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Not My Kind of Maverick


With only 13 weeks to the Presidential election, I have basically tuned out. I have a hard time placing all my chips on Barack Obama’s judgement, which lacking experience, is all he has to offer. And since John McCain gleefully bucks the bedrock beliefs of the Republican Party, I am turned off by his candidacy.

I like to think of myself as a moderate Republican, one who believes that the government should stay out of our pocketbooks and out of our personal lives. The values that attract me to the Republican Party are simple. I believe in limited government, personal responsibility and individual liberty. There is a role for government in providing things like infrastructure and a common military defense which would not otherwise be provided by the collective actions as individuals. But as far as the government’s job, that’s it.

Unfortunately, the Republican nominee for president has made his reputation as a maverick by violating those very principles. When you look at the volumes of experience John McCain has had in the United States Senate, his “moderation” from Republican values, always seems to involve extending the long arm of big government.

John McCain’s signature legislation, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, flies in the face of the Republican principles I hold dear. It says who may speak, and how much, and it assumes that no one can be trusted to be free from corruption. So much for personal responsibility!

As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee in the late Clinton Administration years, McCain battled the tobacco industry, pushing for higher taxes to pay for anti-smoking programs and to pay states’ healthcare costs, once again, expanding the role of government because people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions.

McCain became a media darling partly by challenging George Bush for the presidency eight years ago, working the press on a personal level as a way to combat the the president’s winning strategy. And in the early days of the administration, the Arizona Senator embraced his “maverick” label to contrast himself with the new Republican President.

He took on climate change, the losing Democratic nominee’s issue, and HMO reform, an issue embraced by then-new Sen. Clinton when she was First Lady and then cast one of two decisive votes to keep George Bush’s 2001 tax cuts from being permanent. So much for individual liberty when it comes to the pocketbook!

After September 11th, it was John McCain who pushed legislation to federalize airport security.That fact that should be written on the bottom of the trays at airport security stations where you take off your shoes, and unload you hair gel and MacBook from your carry-ons.

When justifying his votes for Democrat-backed Supreme Court nominees Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Steven Bryer, McCain claimed that, “under our Constitution, it is the president’s call to make.” But when President Bush made his choices for the courts, McCain stepped in with the “Gang of Fourteen” preserving the right for Senators to filibuster the his party leader’s nominees.

Most of McCain’s fourth term in office has been spent negotiating immigration reform legislation which would extend the hand of government deep into the hiring practices of businesses around the country. “Enforcement first,” if it means a crackdown on employers, is a big government, not a small government, approach to fixing immigration problems in America.

At the Republican Convention, McCain will try to cast himself as a conservative since he has already lost the media love affair to his opponent, Barack Obama. But McCain’s record – and, unlike Obama he has a long one – shows where and how he breaks from Republican values, expanding government and taking away personal liberty based on the assumption that people cannot be trusted to take responsibility for their own actions. That’s a maverick trend I’d like to buck!

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 11:11 AM | Permalink

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