Democrats are trying hard to sell the idea that a McCain Presidency is a third term for George W. Bush. McCain and Bush hold certain core values in common, from a pro-life stand on abortion to full awareness of the long term threat of Islamo-Fascism, but from style to substance, there are great differences.
Hard-liners and xenophobes have whacked McCain for supporting the immigration bill Bush supported. When conservatives balked, McCain listened. Bush hasn’t. Beyond the folks who define anything less than mass deportation amnesty, this one is a plus for McCain. Democrats will dance around this issue for obvious reasons.
McCain got sucked into supporting the “gun show loophole,” allowing private citizens to transfer firearms at gun shows without background checks. As private citizens can do that anywhere else, the issue is a red herring. Second Amendment types rightfully unhappy with McCain should recall that Bush is worse, actually endorsing things like the phony “assault rifle” ban. Again, Democrats know this issue usually loses them votes and will obfuscate Obama’s position, which generally opposes any private firearms.
Supposedly McCain’s weak point. But McCain was hard-nosed in opposition to how the Bush administration first fought the war and ignored a genuine insurgency. It is McCain’s strategy that Bush ultimately adopted. Anti-war types can’t see much difference, most Americans can. McCain’s opposition to water-boarding and other practices supported by Bush (and I think McCain’s wrong here) further accents that difference.
TAXES AND SPENDING
McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts not because he doesn’t understand the benefits of lower tax rates, but because he saw the problems with not including spending cuts, allowing Democrats to demagogue the issue and babble about “tax cuts for the rich,” and ignore the part that eliminated taxes for millions at the bottom of the income spectrum. Unfortunately Congressional collusion between big spending members of both parties has put the nation badly in hock. Bush didn’t mind — he never vetoed anything. McCain’s record opposing earmarks, pork and bloated government is clear and will mean real change.
McCain angered conservatives — I called him “Senator Mood Ring” — in gathering up the “Gang of 14” bi-partisan senators to oppose breaking the filibuster as threatened by many GOP senators over Democrat over-use in blocking judges. One major GOP electoral goal this year is retaining enough senators to keep that filibuster. McCain was right. He also proved he could do what Obama claims but has never produced — lead a bi-partisan coalition on a tough issue.
For openers, hard to call McCain a war-time shirker. For the record, we who served in the National Guard during the Viet Nam War, particularly the fighter pilots, recall wondering when our turn would come. Those gutless “declined- to-serves” who now denigrate our service are invited to try it to our faces sometime in the parking lot of our choice, even at our advancing ages.
McCain also differs from Bush, one of the most secretive of presidents, in transparency. McCain is one of the most open candidates in presidential history, regularly gabbing with reporters at every opportunity, something Bush — and Obama — avoid.
Finally, education. Bush’s biggest problem wasn’t being a poor student, it was going to Yale and then Harvard for an MBA, paying attention and believing some of that crap, contributing to the Katrina debacle. McCain went to Annapolis and was taught values and leadership principles long absent from the Ivy League.
Democrats will try to paint them as similar at their peril.
Listen to Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy on Inside Track, Saturdays, 1-4 p.m., on KVOI, 690 AM.