Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

27th January
2015
written by Sean Noble

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If you follow Arizona politics, you probably know that Senator John McCain made an appearance at the State Meeting of the Arizona Republican Party last Saturday. It was newsworthy because this is the same state party that censured McCain last year.

It was not without its drama – there were a few folks who booed very loudly and a handful who really showed “who is boss” by keeping their backs turned to McCain throughout his speech. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t be seen from the stage because they were way, way in the back corner.

McCain gave a passionate speech about the dangers we face in the world (Russia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) and why the current Obama policy is failing to keep us safe.

At one point, someone yelled, “You’re a war mongrel!” Now, I’m guessing he meant “warmonger,” but, alas, either the adrenaline got to him, or he actually didn’t know what he was yelling.

Think about it: in a Republican meeting of State Committeemen (the very definition of “base Republicans”) someone is so out of touch with Republican principles and policy that they accuse a U.S. Senator, who was tortured for five years as a prisoner of war, of being a warmonger. For a second, I thought I was at an Occupy Wall Street rally.

Thankfully, the vast majority of attendees were cheering and applauding Sen. McCain and his speech – thus demonstrating that the critics of McCain were a distinct minority.

To his credit, State Party Chairman, Robert Graham, got up after McCain’s speech and admonished those who had shown complete disrespect. It was a moment of leadership that has defined the kind of Chairman Graham has been: fair-minded, following the rules, and urging unity. It’s no wonder Graham won a landslide re-election as Chairman, garnering nearly 80% of the vote.

Graham’s landslide victory is also a testament to an Arizona Republican Party that is excelling. Graham raised significant money for the 2014 cycle and made the party relevant again. No one can say that Republicans didn’t elect a strong conservative slate of statewide officers and a conservative legislature.

But let’s get back to McCain.

Despite some national groups calling him their number one target, I don’t believe Senator McCain will face a serious challenge – either in the primary or the general election in 2016. Here’s why:

  • Obama’s foreign policy will continue to be a complete failure. There will be more terrorist attacks (like what happened in France) and some American lives might even be lost. From his post as the Senate Armed Services Chairman, Senator McCain will have ample opportunity to try to hold the Obama administration accountable for their failed foreign policy.
  • Anyone who is thinking about mounting a challenge to McCain remembers what happened to JD Hayworth. It wasn’t pretty.
  • 2016 is likely to be framed in the context of a national security election. If there is one thing that unifies the base of the Republican Party it is that we believe the first (and almost only) function of government is to “provide for the common defense.” If McCain is leading that charge, it will be hard for someone to get traction against him.

There are probably other reasons, but for now, a real challenge doesn’t seem to be shaping up.

 

 

29th January
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obama’s immigration strategy is to destroy the Republican brand for many election cycles to come.  He is less interested in actually passing legislation and more interested in “winning” politically by marginalizing Republicans with Hispanic voters.

Obama will insist on elements of immigration reform that he knows will never pass a Republican House.  The bipartisan Senate reform group (lead by Sen. John McCain) announced an outline of a reform package on Monday and President Obama is speaking in Las Vegas today.  Already the White House is pushing out reasons that the Senate package doesn’t go far enough.

Republicans need to travel this road carefully.  They need to get the messaging right about providing opportunities to those who truly want to be here and lay out the principles of reform and call Obama out on playing politics with immigration reform.

Immigration hard-liners need to take the long view about the position the stake out.  To insist on mass deportation (unworkable), will only allow the leftist media to make Republicans a caricature of heartless hicks, and set back Republican opportunities for many election cycles to come.

 

26th January
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today marks a new beginning for the Arizona Republican Party.  Small businessman Robert Graham was elected Chairman with 70 percent of the vote. It’s the first “landslide” for Party Chairman in a decade.

He built a very diverse coalition of support, earning the endorsement of Congressman Trent Franks, (and having support of other delegation members) while at the same time getting endorsements from former Maricopa County GOP Chairman Rob Haney, former Senate President Russell Pearce and former state GOP Chairman Randy Pullen.

This is welcome news for the Arizona GOP – an incoming chairman who has broad support from the grassroots and respect among the business community.  It reflects what the Republican Party is all about – hard working, freedom-loving people coming together to advance liberty by fighting against big government and corrupt big business cronies (think GE, Solyndra, GM, Goldman Sachs, etc.)

Graham is a successful small businessman who can relate to every element of the Republican Party.   His leadership will position the party to be in great shape going into the 2014 elections.

 

 

 

1st March
2010
written by Sean Noble

President Obama’s “health care summit” last week broke very little new policy ground, but one thing is clear: Democrats are determined to pass their health care bill no matter what the American people want.

Some people have asked me why the Democrats would so willfully reject the will of the American people and push try to push this through. Obama and Democrat leadership know that with every passing day, reform becomes harder to pass because the closer we get to election day, the less likely moderate Democrats are to support it. Obama, Pelosi and Reid also know that if they don’t get it done this year, it will never happen, because they are going to lose seats in both the House and the Senate in November.

Another thing to consider is the dynamic of the 2012 election. Rahm Emanuel is the smartest Democrat operative in the nation. He knows politics, and he knows history and he recognizes that if Republicans capture the House in 2010, Obama’s reelection chances in 2012 at least double. Think about Clinton’s ability to “triangulate” with the Republican majority, thereby making him look more reasonable.

So, Rahm and Obama are willing to throw as many House members into the wood chipper as it will take to pass a bill, majority be damned, because a majority is actually bad for Obama after next year. The thing to watch is whether Democrat House members will be more influenced by White House pressure, or by pressure of constituents and voters back home.

In watching the summit, I was struck by a number of things. First, I was very impressed with the Republicans strength on the policy of health care reform. President Obama repeatedly tried to cut off any Republican who spoke about portions of the current plan with which they disagree. On several occasions, the President cut off the speaker and announced that he was interested in what they liked about his plan, not what they didn’t. In other words continuing his theme that bi-partisan reform consists of Republicans agreeing to Democrats ideas.

The Democrats also attempted to dominate the amount of speaking time. The Democrats/President spoke for 233 minutes, with Republicans getting 110 minutes of speaking time. However, the Republicans were very efficient with their time and Sens. Lamar Alexander R-TN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and House members Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) stood out in particular as hitting the main points with devastating precision. spoke about the need to eliminate (or at least reduce) waste, fraud, and abuse in health care.

At first, the Democrats were somewhat successful in appearing to agree with Republican principles and claiming their bill did many of the things Republicans were proposing. For instance, many Republicans suggested allowing the purchasing of insurance across state lines. Several Democrats insisted that their bill did just that. They were attempting to claim that their “exchanges” would do that; they do not. However, as the summit progressed, Republicans made it clear they were better prepared and had mastered the facts better than the Democrats.

At one point Senator McCain (R-AZ) made a very effective speech, noting how corrupt the process of crafting the legislation had been, including the many sweetheart deals included in the bills to buy votes. This clearly stung Obama, and the best he could come up with was a remark that the election is over – as if McCain’s points were mere political talking points used in campaigns. This was a big win for Republicans.

Finally, President Obama ended the summit by declaring that he has come a long way towards the Republicans by offering his latest proposal (which is largely the Senate-passed bill) and that now it is up to Republicans to decide which Democrat proposals they could accept. He intimated that they had the next several weeks (he mentioned 6 weeks once) to help Democrats pass their bill or he will pull it and Americans will know that Republicans put their political interests before the best interests of Americans. And then, the President noted, “that’s why we have elections.”

The media has played this as having been a “tie, going to Republicans.” If that is the MSM take, than clearly Republicans gained the most out of the summit. As has already been discussed by many commentators, Republicans brought their “A” game, while Democrats came across as mostly parroting talking points, not actually discussing solutions. Even Rush Limbaugh has said that Republicans proved him wrong by how well they did.

Here is a sampling of some of the immediate reaction in the press.

CNN’S DAVID GERGEN: “Intellectually, The Republicans Had The Best Day They’ve Had In Years.  The Best Day They Have Had In Years.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

· CNN’s DAVID GERGEN: “The Folks In The White House Just Must Be Kicking Themselves Right Now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

NPR’S MARA LIASSON: “I Think That The Republicans Made Their Arguments Very Well.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)

CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “It Looks Like The Republicans Certainly Showed Up Ready To Play.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· CNN’S WOLF BLITZER: “And The Republicans Had Less Speaking Time, But They Took Full Advantage Of Every Minute They Had.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

THE HILL’S A.B. STODDARD: “I Think We Need To Start Out By Acknowledging Republicans Brought Their ‘A Team.’ They had doctors knowledgeable about the system, they brought substance to the table, and they, I thought, expressed interest in the reform.  I thought in the lecture from Senator John McCain and on the issue of transparency, I thought today the Democrats were pretty much on their knees.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

CNN’s GLORIA BORGER: “The Republicans Have Been Very Effective Today. They Really Did Come To Play. They Were Very Smart.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· BORGER: “They took on the substance of a very complex issue. … But they really stuck to the substance of this issue and tried to get to the heart of it and I think did a very good job.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

· BORGER: “They came in with a plan. They mapped it out.” (CNN’s “Live,” 2/25/10)

POLITICO: “By The Afternoon, However, Both Sides Took A More Substantive Approach That Played To The Republicans’ Benefit, given Democratic attempts to portray them as unreasonable and partisan.” (“Six Hours Later, Stalemate Remains,” Politico, 2/25/10)

FOX NEWS’ CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: “The Republicans Really Helped Themselves. The argument against them, it’s the party of no, they have no ideas, they are against anything, they’re nihilists. In fact, they spent seven hours, I think, presenting a very strong case. They’re knowledgeable. They have ideas. They are interested in reform, but they have differences. Lamar Alexander was dazzling, Paul Ryan was rapier sharp in rebutting all of the smoke and mirrors that the democrats had presented.” (Fox News, 2/25/10)

JAMES CARVILLE: “First, In General, You’d Have To Say, By The Most Part Most Of These People Were Pretty Knowledgeable, They Had Done Their Homework … I Thought That Senator Alexander And Senator Coburn Did Great…” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 2/25/10)

FOX NEWS’ BRET BAIER: “Republicans Had A Strong Day Making Their Points.” (Fox News’ “Live,” 2/25/10)

WASHINGTON POST’S MICHAEL GERSON: “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed”(Michael Gerson, Op-Ed, “The Democrats’ Health-Care Ambush Failed,” The Washington Post, 2/25/10)

1st August
2009
written by Sean Noble

I was sitting in Sen. Jon Kyl’s Whip office off the Senate floor last week visiting with him when he jumped up and said that he was “going to go get McCain off the floor.” 

 

A few minutes later I overheard Sen. Kyl saying, “Yes, he’s here and he looks great.”  In walked Sen. McCain and he shook my hand and said, “Wow, you do look great!  I guess that’s what happens when you are relaxed in an accident from drinking and driving.”  He laughed his McCain laugh, as his mini-me, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was in tow, looked a little perplexed, not getting the joke that is all the more funny because I’m Mormon.

 

It was classic McCain, taking a somewhat serious issue (my health and well-being after a car accident that led to me getting my spleen removed) and finding the humor in it.

 

The article below by Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal also exposes classic McCain: fiscal conservative warrior, fighting the Obama’s attempts to have the federal government takeover as much of private enterprise as possible.  It is a must read.

 

By STEPHEN MOORE

John McCain is red in the face and hopping mad. I’m sitting in his office in the Senate Russell Office Building, and he’s just rushed in after delivering a speech on the Senate floor where he seethed about the earmarks in the Homeland Security Bill.

“Can you believe they are putting $6 million of pork into Homeland Security?” he asks with his trademark clenched-fists. “They promised they wouldn’t do that. Ben Nelson [the Democratic senator from Nebraska] just inserted a $200,000 museum in Omaha into the legislative branch appropriations bill. These earmarks are a creeping disease. First members condemn them, then they condone, then they embrace them.” Then Mr. McCain adds, “Eight or nine Republican appropriators routinely vote for this pork.” Shaking his head he says, “It’s killing our party.”

If you thought that the senior senator from Arizona would ride off into the political sunset last November, inconsolable after losing his bid for the presidency, think again. He’s over it. And he’s as energized and spry as ever I’ve known him.

I interviewed John McCain for these pages four years ago when he was just launching his presidential campaign. Now I’m here to see how he is coping with defeat, and what his priorities are this year.

Many feared he’d become the Obama administration’s ambassador to the Republican Party, cutting deals to get things done. On the contrary: He’s emerged as one of the lead critics of Obamanomics.

He says he has worked to keep his relations with President Barack Obama “cordial,” but he pulls no punches criticizing the president’s economic policies. “Never. Never have I seen such a transfer from the private enterprise system to the government of such massive scale,” he says. He goes through the list: car companies, banks, insurance firms owned by government, and he especially grimaces when he mentions the $787 billion stimulus package.

Not much has improved because of the stimulus. Mr. McCain scoffs, “And now, the answer is, according to the Obama economists, we didn’t spend enough.” He’s referring to the notion that we should have a second stimulus. This is not something the senator favors.

Asked about the deficits, his response is blunt. “I think it’s the biggest problem we’ve ever faced.”

Ever? “Yep,” he replies. “The only time where we amassed greater debt was during World War II, and that was temporary spending. We won the world war and then cut back. But now . . . the spending is permanent.”

“Look, this is a very popular, attractive, and eloquent president,” he continues. “But I think he was elected to govern in a centrist fashion. And instead,” he says, the administration is “governing from the far left.” Mr. McCain thinks this approach will capsize. “They don’t get that this is a right-of-center nation. Sooner or later, it becomes increasingly clear to the American people that he’s out of sync with the majority.” The latest polls are already showing some of this slippage: Mr. Obama’s favorable rating is now just over 50%, down from 70% his first weeks in office.

Will Mr. Obama ever move to the center as President Clinton did? “He will try to, but he’s got an overwhelmingly liberal Congress and his political instincts are to move to the left. It’s not an accident that he has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate,” he says, reciting a line from his campaign. On health-care reform, Mr. McCain calls the Pelosi bill “a fish in the sun” that smells more rotten the longer it sits. But he’s worried that this may end badly. The administration has “co-opted the hospitals, he’s co-opted the pharmacists; he’ll co-opt AMA [American Medical Association]. And by the way, if the pharmaceutical companies can save us $100 billion, why don’t they do it now? For the love of God, doesn’t this mean that they’ve been ripping us off?”

In the 2005 interview, Mr. McCain told me rather famously that “I don’t understand economics very well.” The Obama team echoed that phrase throughout the campaign. It’s still stuck in his craw, and it’s one of the first topics he brings up.

“Could I mention, Steve, that I kept hearing during the campaign the stuff about McCain being weak on economics. They obsessed about this in the media. They never said Obama is weak on economics. I came to Washington as a Reaganite limited government tax cutter.” He’s right about the media treatment. Neither candidate had a strong command of economics—certainly not Mr. Obama, as events have shown. Mr. McCain was simply being honest.

He seems perplexed that his pals in the media turned on him in 2008 after years of worshipful press treatment. “In 2000 [when he ran against George W. Bush] I used to go chat with reporters on the back of the bus, and we would have these long, pleasant conversations . . . . I was the underdog clawing my way up. But then in 2008, I noticed that it would be kind of a gotcha session with the press—a totally more hostile attitude.”

Yet conservatives had warned Mr. McCain that he would remain a media darling up until the moment he won the GOP nomination, at which time they would rip him apart. I’m only surprised that he was surprised this happened.

Mr. McCain is initially reluctant to talk about the campaign, but he provides me with snippets of what went right and wrong. He believes that he could have won the election had it not been for the market collapse in mid-September. “We were three points up on September 14. The next day the market lost 700 points and $1.2 trillion in wealth vanished, and by the end of the day we were seven points down. We lost the white college graduate voters, who became profoundly disillusioned with Republicans. And by the way, that was the way it ended up. We lost by seven points.”

He certainly was dealt a lousy hand. But I challenge him on whether he might have played that hand better. During the first days of the financial crisis, Mr. McCain looked indecisive and worse, a creature of Washington insider politics. Why did he suspend his campaign, and why did he vote for the $700 billion bank bailout plan, which was wildly unpopular with voters?

“You have no idea the pressure I was under,” he says. “I remember being on the phone with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Treasury secretary and [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke. They assure me the world financial system is going to collapse if I don’t vote for the bill. So I do the impetuous and rash thing by saying, look, I have got to go back to Washington and see how I can help. And by the way, so did Obama—but it was McCain that was the impetuous one. Obama came back to Washington.” Mr. McCain grumbles, “He was at the White House with me. But he wasn’t impetuous.” This is the only time in our interview he shows any bitterness about the campaign.

He feels he was misled by the Bush economic team. He wanted the focus of the rescue plan to be on housing and home owners under water—not the lenders or the big banks. “Paulson and Bernanke both told me on the phone, our primary focus is going to be on the housing crisis. That’s our primary focus. And then three days later they switched their whole priorities around.” Instead, the Bush administration got a $700 billion check from Congress to save banks, investment houses and eventually car companies.

Had he been president, Mr. McCain says he would have done things differently. “Small business has been ignored in this whole bailout. You know, I hate to use the word but it seems to me that the philosophy of Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke is trickle down, you know? Save Wall Street, save these financial institutions and then maybe they’ll have enough money to loan to the small business person. Wall Street seems to be doing okay. The executive salaries are fine.”

He continues: “But I just came from driving down Central Avenue in Phoenix and saw closed up storefronts because they’re too small to save, but these giant banks are too big to fail.” This is vintage John McCain, the economic populist fighting for the little guy.

If the market crash was the low point, I ask him for his best memory from the campaign. “The high point, I think, was the convention, the selection of Sarah Palin, and the enthusiasm that was generated all over the country.” His fondness for Mrs. Palin and her family strikes me as from the heart; he believes she was a net asset for the ticket.

“Let’s face it,” he says, “she galvanized our base in a way that I couldn’t. Everywhere she went she drew enormous and enthusiastic crowds like a rock star.” He says his only regret in selecting the Alaska governor was that no one on the campaign predicted the ferocity of the assaults against her. “To the liberal left, particularly the feminists, she is their worst nightmare.”

Since Mr. McCain was the co-sponsor of the McCain-Lieberman bill last year to limit CO emissions through a cap-and-trade system, I ask him about the climate change bill that passed the House last month and he surprised me with his opposition. “I believe climate change is real . . . but this 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities,” he says.

So you wouldn’t vote for the House bill? “I would not only not vote for it,” he laughs, “I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”

A s Mr. McCain keeps circling our discussion back to fiscal responsibility, I ask him if the trillion dollar deficits are a sign that America is an empire in decline. “I think there’s a risk of that . . . unless we change. I’m a student of history. The shift in power from the British to the United States took place when the economy and the world’s gold reserves shifted and Britain went from the world’s [creditor] to a world debtor. The same thing could be happening now. I emphasize ‘could.’”

My last question is about the possibility for a 2012 rematch against Mr. Obama. “No chance,” he says.

But the good news for those who admire this maverick is that he’s likely to stay in the Senate for years and is focusing single-mindedly on holding back Obamanomics. For now, that means trying to stop budget busters like ObamaCare, but also saving a few million dollars at a time by cancelling museums in Nebraska, turtle crossings in Florida, and the endless flow of dollars to Democratic Rep. John Murtha’s airport to nowhere in Johnstown, Pa.

And then Mr. McCain is out the door—running to vote on another anti-pork amendment.

Mr. Moore is a senior economics writer for the Journal.

16th July
2009
written by Sean Noble

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood (former Republican Congressman from Ill.) pulled one of the more outrageous acts of arrogance I have seen from a bureaucrat in a long time.  After Sen. Jon Kyl criticized the lack of stimulus coming from the “Stimulus” funding, LaHood wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer asking if she agreed with Kyl and if she prefers “to forfeit the money we are making available to the state, as Senator Kyl suggests, please let me know.”

George Will had lunch with LaHood a couple months ago, and then wrote about it:

LaHood, however, has been transformed. Indeed, about three bites into lunch, the T word lands with a thump: He says he has joined a “transformational” administration: “I think we can change people’s behavior.” Government “promoted driving” by building the Interstate Highway System—”you talk about changing behavior.” He says, “People are getting out of their cars, they are biking to work.” High-speed intercity rail, such as the proposed bullet train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, is “the wave of the future.” And then, predictably, comes the P word: Look, he says, at Portland, Ore.

Riding the aforementioned wave to Portland, which liberals hope is a harbinger of America’s future, has long been their aerobic activity of choice. But LaHood is a Republican, for Pete’s sake, the party (before it lost its bearings) of “No, we can’t” and “Actually, we shouldn’t” and “Not so fast” and “Let’s think this through.” Now he is in full “Yes we can!” mode. Et tu, Ray?

McCain has now weighed in on LaHood’s childish letter to the Governor:

“That is one of the more arrogant and elitist statements that I’ve ever heard,” McCain, R-Ariz., told The Arizona Republic during an interview in his Capitol Hill office. “It’s not their money; it’s the money of the Arizona taxpayers. And they are making the money available to our state? Since when do they have that authority? Of course, we question the stimulus. It has been a failure.”

LaHood needs to go back to Peoria, Ill. and get back in touch with real America.  The Potomac fever is gone to his head.