08.31.2009 0

Sorry Glenn, But Winning Beats Losing

  • On: 09/29/2009 09:34:07
  • In: John McCain
  • by David Bozeman

    Glenn Beck recently opined that John McCain winning in ’08 would have been a disaster worse than the Obama presidency. Far from praising Obama, Beck was suggesting that McCain, unlike our current administration, would not have energized the conservative base, and his likely centrist policies would have divided the American right. Assuming that Obama is merely a run-of-the-mill big-government Democrat, he continued, and doesn’t irreversibly transform the US into a North American banana republic, the current administration is just the jolt Americans need to reclaim our founding principles of individual autonomy and the Constitution.

    Nations are seldom transformed so quickly and dramatically. Beck originally made his comments to Katie Couric and explained them further on Fox News to Bill O’Reilly. Word had just broken that evening that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, already in fragile health after battling cancer, had been hospitalized after a fainting spell. The following morning brought further announcements that Iran is closer than previously thought to acquiring a nuclear weapon, both items of which put Beck’s comments into a more urgent perspective.

    His insights — when examined from a strictly conservative perspective, of course — offer little comfort to a nation whose government, while not necessarily its people, has veered sharply to the left. It doesn’t matter how impassioned conservatives are, President Obama will likely appoint Justice Ginsburg’s successor. He will likely name the successor to John Paul Stevens, now 89, appointed over 30 years ago by President Ford. And that’s a best-case scenario, assuming he serves just one term.

    Therein lies the scope of a president’s influence — judicial appointments, particularly now with the court about evenly divided, could influence this country for generations. Of course, no one can guarantee that Republican-lite John McCain would not have angered his base with a controversial pick, but the man who named Sarah Palin for vice-president would more likely have surrounded himself with Constitutionalists than with the current crop of progressives and reformers reshaping America as we speak.

    The conservative movement, in all its unity and reawakened passion, will continue to stage Tea Party and Town Hall protests — as it should. But Barack Obama will hold the fort against a possibly nuclear Iran, so — and, again, from a conservative standpoint — suggesting that a McCain presidency would be a disaster undermines a fundamental ideological tenet: country first. Making the most of political exile is one thing, but pretending that the nation under the stewardship of far leftists is preferable because it galvanizes your movement offers a flimsy and uninspiring perspective on the state of the nation.

    Conservatives occasionally decide that a term or two in political exile will make the GOP regroup and refocus. The trouble with that reasoning is that with the Republicans in the woodshed ‘learning their lesson,’ the country is paying the price. In a single term and even with a diluted health-care reform bill, Obama can radically alter the political landscape. As Mark Steyn has noted, the details matter little. Legislation can be amended and padded later, but once the government has assumed the role of health-care provider, its hold on the citizen is irrevocably tightened. As we have already seen with various entitlements, those dependent on the federal government will invariably support the party that ensures their dependence. Likewise, schoolchildren singing arias to Obama’s greatness are future voters, as Democrats at every level — and in waiting — are fully aware.

    However well energized, the conservative movement must speak not solely on the sins of the Obama presidency but on what is right for the country. Furthermore, enthusiasm not channeled with strategy and focus becomes yesterday’s news. Those who value capitalism and limited government need not kid themselves, these are perilous times. Still such values can enjoy a rebirth even by admitting that, for the country, McCain would have been better.

    David Bozeman is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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