May 4, 2008
Those on the Right who are dismayed that a relative moderate like John McCain will carry the Republican Party's banner this fall should perhaps take heart. Last week the Arizona senator defied conventional wisdom by rejecting universal health coverage, calling for market-based health care reform. This, of course, one of the issues nearest and dearest to my heart. From the Washington Post:
McCain's prescription would seek to lure workers away from their company health plans with a $5,000 family tax credit and a promise that, left to their own devices, they would be able to find cheaper insurance that is more tailored to their health-care needs and not tied to a particular job.
That's a fine start, but at some point the employers' contributions to health care insurance costs will have to be made taxable (perhaps as part of a revenue-neutral tax rate cut) to create a level playing field so that such a decentralized, voluntary, market-based health care reform can work. By distancing himself from the "compassionate conservative" approach of President Bush, McCain has a chance to attract voters who are burned out on grand ideological schemes. (Is Newt Gingrich behind this??) Now if we could only convince McCain that government controls over campaign finance have just as much of a distorting effect as do government controls over medical care...
Just remember, both Democratic candidates, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are determined to make national health care a fundamental "moral" right of all Americans. Ah, the sweet, intoxicating allure of despotic socialism, which never shows its true [face] until it's too late...
In The Atlantic Monthly, meanwhile, Jonathan Rauch suggests other ways in which McCain is -- ironically -- much truer to classical conservative philosophy than many of those in the "Conservative Movement" of today. For example, McCain quoted British conservative thinker Edmund Burke, who emphasized keeping a balance between individual rights and social order. Notwithstanding his reputation as a "maverick," McCain's legislative work in the Senate has been consistently incremental, and his campaign speeches avoid grand promises. In that respect, he stands apart from many of his GOP colleagues, including Newt Gingrich. Rauch observes, "Starting with Barry Goldwater's campaign of 1964, American conservatism repositioned itself as a revolutionary movement, intent on uprooting illegitimate and ineffective liberal structures." That is one of the very few unfortunate legacies of Ronald Reagan, providing rhetorical ammunition to gung-ho activists for whom prudence is a dirty word.
Speaking of which, I had a feeling that the extraordinary tensions in the Republican Party were not unique to the SWAC area, and SWAC Girl confirms it. In the 2nd and 7th Congressional Districts, the "conservative grassroots" successfully unseated the incumbent chairmen who had been endorsed by most of the elected officials. She also congratulated Fred Anderson (!) on his narrow reelection victory.
Speaking of SWAC Girl, she asked me to make a correction in my previous politics blog post about the Sixth District GOP convention, and I decided to oblige her with some rewording, though the meaning is essentially the same:
Original: If he does, it will be interesting to see if Lynn Mitchell, who called on Fred Anderson to recuse himself from the Michael-Roller dispute, will recuse herself when the Central Committee takes up the matter.
Revised: If he does, it will be interesting to see if Lynn Mitchell, who cited "Yankee Phil" to suggest that Fred Anderson should recuse himself from the Michael-Roller dispute, will recuse herself when the Central Committee takes up the matter.
(Editing marks and links as shown on yesterday's revised blog post are omitted here.) NOTE: My recent attempt to bring a fact check to SWAC Girl's attention was not accepted.
For a more complete report on yesterday's Sixth District GOP convention, in which Kurt Michael was named Augusta County GOP Chairman, see today's News Leader. I had a hunch the deck was stacked, but I had no idea how badly: "While Michael was allowed to address the committee, [Larry] Roller was not because several people objected when he made requests to speak." Well, that figures... On to Richmond!
Back in March I came across a Washington Post article on Dutch filmmaker Geert Wilders, who recently produced a Web movie, Fitna, that dramatizes the barbaric aggressiveness of radical Islam and its roots in the Quran. Thanks to Dogwood Pundit, I found it on the Web. It last about 15 minutes, and it's well worth watching, if you have enough intestinal fortitude to face up to reality.