Having spent quite a bit of verbiage correcting Levin’s errors on the McCain-Romney-Iraq argument, I’ll use this post to set McCain’s overall record straight.
This is how Levin describes it in NR:
Of course, it’s one thing to overlook one or two issues where a candidate seeking the Republican nomination as a conservative might depart from conservative orthodoxy. But in McCain’s case, adherence is the exception to the rule — McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers’ bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), the Bush tax cuts, and so forth. This is a record any liberal Democrat would proudly run on. Are we to overlook this record when selecting a Republican nominee to carry our message in the general election?
I’ll start by answering Levin’s question at the end: No, you shouldn’t overlook a candidate’s record. Thus, Levin should not have overlooked McCain’s support for requiring a 2/3 Senate majority for any spending increases (vote), his opposition to the bloated, ever-expanding Medicare Part D (both votes), his support for a permanent end to the death tax (vote), his support for a ban on lawsuits against gun makers (vote), his vote to cap government spending at 2006 levels (vote), his opposition to habeas corpus for enemy combatants (vote), and his support for increased funding for the Border Patrol (yes, you read that last one right – not only did he vote for it, he sponsored it).
I’d be surprised to see a liberal Democrat running on that record.
However, it we’re going to play this little game, what about the candidate who supports an assault weapons ban, government-mandated health care, an industrial policy for the automobile industry (NR), and the aforementioned and infamous Medicare Part D?
Who is that candidate, you ask? Why, it’s Mitt Romney. No, not the Mitt Romney of 1994, or 2002, or 2004, it’s the Mitt Romney who’s running for President.
Now, I could mention that those old Romneys included a fellow who wanted to tax political contributions and put a cap on the amount of money a candidate could spend on himself (oh, the irony – Concord Monitor), a Governor who also opposed the Bush Tax cuts (Thompson for President via SCHotline) and had high praise for McCain’s anti-restrictionist stance on illegal immigration (Boston Globe), and a guy who insisted that the pre-Roe abortion laws killed a relative and made him firmly “pro-choice” (Boston Globe). However, I think Romney version 3.5 is bad enough.
Levin does get one thing right: “Let’s face it, none of the candidates are perfect.” Indeed, they’re not. Yet John McCain is far better than Mark lets on, and Mitt Romney (past or present) is far worse.