Wednesday, June 01, 2005

More on McCain

In my previous post, I mentioned some reasons why Senator McCain is likely to lose a Presidential bid in 2008. One of my arguments is that Senator McCain is something a political chameleon who uses his media reputation as a conservative to cover up some of his liberal policies. An illustrative example of this process is a set of statements that McCain made in a recent interview:
As president, McCain said his foreign policy would greatly mirror President Bush’s: "I believe we have a unique opportunity, particularly now, to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world.”

He continued that domestically, "one thing is to expand opportunities for national service – the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, neighborhood and community organizations. You see, I think after 9/11 we had a golden opportunity to call all Americans to serve the country – not just to tell them to take a trip and go shopping. And I think they would have responded. I think they will still respond.”
The interesting point for conservatives is not that McCain essentially agrees with the Bush foreign policy or that McCain believes that voluntary national service can be a good thing for citizens to perform but that he doesn't view taking a trip or going shopping as worthy components of national service in themselves.

A state's military strength, at least since the sixteenth century, has depended upon a state's economic potential as well as the size of its military forces. The most effective means for a state to expand its economic potential is the capitalist economy which relies upon the individual's sometimes selfish economic motives. The normal American citizen's productive work, self-improvement, saving, and spending are themselves a benefit to the nation and a form of national service.

For conservatives, McCain's "first servant of the state" position sounds like a premonition of a President McCain's welfare-statism; the notion that only personal sacrifice counts as national service is something one would expect from Bill Maher-style liberals, not people who call themselves small-government conservatives.

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