John McCain recently gave a wide-ranging interview to liberal bastion The New Republic. They covered a lot of ground in what seemed to be an attempt to understand McCain “the man” as opposed to understanding his views on any one topic. The roving nature of the interview did uncover a few surprising (or not so surprising) opinions that the senior Senator from Arizona holds.
The most likely revelation to make headlines: Senator John McCain may vote Democrat in the 2016 election if it’s between Hillary Clinton vs. Rand Paul. That’s right – so put off by the Senator from Kentucky is McCain, that he might vote for Hillary Clinton instead. In fact, when asked about Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, McCain said this, “I think she did a fine job. She’s a rock star. She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world.”
He did laugh off the idea of having to choose between the two so maybe he was just kidding… but from the tenor of the interview, especially when it focuses on foreign policy, it wouldn’t surprise me if McCain would choose Clinton.
He also speaks of Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and (again) Rand Paul:
“There is an element in the party that has been there prior to [World War II], the isolationist, America-Firsters. Prior to World War I, it was Western senators, and then Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, and then Taft versus Eisenhower… After I called them wacko birds, I apologized. I try and be respectful but also go out there and debate them every chance I get. Small example: For four years, Harry Reid—and I beat him up regularly—wouldn’t bring a budget to the Senate. This year, we brought one, stayed up all night. We were so proud, we passed a budget resolution—most of it nonsense—but guess what? Now we have the same group who are blocking going to conference. The same group sometimes doesn’t want to take up a bill and at other times blocks a bill because they can’t get all the amendments they want.”
There is so much wrong with this statement that it’s almost laughable. First of all, the three Senators he mentions are not isolationists. Rand Paul and Mike Lee are non-interventionists on foreign policy matters. However, they argue for a rigorous system of free trade and peaceful interaction with all nations. Just because these Senators don’t agree with McCain on intervening in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iran does not make them isolationists. Secondly, they can’t be described as “America Firsters” because they are not protectionists – again, they argue for a true system of free trade.
Lastly, McCain is upset because these Senators held up the first budget the Senate looked to pass in almost four years. The reason they held it up? Because it was a bad budget! It raised revenue (taxes) without corresponding budget cuts thereby continuing to destroy our economy and not solving the very basic economic problems we need solved. They cannot be blamed for stopping bad legislation. Don’t forget the words of President Coolidge: “It is much more important to kill bad bills, than to pass good ones.”
The interview did cover other things besides McCain’s distaste for the Tea Party and libertarian Republicans.
The also covered McCain’s interesting turn to the right as a Presidential candidate, and then his shift back to “Maverick” during the Obama Presidency. While McCain doesn’t get too much into why or how this happened, it is interesting to consider that McCain was his most conservative while running for President.
The interviewer also asked about McCain’s favorite Senators. Here’s his list: Bob Dole, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, Chuck Schumer, and Carl Levin. This list is not surprising, (Ayotte has been a frequent partner with McCain in the Senate) but it is revealing. Dole, McCain, and Graham are frequently derided by grass root Republicans as RINO’s. Schumer and Levin are two of the most liberal Democrats in the Senate, but this group of “favorites” often comes together to offer “bi-partisan” legislation that is hated by conservatives and tolerated by liberals.
Quite honestly, all this interview did for me was cement my belief that McCain (and his partner Graham) are bad for the Republican Party. They show less animosity to liberal Democrats than they do members of their own party. McCain is one of the last of “old guard” Republicans, and when he leaves the Senate it may well be for the best for Republicans everywhere…
- Republicans in name only [↩]
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