When it comes to choosing which candidates to back, I tend to go by my “gut” more than any rational reason. I tend to trust my instincts, my subconscious, my hunches more than a cool analysis of issues and resumes and accomplishments.
But there are some things that I do allow to overrule that.
There’s something deep inside me that wants to like John McCain, that wants to back him for president. There’s something about the man’s character that I find appealing in a leader.
There is no disputing that the man is a genuine American hero. A pilot during Viet Nam, he was shot down and held prisoner. He was tortured and abused, then offered his freedom as a symbolic gesture — his father was an admiral — and he refused any special treatment.
Further, the man has the kind of sense of humor that I can respect. He routinely makes jokes about his experiences as a guest of the North Vietnamese government (witness last night’s mention of being “tied up” during Woodstock), and he doesn’t let his utter lack of talent keep him from singing to make his points — here he mocks Barbra Streisand on Saturday Night Live, and his little “Bomb Iran” moment was another classic.
But McCain has two very strong positions that, to me, combine to eliminate him as a candidate I can support.
McCain was one of the biggest pushers for the so-called “immigration reform” bill that almost utterly ignored the need for enforcement of existing laws, strengthening the border, and cracking down on the financial incentives for people to hire illegal aliens. I consider myself a bit of a realist on the issue — I’ve said that I’d even accept McCain’s “reform” if it was coupled with enough strong measures to make it fairly safe to call it the “last” amnesty bill — but his bill was utterly abysmal.
And even before that, he’d lost my vote with his McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, or as I call it, The George Soros License To Buy Elections Act. There are so many flaws — political and Constitutional — that it should never have been brought to a vote, let alone pass. McCain should look at the harm his measure has caused, and do everything he can to repeal it.
As I said, I have a lot of respect for John McCain, and I find I like him, too. I just wish I could vote for him.