The Corner

Re: Drew Cline on McCain

Andy, regarding your post, Sen. McCain has said many times that he believes non-coercive interrogation techniques work better, but he would approve harsher interrogation techniques in a ticking time bomb scenario in which there is no time to allow for softer techniques to work.

Let me make clear in case I didn’t the first time, the New Hampshire Union Leader did not support the McCain amendment (though 90 U.S. Senators did, including conservatives such as Thune, DeMint, Kyl, and Ensign). We also opposed his position on immigration, and we oppose campaign finance reform, and always have.

We think he is the best candidate for president despite his positions on these issues, not because of them.

On my broader point about McCain’s conservative instinct, I agree that his impulse on campaign finance reform is not conservative. I never said it was. What I did say was that on immigration and interrogation he is reacting from what I consider a conservative impulse. Perhaps I misunderstand you, but it seems that you are implying there are no God-given human rights, that the only rights we enjoy are those we have written into the Constitution. You mention only rights “created in the Constitution.” But of course, I wasn’t speaking of those. Do the people have no others? What of those “unalienable rights” with which all men are “endowed by their creator?” James Madison only reluctantly offered a Bill of Rights because he felt there was no need for one, and his original version of what became the 9th Amendment read, “The exceptions here or elsewhere in the constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people.” Do people not retain other rights?

As for constitutional rights, I did not say, nor has McCain, that terrorists captured in battle should be read Miranda rights. That’s ridiculous.

Fatuous? I think you mean, fabulous!

Andrew Cline Andrew Cline is the president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in New Hampshire.

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