The Corner

More McCain-Hastert

Following up on Rod’s last post: To go into our remaining disagreements–which of us is accurately characterizing that Dallas Morning News editorial, etc.–would be tedious. I think there are several points where you and I agree: 1) Denny Hastert is a less than ideal Speaker of the House. 2) His comments about McCain were dumb. 3) It would be nice if Republicans cut, or at least restrained, spending. 4) Some Republicans go too far in their criticisms of John McCain.

But–to get back to our disagreements–a lot of that criticism is deserved. The man has moved left in recent years on everything from embryonic stem-cell research to Internet taxes to guns to health care. One increasingly finds him voting with Chafee, Snowe, and the Democrats. (Or are conservatives supposed to eschew the RINO label for Chafee, too?) He is prone to displaying a preening moral vanity that his admirers seem incapable of seeing. He does seem awfully eager to pander to the media. One can disagree with his conservative critics, but let’s not pretend there’s no reason for them to be dismayed by his recent behavior.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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