The Corner

Jeff Jacoby Has A Point

Actually Jeff has a few points that are at least worth pondering with an open mind:

Conservatives bristle at the thought of a Republican president who might raise income and payroll taxes. Or enlarge the federal government instead of shrinking it. Or appoint Supreme Court justices who are anything but strict constructionists. Or grant a blanket amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.Now, I don’t believe that a President McCain would do any of those things. But President Reagan did all of them. Reagan also provided arms to the Khomeini theocracy in Iran, presided over skyrocketing budget deficits, and ordered US troops to cut and run in the face of Islamist terror in the Middle East. McCain would be unlikely to commit any of those sins, either.

Does this mean that Reagan was not, in fact, a great conservative? Of course not. Nor does it mean that McCain has not given his critics on the right legitimate reasons to be disconcerted. My point is simply that the immaculate conservative leader for whom so many on the right yearn to vote is a fantasy; ideological purity and presidential politics are never a perfect fit. Conservatives who say that McCain is no Ronald Reagan are right, but Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan either. Neither is Mike Huckabee. And neither was the real — as opposed to the mythic — Ronald Reagan. …

As a lifelong conservative, I wish McCain evinced a greater understanding that limited government is indispensable to individual liberty. I wish he were more skeptical of politically-correct environmentalism, and less inclined to expand top-down regulation. Yet there is no candidate in either party who so thoroughly embodies the conservatism of American honor and tradition as McCain, nor any with greater moral authority to invoke it. For all his transgressions and backsliding, McCain radiates integrity and steadfastness, and if his heterodox stands have at times been infuriating, they also attest to his resolve. Time and again he has taken an unpopular stand and stuck with it, putting his career on the line when it would have been easier to go along with the crowd. .

Clifford D. MayClifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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