Sunday, April 09, 2006

Eating Their Own

When George Will writes a whole column (not devoted to baseball) saying you are not "fit for duty" without actually saying you are unfit, a political storm must be gathering.
McCain's Media Unmasking: "McCain proclaims his extravagant admiration for Teddy Roosevelt, a man of many virtues, not one of which was moral modesty. Speaker of the House Thomas Reed once said to TR, 'If there is one thing for which I admire you more than anything else, Theodore, it is your original discovery of the Ten Commandments.' St. John of Arizona can seem insufferably certain that he has cornered the market on incorruptibility. So, as he begins trying to assemble a presidential majority, he seems, as anyone trying to do that will, like a run-of-the-mill sinner.

But his quest for the 2008 Republican nomination was bound to require tactics inconsistent with his carefully cultivated reputation for unexampled authenticity. He has endorsed teaching 'intelligent design' theory in schools and has sought a detente with Jerry Falwell, one of 'the agents of intolerance' he denounced in 2000. But who has ever assembled a presidential constituency without endorsing positions formerly avoided or compromising positions formerly endorsed?

McCain is considered morally compromised because he now favors making permanent some of President Bush's tax cuts that he opposed when they were first proposed. But enacting the cuts as temporary was purely a parliamentary maneuver. Revoking them would be as much a tax increase as would be reversing President Ronald Reagan's reduction of the 70 percent income tax rate, and McCain says, 'I've never voted for a tax increase.'

Well, never, if you ignore the huge -- $516 billion over 25 years -- tax increase in his 1998 tobacco bill. But that was less a revenue measure than an exercise of the McCainian righteousness that has so enchanted many of the people who are now becoming disenchanted.

Few of them, however, are conservative Republicans whom McCain must court. Many of those Republicans especially abhor what his media friends most adore -- his unwavering commitment to campaign regulations that enlarge the government's power to regulate the quantity, content and timing of speech about itself, with the applauding media exempt from regulation, of course.

In 2000, McCain voted explicitly to amend the First Amendment, a vote that clearly confirmed his critics' contention that McCain's campaign 'reforms' are incompatible with the First Amendment stricture that 'Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.' Fritz Hollings, then a Democratic senator from South Carolina, brought to a vote a proposed alteration to the First Amendment. It would have empowered Congress or any state to 'set reasonable limits on the amount of contributions that may be accepted by, and the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to' a candidate for federal office."
Details, it's all in the details.

Or as I have learned (and wish I had learned it better), it is best wear not to wear your largest shoes, if all they are going to do is change place in your mouth.

Doesn't that sort of tar Feingold with the same brush?

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