCain (Ariz.) told NBC’s Tim Russert earlier this year. “But for us to throw away opportunities to cure diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and many others I think would be a mistake.”

He introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment:

Sponsored by John McCain, the measure sounds innocuous. It would designate the Army Field Manual as the last word on Pentagon interrogations and reaffirm existing safeguards against “cruel, inhuman and degrading” treatment. But the amendment is based on a false premise that prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib had something to do with “confusion” about permitted interrogation techniques. Or as Mr. McCain melodramatically put it on the Senate floor: “We threw out the rules that our soldiers had trained on. . . . And then when things went wrong, we blamed them.”

The proposition that the Pentagon threw out any rules is simply false. Regarding Abu Ghraib, no fewer than nine courts-martial were confident enough of the rules to hand out sentences of up to 10 years to soldiers who violated those rules. The same courts martial proved that the abuses had nothing to do with interrogations. As former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger, who headed last year’s independent panel on detention operations put it, Abu Ghraib was the result of sick and sadistic behavior on the “night shift.”

If Mr. McCain has any point here, it’s that before 9/11 the U.S. had developed little guidance for interrogating prisoners whom the Geneva Conventions designate as “unlawful combatants”–i.e., terrorists, and guerrillas who fight out of uniform. But since 9/11 the Bush Administration has developed such guidance, and the allowable techniques are both specific and legally vetted. Abuses have occurred, and dozens have been punished. Overall, rates of reported detainee abuse by U.S. soldiers today are historically low compared with other conflicts, such as World War II.

The danger is that the McCain Amendment would only solidify what’s already been a military overreaction to the Abu Ghraib scandal. In Iraq, that overreaction has meant that terror suspects cannot be aggressively interrogated at all. They cannot be held for more than several weeks after capture without charge. The insurgents know this, and thus know that they have little to fear if they fall into U.S. hands.

Much has been made of the support of Colin Powell and some other retired officers for the McCain Amendment. We’ve read Mr. Powell’s open letter on the subject, and it is substance-free. It contains only an exhortation that Mr. McCain’s gesture will somehow “help deal with the terrible public diplomacy crisis created by Abu Ghraib.” In short, it’s PR.

Far more impressive is the near-unanimous opposition to the McCain effort from commanders currently fighting the war on terror. They understand that the amendment will be interpreted as an unnecessary rebuke, and as a huge disincentive to push detainees hard when seeking information on “ticking bombs.”

Or as Senator Pat Roberts explained his opposition in the Washington Post: “I know as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the information we get from interrogating terrorists is some of the most valuable information we get. It saves lives. . . . Passing a law that effectively telegraphs to the entire terrorist world what they can expect if they are caught is not only counterproductive, but could be downright dangerous.”

One old Washington hand–who served in the Nixon Cabinet–tells us that the Senate vote on the McCain Amendment was “a Vietnam moment.” He fears that the lopsided 90-9 tally will be read by our enemies as a sign of flagging American willingness to act firmly in our own self-defense.

But now he wants our support to “return” to true conservatism.


Ed Morrissey notes that while the speech he gave was good, it would have been better if McCain had actually embraced these values throughout his career:

McCain invokes Reagan often in this speech. However, one has to wonder how Reagan would have viewed the BCRA, McCain’s brainchild. Reagan eliminated the Fairness Doctrine and allowed for the maximum possible political debate, while McCain’s BCRA criminalizes the criticism of incumbents by independent groups within 60 days of an election. Freedom of speech is a conservative value that McCain doesn’t applaud. Hypocrisy, indeed.

John McCain is not a bad man, just a seriously misguided one, and his speech tonight is excellent and should get broad dissemination. It would have had more impact if the Senator had championed these values throughout his career.

While McCain has supported many of the same issues that I support, his support and introduction of some of the worst of the worst bills in Congress pretty much seals the deal for me. I will never support this man for President.

Unless I have to choose between or Hillary of course.

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