The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, January 20, 2008

Levin Stands Up for Conservatism--and against McCain

This is spot on analysis, from the master of the genre:
As I understand Victor Davis Hanson’s position, those of us who believe John McCain will cause severe damage to the conservative movement and the Republican party should hush up, or at least calm down, for this electoral juggernaut, who has managed to get 33 percent of the vote in South Carolina (despite backing by most of the establishment there) and is strong on the war in Iraq. And if we continue to bring attention to those issues that concern us — which are not insignificant to anyone who has worked in conservative circles for nearly 40 years — then we will destroy the party and Hillary Clinton will win, thereby losing the war on terror. VDH is neither the first nor will he be the last to make this case.

With all due respect, this is absurd on many levels. If John McCain is nominated and loses, it is because he doesn’t appeal to enough Americans, including the base that he has repeatedly betrayed (as Thomas Sowell puts it) over a long period of time. The suggestion that McCain and McCain alone is capable of fighting this war, given his experience, seems to be the core of the concern. Let me suggest that VDH and others who make this claim are wrong.

McCain never treated Bill Cohen, Clinton’s defense secretary, with the kind of personal animus he showed Donald Rumsfeld. McCain often confuses policy with personality affronts. He was social friends with Cohen so he didn’t admonish him about his hollowing out of the military. His attacks on Rumsfeld started before his disagreement over the surge. Their personalities clashed. And as before, McCain wanted to get even. The fact that he was right on the surge, which has now evolved into mythical proportions with the help of his campaign and supporters, goes high on the credit side of the ledger.

You ask, in essence, that we ignore McCain’s leadership in the amnesty debate and his course reversal of recent months as he seeks votes. What does this tell us about the man? The bill he co-authored with Ted Kennedy (and which was foolishly supported by the current president) would have caused enormous economic and cultural dislocations. (VDH doesn’t need lectures from me on the subject, since he’s written eloquently on it.) As the Heritage Foundation and many others pointed out at the time, the McCain-led effort would have resulted in tens of millions of new illegal aliens coming to the country with the likelihood of eventually receiving citizenship; the expedited bankruptcy of major entitlement programs, including Social Security; and the imposition of massive new costs on state and private enterprises, from schools and hospitals to law enforcement. McCain’s bill would have made it impossible for the already hapless federal government to properly conduct criminal background checks before issuing “probationary” Z-visas to 12-20 million illegal aliens already in the country. And every effort to amend his bill to prevent gang members, terrorists, and others from receiving these visas was opposed by McCain. He also voted for the Specter amendment, which provided that the government of Mexico, among others, would have to be consulted before building physical barriers along the southern border. Six months later, McCain says he was wrong. He gets it now. Secure the border first. I don’t believe him. And as others have pointed out here and elsewhere, he still supports amnesty despite claiming otherwise. The American people said “hell no!” It wasn’t that long ago that he suggested they were motivated by racial animus rather than good thinking. No, VDH, if McCain loses it’s because of his own failings.

It bothers me to no end that those who write so eloquently about national security ask that we downplay McCain’s record on border security, given that 9/11 hijackers used our still-broken immigration policies and unsecured borders to attack us. But they would also have us all but ignore McCain’s zealous attack against our homeland-security measures. Joining with the most irresponsible voices in and out of government, McCain spent weeks, if not months, condemning the detention of alien unlawful combatants (a.k.a. terrorists) at Guantanamo Bay. Of course, the reason they are detained overseas and not within the United States goes back to the 1950 Supreme Court decision — Johnson v. Eisentrager. Justice Robert Jackson, writing for the Court, wrote, in part:
We are cited to no instance where a court in this or any other country where the writ [of habeas corpus] is known, has issued it on behalf of an alien enemy who, at no relevant time and in no stage of his capacity, has been within its territorial jurisdiction.
Since 2004, the Supreme Court has been irresponsibly chipping away at Eisentrager, but it still has some teeth. If a president were to bring the detainees to the United States our ability to interrogate them would be severely hampered as they would like be afforded the full array of due process rights that were never intended to apply to terrorists at a time of war. This is stunningly irresponsible.
There is more; you can read the whole thing here. It's well worth the click.

And speaking of Mark Levin, his Friday radio show had what was possibly the finest exposition of Conservatism and the vision of the Founders that I have ever heard. It's all in the first hour of his 1/18 show which you can download here or stream here.

It starts with an interview with Fred Thompson, but that's just the warm-up. The real fun starts about 18 minutes in, where Levin begins to quote Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, et. al. This is where the magic happens; it literally just soars from there. I highly recommend that DT readers listen to this audio; I think that once you hear his exposition of Conservative principles, you will want to take advantage of the download link above and save this wonderful bit of audio for a rainy day.
DiscerningTexan, 1/20/2008 01:00:00 PM |