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Friday, November 17, 2006
 
McCain On Where the Republicans Went Wrong

From a speech to the Federalist Society yesterday:

“The election was not an affirmation of the other party’s program. Try as hard as I could, I couldn’t find much evidence that my Democratic friends were offering anything that resembled a coherent platform or principled leadership on the critical issues that confront us today.

“Nor do I believe Americans rejected our values and governing philosophy. On the contrary, I think they rejected us because they felt we had come to value our incumbency over our principles, and partisanship, from both parties, was no longer a contest of ideas, but an ever cruder and uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.

“I am convinced that a majority of Americans still consider themselves conservatives or right of center. They still prefer common sense conservatism to the alternative. Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us. We must spend the next two years reacquainting the public and ourselves with the reason we came to office in the first place: to serve a cause greater than our self-interest.

“Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best; that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity; and every American’s self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one’s own decisions and actions, and cannot be provided as another government benefit."


Blogger reactions:

Riehl World View: McCain could say a lot of things to a great many people and have a point, telling the GOP it needs to get back to its conservative roots isn't one of them. What worries me most about him is that he'll split from the GOP, attract a marginal number of votes and open the door for Hillary in 08. And she'd probably make him Sec Def for the effort.

Not a chance. If he were even remotely tempted by a third party run, he would have done it in 2004, or taken John Kerry's offer of the VP slot.

The Moderate Voice is more positive: I strongly believe that if the Republican party wants to win the Presidential elections in 08 it has to come up with a new program, based on old values: a conservative agenda.

Reason comes down in between: Although McCain obviously is brushing up his bona fides with economic conservatives in preparation for his presidential campaign, he does have a pretty good record of opposing pork and advocating fiscal restraint. He also shares George W. Bush's relatively tolerant approach to immigration—one of the few positive aspects of the president's platform. And he has stood up to Bush on executive power issues when most Republicans were eager to give the president everything he wanted. I'm not sure if that's enough to make up for McCain's assaults on the First Amendment and his hawkish foreign policy views, but he certainly is looking better than, say, Bill Frist.
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