Today, Arizona Sen. John McCain came out strongly against the Pelosi-Obama So-Called Stimulus Bill, telling every reporter who would listen that “no bill is better than this bill.”
Honestly, I was surprised by his sea change — I thought he would once again disappoint conservatives and vote for the legislative nightmare.
For me, even though I am not particularly a fan of John McCain The Politician (John McCain The American is an absolute hero), his passionate attack of the “stimulus” package is kind of like attending a 25-year high school reunion and hearing that the girl you had a crush on way back then had a crush on you, too.
I knew, back on October 2, 2008, when McCain sided with both former President Bush and then Sen. Barack Obama in supporting the TARP bailout, that the election was lost for the GOP. In fact, if the election was held that day, I may have taken a page from Obama’s book and simply voted “present.” A few choice excerpts from perhaps the angriest installment ever seen here at America’s Right:
Not only has John McCain completely abandoned his own principles, he has spit in the face of every conservative who has, so far, begrudgingly provided his or her support. If not the entire election, he has almost ensured Barack Obama a complete and total win on the economic issue, an issue which should be firmly in the wheelhouse of the Republican party because of the malfeasance and nonfeasance of the current majority.
This was a complete and total loss for John McCain. He further aligned himself with the Bush White House, walked straight into any number of arguments from his pull-no-punches opposition, essentially exonerated Democratic Party leadership for their role in this economic predicament, and managed to further disgruntle the conservative base in the process. As it turns out, his vote wasn’t needed — but he could have seen a significant bump in the polls for doing the right thing.
A maverick, see, is someone who relishes the opportunity to go against the grain if that is what is necessary to put America first. A maverick looks at efforts by spineless politicians, acting on behalf of the cameras instead of the country, and resolves to remain above it all. John McCain, on more occasions than I care to count, has said that “politicians promise to change Washington, but it is Washington that changes them.” I always thought he was looking to distinguish himself from the crowd which puts political expediency before doing right by America. This morning, it became apparent that he is no different.
Time and time again, 60 percent of the people in America have proven to consider themselves “conservative” or “somewhat conservative.“. McCain doesn’t need to run to the left, and by making the decision he made last night, John McCain chose not to speak to those people. He appeared to tear asunder his own principles on spending an earmarks and, in my opinion, he passed on a tremendous political opportunity.
We all know that the democrats are responsible for this mess. Much of America, however, does not. By voting as he did, McCain squandered an opportunity to expose this failed leadership from a position elevated by common sense and principle. To successfully make the case that the democrats–including Barack Obama–are responsible for our economic troubles and that he is the right person to lead America out of Her financial woes, he must distinguish himself from those who put us there. Last night, he failed to do so, and apparently steamrolled over many of his own principles and best characteristics in the process.
I was pissed. On that day, McCain had an opportunity to not only uphold his own principles–the bill now known as TARP was riddled with earmarks–but also to separate himself from both Obama and Bush, turning the “third term of Bush” argument back onto Obama and reassuring lackadaisical conservative voters in the process. As far as I am concerned, the outcome of the 2008 presidential election turned on that one day, that one decision.
Now, in hindsight, McCain’s decision to back Bush on the $750 billion bailout in October is looking more and more like the costliest “brain fart” in modern American history. Since losing the election, McCain has done a complete turnaround on the bailout issue, coming out against releasing the final $350 billion in TARP funds and, just today, attacking the so-called “stimulus” package currently working it’s way through the Senate. Sticking with principles at the outset could have saved our children’s children a heaping load of debt.
Throughout the general election, Obama and his mainstream media disciples constantly derided McCain’s tendency to harp upon earmarks and pork like a broken record, arguing that at the end of the day, such legislative features only make up a tiny percentage of problematic spending in Washington. In this case, the few billion dollars in earmarks attached to the October bailout package could have saved America trillions and trillions down the line.
Had McCain displayed then the same sort of fiscal conservatism he showed today–or any kind, for that matter–and come out against that debacle, he may have motivated more people in this center-right nation, he may have energized many who looked at him as Obama-light, and he may very well have been the one sitting at the Resolute desk — not Obama. More energized voters from the political right could, furthermore, have had a trickle-down effect on the ballot, and as a result the balance of power in the House and Senate may not have been as severely tilted in favor of the Democrats.
Of course, this is all conjecture. McCain still did not take off the gloves with regard to Obama’s multitude of character flaws, he still did not hit hard enough with regard to Obama’s socialist and globalist ideology. There are many, many factors which, even if McCain had done the right thing with regard to the October bailout bill, still may have sank his candidacy.
However, doing the right thing and sticking with conservative principles will always be the best way to ensure lasting prosperity in and for America. For me, I cannot help but think about what a crying shame it is that we see this John McCain now, rather than four months ago when it truly mattered.