Entries Tagged as 'John McCain'

Heed McCain’s Warning on Immigration

January 5th, 2012 at 1:32 pm 31 Comments

Someone should listen to John McCain. Asked by First Read whether he thought Arizona was in play this election cycle, McCain reportedly responded “I think that if not this election cycle, the demographics are that Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, even Texas will all be in play.” The Senator then added, “We have to fix our problems with the Hispanics.”

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Veterans Earned Their Benefits

November 8th, 2011 at 1:37 pm 54 Comments

Thanks alot McCain, I’m sorry I voted for your sorry RINO ass. Of course, I only voted for you because the alternative was unthinkable–but it’s not as if there was a conservative in the running. This latest caper of yours confirms it:

According to reports, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has stepped up his push to block working age retirees from using TRICARE Prime. McCain suggested to the powerful 12-member Joint Select Committee on Debt Reduction it would help avoid spending cuts that would directly impact readiness.

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Who To Blame for Defense Cuts?

August 1st, 2011 at 4:17 pm 62 Comments

Unlike David Frum, I don’t blame the Tea Party for a budget deal that promises, ultimately, to:

(a)   gut the defense budget;

(b)   seriously limit America’s ability to project military power; and

(c)   undermine our national security.

The Tea Party, after all, isn’t interested in cutting the defense budget; it’s interested in containing our crushing debt burden, which is caused by explosive growth in entitlements, not defense.

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Libya Part Of A Larger-Scale Effort

June 27th, 2011 at 1:02 pm 5 Comments

It’s easy to snipe at Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and George Will does a great job of this in a recent column. Will bristles at McCain’s and Graham’s charge that Republicans who eschew military intervention abroad are “isolationists.”

“This is less a thought than a flight from thinking, which involves making sensible distinctions,” Will declares.

I agree that McCain and Graham are often less than compelling advocates for a robust and assertive US foreign policy. And simply calling someone an “isolationist,” as they are wont to do, is a poor substitute for serious thought and analysis.

Still, McCain and Graham are right and Will is wrong: The United States must take an active interest in what transpires beyond our shores, and act militarily when and where we can to defeat our enemies and promote liberty. And we must do this not because we are vaingloriously “in search of monsters to destroy,” as John Quincy Adams famously put it.

Instead, America must promote liberty militarily when and where we can because we live in an increasingly close and interdependent world where time, distance and geography provide less and less protection.

Certainly, that ought to be a key lesson of September 11, 2001: Terrorists living in caves thousands of miles away can and did plan and execute a devastating attack on our homeland. So we best act swiftly and preemptively to stop them, as well as the countries and cultures that give rise to these sworn enemies of America.

Our intervention in Libya, then — which Will opposes — is best seen as part and parcel of this larger-scale effort. It is best understood as one battle in a larger-scale, long-term war (and I mean war in both its literal and metaphorical sense) to transform the Middle East and North Africa along more peaceable and democratic lines.

Libya, then, is a target of opportunity that emerged unexpectedly, and which a smart and wise America would rightly seize upon. The uprising there offers us the opportunity to rid the world of one of the most menacing anti-American dictators and terrorist sponsors, Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi.

Indeed, as Paul Wolfowitz explains in the Wall Street Journal,

The US has a large stake in the outcome in Libya. Not because of its oil production but because of the dangerous nature of the Gadhafi regime—made far more dangerous by the current conflict—and because of the effect that Libya can have on the rest of the Arab world at a critical time in history…

Gadhafi’s fall would provide inspiration for the opposition in Syria and perhaps even Iran, whereas his survival would embolden the regimes in power there to cling on. The sooner Gadhafi goes, the greater the impact will be.

In Libya itself, the U.S. might gain a much-needed friend in the Arab world. A British diplomat in Benghazi, the unofficial temporary capital of free Libya, has said that it is the first time during his many years in the Arab world that he has seen American flags displayed in appreciation.

Even in Tripoli, still under Gadhafi’s control, people go to the rooftops to whistle in celebration during NATO bombing raids. After a visit to Benghazi last month, Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman wrote:

“Imagine walking in the main square of a teeming Arab city and having people wave the American flag, clamor for photographs with a visiting American official, and celebrate the United States as both savior and model.”

Appreciation for the United States in the Arab world is something to be welcomed at any time, but particularly now when demands for freedom are sweeping across the Middle East. Yet here in the United States, there seems to be little appreciation for this or for the brave Libyans who are fighting for their freedom with such courage.

So yes, criticize McCain and Graham for lacking the explanatory power of Paul Wolfowitz and other advocates of the “freedom agenda.” But don’t criticize that agenda itself, because it is wise, prescient and necessary — and needed now more than ever.

NATO’s Plan B: Send More Guns

April 24th, 2011 at 9:39 am 10 Comments

After a trip to Benghazi, Senator John McCain is calling for increased assistance for the Libyan rebels. Much of the new weaponry for the rebels will merely counter the West’s own efforts in building up Qaddafi’s forces. The West’s humanitarian intervention in Libya is already resorting to a familiar gameplan: send more weapons.

In a recent piece for the Daily Mail, Stephen Glover asked: “How can we be so blindly stupid as to sell arms to despots then bleat about democracy?” Showcasing primarily Britain’s complicity in selling weapons to the likes of Qadaffi and Zimbabawe’s “democratically elected” despot, Robert Mugabe, his question is perfectly valid.

The Sunday Times reported in 2009 that “Tony Blair helped to secure defence contracts worth £350m and the promise of more as part of the deal with Libya that allowed the Lockerbie bomber to return home.” – Adding that Blair had no authority to release someone who had been convicted (Lockerbie bomber, Megrahi).

The sad fact is that amongst internationally competing rivals, the “real world’s” historic reliance upon “spheres of influence,” “special relationships,” and “balance of power” (preferably a dominating balance) continues. So deals with the devil continue.

At the end of the day, noble doctrines like “Responsibility to Protect” – employed by the UN in the West’s Libya intervention – are really exercises in noble rhetoric. The UN Security Council may continue passing “R2P” resolutions for cases like Libya. But needlessly so.

Under Article 8 of the UN Convention on Genocide, “Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide…”

Which means that intervention could have occurred in Rwanda…or Cambodia against the Khmer Rouge back in the 1970s – as indeed, the Vietnamese did in 1979. The fact is, however, that no great power wanted to get caught in a Hutu-Tutsi quagmire deep in Africa  — “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing” as Chamberlain said after Munich.   Or in Bosnia. So everyone kept looking away, deliberately avoiding use of the “genocide” word, And so on up to Darfur.

The adoption of the “responsibility to protect” doctrine by the UN in 2005 was a chest thumping opportunity to make up for failures to protect against genocide – authorized by the UN Genocide Convention in December, 1948. That’s progress?

In any event, the likes of Qadaffi and Mugabe will at some point be history. They are also pipsqueaks in power. But what if China decides upon genocide for its’ Islamic Uighur people in Xinjiang. Chances are any intervening power(s) will themselves prove to be pipsqueaks.

Will there be more R2P interventions as in Libya and the Cote d’Ivoire? Don’t count on it. In 2000, Kofi Annan famously said “The days of a coup…of manipulating elections are over.” when Laurent Gbagbo – recently R2P’d out of office – himself overthrew General Guei.

Approximately 275 military coups occurred between 1946 and 1970 in 59 countries. Since “The Millenium,” there have been coups in Ecuador and Fiji (2000), Guinea (2008), and Honduras (2009); attempted coups in Venezuela (2002), Equatorial Guinea (2004), Chad (2004/06), Madagascar (2006), and political instability in Bangladesh and the Philippines.

The days of the coup, it seems, are not quite over. Libya’s rebels will get the weapons they need, as will others…


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Sen. McCain: Share What You Know About Libya

David Frum April 22nd, 2011 at 4:06 pm 22 Comments

Sen. John McCain in Libya urges recognition of the anti-Qaddafi rebels as the country’s legitimate government. I assume he has had more extensive discussions with the rebels than most of us. It would be a real service if he would sit down for a detailed interview with somebody knowledgeable to tell what he knows about the rebels and detail the reasons for his confidence that the rebels are not inspired by or beholden to radical Islamism.


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Scorched Earth Conservatives

David Frum September 24th, 2009 at 11:19 am 165 Comments

In a fiery debate, Frontpagemagazine.com editor David Horowitz accuses NewMajority’s David Frum of “scorched-earth attacks on Glenn Beck.” Frum replies:

 

David, your piece above is a real service. It focuses the issues very clearly and tightly in a way that helps everybody understand this discussion better, whatever side they ultimately end up on.

It’s bad luck for you that we are having this discussion in the same week that Glenn Beck a) expressed his enthusiasm for a Hillary Clinton presidency, b) stated that he thought Obama a better president than John McCain would have been, and c) wished that he could travel back in time to vote for Ron Paul. Now do you see what I mean when I call Beck “unscrupulous”? He’s an act, a showman, as indifferent to the future of conservative politics as he is to the facts of Cass Sunstein’s career. I agree he’s a very good showman, a natural TV talent. But he cares nothing, David, about politics in the way you care about it, and you are in for more nasty surprises if you continue to place your hopes in him.

In this, Beck is very different even from Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. I’ve crossed swords with these other broadcasters for other reasons. I believe that their rage and extremism repel more supporters than they attract. But at least these broadcasters do know a lot about politics and hold considered and coherent worldviews. Beck, by contrast, is a random walk, capable of reaching any outcome. And I have to believe that after Beck’s performance over the past couple of days, you probably inwardly agree with me.

However, David, your post deals with more than Glenn Beck personally. You raise other important issues and present some personal challenges – and I take both very seriously.

You write: “[Al] Franken is now a U.S. Senator in part because conservatives of whom you are typical want to conduct politics by the Marquis of Queensberry rules when the other side is in it as war in which destruction of the enemy is the game.”

I am as disgusted as you by the election of Al Franken. Norm Coleman was one of the senators I admired most, and his defeat in the courts was a severe blow to the country and to the Republican party.

But it’s just plain wrong to suggest that Coleman lost because Republicans were not war-like enough in their political tactics. Coleman was the senator from Minnesota! His well-deserved reputation for decency, integrity and civility were huge political assets to him.

No, Al Franken is a senator for three very different reasons, which call for a different political approach than you propose.

Coleman lost (1) because the Democrats learned from the 2000 Bush v. Gore recount experience to organize much more effective close-election responses than the GOP. They worked better with local government officials, they fielded larger legal teams, and they did more effective media messaging. In other words: The Dems come to these kinds of fights better prepared, more sophisticated, and better financed than the Republicans.

Coleman lost (2) because five years of bad economic and foreign news had corroded support for Republicans nationwide – and not even as attractive a candidate as Coleman could survive in a state like Minnesota.

And Coleman lost (3) because beyond these political cycles, there has been since the mid-1990s a deeper and broader national trend away from a Republican party that seems out of touch and out of date to voters under 40 and outside the South.

The kind of “in your face” conservatism that you laud makes all these problems worse.

You challenge me to notice that the “embarrassments to our cause – the shrill, the enraged and the paranoid – who in your mind – seem to be Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and now Glenn Beck” are also our “most powerful and feared and charismatic conservatives.”

I challenge you to notice that all three of these people repel and offend many millions more Americans than they inspire and attract.

Look at the impact of this kind of politics on the three points I itemize above.

(1)   If we accept that conservatism will remain a politics that is unacceptable to the young, the urban, and the educated, we will have great difficulty raising the resources and finding the volunteers to fight a recount battle on anything like equal terms. Jon Stewart’s audience will sleep on the floor, five to a room, through an Iowa winter. The Fox audience won’t and can’t.

(2)   We lost in 2008 in large part because we had not governed successfully over the previous eight years. More than political tactics, more even than media, what matters in politics is results. If national incomes had grown by 1% a year under George Bush instead of stagnating, Al Franken would have lost in a landslide. Populists like Sarah Palin may excite a TV audience, but they cannot govern. They don’t like it and are not good at it. (That’s why Sarah Palin did not even complete one term in office, let alone run for a second.) Limbaugh and Beck style politics can gain ratings. It will not win re-elections.

(3)   See point 1, only with triple exclamation marks.

Let me end by responding to your more personal remarks. You criticize me for being too tough on fellow-conservatives – and for taking some of these criticisms to a more general domain rather than keeping them in-house. And you know what? I too worry about this a lot.

I suppose I could point out in self-defense that nobody ever seems to mind very much when one or another of these conservatives speaks far more stridently about me than I have ever spoken about anyone – that the movement conservative version of Reagan’s 11th commandment seems very much a one-way option only to be exercised in favor of radio and TV hosts, never enforced against them. As self-defenses go, that would not be a very interesting one. Here’s something however that might be more interesting:

I speak out against people like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck because in my estimation they do enormous harm to the causes in which I believe. In my view, the talk-and-Fox complex marginalizes Republicans – and backs us into demagogic and unsustainable political positions. David, do you really want to abolish the Federal Reserve? Do you think the United States should have allowed Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other banks to follow Lehman into bankruptcy in October 2008? Do you think that any cuts to Medicare amount to a death panel for grandma? Do you think we can sustain an adequate military – never mind finance future tax reductions – if we allow healthcare to continue rising from its current 16% of GDP to a projected 20% of GDP a decade from now if nothing changes?

I can’t believe you do. And if you don’t believe these things, is it not dangerous to have talk-and Fox whipping a couple of million conservatives into frenzy over things that are not true?

On the other hand, maybe I’m entirely wrong. Maybe “end the Fed” and “death panels” are a sustainable future for the conservative movement. Maybe talk-and-Fox are (as their admirers claim) energizing new and previously apolitical people to join the political process. If so, that would be a real achievement.

But is it so? I don’t believe it. I believe that their ratings and advertising imperatives are pushing them in a direction fundamentally antithetical to the electoral and governance imperatives of the GOP and the conservative movement.

Of course I could be wrong in my belief. So let me finish by issuing a proposition to you. Let’s test our diverging intuitions. Let’s sit down together and hire a mutually agreed  pollster – Gallup? Whit Ayres? – to design a survey that can test whether the 9/12 protesters, the tea party attendees, the Glenn Beck audience really are new participants in politics.

If Beck is energizing new and previously apolitical people, then I will join you in saluting his achievement.

But if we discover that he is not energizing the previously apolitical – that he is instead inviting the Ron Paul contingent to take over as the new base and face of conservatism and Republicanism – then you’ll have to agree with me that we are witnessing a disaster in the making.

We don’t have to guess. We can know. Will you work with me to find out?

 

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