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John McCain: "We are a nation that limits government so that government cannot limit us"
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, November 16, 2006

In 2000, I voted for John McCain in the Republican Primary. In the years since, I've often said he would be a far better President than George W. Bush. I still believe that. Primarily due to McCain-Feingold, though, I've become more wary of him.

However, he's saying exactly the right things right now, and I applaud that.
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today highlighted the need to follow in the footsteps of America’s Founding Fathers and embrace the ideas of limited government and the rule of law.
If McCain chose to be the standard bearer of decentralized, limited government, we could do far worse. There are few more charismatic, effective politicians than Senator McCain. Some notable quotes from that speech:

  • "[I do not] believe Americans rejected our values and governing philosophy. On the contrary, I think they rejected us because they felt we had come to value our incumbency over our principles, and partisanship, from both parties, was no longer a contest of ideas, but an ever cruder and uncivil brawl over the spoils of power."


  • "Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us. We must spend the next two years reacquainting the public and ourselves with the reason we came to office in the first place: to serve a cause greater than our self-interest."



  • "Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best; that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity; and every American’s self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one’s own decisions and actions, and cannot be provided as another government benefit."


  • "[T]here is no way to recover our majority without recovering our principles first."


  • "The genius of our founding fathers wasn’t that they were better people than those who came before them; it’s that they realized precisely that they did not have a greater claim to virtue, and that the people who followed them weren’t likely to be any more virtuous than they were. That critical insight led them to realize something important about power: if its exercise isn’t limited, it will become absolute. Power always tries to expand. It’s a law of nature, of human nature."


  • "[T]here are some basic underlying truths: unlimited government confers unlimited power on its leaders to impose their will on others. That’s one truth. Here’s another: people generally don’t want to live their lives in the crosshairs of government oppression. They want to be free to make for themselves and their children, by their own decisions, talents and industry, a better future than they inherited."


  • "We are a nation that limits government so that government cannot limit us."

Were John McCain to take up the 'limited government' mantle and carry through with it, he would become the clear leader of the Republican Party. If he's successful, he could even end up in the Reagan and Goldwater pantheon.

UPDATE:

Via Instapundit, I find video and text of the McCain GOPAC speech.
 
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Comments
McCain. The liberals favorite. As close to Reagan as Ted Kennedy. As close to Goldwater as Russ Feingold. Makes nice speeches, votes to silence the commoners. No thanks.
 
Written By: Tee Jay
URL: http://
No doubt, McCain has some troublesome positions. I think the same can be said for most politicians. I’ve been thinking about this lately. What is it that people dislike about McCain? Granted, McCain-Feingold was pretty egregious, and McCain has been a squish on gun rights. But how is that significantly worse than the sins of most politicians? I’m trying to figure out why his sins cause so much more angst than those of other Republicans.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
What is it that people dislike about McCain?
No offense, Jon, but you obviously spent too much time on Allen’s plantation.

What do people dislike about McCain? Well, I would imagine that by 2008 most Americans are going to dislike the position he took in 2006, i.e., that we should spend more American lives in order to stave off the inevitability of a war between Shia and Sunni in Iraq.

McCain’s has no judgment. anyone who believes that we should sacrifice American lives - as McCain does - to prevent the inevitable bloodbath in Iraq has no business being President.

McCain is currently wrong about Iraq. He therefore will not be president in 2008. Simple. And he has George Bush to thank for that. You know, George Bush? Oh, and then there’s the issue of McCain’s love child.

McCain makes Bush look smart.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
"However, he’s saying exactly the right things right now"

That sums up his career for the most part doesn’t it? He likes looking like a man of the moment and getting good press for it. His grandstanding approach to anti-torture legislation gave credence to grossly exaggerated or even false torture claims against the US. But he came out looking great.

His comments on Imus where he believes that the First Amendment’s role in keeping government "honest" can be replaced by set of a bureaucratic campaign finance laws is frightening. Especially when the people that bureaucracy is suppose to regulate can change those rules at a whim. And we want this guy to be picking Supreme Court Justices (likely 2 in the next Presidential term).
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Got to agree with jpm100, He is all things to all people at the time he is talking to them. Not quite as bad as Clinton, but pretty close. You just cannot count on him.

Would that there could indeed be a set of politicians who truly believed the things McCain just said, but with the exception of Ron Paul, and a small handfull of others I just do not see them.

Many conservative blogs are all praising Milton Friedman right now, but most of these people, no more than do the lefties, truly believe the things that he taught.

Freedom is hard because you have to change two things which most humans are not willing to change. 1)first you must accept personal responsibility for your life.
2) second you must give up trying to impose your (collective) will upon others.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
John McCain is a media whore and a very shrewd politician. We already had one of those as president a few years ago. He plays the mainstream (liberal) media like a violin, in order to do that he must at very least pretend to hold some pretty un-conservative views.

McCain didn’t actually run for vice president on the Kerry/McCain ticket, but he also never came out and said it was absurd. I cannot say whether McCain ever seriously considered it, but he thoroughly enjoyed having it out there for a while and never once tried to discourage such talk.

McCain/Feingold was an assault on the first amendment, but more fundamentally it demonstrates that he doesn’t understand that the real problem is a government with too much power. A really cynical person would view M/F as a crass incumbent protection scheme.

He voted against the tax cuts in 2001 (and I believe 2003) because he obviously thinks that the federal government doesn’t take enough money from the economy. Is it "fiscally conservative" to expand the size and scope of government as long you increase taxes enough to pay for it? If you answer yes the McCain is your man.

A few years ago he was adamantly against ethanol calling it a "boondoggle". Now that he has to campaign in Iowa in an early primary he has completely changed his tune. Ethanol is a small issue in itself, but McCain made it quite clear what he thought in the past, and now has changed (or at least "Kerry-ed") his position on it. There’s nothing unusual about a politician doing something like this, except that McCain’s reputation is that he is not a crass, flip-flopping politician.

Here’s my personal litmus test: How did he vote on the Medicare expansion, farm bill, highway bill, education spending expansions and other big spending pigs? I honestly don’t know how he voted, but for his rhetoric now to be believable would require a no on all of them. I view being against "earmarks" and other tiny little pork barrel spending games while voting for giant spending programs as the ultimate in hypocracy.

I don’t dislike McCain because he has repeatedly betrayed the Republican party in order to raise his own stature, I dislike him because I think he is an opportunistic politician who betrays the conservative principals he sometimes claims to have.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
I was an ardent McCain supporter in 2000. Like Jon, I am convinced that McCain would have made a far better president than Bush. He should have run as an independent in 2000. He might have won and the country and the world would be a lot better off. That said, I think time has passed McCain by.

First, he has lost a good deal of the luster that made him so attractive in the past as he has spent the past 6 years trying to win the Republican right and playing sychophant to Bush while turning his "maverick" status into a schtick. Second, Mkultra is right: Iraq is the end for McCain politically. Even if, technically, his call for more troops makes more sense that Abizaid’s we have just the right number Goldilocks nonsense, it is political suicide and would probably be counterproductive anyway at this terminal juncture.

Besides, I simply cannot ever see McCain getting the Republican nomination. Under any circumstances. Ever.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
MATTHEWS: We‘re back with Senator John McCain.
Senator Ted Stevens proposed today that cable and satellite television should be regulated for matters like decency, like the broadcast nets. What‘s your position, Senator?

MCCAIN: I‘d like to have a hearing on it, because the broadcasters are saying, because it‘s not spectrum that they get from the government, that they are clearly not held under it. I‘m not sure about that.
Yeah, I’m not so sure about you, either, Senator.

BTW, it’s good to read you again, Jon.
If McCain chose to be the standard bearer of decentralized, limited government, we could do far worse.
Yeah, and you often do.
There is nothing more libertarian about McCain than there is Feingold. Oh sure, he’ll say the right things to the Federalist Society, but he’ll say the right things to anyone. He would no doubt tell the National Association of Evangelicals he wishes to limit the access of ripe fruit and reptiles to young, gullible girls.

He will never sit in the big chair. Democrats won’t vote for him because he’s not a Dem. Republicans won’t vote for him in the primary because he’s not for torture. And independents won’t vote for him because of his position on the war.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
The man who thought McCain-Feingold was a good idea can be trusted to limit government only when it suits him, and his judgement about what should suits him is worthless at that.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
My personal impression was, during Bush’s first term, McCain cow-towed to the old-faces in Daschle’s Senate too much.

Maybe as a result, McCain has real problems at home in Arizona.

My Aunt comes from an old Arizona family, and the entire clan signed the "Recall McCain" petition that floated around the state back in 2002 and 2003. The reason these staunch Republican ranchers and cow-pokes got steamed at McCain was his stance on gun-sales and back-ground checks.

There is a depressing feeling in the West that our freedoms are slowly eroding away, and McCain seems to have jettisoned that free, Western appeal, for a more urbanized, East-coast appeal.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Granted, McCain-Feingold was pretty egregious, and McCain has been a squish on gun rights. But how is that significantly worse than the sins of most politicians?
There is no excuse for breaking new ground in deprecating the 1st amendment in the way he is comfortable deprecating the 2nd amendment. Most politicians are content to fiddle with the margins of the areas of law whereby the constitution is ignored, but McCain has to be an architect of new outrages.

I’d rather have a politician as President who respects the Constitution to the usual mediocre degree, like Giuliani, than one who so aggressively, inventively tears it up.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
No offense, Jon, but you obviously spent too much time on Allen’s plantation.
Nice MK - way to throw in the plantation reference. Love how you keep things civil around here.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
McCain.....won’t be getting my vote, even if he’s running against Hillary. Rudy’s the guy!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I attended that speech. It was an excellent speech, in which he said most of the right things, but he also seemed unrepentant over the Gang of 14 stunt. I nominate McCain for speechwriter. Until/unless he repudiates First Amendment "reform," no libertarian should even think about voting for the guy.
 
Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
McCain on the Don Imus show (video):
"I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I’d rather have the clean government."
 
Written By: err
URL: http://
Senator John McCain should declare that his Running Mate will be Black Woman Secretary Condoleezza Rice.
Condi Rice can defeat Hillary Clinton.
Condi Rice is the Key to Victory in Presidential Election 2008.
Dump Religious Right and court Blacks and Latinos.
 
Written By: kalki gaur
URL: http://clearblogs.com/kalkigaur
No principle that got between McCain and a photo-op would ever survive. He preens for (and thus is probably controlled by) positive press more than any politician I’ve seen recently.

I hate him as a politician for using his position as Senator to take the Navy’s side in inter-military rivalries: he denied the acquisition of new refueling aircraft due to excessive cost...thus dooming the USAF to waste even MORE money maintaining 50-year-old KC-135s. The KC-767s would have saved the USAF, the US Govt, and the US people more than they cost. The boondoggle McCain created makes it more likely the US military will have to turn to contractor refuelers to meet our global mobility needs...which is, incidentally, the Navy solution to the refueling problem.
Then he used a USAF general’s connection with that acquisition attempt to block that general’s promotion to PACOM Commander...incidentally letting that slot go to a Navy Admiral.

He’s a general @$$hole.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Senator John McCain should declare that his Running Mate will be Black Woman Secretary Condoleezza Rice.
Condi Rice can defeat Hillary Clinton.
Condi Rice is the Key to Victory in Presidential Election 2008.
Dump Religious Right and court Blacks and Latinos.
Condi Rice can defeat Hillary Clinton.
Condi Rice is the Key to Victory in Presidential Election 2008.
On what basis? Her proven track record of fund-raising? Her long history of campaigning? Her unblemished record of electoral success?
Dump Religious Right and court Blacks and Latinos.
Good plan, dump the voters that ROUTINELY vote FOR you and court a voting bloc that has consistently voted AGAINST you...you might ask Jack Kemp about that "courting the black vote thing".

But thank you for your advice Mr Carville.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"We are a nation that limits government so that government cannot limit us."

And by "us" he apparently means his fellow politicians, seeing as he had no problem at all imposing all sorts of arcane limits on political speech against everyone else in our nation.
 
Written By: Bryan C
URL: http://bcostin.typepad.com
Frankly, I do not believe McCain. As far as his desire to clean up corruption, it might be helpful if he would identify all those corrupt people so they can be dealt with. "Put up or shut up" is the term, I think.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
McCain.....won’t be getting my vote, even if he’s running against Hillary.
Yeah. At least she will be trying to run in front of wherever she thinks the people are going, as opposed to wherever the press club wants her to go.

Heck, I’d rather elect the person who collected all those aphorisms for him.
 
Written By: Larry Knerr
URL: http://
McCain’s voting record suggests he isn’t a serious proponent of limited government.

For example, he voted for government coercion against migrant workers. He voted for the DHS. He voted to further centralize the dept. of education through No Child Left Behind. His policies, more often than people might admit, promote government expansion.
 
Written By: Nicolai Brown
URL: http://www.nicolaibrown.com
Were John McCain to take up the ’limited government’ mantle and carry through with it, he would become the clear leader of the Republican Party.
With all respect Jon, no.

Mr. McCain has far too much in no way of history going in exactly the opposite direction of "limited government" for anyone to trust him if he started coming up with it now. We’re not Democrats, and so our memory is not quite so short as Mr. McCain would have us believe.




 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://

 
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