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Conservative Review If principles matter so does McCain

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                   March 4, 2008
If principles matter, so does McCain
By Mark Hillman

It's not about John McCain.

Nor is it not about Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham or 
James Dobson, although their views harmonize more closely 
with my own and those of most conservatives than do 

This election isn't about party or personalities, but 
about principles that will guide our country for the 
next four years or more.

Will our nation trend in a direction that is generally 
conservative or one that reverses modest gains of the 
past 28 years and lurches toward cradle-to-grave 

That's why, despite several disagreements, John McCain 
gets my support against whomever the Democrats nominate. 
It's also why principled conservatives should check 
their McCain disdain at the ballot box.

Recently, some conservatives behave as if they have 
nothing to lose if McCain loses. But a McCain loss 
equals a Barack Obama win, and we have plenty lose 
from that. 

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Conservatives remain unified on three key policy objectives: 
pro-growth tax policy and no-nonsense budgeting, judges 
who respect the constitution, and a resolve to defeat 
Islamic terrorists.

On these key issues the choice between McCain and Obama 
cannot be dismissed as the lesser of two evils. The choice 
is clear and the stakes are enormous.

McCain is one of just five Senators who flatly reject 
pork-barrel budget earmarks. He has vowed to veto any 
spending bill containing earmarks and has already in-
curred the wrath of several pork-loving Republicans. 
That's a welcome change from the you-scratch-my-back, 
I'll-scratch-yours spending of the last eight years.

By contrast, Obama has promised programs calculated to 
grow the already bloated budget by $900 billion.

Despite his vote against the Bush tax cuts, McCain has 
vowed to fight to preserve them. Obama conveniently 
forgets that middle class families benefited most from 
the Bush tax cuts and instead demagogues against "tax 
cuts for the rich." However, he can't pay for his big 
government utopia without squeezing the working class 

As a Vietnam veteran, McCain understands the lasting 
consequences of an ignominious defeat. America's stature 
was badly damaged for years after Vietnam. We now see 
that McCain's prescription for Iraq after Saddam was right,
and the Bush-Rumsfeld strategy was wrong. 

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Had Obama's policy of surrender and retreat carried the 
day, the now-vindicated surge would be merely another 
paper gathering dust on a shelf, Iraq would remained mired 
in bloody sectarian attacks, and Iran would be emboldened 
to direct its terrorist accomplices toward Afghanistan.

Perhaps the most critical, principled reason to support 
McCain is the Supreme Court. Judging by their appointments' 
adherence to the text of the constitution, Republican 
presidents have had mixed success in rolling back judicial 

However, two things are indisputable: the constructionist 
justices on today's court were all appointed by Republicans, 
and the Democrat appointments are all undeniably liberal 

John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the two justices 
most likely to retire soon, are both activists who re-write 
the constitution in contravention of the plain text. 
Replacing either or both with another John Roberts, Antonin 
Scalia or Clarence Thomas — each of whom McCain supported — 
could at last restore the court's historic role as a 
defender of broad individual liberty and a restraint against 
over-reaching government.

If Obama makes the next appointment, we can be certain he 
will fortify the court's activist wing. Should a con-
structionist justice retire or die, Obama could swiftly 
reverse the gains of the last 28 years. 

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Finally, the candidates' views on the sanctity of human 
life provide another stark contrast that conservatives 
dare not forget. McCain has consistently voted to restrict 
abortion, parting with pro-lifers only on stem cell research. 
Obama not only supports abortion on demand but callously 
voted to deny medical care to infants born during un-
successful abortions.

Some conservatives argue that a Democrat victory would 
galvanize Republicans for 2010 and produce a public back-
lash, a la 1994. That's a tremendous gamble.

Democrats controlled Congress for 40 years from 1955 to 
1995. In the Senate, Democrats ruled for 34 of those years. 
Here in Colorado, perhaps more than anywhere else, Re-
publicans should realize how quickly political fortunes 
can change and how hard it is to reverse that tide.

Conservatives generally recognize short-sighted self-
indulgence when practiced by others. Now many conservatives 
are in danger of practicing a suicidal self-indulgence of 
their own.

We must put aside self-pity and frustration and do what 
we always have done: choose the right and responsible 
course for our country.

If instead we purposefully withhold our votes to gratify 
our personal pride and prejudice, the surrendered freedoms, 
suffocating tax burdens, and national insecurity that 
result will be as much our responsibility as that of those 
we "helped" to elect. 

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