"Facts are stubborn things,"--Ronald Reagan
I am about to defend John McCain. Yes, me, the "liberal," who will not even give my vote to McCain (for a number of reasons), is about to defend him and "dethrone" the Republican Messiah, Ronald Reagan. The far-right is throwing such a temper tantrum over the prospect of John McCain becoming the republican presidential nominee that they have resorted to shock antics (big surprise), slander (bigger surprise), and rewriting history.
I take no issue with people who honestly disagree with John McCain's politics. I disagree with many of John McCain's politics myself (probably for different reasons than my more conservative friends). Conservatives who disagree with McCain should ABSOLUTELY voice their opposition, but it should be done in a civil, logical, and HONEST fashion . Alas, this is a foreign concept for the far-right pundits (ann coulter, rush limbaugh, laura ingram, sean hannity, michelle malkin, etc.) that have made it their mission to discredit everything about Senator McCain anyway they can.
From claiming McCain is masquerading as a republican but is really more liberal than Hillary Clinton (they dropped the dreaded 'L-bomb' on Senator McCain), to belittling his 'honor' as a WILLING prisoner of war, to claiming Ronald Reagan is spinning in his grave at the thought of McCain becoming the new face of republicanism, wild claims have erupted from the furthest far-right corners of the republican party.
Just to quickly clear up the "Hillary and McCain are the same" complaint: the American Conservative Union gives John McCain a lifetime grade of 83 percent on conservatism (Since 2005 he's rated with an 80). By contrast, Hillary Clinton scores 9 percent on conservatism. So yes, he is a moderate. He is willing to work with people on the other side of the political isle (which is necessary to actually get things done. Part of the reason America can't seem to get anything done is because our political parties are SO polarized). Conservatives are completely entitled to disagree with McCain, but to claim that McCain is Hillary Clinton's political twin is just factually FALSE.
While personal attacks and slander are usually what drives me insane, it's the rewriting-of-history offense this time that is making my blood boil. For all you political junkies out there, I'm sure you've noticed how most of the republican candidates have been worshipping at the altar of "Ronald Reagan Republicanism." In every debate, they ooow and aahh, while reminiscing over his legacy and pledge to revive Ronald Reagan's brand of conservatism. They are one step away from sporting a "What Would Reagan Do?" bracelet. That EXACT question has been posed several times during these debates. (gag)
In light of Ronald Reagan lifted up as the beacon of "true conservatism," the claims that John McCain just doesn't measure up become all the more bizarre. Ronald Reagan's legacy has become so legendary among conservatives, that it has now crossed over into the realm of myth. The memory of Ronald Reagan has become a puppet for far-right pundits to dangle beside their pet agendas, to justify them as marks of "true conservatism." Ronald Reagan's name gets tossed around constantly to advocate stances on massive deportation of illegal aliens, lowering taxes, massively minimizing the federal government, eliminating 'entitlement' programs, illegalizing abortion (that one, I support), and to denounce a "cut-and-run" (another loaded term) response to war.
But a quick and honest study of Ronald Reagan's legacy will reveal that John McCain is more in line with Reagan's politics than the Ann Coulters and Rush Limbaughs of the world.
(The following is not meant to denigrate Ronald Reagan, but to show the hypocrisy employed by conservative bullies and to show that a person can hold a variety of positions and still remain a conservative.) Here are some facts about Ronald Reagan that are conveniently forgotten in conservative circles that I will elaborate on in a follow-up post tomorrow.
He supported "amnesty" for illegal aliens.
He raised taxes numerous times.
He pulled a "cut-and-run" from Beirut in 1983.
He signed legislation in 1967 (BEFORE ROE V.WADE) that made abortion LEGAL in California.
Supported a bi-partisan effort to fund Social Security (another entitlement program) to save it from bankruptcy in 1983
The size of Federal Government EXPANDED during his administration.
He appointed Sandra Day O'Connor to the supreme court, who made no commitment to overturn roe v. wade and who supported the Equal Rights Amendment (legislation conservatives and EVANGELICALS loathed).
More to come....