If Principles Matter, So Does McCain

Are you one of those “Principled Conservatives” who is till seething over Senator McCain’s clinching of the GOP nomination for President? If so, you really need to read the latest column by Mark Hillman, former Majority Leader of the Colorado Senate. He was the type of Republican who supported the “anybody but McCain” mantra but has since come out in support of Senator McCain’s candidacy.

Here’s why:

Recently, some conservatives behave as if they have nothing to lose if McCain loses. But a McCain loss equals a Barack Obama win, and we have plenty lose from that.

Conservatives remain unified on three key policy objectives: pro-growth tax policy and no-nonsense budgeting, judges who respect the constitution, and a resolve to defeat Islamic terrorists.

On these key issues the choice between McCain and Obama cannot be dismissed as the lesser of two evils. The choice is clear and the stakes are enormous.

McCain is one of just five Senators who flatly reject pork-barrel budget earmarks. He has vowed to veto any spending bill containing earmarks and has already incurred the wrath of several pork-loving Republicans. That’s a welcome change from the you-scratch-my-back, I’ll-scratch-yours spending of the last eight years.

By contrast, Obama has promised programs calculated to grow the already bloated budget by $900 billion.

Despite his vote against the Bush tax cuts, McCain has vowed to fight to preserve them. Obama conveniently forgets that middle class families benefited most from the Bush tax cuts and instead demagogues against “tax cuts for the rich.” However, he can’t pay for his big government utopia without squeezing the working class hard.

As a Vietnam veteran, McCain understands the lasting consequences of an ignominious defeat. America’s stature was badly damaged for years after Vietnam. We now see that McCain’s prescription for Iraq after Saddam was right, and the Bush-Rumsfeld strategy was wrong.

But it is the question of Supreme Court Justices that should weigh the heaviest on the minds of “Principled Conservatives.” What differences will we be looking at there? What are the potential losses on that front?

However, two things are indisputable: the constructionist justices on today’s court were all appointed by Republicans, and the Democrat appointments are all undeniably liberal activists.

John Paul Stephens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the two justices most likely to retire soon, are both activists who re-write the constitution in contravention of the plain text. Replacing either or both with another John Roberts, Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas — each of whom McCain supported — could at last restore the court’s historic role as a defender of broad individual liberty and a restraint against over-reaching government.

If Obama makes the next appointment, we can be certain he will fortify the court’s activist wing. Should a constructionist justice retire or die, Obama could swiftly reverse the gains of the last 28 years.

And finally, Mr. Hillman addresses the idea that allowing a liberal to win the White House would somehow be a good thing.

Some conservatives argue that a Democrat victory would galvanize Republicans for 2010 and produce a public backlash, a la 1994. That’s a tremendous gamble.

Democrats controlled Congress for 40 years from 1955 to 1995. In the Senate, Democrats ruled for 34 of those years. Here in Colorado, perhaps more than anywhere else, Republicans should realize how quickly political fortunes can change and how hard it is to reverse that tide.

Conservatives generally recognize short-sighted self-indulgence when practiced by others. Now many conservatives are in danger of practicing a suicidal self-indulgence of their own.

We must put aside self-pity and frustration and do what we always have done: choose the right and responsible course for our country.

If instead we purposefully withhold our votes to gratify our personal pride and prejudice, the surrendered freedoms, suffocating tax burdens, and national insecurity that result will be as much our responsibility as that of those we “helped” to elect.

That last paragraph says it all. It should be emblazoned on banners all over the Republican Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

You can access the complete column on-line here:

If Principles Matter, So Does McCain
Mark Hillman
TownHall.com
March 26, 2008

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