Conservative record for McCain spotty

Freedom New Mexico

With the see-saw Democratic nomination dominating the headlines, Sen. John McCain’s four-state victories — giving him enough delegates to tie up the Republican nomination — was anti-climactic.

The senator’s victory was a foregone conclusion, which made the rather long concession speech by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee a tad ridiculous.

Huckabee has long been eliminated from the race, and it was anyone’s guess why he continued to tilt at windmills.

By contrast, McCain’s victory speech offered a detailed preview of his fall campaign theme. McCain did champion some conservative-sounding themes that would appeal to the party’s base, which remains skeptical of him. And he did take some entertaining shots at the Democratic candidates, including one at Hillary Clinton’s “inevitability.”

But the bulk of his speech was dedicated to foreign-policy and war-on-terror themes: “America is at war in two countries, and involved in a long and difficult fight with violent extremists who despise us, our values and modernity itself. It is of little use to Americans for their candidates to avoid the many complex challenges of these struggles by re-litigating decisions of the past. I will defend the decision to destroy Saddam Hussein’s regime as I criticized the failed tactics that were employed for too long to establish the conditions that will allow us to leave that country with our country’s interests secure and our honor intact. …”

The Arizona senator argued for some solid policies, including free trade, making “health care more accessible to more Americans … without ruining the quality of the world’s best medical care,” reducing regulations that strangle job growth and promoting more educational choices.
But those policies seemed like throwaway lines. That has always been our problem with Sen. McCain. His votes are more right than wrong. But his passion clearly lies in the muscular use of American military might, and his secondary issues have been ones that have expanded government, such as the First-Amendment-crushing campaign-finance law he co-authored and still champions.

He didn’t mention that in his talk, although he did call for a government campaign to encourage Americans to use alternative sources of energy.

True, as the senator pointed out, the Democratic candidates offer troubling alternatives, but with McCain as the GOP nominee, it’s now confirmed that the party most closely aligned with limited government will be led by a man with a spotty record on that score.