Bill Bennett Answers Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, in her usual inimitable style, sought to shock us last week when she stated outright that she would vote and indeed, campaign for Hillary Clinton if Sen. John McCain became the Republican nominee for president. I heard her defend her position. It’s audacious, claiming that she always votes for the more conservative of two candidates, and that given McCain-Feingold, McCain-Leiberman and McCain-Kennedy, Clinton is the more conservative of the two. Hum! Interesting.

Today in NRO, sometime after Gov. Romney had pulled out of the race, William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn answer Coulter.

Let’s go to their records, to the very time-period opponents of Senator McCain cite in their indictment of him.McCain voted to defund Planned Parenthood last year, Clinton didn’t and would likely expand Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding.

McCain voted to ban partial-birth abortion, Clinton didn’t and would likely reverse the partial-birth abortion ban.

McCain voted for Roberts and Alito and made the case for them in the media, Clinton didn’t.

McCain has never voted for a tax increase, Clinton will increase taxes.

McCain will continue the Bush tax cuts, Clinton will end them.

McCain will end pork-barrel spending, Clinton supports the endowment of projects like the Woodstock Museum with taxpayer funding.

McCain will not cut and run in Iraq, Clinton will work with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Reid to do just that.

McCain sponsored legislation to keep the Fairness Doctrine from rearing its head again, Clinton has not and has signaled moves to revive it.

McCain supports school choice, Clinton does not.

Clinton will mandate health insurance, McCain will not.

McCain voted to convict Bill Clinton on impeachment, Clinton was a witting accomplice in President Bill Clinton’s scandals.

McCain has an ACU (American Conservative Union) rating of 82.3; Clinton has a rating of 9.

McCain has 0-percent rating from NARAL; Clinton has 100 percent.

Having established that McCain has voted like a conservative, they proceed to show how he is not a liberal. Fine.

…except that the whole argument is more than a little weak, and shows to the world the struggle conservatives have to support McCain.

For instance, McCain may have indeed voted to seat Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court, but as the leader of the gang of 14, he also assured that a score of other conservative appointments would not be made. A look at the list shows that most (but not all) items there are budget dependent (never voted for a tax increase… continue Bush tax cuts… end pork-barrel spending etc.) and McCain has stated that he knows little about economic matters. His interest in the budget is minimal-to-nonexistent. Admittedly, as demonstrated in early 2000 by a reporter who asked then Gov. Bush who the president of Pakistan was, this does not mean that he won’t learn “on the job”. But is that what Republicans have been forced to choose now? Looks like it. (And if you’re a Democrat, dear reader, you may be asking the same question about Sen. Obama yourself, shortly).

Also, I noticed that Bennett and Leibsohn are indeed particularly convincing when they show that McCain is not a Liberal. That’s good. But if he’s not a Liberal, and Conservatives are not convinced that he’s a Conservative, then, What Is He?

And that’s not rhetorical. I have no idea how a McCain administration might come down on certain issues (the War on Terror is not one of those issues). With Hillary Clinton I think I know. I probably won’t agree, but I think I know how a (third) Clinton Administration would react and I think most voters do too. Likewise, Barack Obama’s biggest hurdle will be to convince people that they know him too, and with his relative inexperience, that may not be so easy.

Perhaps that will become the question of the election. Do the voters have any idea what they’re getting?

What worries me most is that some on the far left support McCain. And that can’t be good.

Late Addition:
I was able to hear about 35 minutes of John McCain’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conferenct (CPAC) on my way home, which had been given earlier in the afternoon. It was good, and in my estimation, went about 75% (but no more) to answering the conservative misgivings about his candidacy. What’s remains lacking is a countervailing image of McCain-as-bully (his well-reported mean-streak is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton and “Travelgate”), an answer to his economic ignorance and increasingly to my mind, an explanation of his technical and scientific naivety.

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2 Comments on “Bill Bennett Answers Ann Coulter”

  1. ThaLunatic Daily Says:

    Conservatives are beginning to amaze me in their inability to see what’s really at stake here. This election is about more than McCain and his inability to follow conservative principals.

    How is handing the whole country over to far left liberals a suitable alternative to McCain? What principal is that?

    There is a serious difference between McCain and a pure-bread liberal who is bent on destroying ALL conservative values permanently.

    Today’s liberal is not like the Bill Clinton’s Presidency. It’s moved radically left… Clinton is now considered a moderated, and loosing it’s power because it’s not radically liberal enough.

    The Democratic candidate that is surging now, Obama, is bottom of the barrel liberal. He is about to take power, unless conservatives stop fighting and get serious.

    This would give liberals what they will treat as a clear sign from America that is it ready to move sharply to the left. Not slightly to the left.

    Cherry picking our candidate is exactly what got us INTO this mess, and if conservatives aren’t careful, they will allow our country spiral out of control.

    There is no such thing as a quick recovery from 4 years of radical liberalism unchecked. We may be facing what will take years and years of damage to undo. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that it WILL be undone. Have conservatives completely forgotten Roe v. Wade and other extremely important issues?

    Questioning McCain was right and highly useful for a time and a season. Many of us wish we had acted sooner to support Romney or Huck…. But staying home on election day allows liberals a pass to capture all THREE branches of Government. Our kids deserve better out of us.

    I’m not asking anyone to sacrifice their own belief or convictions, but we have a serious problem here that requires that we do everything we can to minimize the damage this election can cause to our society.

    I’d rather have 50% of McCains ear, than 0% of a liberals ear.

    Give it some thought, friends.

    Danny Vice
    http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com
    http://thalunatic.blogspot.com

  2. Joe Says:

    Danny, I think I essentially agree with you. Better half of McCain’s ear.
    But I think I’m not quite as worried about a “far leftist” presidency. The Kos Kids are a self-limiting phenomina.
    Besides, Clinton is essentially moderate. Corrupt and insider-agenda driven, certainly. But not politically leftist. Obama, I start to believe, cannot get elected. The closer he gets, the larger Clinton looms as “the adult” as far as Democrats are concerned. And she is not electable.
    And if I’m wrong, either essentially guarantees a Republican take over in 2012, with at least one house added for good measure (An Obama presidency guarantees two, I think).

    It will take only one head to head match up between either and McCain for the country to see the Democrat (whomever) as a poor second choice for reasons of temperment or experience (or both).

    But then my question, like yours, is what are we getting with McCain? He sticks to his principles. That’s a good thing. But what the heck are they?

    By his voting record, we’ll be getting something like 80% to 85% conservative (which is probably more than you would get if you elected *me* pres ;>). Not bad. I’m sure we’ll scream when another Justice Souter replaces Stevens. But it’s not like that hasn’t happened with other Republican presidents.


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