Thursday, February 07, 2008

Open Letter to Sen. McCain: Now That Romney is Out, It's not About the Unity

Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign. This is a nice bit for king and country to meet with the word on seemingly every conservative pundit's lips yesterday and Mr. Romney's today. Unity, unity, unity, unity.
But your problem won't be unity. Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, will provide that. Your problem will be motivating the party base. It is one thing to accede to voting for you, which I will. It is another to pound in yard signs, do literature drops, give money, work phone banks, get out the vote, etc. If you just make nice with the party base, and only have people with you, but not for you, it could be a short, ugly night in November.
It is a truism that the most zealous supporters are often converts. This is where you need to put your focus. So convert me, Mr. McCain. Please.
1.) Let's start with what is your strong suit, national defense. Yes, you were correct on the surge, when the surge wasn't cool. Thank you. But the surge is only a single tactic. What is your overarching vision for The Long War. I don't know that I've really heard one. What is your plan to institutionalize things like ongoing terrorist detainment should we close Gitmo as you suggest? You like to mention how you opposed former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Fine. Is that limited to the surge, or do you also oppose his objectives to transform the military to a post-Cold War force, include enhancing our ability to execute operations other than war (think post-Katrina, post-tsunami, Bosnian peacekeeping, etc.)? I hope it's only the former, but I'm not sure.
2.) Next, you simultaneously talk about cranking down on government spending while advancing a carbon cap scheme to ostensibly limit climate change. Is this a harbinger for more to come, i.e., replacing the damper on investment and productivity from deficit spending (and fiat money) with intrusive regulation, or are they disconnected? Are you open to applying market approaches to a new set of priorities that are intrinsically conservative, like environmental stewardship? The ends don't justify the means.
3.) You have been solidly anti-fetal abortion for years, but you have also supported embryo abortion for stem cell research. This is the slipperiest of slopes and the moral house-divider of our time. Are you going to recognize the sensibility of taking it very slowly here, or are you going to grab your pen and whip out new executive orders the first week? President Bush's record on protecting innocent human life includes:
Action - Signed the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act into law.

Action - Reinstated the Mexico City Policy that prevents federal tax dollars from being given to agencies that promote abortion as a method of family planning in other countries.

Action - Signed the Born-alive Infants Protection Act into law, which guarantees that every infant born alive enjoys full legal rights under federal law, including those that survive an abortion.

Action - Opposed in the UN efforts to establish an international "right" to abortion.

Action - Denied funding to the United Nations Population Fund based on its support of China's coercive abortion policies.

Action - Nominated, or appointed, pro-lifers to crucial positions in the executive
branch, including the Attorney General.

Action - Nominated pro-lifers to the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court

Action - Lobbied in favor of a US ban on the cloning of human embryos (including a "clone and kill" provision), the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (later named for Laci Peterson), and the Child Custody Act (making it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines to avoid a state parental notification law).
Action - Lobbied against amendments and provisions overturning the Mexico City Policy, allowing federal employees' health insurance plans to cover abortion, allowing abortions within the federal prison system, and repealing the law prohibiting military personnel and their dependents from obtaining privately funded abortions at military hospitals overseas.  
Action - Vetoed federal funding of human embryonic stem research
This is an incomplete list and doesn't include what else he's done for life (promoting adult stem cell research, combating HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa, etc.). As a leader, will you hold the line here rather than creating a moral tangle that may take decades (centuries) to unwind like it did slavery? Again, the ends don't justify the means.

Start with those three... and then we'll talk immigration.
I won't forget, but I can forgive McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain-Lieberman, McCain-Edwards-Kennedy, etc. I would like to march with you, but I won't be hit over the head and dragged behind you. All it takes is some straight talk and a willingness on your part to not stick your thumb in my eye.
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