Friday, February 08, 2008

Why They Hate John McCain

It appears that John McCain has the Republican nomination all but locked up and will almost certainly be the Republican nominee, yet it seems that John McCain is disliked more by some members of his own party than he is by Democrats.

Those on the outrageous and righteous right loath John McCain. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glen Beck, Sean Hanity, Michael Savage, Rev. James Dobson, Laura Ingraham, and a host of Internet bloggers and chatters seem to try to out do each other in proclaiming their contempt for John McCain. Many would prefer a Hillary Clinton or Obama victory to a McCain win.

Rush Limbaugh said, “If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit rather than a Republican causing the debacle. And, I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative."

Ann Coulter has said she will campaign and vote for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the nominee.

Reverent James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said, “I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances.” He sited a statement McCain made that appeared tolerant of gay marriage and the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance reform legislation as the reason for his dislike of McCain. "Values Voters are not going to carry the water for the Republican Party if it ignores their deeply held convictions and beliefs," he said.

The basis for this extreme dislike for John McCain is varied but boils down to a claim that McCain is a liberal. With a rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action of only 15%, and a lifetime rating from the conservative American Conservative Union of 83%, it is hard to support the contention that McCain is a liberal. In any objective look at voting patterns, McCain stacks up with the icons of the conservative movement.

The Dobson argument is that McCain is weak on the values issue. Others are angry because he did not support the initial Bush tax cuts although McCain has said he would oppose their repeal. Others site McCain’s efforts as a leader of the “Gang of fourteen” that negotiated a conciliatory compromise on a parliamentary procedure in the Senate. The result of that effort benefited Republicans in getting conservative judicial nominees approved by the Senate, yet some seem angry that McCain found a congenial compromise rather than ramming the will of the Republican majority down the throat of the Democratic minority. Others are mad because McCain does not think the US should engage in torture of prisoners of war.

Despite these issues however, the two overwhelming issues that make the right livid is that John McCain disagrees them on immigration reform and global warming. On global warming, John McCain accepts the prevailing science about global warming and he supports a policy of cap and trade that would do something about it.

On immigration, McCain does not think we can round up and deport 16 million people. He supports a humane immigration reform policy similar to that proposed by President Bush that many have wrongly characterized as “amnesty.” In fact, the legislation proposed by McCain would actually increase the penalty for those who illegally entered the United States and it would establish a way for illegal immigrants to come out of hiding, register as guest workers, pay a penalty, and earn the right to apply for citizenship if they desired to do so. For these two rational pragmatic policy positions he is reviled.

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