Thursday, February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley

William F. Buckley, Jr. passed away last night, and along with Reagan, and Friedman will join the pantheon of almost mythic figures of conservatism. He represented the intellectual side of conservatism and founded National Review Magazine. The sad thing is that with his passing, the right is loses another of its idea men. While poking fun at Hillary and Ted Kennedy can be great fun, that alone is not going influence much.

It is especially tragic that Buckley died at time when so-called conservatives have abandoned many of his core principles.

I'll miss him.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why I don't hate McCain

So it seems pretty well set that the GOP will nominate McCain. I can live with this. Is he my ideal candidate? No, but since I am not yet old enough to run for president myself (gimme another ten years), he’ll do. I don’t love him, but I don’t hate him either.

First, part of me is excited about his “maverick” reputation. It’s almost admirable that he is not afraid to buck party orthodoxy when he believes in it. It shows a commitment to principle, which I consider a good thing (let’s save for a moment a discussion of what those principles he’s committed to actually are). I am (yes, still) a gay Republican. I like the idea of a nominee who, while still Republican, doesn’t quite fit the cookie cutter.

Now , there’s a lot that John McCain stands for that I can get behind. He’s pro-life (hardly a litmus test for me, but still I’m more comfortable protecting a fetus). He’s in favor of the death penalty (please don’t make me get into a discussion of reconciling those views. I can do it, but that’s not the point here). He’s hawkish on foreign policy (though he’s staunchly against torture). He’s on the conservative side of universal healthcare. And most importantly for me, he’s pretty much a fiscal conservative.

“BUT WAIT,” the conservative McCain haters shout, “He voted against the Bush tax cuts, not once but TWICE!”

True, but he was worried about tax cuts without corresponding spending limits. That is a very tenable position for a fiscal conservative. Now he did vote for the tax cuts, the third time around, but hey, it’s hard to fault someone for becoming more conservative in voting (where it matters, instead of mere campaign speeches, Mssrs. Huckabee and Romney).

So, he’s looking pretty darn conservative. The only problem is that maverick streak I mentioned is on the wrong issues. Campaign finance reform under McCain-Feingold has been a disaster. The immigration thing was wrongheaded. The other problem is that there are my maverick issues: on most gay rights he’s just like the majority of GOP members.

So what I have here I a Republican I can agree with on, say, 65% of issues (and several of my priority issues are among those) versus a Democrat (either one, they believe pretty much the same things) whom I agree with on, say, 15% of issues. The choice for me is clear: 65% > 15%. I can live with president McCain more easily than I can live with President Clinbama.

Pass me a McCain button, it’s time to look towards November.