I'm off the fence and for McCain

By Charles Bird Posted in Comments (162) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

This will be my only front-page post in support of a Republican candidate for the nomination. John McCain has little to no chance of getting nominated, but I'm supporting him anyway. My reasons are backing him are a combination of things, having to do with my agreement with him on key issues and for what I see as shortcomings in the other candidates. The slate of candidates is imperfect, so my rationale was to go with the least imperfect one. My three main criteria for picking a president in this election cycle are national security, the economy, and integrity. As I see it, McCain is the most solid of the candidates in those categories, so let me go through them.

More below the fold...

National security. McCain has been stronger than the other candidates on this issue, in my opinion. I believe he is the most right on Iraq and national security. He rightfully criticized Bush and Rumsfeld for undermanning the war effort in Iraq and for our failing strategy, going against most of the other Republican Senators in particular and Republicans in general. Now that we are seeing clearer signs of success via more troops and a more workable strategy, we should give McCain credit for speaking out. We should also recognize that it was Bush who came around to McCain, not the other way around.

I think McCain is also right on the matter of coercive interrogations. Waterboarding, to name one technique, is illegal and it is torture. I'm confident that these methods work, but they're morally wrong and we shouldn't be using them unless there is a ticking time-bomb situation. Less importantly, I don't know how much intelligence we've garnered through such coercion, but I would have a hard time believing that the intelligence benefits received have exceeded the political costs paid, both domestically and internationally. It's a problem. My take is that we can win this War Against Militant Islamism without lowering our standards.

McCain was prisoner of war in Vietnam, and he was tortured, so his opinion about the practice carries a lot of weight with me. What's more, to this day he feels the effects that his captors levied on him. From Vanity Fair:

Like his friend Bob Dole, he tries to minimize his disabilities, but they are serious. He suffered severe injuries when his plane was shot down over North Vietnam 40 years ago; his right knee was broken when his seat was ejected from the cockpit, and both arms were broken in the crash. These injuries were compounded by the profound abuse he endured during five and a half years in captivity.

McCain seldom talks about the details of his torture by the North Vietnamese, but he has written about them in clinical depth. Despite the injuries he had already suffered, upon capture he was promptly bayoneted in the ankle and then beaten senseless. The North Vietnamese never set either of his broken arms. The only treatment of his broken knee involved cutting all the ligaments and cartilage, so that he never had more than 5 to 10 percent flexion during the entire time he was in prison. In 1968 he was offered early release, and when he refused, because others had been there longer, his captors went at him again; he suffered cracked ribs, teeth broken off at the gum line, and torture with ropes that lashed his arms behind his back and that were progressively tightened all through the night. Ultimately he taped a coerced confession.

McCain's right knee still has limited flexibility. Most of the time this is not too noticeable, but McCain mounts the steps onto planes with a herky-jerky gait. A climb up dozens of steps at the New Hampshire International Speedway, in Loudon, leaves him badly winded and sweating profusely. Because his broken arms were allowed to heal without ever being properly set, to this day McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders. He cannot attend to his own hair. An aide is often nearby with a comb and small can of hair spray.

McCain has difficulty putting on his suit jacket unassisted. Once, as we prepared to get out of a cramped airplane cabin in Burlington, Vermont, where McCain would be greeted by the governor, I turned my back for a moment, only to find him struggling. He could sense that his collar was all bunched up, and asked me matter-of-factly to help him straighten it out. I felt the pang that those around McCain feel whenever they realize the extent of his injuries. "You comb someone's hair once," his 2000 communications director, Dan Schnur, says, "and you never forget it."

Personally, I don't we should ever forget the sacrifices he made for his country and the injuries he sustained in defending it. When a man has been in such circumstances and vehemently rejects those methods used against him, I think we should listen.

The economy. McCain has a solid record on fiscal restraint and freer trade, both of which are conservative positions. Mike Huckabee's tepid support of free trade agreements is why I can't support him, for example. [Update: McCain's positions on taxes here. He opposed the Bush tax cuts for budgetary reasons, but he supports making them permanent because letting them lapse would be tantamount to a tax hike. There's plenty more information in the link.]

Integrity. McCain speaks his mind, and oft times it gets him in trouble. I strongly disapprove of McCain-Feingold, especially the gag order in the 60-day period prior to election day, but I think his intentions were in the right place. I wouldn't judge too harshly against McCain about the bill. After all, George W. Bush signed the damned legislation into law. McCain is conservative on social issues, but not boisterously so.

Why not the other candidates? Giuliani has public integrity, but I'm troubled by his personal integrity. I'd rather not have a president on his third marriage and I'd rather not have a president who personally donated money to Planned Parenthood. He made soothing noises about appointing conservative judges, but Giuliani is too left-leaning for my taste.

For Romney, I think he's weaker than McCain on national security. As for Fred Thompson, he's probably my number two choice. But last July, Thompson was bombarded with negative news stories and he barely answered any of the charges. For a media-familiar character, Thompson has not handled media situations well. Thompson has similar positions as McCain on national security, but McCain gets the nod because he has more experience.

Immigration. McCain turned off a good number of conservatives by his support of the immigration bill last summer (I was mildly in favor of it). McCain has said that he has learned his lesson and that he would support "enforcement first" provisions. I take him at his word, just as I take Giuliani at his word that he would appoint judges in mold of Roberts and Alito.

Gang of 14. Many conservatives were irked about the Gang of 14 (and still are), but I'm telling you, liberals hate it even more. The dKos crowd was neutralized by this agreement, and we have two new conservative judges on the bench today. The results speak for themselves.

McCain's drawbacks. If elected, he would be 73 on inauguration day. But hey, 73 is the new 63.

McCain's temper and temperament have been issues. In 2000, I sided with Bush because I thought he had a better temperament for the job than McCain. In retrospect, I think I overemphasized that attribute. Back then, I voted for Bush over McCain because Bush came across as the more conservative candidate. Boy, was I wrong. In the last seven years, the person who has clearly made more conservative choices was McCain, not Bush.

Anyway, I've been angry and irritated with McCain's various antics over the years, but I gave him a second look and found his positions on the important stuff more than acceptable. I think all other conservatives should take that second look as well.

« Dueling June Obama fundraising claims?Comments (2) | Say It Ain't So Hillary, Say It Ain't SO!!!Comments (4) »
I'm off the fence and for McCain 162 Comments (0 topical, 162 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Although, I have Fred and McCain switched in my rankings, I think for no more reason other than that I think Fred has a much better chance of getting the nomination and needs help getting by Giuliani and Romney up here in New England (where I'm at).

Plus, I secretly fantasize about a Thompson/McCain ticket. From what I understand, they are good friends and are similar on the issues.

I happen to be a guy who doesn’t get up every morning hating my country. Roger Ailes

Charles,

Welcome aboard the Straight Talk Express! I understand exactly how you feel (though couldn't have put it so succinctly). I am a converted Romney supporter. McCain kept talkin' and I kept listening.

My "hot button" issues are National Security and pork-barrell spending. There simply is not a better candidate on those two issues in my opinion, than John McCain. He was right to support the war while critizing the strategy. He supported the surge when it was politically unpopular to do so and it is working. He has been tireless in his efforts to fight earmarks and pork-barrell spending and their corrupting influence.

McCain-Kennedy? Like you, I mildly supported it. I saw it as a best possible compromise. We are never going to deport 20 million illegals.

McCain-Feingold? I think the only person arguing that there is too LITTLE money in politics is the campaign finance chair for McCain2008.

You say McCain has little or no chance of getting nominated yet you support him. Sounds like you are off the fence and standing on principle. hmmm...sounds familiar.

Again Charles, welcome aboard.

(Full disclosure. I not only support McCain, I donate to and volunteer on his campaign.)
Brad Marston
Visit the best political blog that nobody reads at www.azamatterofact.com

I just proved I couldn't have said it as well.

Brad Marston
Visit the best political blog that nobody reads at www.azamatterofact.com

I definitely think that McCain should highlight his military record more. If I'm not mistaken, he is the only major candidate who has military experience.

ended in '81. He's been in Congress for 20 years - his actions in Congress speak more to his current ideals and values. He would do much better if he put his ego aside and didn't try to bull-run over his opponents on every issue. Admitting mistakes, such as campaign finance reform and the Kennedy-McCain immigration amnesty, would help too.
====
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison

McCain has acknowledged that McCain-Feingold hasn't worked as intended. We hear this objection a lot among people who cite it as a "cardinal sin" against McCain. In reality, we've seen what money does in politics -- it corrupts, and corrupts absolutely.

On immigration, in the past two weeks, McCain has come out publicly and said he now supports "securing the borders first" before any other reforms.

I think it'd do people who "disagree" with McCain on these issues to catch up with the times.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

all his policy changes - he's been in DC too long and has become a typical inside-the-beltway guy. I respect him, but I could never vote for him.
====
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison

"Cheap date".

McCain now says "I'll build the **** fence if they want it". It's an attitude of grumbling and grudging acceptance of (temporary) political accommodation -- he is no convert. He has not "seen the light".

Thus, this issue demonstates something about McCain's integrity: he will do (or claim/pretend to do, much much later) what he believes is wrong -- building a fence -- in order to convince you to give him your vote, now.

And that's not my definition of integrity. Integrity is "I'm going to stand for what I believe is right, no matter the cost to my personal political aspirations" OR "I was wrong and I admit it, and now I will try to do better". McCain's "conversion" is neither of those two.

Sorry. No sale.

Sen. McCain has said clearly he still wants a comprehensive solution but that he knows the country doesn't trust the government and wants to see the border secure before dealing with the existing illegal immigrant community.

He always wanted to secure the border AND deal with the people already here through a form of earned legalization.

So he "saw the light" that most people wanted to secure the border first and then deal with the other problems.

What "light" are you referring to? If you think the country is actually anti-immigration, then you're in the minority.

I think McCain might be able to pull a Nixon and be the only major R who has the credibility to really secure the border. His pro-immigration creds are in place so that no one will confuse him for the anti-Mexican or anti-immigrant Tancredo wing of the party. But he wants to get a comprehensive solution. If he knows that the only way to do that is to restore voters belief in the government's ability to control the border, he would do it. Then a year later, he'd come back and say "I secured the border, now let's get to that earned legalization."

It's not a flip flop, he wants the same goal. He now understands that the disgust and distrust of government is deeper than any time in recent history. "Trust me" doesn't go very far. And so he is putting one part of his immigration platform ahead of the other: first, secure the borders, then get earned legalization.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

well as some sober statements over the past year or so, shows that he did not favor a fence, without which one cannot secure the border.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

I'm ambivalent about a fence, but I definitely don't think it is the only way to secure the border. I think an easier, quicker legal process would help a lot. And more manpower is one key. Also, a renewed effort to enforce employer sanctions could lead to lower demand for illegal immigration. Finally, a willingness by the DoJ to prosecute all people caught trying to cross illegally or through smuggling could have a big effect.

A fence is one method, not the only one. But I would say it is fair game to ask Sen. McCain (and the others) which specific methods they would use to secure the border.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

fence. Fort Knox: fence. China: wall Israel: fence

My house: fence

A fence will deter most from even trying. They won't travel long distances hoping a guard is away long enough to pole vault.

manpower and virtual fences simply invite confrontations

Abd since when is it not fair? to ask a candidate how he will carry out a policy? Plus there is a law on the books demanding a fence be built.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

No, I'm not anti-legal-immigrant; nor do I think much of the rest of the country is. It's this:

If he knows that the only way to do that is to restore voters belief in the government's ability to control the border, he would do it. Then a year later, he'd come back and say "I secured the border, now let's get to that earned legalization."

If you or McCain thinks that: (1) you can actually begin to DO something to effectively secure the border, and (2) have it completed, with time to (3) generate accurate, truthful statitistics that show that you HAVE secured the border, all in one year -- or even a single presidential term -- then you/he haven't thought very hard about the problem.

Of course, it's much easier and faster to put up a few potemkin miles of fence, generate a few misleading statistics, or delegate decision-making authority to state governors with a vested political interest in reporting "Yep, we're good!".

THAT, you could do in a year.

And so he is putting one part of his immigration platform ahead of the other: first, secure the borders, then get earned legalization.

And that's what I mean about a "cheap date". If you honestly believe that any of the Open Borders Faction -- of which McCain is a founding member -- EVER wanted to secure the borders in any real way, I've got some valuable waterfront property in South Florida to sell you. And if you believe McCain's grudging acceptance of current political necessity will carry thru past 21 Jan 2009, then I'll throw in a well-constructed famous bridge...

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Just the partial fencing of Operation Gatekeeper was a smash success. Just fence the hot spots, forcing the illegals down unsafe routes, and you'll drive the numbers down. That then gives us breathing room to fill in the gaps.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

declare victory and go home before filling in those gaps.

I agree with most of what you've said, you miss only one thing:

McCain has a bad habit of alienating people he needs on his side, and making friends who will never be with him when he needs them anyway. I don't think this is fair necessarily, like you, I agreed with the Gang of 14 deal and I lean in your direction on the waterboarding issue, for example, but it would be a very real problem as President.

It's less of a problem when he's a Senator, but when you are the head honcho that has to build support, I think it would be a major problem. It's not his stances, if you are really a 'perfect conservative' it basically means you either aren't actually responsible for anything or have blurred your position on the issues. It's how he handles his difficult stances. He gets it backwards.

Basically, it comes down to this: Giuliani has more troublesome issues then McCain from any objective standard. Yet, when you see Giuliani talk, you don't feel that way. When he disagrees, you still get the sense that he understands you, respects you, and is on your side overall. It's the exact opposite of McCain. When McCain disagrees, you get the sense that he's looking down his nose at you.

I don't think this is necessarily fair. I think part of it is the fact that a lot of conservatives, radio talk show types especially, have been terribly unfair to McCain, and his own reactions to such unfairness has been less then helpful. But I do think it's reality, and I don't know if he can bridge that gap. I'd be afraid he'd be very ineffective as an executive whenever he didn't have power to do something unilaterally. He just doesn't know what fights to pick and which not to.

Giuliani on the other hand, is not only use to being an executive, but he's made his entire career based on knowing what fights to pick. Its because he knew what fights to pick that he was as successful of a US Attorney as he was, it's because he knew what fights to pick that he was able to get elected Mayor of New York.

I love McCain as a Senator, and I think he'd be a wonderful Secretary of Defense, but something comes to light that convinces me he's learned how to pick fights in a smarter way, I'll be supporting Giuliani.

Jindal/Palin '16

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

I admire him so much, but have very serious reservations about his ability to lead a party- when to give, when to take and when to avoid being taken.

I don't think McCain will make it too far. Glad to see that Thompson is currently your fall back.

Oz

Read my most recent story, "Immigration may be Hillary's undoing" on First Cut Politics

Well said, Charles.

Charles and I were part of the same group blog for some time. Those familiar with my public posting history there and here will note that I'm to the left of Charles on most social issues. But I supported McCain in '00, and I am supporting him again -- for exactly the same reasons as Charles states.*

Those who are looking for a conservative who are also concerned about electability may with to take note.

von

*Why am I not supporting Giuliani? Being the mayor of New York during 9-11 -- even the brilliant & heroic mayor of New York during 9-11 -- is not the same as having foreign policy experice. Frankly, Giuliani's a foreign policy lightweight. That's going to become immediately apparent once the halo wears off. (Read his piece in the prior Foreign Affairs for a preview: It's really stupid. He may make it through the primary based on reputation, but the substance is going to be tested in the general. Either Hillary or Obama could come out looking better.)

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

"Read his piece in the prior Foreign Affairs for a preview: It's really stupid."

As compared to any other essays they have published? These are speeches filled with platitudes on how the candidate would like to make the world work once they become president. I would tell everyone to disregard those puff pieces of wishful thinking and read the other essays in the quarterly magazine. If you want to know how a Giuliani foreign policy would look, go no further than the people he has advising him.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/42460

Giuliani's experience in international affairs pales next to John McCain's, and if he is elected, he will likely rely on those in his inner circle the way Bush does in foreign policy.

By irking the rest of the party and catering to the media.

How does this qualify him ?
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Giuliani possesses many strengths, but when matched against McCain, foriegn policy is not one of them. They agree on almost everything, and the Senator from Arizona espouses the nature and necessity of the Iraq War with unmatched rhetorical ability. His military background adds gravitas to his words.

What is his foreign policy experience that trumps the mayors or any other candidate ?
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

While not possessing the foreign policy experience of a Secretary of State, Senators have to develop a certain level of expertise on foreign policy issues because they need to vote on treaties, get regular briefings on foreign policy issues (including some access to more classified information), vote on foreign policy issues like granting war powers, etc. McCain also has the benefit of actually having served in a war, which strikes me as important foreign policy experience.

"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

Dealing with out of control diplomats that are in a giant playground with immunity from prosecution counts as what ?

Dealing with one of the busiest trading ports in the world and several of the major financial markets is chop liver ?

I won't discount McCains war experience, in that it has given him an up close and personal experience about what a mess a lousy foreign policy can create. Its hardly experience crafting policy any more than being a passenger in a car accident counts as drivers ed.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

I'm not suggesting Rudy has no foreign policy experience, but I think grappling with the issues Senators deal with are more instructive on foreign policy than the issues that governors and mayors deal with.

That said, I think a mayor/governor's executive experience probably at least balances out their relative lack of foreign policy experience.

"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

Rudy as Director of Homeland Security? Sure. He handled post 9/11 NYC with dedication and resolve. But what experience does he have as a military commander? None.

We don't have time for "on the job training" when it comes to Islamic extremism, continuing wars in the Afghanistan and Iraq, and threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

Furthermore, we've got serious strategic decisions to make with competitors like China and Russia.

In all of this, we need a leader who understands how to build a stronger and more capable military. We need a leader who understands what it will take to deter challenges to our national security -- and take action to protect America without piddle-farting around to "consult the lawyers". That leader, my friends, is John McCain.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

The logical conclusion is that we should only elect a general.

I'll say it again. While I respect and give thanks McCain did what he did.

His experience during that war is the equivalent of being a passenger during an accident. Its not drivers ed or vocational training.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

His experience during that war is the equivalent of being a passenger during an accident. Its not drivers ed or vocational training.

What about McCain's experiences after the war? The man did continue to serve (and lead) until '82 (IIRC).

On a side note --

One of the most devasting political attacks you can make is to take a candidate's perceived strength, and turn it into a weakness. That's what happened to Kerry with his war experience: the Democrats chose him thinking hist war experience was a plus. It turned out that Kerry's experience wasn't a plus -- indeed, it may have been a slight weakness. Rudy's foreign policy experience (his perceived strongest selling point) is just as vulnerable. Proceed at your own risk.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

If thats your criteria elect a general. Its not like we don't have a competent crop to select from.

Rudy's foreign policy experience is his perceived strong point ? If that isn't setting a frame I don't know what is. Rudy's strong points are his post 9/11 leadership, the fact he is willing to fight back and fight back hard for his side, and excellent job he did in dealing with menaces in NYC that bear a resemblance to the terrorists. Foreign policy is about 5th or less on the list.

I could certainly see the press picking one of his weaker attributes and trying to make it seem like thats his chief selling point. It would hardly work in a forum such as this.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

As compared to any other essays they have published? These are speeches filled with platitudes on how the candidate would like to make the world work once they become president.

I agree that FA publishes mostly puff pieces. But you can write a puff that reveals you as a serious foreign policy lightweight.

By comparison, Clinton and McCain's pieces are in the current FA. Both are mostly filled with platitudes, but both make reasonable policy proposals that display some knowledge of foreign policy. Giuliani's didn't.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

That would net 320+ electoral votes, IMHO.

---
The truth is, the more you tax profits, the more you undermine the American work ethic and the incentive structure that goes along with it. In fact, you demoralize the very system that has made this country great.

I don't think it would work. They both appeal to independents, true, but they both appeal to the same independents. They both have the same base. I'm not sure doubling up would move the chains any.

Either Giuliani or McCain has to pick someone who is more trusted by social conservatives. Brownback, Huckabee, Santorum, DeMint, Coburn, etc.

Jindal/Palin '16

But I like McCain/Thompson or McCain/Huckabee!

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

Not a good record on the economy. His spending focus is on pennywise irrelevancies, not entitlements.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

That is absolutely false.

McCain HAS opposed tax cuts from time to time, that is absolutely true. But it is NOT true that he has favored hiking taxes. I'm pretty sure he hasn't EVER voted for a tax increase of any sort, and he favors making the tax cuts permenent.

Jindal/Palin '16

news conferences with his dem friends opposing tax cuts and opposing renewing same, i.e. a tax hike.

Yes, twice he has been taught lessons about his MSM sucking up for air time. That's once too many for me. Can't be trusted.

Also, Random Guy with 2 too mnay nos in the subject line, did you know that McCain is against the right of the "rich" to pass on their wealth to their children or their own choice?

he does

Favors a HUGE death tax!

Look it up if you care. I'm not doing it over a second tier candidate.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

You are wrong about extending the cuts, he's said he's for that so many times I can't count. I'm not going to go look for an old news article, but I 100% assure you they are out there.

I don't know if you are right about the death tax, I think you are wrong on that as well, but that's always been a weird issue in conservative history. One of the most famous economic libertarians, John Stewart Mill, was for 100% death tax. I don't agree, but I can understand the logic that says people should make it on their own. The entire logic behind it is the idea of the rugged individual, which is a very conservative concept.

Jindal/Palin '16

-ng to his earlier stance on same and his stance in the 2000 campaign and numerous other times he has mouthed the dem party line that tax rate hikes would help narrow the deficit

ignoring the economic history of the United States in the 60's 80s and 90s.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

INDISPENSABLE right to have freedom is of privare property rights.

Why work and accumulate wealth otherwise? esp if you can't pass it on!

http://www.hinzsightreport.com/devinelaw/mike-051707.html

Imposing smoking bans in restaurants is power play by non-smokers

MIKE DEVINE
Special to the Observer

"It's not about personal freedoms. It's not about businesses' property rights. This is a health issue bill."
That was House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman's final plea for a statewide smoking ban bill that was voted down 55-61 by the North Carolina House this month.

Georgia is still the Peach State, Tennesseans still volunteer, and Winstons and Salems may still be smoked in privately owned businesses in Winston-Salem.

That a majority of Tar Heel legislators rejected the Davidson County Democrat's nanny-state proposal and upheld rights the framers of the Constitution deemed most indispensable to liberty should win approval from smokers and non-smokers alike.

For James Madison, Father of the Constitution, the legitimacy of government depended on its active protection of private property rights. John Adams declared, "Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist." The Bill of Rights' demand that government pay just compensation when it "takes" one's property fits these sentiments like a hand in a glove.

Air, liberty and workers

Supporters of Holliman's bill waxed profuse defending "rights" and "entitlements" found nowhere in the Constitution, but they were poised to chuck the most fundamental rights the Constitution meant to protect. No one is compelled to patronize private businesses that allow smoking. And no one has a right to have other people build restaurants for their pleasure in the first place, much less maintain air quality therein to others' liking.Holliman and other supporters of the smoking ban claimed the bill was about public health and "worker" rights.

Not so.

Concerned about health? How about mandatory masks for waiters where second-hand smoke wafts about? Not called for by Holliman. Coal miners wear masks. Waiters could, too.

The bill was not about health. It was about the rights of workers all right -- restricting those rights, not protecting them, as do-gooders claim.

Want to protect workers' most precious rights? Protect enjoyment of the fruit of their labor. Privately owned property is the fruit of much labor.

In large measure, our Constitution's property rights produced the miracle known as America. Wealth generated by the miracle in the hands of the most benevolent, free nation in history works for the liberation of millions from tyranny around the world and longer life-spans here and abroad. Miracle-generated resources have made possible the defeat of enemies anxious to reduce the life-span of smokers quicker than the snuffing out of a couple of cigarettes.

In no small measure, the increased life expectancy of Americans results from benefits produced by property-right-incentivized work habits.

The fact is that first-hand smokers today live longer than non-smokers of yesteryear thanks to advances in medicine and technology unimaginable apart from the liberty secured by rights to property.

Smoke alarmists

Property rights created the wealth that buys our freedom and increase our life span much more than second-hand smoke could reduce it -- if in fact second-hand smoke does reduce it.

Medical studies cited by ABC News reporter John Stossel cast serious doubt on the claims of second-hand smoke alarmists. Common sense called them into question long before that. It takes first-hand smoke a long time to kill the smokers it kills. We are supposed to fear greatly reduced life expectancy when the smoke is diluted thousandsfold?

If workers' health is not the target, what is?

Power.

This is a brazen power grab by the non-smoking majority. They prefer to eat in a smoke-free environment, so all restaurants must cater to their preference. Never mind that the free market continues to create smoke-free restaurants at an amazing clip without aid from legislators.

Do not misunderstand. Despite my skepticism of the dangers of second-hand smoke, my sympathies extend to Holliman, and all other who have lost loved ones to tobacco-induced cancer. I lost a grandfather (age 73) and my father (age 65), both life-long smokers, to lung cancer.

They chose to smoke, despite the warning labels, and died from it. That's no reason to restrict the freedom that ensured they lived as long as they did.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
To comment on this commentary online, go to www.charlotte.com/opinion, then click on this column.

Mike

DeVine

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Observer community columnist Mike DeVine is vice president of Intequity Inc., a Charlotte-based marketing firm, blogs as "Gamecock" at Race42008.com and is legal editor for The HinzSight Report.com. Write him at mikedevinelaw @yahoo.com or at The Observer

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

While he has been vocal on pork (which is important) he's also been pretty steadfastly in favor of good entitlement reform. He voted against the Medicare prescription drug bill because of concerns about the solvency of the program and is in favor of private accounts for social security.

For what it's worth the National Taxpayers Union has also ranked him pretty consistently as one of the best taxpayer advocates in the Senate (http://www.ntu.org/main/components/ratescongress/details_all_years.php3?...)

"The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

He is excellent on the war, but then falls down on so many other issues -- Immigration, taxes, judicial nominees ....

Fred is a much better candidate, I am supporting him.

We need to reduce the field so the remaining can have real debates and discussions on real issues.

Again, I salute McCain on the war and his steadfast support of same. It is the sole issue that has kept him positive in my eyes.

I have to second what my friend Brad has said: welcome aboard! Those of us in the blogger community supporting McCain do so for many of the reasons you outlined. McCain is stronger on national security, defense, and military affairs than any other candidate.

He is the most experienced candidate in the field to be a WARTIME candidate. Sen. McCain was for the surge in Iraq since the inception of the conflict. He endured the criticism of fellow Republicans who scorned his disapproval of the Rumsfeld approach (which, in hindsight, was clearly flawed). He's come around to supporting "securing the border first" and has admitted that McCain-Feingold didn't work as planned. On both issues, he's acknowledged that he's willing to listen to the American people -- and move forward.

When it comes to his personal life, he's an American hero -- and has a beautiful family. McCain's sons Jimmy and Jack are both serving, in the marines and navy (academy) respectively. His wife Cindy and daughter Meghan are both campaigning with him.

I'm confident that McCain is the best man for our party's nomination, and the most qualified and experienced to be our next president. As more people and pundits start realizing this, I think we'll see McCain make a huge comeback.

Viva McCain!
Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

Not a chance. A McCain candidacy gives the Democrats a pass on illegal immigration. McCain is wrong on the policy and wrong on the politics on what could be the most important issue in the election.

Oh please. After unsuccessfully working with Ted Kennedy to try to ram amnesty through again(!) this June, he cratered in the polls and his fund raising dried up. Then he had a miraculous transformation...

Actions speak louder than words, and his actions have been clear. He didn't even vote against the DREAM Act a couple weeks ago, he ducked out 60 minutes before the vote.

His credibility on amnesty is the same as Hillary Clinton's on drivers licenses for illegal aliens. And that tosses away a huge advantage for Republicans in 2008.

Did you read the link? McCain still wants to see immigration reform, including a guest worker program and other comprehensive solutions. He hasn't caved on anything -- except to acknowledge that SECURING THE BORDER must come first. Comparing McCain's stance on securing the borders to Hillary's position on drivers licenses is laughable.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

Give it up. You are, as the phrase goes, "singing to the pigs." i.e. doesn't do you any good, and it annoys the pigs.

Folks that chant "Amnesty" every time they open their mouth won't be satisfied until illegal border crossings are a capital offense, every illegal immigrant is deported, and legal immigration is basically restricted to people with PhD's who speak English better then they do.

Jindal/Palin '16

I was and am a very strong Jindal supporter. You don't make much of an impression comparing people you don't know to pigs.

Sen. McCain is now espousing the exact view that a super majority of Americans have espoused for a couple years. First, secure the border. Then, earned legalization with some form of fine/back taxes/back of line provisions.

Isn't "acknowledging that securing the border must come first" what most people were yelling from the top of their lungs for the past two years. Or do people really think that you have to be for mass deportation to be "tough on immigration?"

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

Both McCain and Clinton changed positions to align themselves politically on illegal immigration. In fact if anything Clinton stuck with an unpopular cause, McCain switched positions to the more popular one.

That takes a key point away from Republicans in the general election.

I was a major McCain supporter in 2000, I have great respect for his military record, & his steadfast support for victory on Iraq. He is flat out unacceptable on illegal immigration and his late conversion to "border security" (which I did not read for the first time today) does little but paper over his prior zealous efforts on behalf of amnesty.

just a change in tactic. Sen. McCain and the rest of the comprehensive reform advocates wanted to a) secure the border and b) provide a path to legalize those here already. The idea that they didn't want to secure the border is a misleading attack. The concern that they wouldn't follow through and do it is a legitimate concern.

That is what Sen. McCain changed his strategy to correct for. He sees the distrust and believes that the government must first secure the border to regain that trust. Then he wants to move to earned legalization.

He wants the same end goal so it isn't really a change in policy. It's a changes in strategy and tactics. And it puts him smack dab in the middle of the country on immigration. His movement toward a two step strategy should be seen a success by the Enforcement First crowd since he is effectively espousing that view now. Of course, he will never be a part of the Tancredoite anti-immigrantion crowd. And hopefully the Rs won't nominate someone who is anti-immigrantion.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

Being the son of two immigrants not born in the US I could never be anti-immigrant. However I am, as you no doubt guessed, opposed to illegal aliens. I think we will just agree to disagree on McCain and his conversion. I don't enjoy fratricidal strife when the target ought to be the Democrats.

I defer the last shot to you and wish you victory next November!

I'll just say that I don't think McCain "converted." He has a goal and thinks he can accomplish it by changing the path to that goal. The path he is now on is much closer if not identical to what some of his critics said in the past year. It is still far from what other critics (i.e. Tancredo) would want.

And you are right that the internal strife need not be the focus, although the primary is the time to do it, if necessary.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

Sen. McCain and the rest of the comprehensive reform advocates wanted to a) secure the border

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Was this before or after they were calling us Enforcement First guys "nativists", "xenophobes", "racists", and "bigots"? When guys on "my side of the big ditch" like McCain and Bush use the same language to libel me as used by Ted Kennedy and his ilk, I /remember/ that. I'll believe McCain has really switched to enforcement first, when I get my apology for that libel.

But right now, I can't stop laughing...

Could you provide a link where Sen. McCain called you a nativist, xenophobe, racist, or bigot? I know there are some of each of those in the R party (and D party and other parties) and some of them have more time on TV than I'd like, but please at least provide some evidence for that assertion.

Or get over your childish tirade and get serious about accomplishing something. If McCain wants to secure the border first b/c he sees the distrust of government, at least recognize a success where it hits you in the head.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

He "changed his strategy" in 1999 on abortion too. He "changes his strategy" on things more often as Romney does. So much for the "maverick" who isn't afraid to take an unpopular position. Maybe he is just oblivious to what the popular position happens to be or what impact adopting it will have on his political ambitions. That's not much of an endorsement of a guy who wants to face Hillary and run the party.
---
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

If he were trying to woo independents and Democrats in the general instead of conservatives in the primary. Lucky thing for us we will never have to find out.
---
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

BS by Adam C

Look if you just want to spout anti-McCain fervor for giggles, go ahead. But if you'd like anyone to take you serious at least back up your misstatements.

Sen. McCain has always been pro-life. His NARAL voting score is 0, IIRC. He made one statement about the country not being ready to overturn Roe and people who dislike him tried to make him into a pro-choicer because of it. He has the most consistent pro-life record of the big 4 candidates. He never changed his strategy nor his policy on abortion.

And I know he wanted to use the surplus to pay down the debt rather than to cut taxes, but IIRC he saw the effect of the tax cuts on the economy and wants to extend them. It would have been better if he realized the cuts would have that effect in the first place, but I'll take someone who learns from seeing good policy in action.

And if you don't think he will defend an unpopular position out of conviction, you haven't seen him talk about Iraq or you haven't seen what the country thinks about Iraq.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

One statement? Two statements? Twelve statements? I'd say, pretty much by definition, one statement is all it takes to be inconsistent. You like to pretend that immigration is the only thing he has "changed his strategy on" but the fact is, it isn't. He "changed strategy" on life for a few days back in 1999. It didn't work out so hot so he backed off and "changed strategies" again, back to his original "strategy" on the issue. That's a profile in courage right there. It really shows how he follows his convictions, regardless of political cost, doesn't it?

The same goes for the tax cuts. He was against them before he was for them. At least more than a few days passed before he flipped on that issue... so he can pretend he "saw the light" rather than simply decided he didn't have a chance in the primary unless he backed the renewal of the tax cuts.

As for Iraq, you don't win the Republican primary by being anti-war, so I'm not sure what your point is there. The unpopular position on Iraq in the Republican primary would be the Ron Paul position. He has not adopted that position.

He takes no heat for any of this. He's the guy who isn't afraid to tell it like it is and he never changes his positions for political reasons. Except when he does.
---
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Funny that the borders firsters won't take McCain at his word on this, but will accept Giuliani's word that he will appoint conservative judges.

You've offered a well argued rebuttal on all points above re: immigration reform. McCain has, as he tells it, heard the message from voters "a thousand times" since the summer. It is indeed a change in approach, not in position.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

He is unquestionably a hero. It would only be fitting for such a one to sit in the Oval Office. He was right about the surge, and I was wrong when I feared an increase in troops would only lead to an increase in casualties that would, with the help of a treasonously persepectiveless media, harm the effort's support among the weak-willed public and its short attention-span. I give him much credit for this.

I don't have a problem with the Gang of 14, and I basically trust him on judges (certainly more than Rudy). I can reluctantly forgive his refusal to support a marriage amendment, though I think he is very much wrong. My instincts would lead me also not to favor such an amendment, all else being equal, however activist groups and judges make all else decidedly not equal. If the groups threatening the institution of marriage were not so strong, an amendment would not be necessary. But they are, and it is. If he will appoint good judges that will turn back that threat, it will be close enough though.

and I can forgive him for McCain-Feingold, because I agree his intentions were good (I do wish his cure wasn't at least as bad as the disease, however, and while I agreed with his desire to do something about it, it was never as important an issue as he made it).

Though I side in principle more with McCain's opponents on immigration, I'm sick of both sides of the debate. That he seems to have come more toward the center is enough for someone like me who is sick to death of the issue not to dismiss him entirely.

There are three big problems I have with McCain which I cannot overlook however, and make it unlikely that I can vote for him in the primary:

1. His unwitting aid to the propogandists of enemies like AlQaeda, Famed Nazi Hunter Dick Durbin and his Democratic Party allies, and the gaggle of so-called "human rights" organizations, on the issue of torture. He is generally right of course, and like with CFR and the marriage amendment, I have no doubt his intentions are good, but his statements only serve to allow said enemies to draw the implication that we are torturers. And someone like him, who still bears the wounds and handicaps from REAL torture should know that waterboarding, from which a victim recovers in minutes, is NOT torture. Words have meaning, and this defining down of torture, this moral equivalency MUST end.

2. His support of embryonic snake-oil research. This is as huge an issue for me as abortion, and why I lean towards Mitt or Mike. And similarly,

3. His coddling of the Global Warming Cultists.

As I've said, I can forgive policy differences and good intentions gone awry, but these three things cross the line. These are basic Truth and falsity propositions, and in each he gives aid and comfort to the charlatans, hucksters and frauds, malicious liars who pave the road to hell with the good intentions of people like Sen. McCain. (some would say the same of campaign finance reform and immigration, but at least in those cases he recognizes real problems and attempts to find solutions).

The argument that McCain somehow boosted enemy propaganda by opposing waterboarding and torture is nonsensical. I challenge anyone to post an example of Al Qaeda propaganda saying "the US Congress outlawed torture, which proves they were doing it." That is utterly illogical. I seriously doubt the enemy or the larger middle eastern population has any idea who McCain is or what he has said on the issue.

The fact of the matter is this: the political damage to our image overseas had already been done before McCain opened his mouth. The actions he led in Congress started us down the path of repairing that damage. As is often the case, that involved us eating a small amount of short-term crow in the cause of longer term benefit.

I have been waterboarded in training. It was not so bad. But that is only because I knew that the people doing it would not harm me, and that they would stop once I "got the point". Had it been done by people I knew were hostile, with no idea when it would stop, it would be an unbelieveably terrifying experience. I would consider it akin to experiencing hundreds of back-to-back "mock executions", with no idea which execution would be the real deal. International law clearly and unequivocally establishes that mock executions are illegal.

You do have a valid point on the term "torture". Much of what has been banned should be more accurately termed "abusive treatment". But we still shouldn't do it, and McCain was right to ensure that our laws were unequivocal in prohibiting it.

"If all men were just, there would be no need of valor."
- Agesilaus

just look at how the media portrayed the episode: as a "rebuke" to Bush administration policies.

now you'd probably be correct to say that the America-hating fabulists (and their Bush-hating fellow travelers) would have kept spewing the same lies and accusations whether McCain had opened his mouth or not. all too true. but he certainly didn't help matters, and he ought to have been responsible enough to realize that his words would or could have consequences (unlike his Democrat colleagues who at best cared not what the consequences might be, and at worst desired to actively bring about those consequences). but again, for all that, I do think his heart was in the right place, and perhaps still could have set that aside except for the exacerbation of his irresponsible comments with his waterboarding comments. though I'll come most of the way toward you as you did to me in your final paragraph and say certainly we shouldn't be doing it just for the fun of it. but it would be insane to say enemy combatants deserve white glove treatment (of course the same goes for our own criminal prisoners which too often get it). so long as we don't cross the line to REAL torture, make them miserable.

I can't imagine how implicitly acknowledging as truth the lies of the critics could possibly have "started...repairing that damage." Indeed, the Democratic howler monkeys still say America's reputation is irreparably ruined - unless we give them the power they thirst for.

I find much to admire in Sen. McCain. sometimes he is exasperating; there are reasons not to vote for him. but there are also reasons to vote for him.

compare this to his good friend Sen. Thompson. I can't imagine why anybody would be against him, but then I can't imagine why anybody would be for him, either.

Given the choice between the two, I'll take McCain.

There are plenty of good reasons not to vote for Sen. McCain. But his position on torture is not one of them.

"If all men were just, there would be no need of valor."
- Agesilaus

It really doesn't matter how the media HERE portray the issue. They were always going to portray it in a negative light anyways. It may tick us off to see things continually spun against us in the American media, but it's not "enemy propaganda." Besides, the US media has about a 2 week attention span before they are off to the next thing.

The fight is overseas. The target of enemy propaganda is first and foremost the Arab and Muslim populace we are trying to build as allies against Islamic fundamentalism. In the long run, codifying US law as unequivocally against torture helps us in that campaign. McCain was able to see through the short-term partisan noise and home in on the really important central issue, which is strengthening our moral authority as a nation. In the long run, that will gain us more than any transient benefit we might wring out of prisoners.

I admit to being a little single-minded. But to me, the war really does trump all else. When I retire from the Army next spring maybe I'll chill out. But for now, progress in the war trumps short-term bad press at home.

You do seem more thoughtful about the issue that many McCain-haters who make the specious "torture ban = enemy propaganda" argument. For most of them, it comes across mainly as an attempt to justify a visceral dislike of a man who stuck his finger in their eye back in 2000.

"If all men were just, there would be no need of valor."
- Agesilaus

and this is why I have some degree of criticism for McCain here. the partisan noise was coming from the left, exemplified by Sen. Dick "gulag" Durbin's disgraceful comments. again, I think McCain's position (minus the later waterboarding=torture bit) is absolutely correct, which is why a statement that WE ARE NOT TORTURERS (or to quote persona non grata Alberto Gonzales to McCain's buddy Lindsey Graham: "We are NOTHING like our enemies, Senator", a statement for which I will ever applaud him) would have been the way to go, rather than statements that could be wrongly interpreted as an attack on the conduct of the administration or of our soldiers (again, not an attack I attribute to McCain himself, but to those who twisted his less than helpfully worded comments to draw the implications they wanted). and here is where I certainly view the MSM (not just here, but in Europe and the Arab Street) as enemy propaganda. because I too view progress in the war as the most important thing, and I see the dishonest and biased attempts of the media and the left in this country and elsewhere to undermine puplic opinion as the greatest threat to that progress. our heroic men and women cannot be defeated on the field unless they are defeated at home. the only reason, for which I thank God, such treasonous undermining has not yet succeeded is the superhuman resoluteness of President Bush and a few brave others, notably Sens. McCain and Lieberman. So while I give the Senator much deserved credit for being one of the bravest men in Washington on the war, I do see his occasional tendency to muddy the waters with statements which, while right in principle, could be stated in a much more helpful manner, as a worrying problem. Not an insurmountable one, and quite probably one which would not be as manifest were he President, but a needless headache that should have been avoidable if only he were more clear that his clarity of principle was an affirmation, not an attack, a statement not of what we ought be but are not, but of what we in fact are.

1. As Charles writes above, perhaps more than any other American today, John McCain knows torture. This is not simply a moral issue of conscience, it's one that defines us around the world. I agree that the "blinking red light" scenario is one where we must have all options on the table. Unlike Mitt, who said he'd have to talk to the lawyers -- McCain would act immediately, and without hesitation.

2. Mitt (who you cite as an acceptable alternative to McCain on this issue) actually supports stem cell research. He says as much in this 2005 interview -- and ties it, oddly -- to "economic stimulus". McCain scores a 0% from NARAL, and has a consistent, long, and strong pro-life voting record.

3. If we're going to go down the road of addressing global warming, we might as well use market-based approaches that won't damage our economy. Debate on global warming has moved from science to policy. Regardless of whether you believe the threat is real, there are very REAL policy implications coming down the pike.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

1. precisely BECAUSE he knows torture, he ought to recognize that waterboarding does not fit the definition, and makes it all the more disappointing that he does not.

2. Mitt has been the strongest top tier candidate against EMBRYONIC stem-cell (snake oil) research. Its what he predicates his "flip-flop" on abortion on. I know of no one who opposes adult or cord blood stem cell research which unlike embryonic stem cells, have actually shown exciting potential. The problem is that those in the abortion industry and their supporters try and lie and muddy the waters and refuse to support the one without the other. On abortion and Roe v. Wade itself, I trust McCain, so I'm not sure why you are raising this strawman or using it to attack Mitt. but he lets them in through the back door here.

3. I agree with your first sentence. I have no problems with (and support) conservationist poliicies. I have a problem with charlatans like Al Gore and those espousing the man-made global warming nonsense. And no, I don't think McCain is as bad or as guilty as many on that count, but his lack of clarity again makes things more difficult than they ought to be.

All three of these issues deal with death cults of one type or another, and McCain, while I believe he means well, gives cover to them. I'd still vote for him above Rudy or Fred (and it goes without saying, any Democrat), but these are serious reservations that can't be wished or explained away with flimsy arguments.

why didn't he speak up sooner? He's been in Congress over 20 years. Waterboarding has been used as an interrogation technique by us for at least that long. It was never a closely held secret. I don't buy the argument that he and others didn't know - heck there were formal procedure manuals written for both DOD and other agency folks regarding how to do it safely, medical precautions etc.
====
"Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -- James Madison

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

If we "torture" our own soldiers, just so long as we don't "torture" terrorists.
---
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

Alright, I think we've sorted through most of the issues above, clearly we disagree on details, not principle.

But on the torture issue, I think you're categorically wrong on the charge that McCain is giving "unwitting aid to the propogandists of enemies like AlQaeda, Famed Nazi Hunter Dick Durbin and his Democratic Party allies, and the gaggle of so-called "human rights" organizations, on the issue of torture."

As you may well now, McCain refused to be released early as a POW, precisely because he knew it would be used as a propaganda victory by the North Vietnamese. He endured unspeakable torture for this -- and still rarely talks about the torture he experienced at the hands of his captors.

I don't think you give McCain enough credit on this issue. He's not giving any sort of propaganda victory to our enemies, or to anti-Americanism around the globe. Precisely the opposite. His opposition to torture is central to maintaining America's stature as a "shining city on a hill."

I agree we should make our enemies miserable, but we shouldn't stoop to the tactics of terror.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

Senator John McCain and his record as a Conservative should be looked at in terms of two eras. There is the early era and the recent era. Up until his run for the nomination in 2000, I would say that his record is what you look for in a Conservative. But for whatever reason that changed in 2000 and has remained the same ever since. He voted against Bush's taxcuts in 2001, 2003 and 2005 when there was an attempt to make them perminent. He has just recently--I think in 2006--came out in favour of making them perminent. I wonder why he has all of a sudden had a change of heart? Could it be his hunt for the nomination?

His stance on the war is promising, however; he is making a lot of noise about torture. First of all, we are not doing to terrorists what the Communist North Vietnamese did to him. It's not even close. For those of you who say that waterbording is illegal, I want to ask you why the US Military makes members of it's special operations personel go through such training before they are sent out into the field? It's not just SEALs either. Aircrew members within the Navy have to go through it as part of their training. I know this because I am in the Navy. If it's safe for US Military personel, then it is good enough for the cockroaches we pick up in Afghanistan and Iraq. McCain is simply using this issue as a means to make nice with his media friends while at the same time being for the war in Iraq. Also, I am sick and tired of hearing about his Vietnam service. That was thirty years ago okay and not to mention they lost. If I am Tony Dunge and I am looking for advice for playing the Patriots, I am not going to go to a looser of a coach. McCain and his Vietnam buddies that call into C-Span to explain that we are going to always have Vietnams need to get lost. It's not my generation's fault you lost so don't make it your mission to see to it that there is not another generation who knows what it is like to win.

Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

holding it against the veterans that they lost?! Not respecting what our Vietnam veterans have to say becasue we pulled out of Vietnam before we won! I'm not an expert at history, but I'm sure not going to blame the guys who were over in Vietnam getting tortured and figting our enemeies, before I blame the hippies shooting themselves up with drugs and violently protesting for "peace".

It's not my generation's fault you lost so don't make it your mission to see to it that there is not another generation who knows what it is like to win.

I don't know what generation you claim to be a part of, but were sure in trouble if we have a whole generation with your level of intelligence.

We (the veterans) did not lose. The American leftist terrorist supporters lead by Jane Fonda, John Kerry and their Political
supporters gave the North Vietnamese the victory. But the US Military and their Vietnamese counterparts plus our other allies did not lose Vietnam.

Regardless of blame, it is still a loss. Vietnam is not a prosperous democracy. It is a fledgling Communist state. Tally: US is 9-1-1 in major conflicts. We are still in this one, I just hope we don't blow it.

Just to save the time I will name the conclicts I speak of:
Victories:
1) Revolution-obviously we won that one.
2) War of 1812-solidified the gains from the Revolution.
3) Mexican War-set up the annexation of the American West.
4) Civil War-for those southerners out there, the US Gov. won that one.
5) Spanish-American War-set us up as a global power.
6) WWI-solidified our being a global power.
7) WWII-nothing more to say.
8) The Covert War in South America during the Cold War-we should probably just call this one the Cold War as there were numerous parts to it.
9) Gulf War I-total victory; all objectives set out in the UN resolution were completed.

Losses:
1) Vietnam-wow, this is the only major conflict I can think of that fits this catagory.

Ties:
1) Korean War-could be called the fore-runner to how the Vietnam War was lost. Except there is at least some parts of Korea that are not Communist, unlike Vietnam.
Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

The issue is not whether it is a loss or not. The issue is whether the blame for the loss can be pinned on the brave individuals who fought, as your comment above stated.

And if we "blow" this one, who would be to blame? The men and women who are fighting.

Think about it.

"The men and women who are fighting?"

WITH a question mark.

Is people trying to replay their experiences with Vietnam everytime the US goes out to defend itself. If all of you would stop reacting to my "they're loosers" comment and think about it, since Vietnam, everytime the US has ventured out into a military operation to defend ourselves we have heard from Viet-Vets saying that they don't want it to be another Vietnam. I can recall as a child hearing the Vets around my home town saying such when Grenada was started, and the same with Gulf War I--especially Gulf War I. When this current conflict began, being a lot older, I definitely remember the Vets moaning that we are going to get into another Vietnam. I am tired of them projecting their experiences on to me and my mates that are doing what it takes to prevent Islamofacists from killing more Americans. And the bottom line is--and everyone here should realize this--the Left relishes in Viet-Vets badmouthing this war, whether it be GI Joe from Middle America to John McCain and the interrogators at GETMO. IT HURTS OUR EFFORTS. Like I said before, an interrogator deserves the same amount of honour bestowed upon them as the grunt in the HUMV. And to hear a sitting Senator who actually went through horrendous torture claim that our security personel are acting in the same manner is repugnant. Especially when this Senator is doing it just so he can have a beaf with the President and make nice with Chris Matthews. That is sick. If we were to put the kid gloves on like McCain wants, then we will get played like a violin by these subhumans we capture on the fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. And all of that will stem from a generation who does not want any successive generation to know what victory is. Yeah, I will stipulate that there are anamolies, but those are few and far between when taken in totality. And this is not a statement of ignorance either, it is a statement of "Hey, you guys didn't a chance to finish the job, but that doesn't mean you get to make statements and acting in a manner that will get in the way of us finishing ours." If not finishing the job is what they are upset about, then the best way to remedy that is to not let it happen again. I think by us finishing here in Iraq and the GWOT in total, we could claim some emotional victory for Vietnam, by that I mean we will never have to hear "another Vietnam" when the US goes to defend itself.

Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

"...since Vietnam, everytime the US has ventured out into a military operation to defend ourselves we have heard from Viet-Vets saying that they don't want it to be another Vietnam."

I haven't heard this from ANY Viet Vets I know, nor have I heard it from anyone else who knows Viet Vets. I HAVE heard it from lefty hate-America types, though.

If you are so fed up with this, tell the vets you are actually hearing from from that they are losers and they need to shut up (although I do not recommend this course of action). Leave McCain and the rest of the other brave Vietnam veterans out of it. Also remember that you were not there. I sure do.

I hope he re-reads his comment and realizes that one day he will be ashamed of it, and I hope that day is today.

I had lunch with a Vietnam Veteran not long ago, and he made a comment on the war out of the blue. He said,"You know what I regret about Vietnam? That they didn't let us win."

That man is not a loser, nor is McCain.

A lot of people got a pretty big rise out of my Vietnam/McCain comments. I stand by them 100 percent. The reason I do is because I have come across plenty of Viet-Vets who maintain that Iraq is another Vietnam. They claim that we should just turn tail and run away because we can't win. And of course they run through the gamut of reasons, but the one theme that stands out clearly in their rationale is that it is being lost at home, much like Vietnam. Well, it would seem to me that if that is their concern, then they should stop calling into to radio talkshows and C-SPAN's Washington Journal to exclaim that we need to leave Iraq for that reason. No doubt that they lost because of the homefront, but now it seems as though every war since has been plagued by Viet-Vets claiming that it is going to be the same and we not expend the energy in fighting it. Well, frankly that pisses me right off. If that is their concern then they need to take it up with the Left and not play into the Left's hands by claiming each new operation another Vietnam. We do not have a generation that knows a victorious US military, and the last generation to claim victory is dying off by the hundreds each day. That means we are going to be left with a generation that--sorry to say--sounds like a bunch of whiney children and act as though they don't want another generation to know what victory is like because it was denied them. I for one don't want to loose another war/conflict, especially when our enemy is inferior in every way. It's time for the Viet-Vets to realize that THAT war is over and there's nothing that can be done about it. So pretty please, let us win this one. We will still invite you guys to the VFW when it's over.

Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

But find your comments about Viet-Vets offensive. However, I think there's a way out of your crass commentary. Surely you mean to assail the pro-surrender Viet-Vets like John Kerry, and not the NO SURRENDER vets like McCain?

If anyone wants to win the current struggle, it's John McCain. He has campaigned tirelessly for giving our troops the chance to succeed.

Blogging at Blogs4McCain.com

Then Senator McCain better understand that officers who interrogate the enemy for information are soldiers too. And maligning their service and calling what they do equivolent to what the Vietnamese did to McCain is anything but supportive. And from what I have read and seen, we haven't waterborded anyone. I believe KSM was subjected to more psychological things like loud music and bright lights all through the night. I am not too sure that he was ever waterborded. (To that I could be wrong, but if he was, he's the only one that I know of.) Regardless, the people involved in getting information out of detainees are just honourable as the grunt in the HUMV. McCain doesn't so.

Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

and calling McCain a loser because he fought in a lost war is repugnant. The blame doesn't lie with the combatants, but with generals and the political leadership for getting us into that mess and then not adopting a workable strategy for prevailing against the communists.

Any Viet-Vet that wants to project what happened then to what is going on now. The grunts will say that the politicians don't care and are just sending them to slaughter and the McCains will claim that we are doing to al Qaeda what the NVA did to him. Well, the reason the politicians are able to do this today is because there are enough people out there saying that this is just like Vietnam, and no one wants to relive that time--except the Viet-Vets. And I wish people could know what actually happens at GETMO in regards to how we get information from the terrorists. My collegues and I are NOT TORTURING CAPTIVES. Does everyone here on this blog understand that?! We have not shoved bamboo shutes under the fingernails of anyone. We have not used electro-shock techniques to get info despite the pictures from Abu Ghraib. So, seems how that is McCain's assertions, I will never support him and the quicker he retires the better off the US Senate will be. Oh, and one more question: if McCain is unassailable because of his Vietnam service, then why didn't any of you here support Kerry in 04? Kerry's fault--other than being a Socialist--was maligning the Vietnam troops. My beaf with McCain is similar except that he is maligning me and the troops of today for waterbording. Other than the Socialism thing, I would think that that would not be too much of a difference for all of you here who are the biggest defenders of Vets.

Standing athwart history yelling stop!!!! http://nationalwhig.blogspot.com

The problem with McCain is that he is completely unpredictable. He can say one thing now and then for some unknown reason change his mind and start opposing what he said before vociferously. He trashes Romney for changing positions on abortion but back in 1999 McCain was on record as being in favor of RoevWade. Now he is against it and anyone who was ever in favor of it must be demonized. During the immigration debate anybody who was opposed to amnesty was a racist, period. McCain never leaves room for an honest disagreement. The other side must always have some occult evil intent.

That is incorrect. He's been on record for wanting to overturn RvW ever since he was first elected in 1982. There was one quote, and only one, in 1999 that could be interpreted as saying Roe should stay, but even that quote was ambiguous, and his campaign sent out a clarification less then 24hrs after the quote.

Jindal/Palin '16

over pro-choice republicans and trying to make them think he was for maintaining Roe. That tape derailed the "straight" talk express in 2000.

McCain didn't know he was being taped.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

till I discovered McCain's character flaw

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Please explain how his quote was at all ambiguous. Was it the Roe should not be overturned part or the Roe being overturned will lead to women dying in back alley abortions part? Please point out the ambiguity.
---
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

the better McCain does in the primaries, the better the country will do in the war. He is the most steadfast on winning the war, and the best at explaining the war.

The more that Americans, especially the wavering Americans in the middle, listen to him speak, the more they will support winning the war.

And the Americans in the middle are more likely to trust McCain on foreign policy and rally to him than to any other candidate (Republican or Democrat).

McCain is *the* best Presidential candidate for the GOP in '08.

Romney has been unable to connect with voters due to his lack of sincerity and will almost certainly lose to Hillary in the general.

Thompson has not shown the energy needed to win the general election--he makes Bob Dole look like a dynamo.

Huckabee may be unable to impress the northern states, and the attention focused on his record in Arkansas may outweigh his impressive rhetorical abilities.

Giuliani is a close 2nd to McCain in the general, but Giuliani will divide the base and may also do long-term damage to the coalition that comprises the GOP base.

I disagree with McCain only on stem-cell research, but his national security credentials and integrity carry far more weight with me in this time of war.

BTW, waterboarding is most certainly torture. Is there anyone on this board who has experienced it first hand who says that it is not torture? We are a Christian nation. I believe Christ wants us to defend ourselves, but does he want us to torture prisoners. We can win this war taking the higher road, which is one more thing that makes America the greatest nation.

Theres more

How far do you go to get the information ?
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

has almost no useful meaning. Libs us it to obfuscate.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

and I simply do not trust him. He says he wants to secure the borders first and then consider the next step. I do not want the next step period. He is also just to old.

living in the US with no documentation and no need to assimilate, living as some kind of legal second class non-citizen?

So say Sen. McCain secures the border and no new illegal immigrants come into the country. You think we should do absolutely nothing about the people already here?

I mean it's intellectually honest to say you want to deport them, it's just unpopular. It's more realistic to say that once the government shows it is serious about securing the border (through concrete action and results), then it is time to consider how to deal with those illegal immigrants already here. What kind of back-of-the-line rules, back tax payments, fines, etc. should be levied to allowed an earned legalization OR what methods of deportation should be used? Just saying there isn't a second step is allowing the situation to stay as it is. And I don't know anyone who wants that.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

lib elitists that hate america that work in academia, the press and hollywood

just kidding

but I can dream

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Though most would vote for him in a general election, I don't see him energizing the base, particularly because the biggest area wherein a GOP candidate could get real traction in attacking Hillary is immigration and McCain has zero credibility on that issue, unless you're La Raza or Vicente Fox.
________________________________________________________
Halls of Justice Painted Green, Money Talking.
Power Wolves Beset Your Door, Hear Them Stalking.

notatool.com

You know if you think that we should both secure the borders and be pro-immigration.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

National Security; would that not mean securing the borders?

Torture; why yes he was tortured and guess what so will each and every one of our captured soldiers because we will be the only country playing by the rules while rome burns

Taxes; he opposed Bush's original tax cuts and only started to support them when he was running again for President

My final thoughts are that this "maverick" has only been consistant on life and that is all.

His total disregard for the American people during the AMNESTY debate showed me up close how he would govern.

Freedom of Religion not Freedom from Religion

Chrysler/Plymouth used to make some of the best engineered US autos. They had good, novel ideas and all the bells and whistles. But when you actually bought one, they were clunky and full of bugs, and hard like hell to fix.

McCain reminds me of that. He is the one guy closest to me in all of his "professed" positions. But under closer scrutiny you find out there is not as much as meets the eye.

He has "straight talk" and then cuts deals with democrats.
He lectures and throws tantrums at his constituents when they don't see his inside the beltway wisdom.

He would make a fine secretary of state, but that's about all.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"
Kyle

    My three main criteria for picking a president in this election cycle are national security, the economy, and integrity.

It amazes me how many people take executive ability for granted, as if anyone can do that so we can assume it away. That's not reality. There are 10,000 mistakes one can make in hiring people and delegating authority. Let's get somebody who's at least made the first 9,000 of them. The president heads the Executive branch; he's not the über -legislator that can decree all the laws we like that haven't been passed yet. I agreed with Bush on Social Security. A lot of good it did.

Sure, before voting for someone you'd like to make sure that they agree with you on basic principles. But if the guy hires terrible people and leaves bozos and even political opponents in charge in other places, it's just going to be another Bush Administration no matter how right the guy is on "the issues."

It's not like we have a shortage of people with credible executive experience. We've got two Governors and the mayor of a city that's bigger than most states to choose from. All three of them can point to success at making a giant bureaucracy dance to a tune. No matter what color your conservatism, one of those candidates is probably at least a reasonable fit. Why go with a guy who's never run anything of size before, who could end up being the next Jimmy Carter, just to get 5% closer to Issues Nirvana?

The only serious candidate the Democrats have with any executive experience is Bill Richardson. He's not even second tier, so he's probably not going to be the candidate. One way we can be better than the Donks is to have a candidate people can be sure will have the trains running before the four years is up.

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

And let me add, We also want someone who can and will fight back against the Democrats. My biggest disappointment with this administration was the new tone.
______________________________
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

the first time the President had to remove a Kennedy shiv from his back!

========
Considering where the good doctor's head was, when practicing medicine, is it any wonder that the man has issues?

that Jimmy Carter had such "executive experience" as a past Governor.

______________________________________
Donate to the Rs in Close Senate Races through Slatecard

Was that an observation that hiring a particular experienced person for a critical position can turn out badly, or a generalized argument in favor of filling critical positions with inexperienced people?

Drink Good Coffee. You can sleep when you're dead.

and it didn't save him from being a failed president, and it didn't save him from being the most incompetent president this side of Jimmy Carter. To me, what's more important than executive experience is leadership.

Nice liberal talking points you got there. :roll eyes:

Jindal/Palin '16

The only major policy objectives he's failed to get strong progress on are illegal alien clemency and and Social Security accounts.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

You are dead-on, Neil. For an example of a failed presidency, we need only go back 27 short years for a president who failed on every major policy initiative, lost the support of the American people and failed to win re-election.

The only major favorable legislation he achieved was tax cuts, and he responded to the 9/11 attacks pretty darn well. Other than that, he is a failing president.

He passed signed big-spending legislation such as Medicare, the farm bill and highway bill.

He signed McCain-Feingold.

He mismanaged Iraq for 3½ years, failing to pull the plug on his SecDef and failing to make major adjustments to fix the situation.

He talked free trade, but then he turned around and implemented steel tariffs.

He can't communicate his way out of zipoc baggie.

He failed on Social Security.

He failed on immigration, pissing off a major chunk of his base along the way.

He partially failed on education because he didn't make a stand on school choice.

He partially failed on Supreme Court appointments with his Harriet Miers mystery date selection.

His administration mishandled Katrina, Valerie Plame, Blackwater, contractor building projects in Iraq, and countless other political tempests.

Because of his poor performance on Iraq, he is at least partially responsible for losing Congress to the Democrats.

He failed to adequately challenge GOP in Congress to clean up their act, both spendingwise and corruptionwise.

He hasn't governed as a conservative.

I could go on. These aren't "liberal talking points", and I find it insulting to be labeled as one. These are opinions from a Republican who's been in the party for over a quarter century, and who would like nothing better than to see a Republican in the White House, working with a Republican majority in Congress, and appointing conservative jurists to the Supreme Court. But given Bush's sh*tty record, I've lost near-total confidence in him as commander-in-chief. The sooner fellow GOPers recognize how goddawful Bush has been as president, the better.

What you describe might make him a bad President, Charles, but that doens't make Bush a failed President. Failure implies that one set out to accomplish a task, but didn't achieve it.

President Bush has gotten the things he wants by and large. Yes, he wants the wrong things, being someone who thinks that "when somebody hurts, government's gotta move." No, he hasn't governed as a conservative, because he isn't one.

But I can no more call him a failure than I can call FDR a failure. They both had goals, and they acheived them; Bush like FDR has had some of the biggest problems coming from Supreme Court cases not going his way.

If you want failure, look to the Democrats. They can't PASS the things they ran on, for the most part. They got the minimum wage passed, they got SCHIP passed, but that's about it. And they coudln't even override the SCHIP veto.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

and repiaring the Supreme Court he's a failure

I want more failure!

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer
www.race42008.com
www.hinzsightreport.com
www.theminorityreportblog.com
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

Please describe these failures. I'd be fascinated to know how any intelligent lifeform could put our current president in the same sack of garbage as Jimmy Carter without being at least as disingeuous as the "journalists" who work for 60 Minutes.

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men."

Read some history on the Keating 5.

McCain broke no laws, and he was roped in with the four Democrats because the Democratic leadership wanted a Republican scalp. That way, the Dems could claim that both Republicans and Democrats were in on the fix. It was this smearing of his character that motivated him to pursue McCain-Feingold.

I have had a request for money from the McCain campaign sitting on my desk for weeks. I am torn to support him, as if I owe it to him. Then I hear him speak dismissively about water-boarding and torture again and I want to tear it up. The man's many credentials would overcome my many reservations with him, but it cannot overcome my discomfort with his simplistic treatment of that. Then again maybe it is just the symptom of what I fear is a tragically damaged temperament.

turn you off? The GOP field's comments about supporting torture and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques makes it difficult for me to vote for anyone other than John McCain. The only other nominee who is clearly against torture (and waterboarding is torture-PERIOD) is Ron Paul and he's not a viable option for a slew of reasons.

I win. You lose. Too bad. So sad.

That's a pretty lousy way to argue isn't it? So don't do that if you want to get anywhere, heh.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

but I think it's very clear that waterboarding is torture. It has been condemned by the US government and international organizations for the last century. It has been used by our enemies in the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan and others including the lovely folks in Burma - er Myanmar as an inhumane method of interrogation. I think John McCain has been an eloquent spokesman as to why waterboarding, stress positions and sleep deprivation are all forms of torture that are illegal and immoral.

I know that it seems that our enemy in this war does not deserve the protection of US or international law nor does he deserve our compassion, but this is not about them. This is about the United States and our government enforcing the rule of law.

and it has worked to break terrorists and to get them to cooperate.

A US soldier knows that his trainers is not going to kill him. While I'm sure it's not a pleasant experience, the soldier knows he is safe.

As for it's effectiveness, how do you know it has worked? What proof do you have? The vast majority of data shows that torture is an ineffective tool for extracting truthful information.

some vigorous applications... And he was pretty sure that they wouldn't kill him, as his nephew Ramzi Yousef was languishing in a super-high security prison in Colorado or Illinois, along with Pollard.

The fact is that we don't know what caused KSM to talk or whether all or any of the information he gave was truthful. We can't know because it is justifiably classified.

The United States prosecuted and convicted Japanese and Nazi soldiers for waterboarding US servicemen in WWII. I guess we should have cut them some slack.

Do you have a cite that shows what those servicemen did, and how it compares with the interrogation techniques that were used on KSM and others?

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

I know that it's against the rules to go link crazy, so here are just a couple of links.

http://lawofwar.org/what's_new.htm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR200711...

Your first link suggests the World War II "water cure" had actual strangulation effects:

Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water was poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let me up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again.

My understanding is that waterboarding as done by Americans has no such physiological effect, but rather is purely psychological.

And that is where I draw the line. If you're not actually harming somebody, then you're not torturing them.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

How do we know what the US method is? How do you draw that line?

Your link sites the modern technique as using cellophane, versus a towel. A towel soaks up water and gains weight, which will have a suffocating effect that cellophane (which water rolls off of) will not.

HTML Help Central for Red Staters
Let's nominate the Nash Equilibrium for President.

I would take waterboarding over being starved or skinned alive or beheaded any day. We proscuted them, as I recall, not simply for waterboarding, but added that charge to the other more seriouis things they were being prosecuted for.

I will look for the link, but it is pretty common knowledge that KSM sang after waterboarding. The over / under was three minutes, and if you had taken the under, you would have won.

I am just not willing to take that particular method of interrogation out of the mix, and am not enthused about prosecuting an American who does it in order to save lives. We don't waterboard for the hell of it, we do it to extract information.

The law does not allow for exceptions because its done by the good guys or for good reasons. I would also not like to see any US agents prosecuted for this and the way to avoid that is to explicitly prohibit any forms of torture.

Is psychological. If the prisoner is convinced that his treatment will be genteel and the same whether or not he co-operates, then the likelihood of his co-operation is very low. "Degrading treatment" is much too broad a term to be classified as "torture." While McCain deserves admiration for his endurance as a captive, it seems to have influenced his ability to make useful distinctions.

No. What turns me off is the simplistic moralistic claim that my support for vigorous interrogations -- including non-lethal and non-physically harmful applications of methods like water-boarding -- of select terrorists like KSM is equivalent to me abandoning the rule of law and endorsing torture, to sabotaging American values. It is the dismissive attitude of high-minded absolutist idealism over my attempts to practically balance values that turns me off.

If it is all that black and white to you then fine, I am not trying to convince you not to vote for McCain. But the absolutist and dismissive way he treats this issue makes me believe he is subject to bad missteps when it comes to guarding American security. So we have different opinions and we turn each other off. If McCain gets elected, I'll do all I can to support him.

"Water-boarding is torture - period." And of course you couple that with the implication that torture is always wrong regardless of the circumstances.

That seems to me to entail a philosophical stance on ethics -- akin to the Kantian -- that right action is always deduced directly from principles regardless of circumstances or consequences. That position has its appeal to me but I haven't been able to make it work out. Nevertheless, it could be right. But is it clearly the position exercised in American tradition -- that tradition which has preserved for us our American way of life?

I submit this piece from today's WSJ as reason why I answer no. I am not a thoroughgoing utilitarian but it does seem our military and security measures have been rooted in utilitarian morality. And my moral sense compels me to judge our nation's leaders by that standard.

Perhaps you and I would both rather die at the hands of an enemy rather than do anything which violated our moral sensibilities or principles, but a president is sworn to protect our lives and way of life from such enemies and so is faced with ordering the most abhorrent uses of force and violence to do so. It might be noble for the leader of our nation to forgo violence against national enemies when failure to act puts only his own life at risk. It seems immoral to me however to forgo it when it is the lives of those he is entrusted to protect that are risked. And that is the problem with McCain that I can't overcome.

Actually the President takes the oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Protecting the US from enemies is obviously important but the Constitution is to an extend a representation of our moral sensibilities and principles.

It is quite easy to see the potential for conflict between protecting our Country and up holding the principles of our Country.

You are literally correct of course -- about the oath. And I was concious of paraphrasing it when I said "way of life." Protecting us comes in through the CinC duties in the Constitution don't you think. But in the end isn't it all sort of entailed. There won't be any of our lofty principles if their are no citizens or even only cowered citizens. So while I do see the conflict of having to choose between the lessor of evils, I don't quite see it realizable in terms of between principles and Country (we probably need to phrase that more accurately).

Yes of course protection is implied through the CinC but it is just one of his responsibilities to the Constitution.

"There won't be any of our lofty principles if their are no citizens or even only cowered citizens."

I would have to completely disagree with the above statement. Global terrorism is not in any position to wipe out every single US citizen and to make us cower, I think not. On September 11th we saw perhaps the most spectaclar strike and lose of life the US has faced with terrorism but we did not see our Nation cower in fear. Did you see that happen? I actually believe it is precisely those lofty principles which strengthen and sustain us. So to me it is obvious to do our best to maintain those principles especially when things are difficult.

"So to me it is obvious to do our best to maintain those principles especially when things are difficult."

How far do you go with this? Are we just arguing over the price -- by analogy the level of threat -- or is talk about the price irrelevant?

I would have to say that the price is irrelevant. Ben Franklin (I think) said those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

That way we won't waste our time trying to resolve something which is irrelevant to the essence of our disagreement.

Regarding the Franklin quote, we should have to substitute another principle here since liberty is not specifically the principle being strained by the torture/water-boarding discussion. But with respect to the disagreement over rationalist/idealist/deductivist vs. situational ethics I can see why you would analogize to it.

I'm glad to see you did not drop the qualifiers and quantifiers from this quote. I think they show that Franklin recognized a tension between these values. That requires balancing based on circumstances, not ignoring circumstances as irrelevant. At any rate, I don't see how that quote supports the idea that whenever a good American faces a choice between liberty and security the choice will always be to utterly sacrifice security and utterly embrace liberty. And furthermore, when entrusted with other peoples security, to utterly sacrifice their security for some others' utter liberty.

Did you read the linked article? What about all those examples of American history involving choices between the lesser of two evils, where any decision that was made would result in horrid death and suffering? Do you find nothing therein which challenges your notion of principle based moral clarity?

Liberty might not be the specific principle under discussion but the quote summed up best my feelings, it is analogous as you suggested. Although it is arguably not far from the mark. In terms of torture/waterboarding, one individual is held captive by a state, a state authority. In that specific power balance the individual has none and is completely vulnerable. We always refer to the recipients of torture/waterboarding as terrorists but how do we know? Many have not been tried by a jury. Look at Jose Padilla's case, he is a United States citizen, arrested in 2002 and was detained and not brought up on charges until 2006. He was ultimately found guilty and I do not know if he experienced any torture/waterboarding but he could have. So liberty is somewhat at issue but I have veered off the original topic some.

I did read the article and although there are tough choices that the world presents to us, the "ends justifies the means" mentality is something I can not subscribe to. Everyone seems to offer up the Jack Bauer hypotheticals but those are exactly that, hypotheticals. We need to let a strong moral position guide our actions, not the end result.

I hope you see that in referring to that article I was not setting up hypotheticals but rather asking us to think about concrete examples from American history; and more specifically, examples that put the view of American tradition as one of idealism to the test.

I agree with you that we need a strong moral position and through an exercise of judgment and good values I think we have one, though it will always need subjection to self-critical vigilance. The point I cannot reach -- both as a matter of ethical philosophy and as the history of American tradition (to which I grant presumption) -- is that our moral position is something deducted from abstract principle taking no account of the circumstances and the end result. I've tried that vantage point and could not maintain purchase. But you have my attention if you offer to show the way to this point.

It would be comforting if we could say that "what separates of from them" is that we know what is right in the absolute sense and that we are always committed to doing it regardless of the negative consequences for ourselves. In nationality terms, I am not and and I don't think we have traditionally been quite that noble. I do think that the reality of our experience shows that we have system of values that gets pretty good marks when graded on the curve with respect to cultural history.

"the ends justifies the means" is not something I believe that should be used, or that American tradition has employed, as a moral principle; specifically not in the sense of "justifies." We don't really justify the use of violence. We use it out of necessity, regrettably and with repulsion. But we have not, cannot and do not insulate ourselves from responsibility for the ends/effects of the choices -- and non-action is a choice -- we are confronted with. They are an important factor in how we judge what is the moral thing to do and whether justice (even in our legal tradition) has been done. I believe that is part of a strong moral position and tradition. For example, Rahab's lies & Joshua's spies.

I didn't mean to imply you were setting up hypotheticals, you did supply concrete examples but they are different scenerios than what we are facing here and now with the current debate of torture/waterboarding, in some ways they are comparable and in some ways they are not. In the abstract, idealism vs. practicality, I see the relationships.

September 11th did not weaken us in any way, it made us stronger and I don't mean in an agressive or militeristic sense. There was great lose of life and tradgety but I believe it is our character as a Nation and our accumulative lofty principles over our history that sustains us. I agree with you that we do have a strong moral foundation, better so than any other country, and we do have our short comings but it is our responsibility to strive for the ideal, no matter how difficult or how painful the consequences might be. If there was a September 11th every month for the next ten years I would expect every remaining American to remain just as stubborn and steadfast to their principles as ever.

I think though you might have hit upon some of our differences, I don't belive violence in torture/waterboarding is a necessity and thus every opposing torture/waterboarding view I come across I see as people justifying it and that is what, for me anyway, weakens that moral foundation.

To address our differences I would still need you to explain to me how and what ideals you apply in your idealistic approach to those examples like Hiroshima, Dresden, the beaches of Normandy and so on. Then I would have a better idea how you treat with "necessity," whether your system of moral reasoning grants it any space at all. Whether the particular case in question involves necessity is a matter of judgment and does involve weighing the future hypothetical possibilities that a decision maker may end up being responsible for. And a disagreement over that judgment doesn't give one of us the moral high ground over the other, unless of course in your moral system you don't give any space for necessity at all, which is where you positioned yourself in the abstract a couple of comments ago. That's why I wanted to see how you worked this out in concrete examples from our past.

I consider this significant to the discussion because there is a kind of logic that flows from the idealist position: that it is the position of moral superiority and that the rest of us are kind of like immoral chafe that needs to be winnowed or shamed into repentance or off the public stage. But you see, I don’t think it is me or my kith that is being immoral and so I press the point back in this way. In other words, if you are going to persist in asserting the moral inferiority of my non-idealist position, I am going to persist in making you demonstrate the moral sustainability of yours. Otherwise, we could have a mutually respectful dialogue about our judgments regarding the particular question.

The implied premise: that America is a nation of ideals, or formed by and historically comprised of idealists; is tendentious.

Finally I will try to address your perception that your opponents are justifying “it” precisely because it is not necessary. I realize that people sometimes do something wrong and rather than admit it they rationalize or “justify” what they did. Given that you are convinced that water-boarding was not necessary in particular cases I can see how you might assume that that rationalization model informs you as to what all your opponents are doing. However, if they do think it necessary in these cases then surely you can see that that model does not apply. Now another way in which you might mean “justifying it” is where some argue that it is not torture; and you project that the reason for this is because they don’t want to make an argument which justifies torture. Personally, I find those arguments – that it is not torture -- at least convincing enough to make it beyond the pale to judge as insincere some of those making such arguments.

As for me, from the information available to me and my own understanding of torture, I don’t consider water-boarding to be torture. Nevertheless, it is not something we normally do and I am glad of that. So I am sensitive to your criticism that we are violating our norms of conduct and no matter what we call it, that presents a moral problem to work out. The dialed up rhetoric about torture is not helpful. In the partisan realm it is calculated for and causes political damage. In the solution realm it is argument by definitions without fair diligence being given to agreeing upon definitions. Can anyone sustain a claim that torture is a platonic ideal or rather, is it granted that the referent actions of the word torture are artificial? Assuming the latter as I do, then what matters to our evaluation is particular actions in particular circumstances. If some circumstances could require Hiroshima, then certainly some could possibly require some action being referred to as water-boarding or something even more shocking. So with regard to the moral aspect – which is really more important and accessible to me than the legal aspect – I think the moral dialectic needs to transcend the focus on whether or not the activity in question is torture and focus on its appropriateness given the circumstances. But of course, that’s just my nearly worthless opinion; and that is the best line I can come up with right now for letting you off the hook that this dialogue has caught you on.

I have two favorites, Thompson and McCain, but I lean strongly toward Senator McCain, for all the reasons you've listed above. An excellent summation. Thank you.

absentee

 
Redstate Network Login:
(lost password?)


©2008 Eagle Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Legal, Copyright, and Terms of Service