January 31, 2008

"For Patriotism, Not Profit"
— Ace

This isn't another McCain bashing post. I don't understand the anger over McCain's line, expressed here by Mark Steyn. Though many others have sharply criticized it.

I'm getting a bit tired of Senator McCain's anti-business shtick. The line about serving "for patriotism, not for profit" is pathetic. America spends more on its military than the next 35-40 biggest military spenders on the planet combined: Where does he think the money for that comes from?

Well, look. Romney has a good credential: he was a wildly successful and very canny businessman. He knows how to manage and lead and get things done.

McCain has a damned fine credential of his own: he was a patriot and hero who served his country in a time of war and stoically endured torture at the hands of "the gooks" (and on that point, having never endured torture myself, I'm willing to give him a pass).

Romney is by no means intentionally denigrating McCain's service when he points out how his own career path makes him very qualified for the presidency. But implicitly, it really can't be taken otherwise: Yes, indeed, he was a superb businessman. But that was because he chose that path. Had he chosen McCain's path -- service to his country in the armed forces -- he would not have have had so much time to excel at business.

I think McCain's "for patriotism, not profit" is a fair shorthand for a simple idea: Yes, Mr. Romney, you surely have acquired a good resume. Perhaps I can't directly compete with many of the bullet-points on your resume. But I have bullet-points of my own which you can't match. While you chose business, I chose the Navy.

I'm not really sure how McCain could make this point without being perceived as "denigrating" Romney's career in capitalism, anymore than Romney can't quite avoid suggesting that his own experience in business is more valuable than McCain's experience as a pilot in war. Either man, by arguing his own experience is more valuable than the other's, implicitly and unavoidably denigrates the other's.

Surely Romney doesn't intend to suggest that McCain's service is somehow second-rate -- but how can he avoid doing so in urging that his own business experience makes him the most qualified candidate? Similarly, McCain really can't help suggesting that a career in business is less worthy than a career in the armed forces if he is to champion his own credentials.

Urging that either is consists of a greater credential for the presidency implies, inevitably, that the other is lesser. It is the nature of the thing and cannot be finessed.

The other McCain quote noted up by Steyn -- there are some "greedy people" on Wall Street who may need to be "punished," -- plus McCain's resistance to the Bush tax cuts as "unfairly" benefiting the rich, do indicate, together, a skepticism towards capitalism and free enterprise than we're used to seeing in a Republican nominee. McCain can talk up the Reaganite platitudes of free people pursuing their own economic dreams, but he seems to have at his heart an antagonism to the system, or at least its excesses (both real and imagined) that are far more common to liberal economic thought. His calls for a society motivated primarily by idealism and patriotism are at odds with the notion that, while idealism and patriotism are fine motivations, the central impulse that actually drives a dynamic capitalistic economy is, frankly, self-interest, or at least a local rather than national interest -- providing for oneself, and of course providing for one's family, and not necessarily devoting the greater portion of one's working hours directly to the common weal. Capitalism posits that the common weal is served best by free people making economic decisions that better themselves; McCain does seem to have reservations about this notion, and seems to pine for a society in which people skip the middleman of enlightened self-interest and work directly for the vague cause of "America."

But on the actual "for patriotism, not profit" quote -- I find it unobjectionable and, indeed, rather unavoidable, unless McCain is expected to simply say in a debate, "You've won me over, Governor. Your experience in business surely is more relevant to the presidency than my own experience defending my country."

And, let's face it, McCain could certainly make the point more insultingly, if he wished:

I'm reminded of the Kipling quote (I think) along the lines of "All men think less of themselves for having never served as a soldier." I think that's largely true, especially on the right, and I'm not sure some of the anger of McCain's line isn't partly a defensive reaction to that. Say what you will about McCain, but he is, in fact, a hero, and if it hurts to be reminded that the great majority of us are not, that's not really McCain's fault, nor even his intent. "I am a hero" always carries with it the slight "...and you are not," but all of us non-heroes ought to just accept that and give the hero his proper due.

I don't think he deserves to be president, but I do think he's earned the right to remind us of what he gave for the country.

"Greedy People:" Chad objects that McCain may be right about some "greedy people" having crossed the line of the law and needing punishment. And Chad might be right about that.

However, it seems to me that this is rather easy target of opportunity, too. Politicians are always good at pointing fingers; "predatory lenders" are the new "junk bond dealers," I guess. And as with junk bond dealers in the eighties, there are almost certainly some illegalities going on here.

Because there are crimes and criminals in every industry.

Blaming an easy target may be a good bit of throwaway bullshit on the hustings - especially for someone who doesn't economics as well as he should -- but let's remind ourselves of the nuances here.

Instapundit's nothing that the Old Evil of denying loans to bad credit risks has now apparently given way to the New Improved Evil of giving loans to bad credit risks. Oh, it's not quite reverse-redlining; redlining is an odious practice of using an external factor -- the neighborhood were one resides, which is often, of course, a racial monoculture -- to deny an individual a loan.

But the general point holds -- those who once railed against lenders for not giving a chance to bad credit risks are now railing against them for granting them that chance... with consequences that should have seemed more obvious than they apparently did.

Posted by: Ace at 10:58 AM | Comments (60)
Post contains 1119 words, total size 7 kb.

1 But isn't that the beauty of a free country?  Every man is free to chose the path that is best for him.  McCain chose the military and he gained a lot from that.  Romeny chose the business world and he gained a lot from that.  Each man brings a different set of strengths anbd weakneses and they are formed, in large measure, by their experiences.  Neither man can lay claim to the moral high ground on this issue.  They just need to drop it.

Posted by: Steve L. at January 31, 2008 11:06 AM (hpZf2)

2 I agree with you on the for patriotism not for profit quote, but I also agree with McCain on the need to punish some of those on Wall Street.  Not because they are greedy but because in some cases I think they let greed lead them into making deals that were frankly fraudulent.  Being honest that problem goes a lot further than Wall Street and any investigation needs to go deeper than the major banks.

Posted by: chad at January 31, 2008 11:12 AM (lNQg8)

3 but I do think he's earned the right to remind us of what he gave for the country.

The right to talk about it? Sure, I guess.

Does he get a vote for talking about it?  No. 

Maybe it's just my general hatred of all things unique to the post-Vietnam-era American culture, but I think one should do his duty and then shut the fuck up about it, not bring it up constantly to promote yourself, Senator Kerry .. uh, McCain.

Posted by: Phinn at January 31, 2008 11:17 AM (NLtoU)


I'm not overly-offended by McCain's "I served for patriotism, not for profit," line, but I don't like it.  It's not necessary.  It seems beneath him, and in a way, actually takes a little shine off of the (deserved) "hero" reputation he has.

One of the things I admire about true war heroes is that, almost to a man, they go out of their way to NOT lord their service over you.  It's always, "I was just doing my job," or "I'm not a hero, the heros are those who lost their lives."  When McCain delivers this line, he seems to sneer it at Romney, beating him over the head with it.   Just seems unnecessary.

Posted by: angler at January 31, 2008 11:17 AM (kSuu1)

5 Bingo on your last sentence. A man may be deserving of all honor for defending his country, and suffering thereby, but that by itself doesn't make him a good choice for president. McCain has more than earned his proper due, but the politician McCain doesn't get my vote.

Posted by: Retread at January 31, 2008 11:17 AM (P/AfD)

6 Why be peeved at the quote? Well for one reason, because Republicans - to a greater or lesser extent - are supposed to defend the profit principle, not slag it to score cheap rhetorical points. 

I understand your broader points about military service being just as valid a background for the presidency as being a successful businessman. But, if McCain wanted to make that point, he should have said something along the lines of: "The presidency involves being commander in chief and making hard decisions. Not hard cost -benefit decisions about who to hire and who to fire, but hard moral decisions that come with the responsibility of sending American soldiers into harms way...."

Doing it that would undermine the validity of Romney's CEO wizardry as a basis for electing him, but not directly attack the pro-free-market attitudes that are generally aligned with the right.

That McCain either doesn't care, or doesn't understand the difference is yet another example of his "endorsed by the NY Times" style of Republicanism.

Posted by: stirner at January 31, 2008 11:25 AM (ILUrb)


WTF, ace?

Yesterday it was a tribute to Bush and today your saying nice things about McCain.

Should we expect a "Lindsey Graham: A Solid Conservative" post, soon?

But seriously, I expected you (and your henchman, Slublog) to attack McCain just like you did Huckabee.

Posted by: Bart at January 31, 2008 11:26 AM (UkeDS)


I hate the line and I hate his comments about "greed" on Wall Street. 

Not because I don't think its possible that someone did something wrong and should pay a price.  But because its such a populist, throw away line that appeals to some people's sense that someone, somewhere, must have got away with something to get rich at the expense of the "little guy" and that is such a leftist load of shite.

McCain's not trying to have a substantive discussion about the failure of the credit markets and the potential reasons for it.  He's just tapping into a lot of people's latent willingnes to indulge a little envy and contempt.

McCain seems to be doing a lot of that lately, with his smear about Romney laying people off, and even his remark about profit versus patriotism.

Posted by: Fred at January 31, 2008 11:28 AM (ivbbD)

9 Its not the quote that bothers me, but that the quote seems to confirm my impression about McCain.  He seems to believe that a life of government service is a life better lived that a life spent producing what that government takes.

Posted by: toby928 at January 31, 2008 11:29 AM (evdj2)

I'm listening to that asshole Medved chiding people for calling mccain names.  This from the guy who has constantly in the past, to the present, and no doubt in the future, calls everyone he disagrees with names. What a jackass you are medved.

Posted by: dlm at January 31, 2008 11:30 AM (wxBdh)


I'll readily give McCain his due for his service and sacrifice for our freedom.  He is far tougher and braver than I am.

But that doesn't necessarily make him a good man. 

If we're going to credit what he's done in the name of American freedom, shouldn't we also weigh it against what he has done to harm it?  I'd argue that his actions in office have done far more to destroy individual freedom in America than the (huge and awful) sacrifices he made in furtherance of it.

So while he's given far more than I or Ace or even Mitt Romney has, he's  taken far more as well. 

While his quote may not be objectional as a stand-alone matter, when viewed alongside his anti-business, anti-profit, anti-capitalism, and anti-self interest rhetoric it becomes emblematic of his very leftist penchat for stoking the fires of class warfare.

Pandering to envy, sloth, and coveteousness is certainly no virtue. Begrudging others their just due betrays a petty smallness that is undesireable for one aspiring to such an important position of leadership.

Posted by: Warden at January 31, 2008 11:30 AM (QoR4a)


But on the actual "for patriotism, not profit" quote -- I find it unobjectionable

Well, that would be true if he wasn't in the Senate for the last 25 years. McCain's entire career wasn't in the military you know. You get that, right?

By the way, since when does being a POW make you have some sort of valuable insight into being President?

It also is comical to watch someone who's married rich say these sort of things. He's a hypocrite of the worst order.


Posted by: Jay at January 31, 2008 11:30 AM (BNlV7)


Phinn: "Does he get a vote for talking about it?  No.  "

I think you meant to say that he doesn't get <i>your</i> vote for it.

It can be easily quantified that he has gotten a vote.


Angler: Why'd you put the word Hero in quotes?  Was that Tactical Use Of Quotes to communicate the inverse?

You also wrote "One of the things I admire about true war heroes..."

"True" huh? 

Posted by: brando at January 31, 2008 11:31 AM (qzOby)

14 In terms of background you can't really fault either one: they both have done good things and have had an impressive career, particularly Senator McCain. It's their policies that concern me. This is in direct contradiction to the Democratic candidates who have little experience or distinction and lousy policies.

The sad part is in any objective contest in any normal election, the Democrats would be doing horribly. They're running a likable naive inexperienced guy and a greatly unlikable inexperienced woman. They ought to have no shot and be laughed at.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at January 31, 2008 11:32 AM (hfyfI)


 But I have bullet-points of my own which you can't match. While you chose business, I chose the Navy.

This is retarded. McCain chose the US Senate. He's spent almost 5 times as long there as he did in the Navy.

Posted by: Jay at January 31, 2008 11:32 AM (BNlV7)


Um, isn't Mccain an Admirals kid?  (insert appropriate stereotype here)

The Hanoi Hilton was tough stuff to be sure. IMO Stockdale gets more credit than Mccain, that's just me.

Regarding the specific comment: It should not have come from any GOP nominee. More class war BS.

Posted by: John Rambo at January 31, 2008 11:36 AM (GvwnD)


I think it is a perfectly fine point to make.  If people are electing a commander-in-chief, it is fair to point out that you have had direct experience in national security on many different levels.

Also, I think it is wrong to downplay the altruistic character of service.  It's as though you are buying into the cliched vision of the "evil capitalist" from Wall Street by elevating the role of capitalism above that of altruism.  "Greed is good!" which no real conservative really believes.

Traditionally, conservatives have been capitalist by default (because taking people's money from them is a form of theft).  Conservatives don't need to celebrate capitalism as morally superior, because it isn't moral at all.  It's just an economic system that permits moral action and virtue to thrive if we choose to behave morally and virtuously.  Communism doesn't.

Having said that, of course there are bad people on Wall Street.  Of course they should be punished.  There are also good people on Wall Street who deserve to be rewarded.  And people of great means are capable of committing greater acts of good and greater acts of evil than people who don't have the same economic power, thus it makes perfect sense to be proportionately outraged over crime.  Someone who steals a TV is bad because he hurts a handful of people, someone who steals a billion dollars hurts us all.  Having a sense of proportionality when trying to judge between good and evil does not make McCain a communist, it means he's got some semblance of a conscience.

Posted by: oops at January 31, 2008 11:38 AM (1WdUw)

Posted by: Phinn at January 31, 2008 04:17 PM (NLtoU)

I can do you one better.  McCain's campaign chair here was being interviewed by a local talk show host and when asked about the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold, the campaign guy (I kid you not) "John McCain didn't spend all those years as a POW because he disrespects the constitution."

Granted, it wasn't McCain who said it, but sheesh.

Posted by: Slublog at January 31, 2008 11:38 AM (R8+nJ)


. I don't understand the anger over McCain's line, expressed here by Mark Steyn.

It also presumes an "either, or" proposition which is of course false.

Posted by: Jay at January 31, 2008 11:42 AM (BNlV7)


Reagan conservatism was made up of three major groups, national security conservatives, economic conservatives and social conservatives.  Romney clearly comes from the economic and social camps but he always, always pays homage to all the military and McCain in particular.  He did so last night and went one step further stating that one of the biggest regrets he had in life was not serving in the military.

McCain, on the other hand, always seems to show disdain for economic conservatives including saying that he opposed the Bush tax cuts because they unfairly went to the rich and never misses on opportunity to misrepresent Romney's career, take a shot at his wealth and minimize his abilities.  McCain has spent decades in DC drinking deeply from the governmental trough, a trough we greedy bastards keep overfilling for him.  He might want to remember that if he ever hopes to have a prayer of getting the support of people like me he would be wise to start but not insulting us anymore.  He has a long way to go but that would be a good start.


ps.. If Kerry had taked about his service as much as McCain people would have jumped his shit mercilessly.  I honor McCain's service and sacrifice but I don't need to have every conversation involve it and it has nothing to do with being president.

Posted by: JackStraw at January 31, 2008 11:45 AM (t+mja)

21 Sorry Jay your wrong on that.  Graduated USNA 1958 retired from USN 1981 as a Captain.  That makes 23 years in the Navy not 5.  He did spend 5 and 1/2 years as POW if thats what you meant.

Posted by: chad at January 31, 2008 11:50 AM (lNQg8)

22 Should we expect a "Lindsey Graham: A Solid Conservative" post, soon?

Now that was funny.

Posted by: copy at January 31, 2008 11:54 AM (p1s9n)

23 I think you critics of this 'patriotism not profit" line miss the obvious point that the first 'p' is a reason to want to becaome President, while the second 'p' is not.

Posted by: FredT at January 31, 2008 11:55 AM (ESiy4)

24 It's no accident that free enterprise and political freedom are joined at the hip. McCain is explicitly against the first and implicitly against the second. How can he possibly represent the Republicans?

Posted by: ricpic at January 31, 2008 11:57 AM (+++MJ)


"Angler: Why'd you put the word Hero in quotes?  Was that Tactical Use Of Quotes to communicate the inverse?

You also wrote "One of the things I admire about true war heroes..."

"True" huh?"

Just poor writing skills.  I also misspelled "heroes" as "heros." 

Posted by: angler at January 31, 2008 12:00 PM (kSuu1)

26 It's not really the line itself.  It's the contempt with which it's delivered.

McCain and Romney are about equal, frankly, in the ideological reliability sense, with McCain being perhaps worse but un knowing where the mines are buried. 

He just needs to reign in the horrible tendency he has to attack the right FIRST.

Posted by: copy at January 31, 2008 12:07 PM (p1s9n)

27 It was the way Mcain said it that is offensive. He is diffently infering that one is better than the other. That why he follwed up with the laying people off line. He was also caught in that lie about "timetables" and he knew it. He easliy could have gotton out of that but chose to ignore the quote and any question that was put to him. I really do not care about his military service. He is a hero no doubt, any man that went thru what he did has my respect, however it does not make him qualified for President. Like someone said before, the site and others bashed Kerry for doing the same thing McCain is doing now. Reporting for duty. 

Posted by: Lou at January 31, 2008 12:10 PM (RNwpX)

28 I'm not offended by the 'patriotism not greed' line. You have to use what you have. But a person with his service record shouldn't need to talk about it all the time. Ideally, since it's something that just about everybody knows about, it would serve as a base of character, however, McCain's lack of accomplishment in other areas forces him to play it up.

It also shows why senators are so rarely elected president. He can't emphasize any leadership skills because the base doesn't like any of the legislation he pushed through. And, of course, he has zero executive experience so he has to point back to his military career.

The line about Wall Street is just cheep pandering. Sure, there are some people on Wall Street that should be thrown in jail, but the same goes for congress.

Posted by: runninrebel at January 31, 2008 12:12 PM (0n9wc)

29 Conservatives don't need to celebrate capitalism as morally superior, because it isn't moral at all.

I disagree. 

Capitalism (i.e., free and voluntary trade) is definitely moral, or at least it exists on the basis and in the context of moral behavior.  It can only exist where you first have one of the basic foundations of morality -- mutual respect for person and property. 

How else is a voluntary trade supposed to occur?  Each side to a transaction has something the other one wants, and values the other person's property more than the property he is giving in exchange.  But rather than take it by force, they trade, for mutual gain and benefit. 

Everyone who makes a profit (other than by benefiting from various special privileges like government-sponsored monopolies, subsidies, protectionism, etc.) in a regime of private property and voluntary exchange, must necessarily be providing a good or service to others that is, in some respect, not being provided by anyone else.

Respecting other people's property is a moral good. Making other people's lives better, and doing it more efficiently and effectively than anyone else, is not only an economic good, but a moral good.

Posted by: Phinn at January 31, 2008 12:12 PM (NLtoU)

30 <i>But the general point holds -- those who once railed against lenders
for not giving a chance to bad credit risks are now railing against
them for granting them that chance... with consequences that should
have seemed more obvious than they apparently did.</i>

I'm not railing against banks or other lenders that offered loans to those with poor credit.  Frankly I think that was an untapped market and more power to those who could make it work for them. 

I am talking about things like the recent allegations that WaMu used specific appraisers in order to artificially inflate house values or lenders who falsified the paperwork in order to push through a loan that a client clearly couldn't afford, and the loan applicants who went along with it, and brokers (if that's the right term) who sold bundles of high risk credit as loans that were fully backed. 

I am also talking about company officers who allowed this to go on as long as they were making a short term profit without taking into account the long term consequences.  Their actions may not have been illegal but they should definitely have to answer to the shareholders.

Posted by: chad at January 31, 2008 12:12 PM (lNQg8)


I don't think McCain was intentionally denigrating Romney's accomplishments, but I think he was engaging in lazy populist rhetoric in slamming big, mega-successful corporations. That's an easy, unthinking way to rile people up.

I don't get that attitude. I chose the military and law enforcement as a career while my college buddies chose business careers where they made a lot more money. I don't envy them that, and I certainly don't disrespect their decisions; functioning societies need citizens of all professions. This ain't Sparta.

Posted by: UGAdawg at January 31, 2008 12:21 PM (d38jD)


Romney should have responded,

Fuck you , I know more than anyone else in the room about profits.

Posted by: polynikes at January 31, 2008 12:26 PM (m2CN7)


Most heroes don't constantly remind people of there heroism.  John McCain seems to be the exception.

Posted by: polynikes at January 31, 2008 12:30 PM (m2CN7)


Let's think about what Mark is saying.

No one in McRhino's family has EVER met a payroll in 100 years.  McRhino thinks the government is the source of all wealth, since it has been to his family(The Bud heir is not a McRino). 

This explains all McRino's attitudes toward Capitalist.  He doesn't understand it and he is jealous that he didn't make the big bucks and is just a government employee. 

The snide comment for "For Patriotism, Not Profit" is a way to say I am not some money grubbing guy, I am a government employee who gets to spend the money grubbing guys income, on "good things" and I get to decide what those are.

He is disgusting. 

Posted by: kempermanx at January 31, 2008 12:34 PM (iLWmI)


copy, I stand corrected on McCain's bio.


But, was McCain doing it for "patriotism" when he was bullying those regulators for his buddy Charles Keating*?


*Note: nice to see that McCain has decided to bully America through endless regulation for his own moral failings. After that scandal he basically decided money made by anyone else has some sort of moral taint and government is always a benevolent agent.

Posted by: Jay at January 31, 2008 12:36 PM (BNlV7)

36 McCain doesn't worry about money because he dumped his first wife and pulled a "John F'ing Kerry" and married money.  How pathetic.  McCain is very adept at spending Other Peoples Money.  The old liberal RINO fart should just fade away.

If he makes it to the Oval Office I predict a brain hemorrhage from a temper tantrum within the 1st year.  His Veep better be a good one.

Posted by: Bob at January 31, 2008 12:37 PM (k3Hq3)

37 Romney should have replied.  Anyone else in the room make $300 million?  Well then you must not know WTF you are talking about.

Posted by: kempermanx at January 31, 2008 12:46 PM (iLWmI)


Ok Ace, I'm willing to believe that McCain made that statement mostly to contrast his experience with that of Romney's and maybe plus a little economic populism thrown in. Some of his other statements are probably just stump speech pseudo-populism  that would get ignored if other candidates said it.

But the problem with McCain is that due to his estrangement from the base and his temperment, he doesn't get any slack on these things. A lot of republicans hear everything he says as if it was sneered through clenched teeth. And unfortunately he's been guilty of that in the past and it's coming back to hurt him now.

Posted by: Maetenloch at January 31, 2008 12:59 PM (HHAbw)

39 It's an article of faith among "public servants," NGO/non-profit types, gov't-subsidized artists and entertainers, etc., that anyone operating outside their closed world is their moral, ethical, intellectual, and societal lesser, either a "business criminal" or an exploited idiot. Unfortunately, many soldiers have a variation of this attitude, too.

McCain has both the faith, and the attitude.

His isn't quite the "class warfare rhetoric" you're looking for.

It's worse.

Posted by: Retired (Not Gay) at January 31, 2008 01:07 PM (k5JzA)

40 Anyone who is self-satisfied (ranging from well adjusted through egomaniacal) is going to think that whatever particular effort they're engaged in is of paramount importance to the stability, goodness, and perpetuation of society. 

We (the egomaniacs) can't all be right, but in a way, we are.

Everyone's actions are necessary in some form or another. 

Retired is dead-on about the hideous sanctimony of our public servant class.  And McC is a prime example.  Like every other politician, he believe's he is the paragon of virtue and utterly essential for society.  When the mask of false humility slips, it's a bit revolting.

Posted by: copy at January 31, 2008 01:19 PM (p1s9n)


McCain need not apologize for his patriotic service to our nation in lieu of Romney's self promotion as best ever candidate.

However, even as a member of the Keating Five Scandal, RINO McCain was the sole GOP in the crowd of crooks alongside Democrats. McCain-Feingold election finance reform was just another crooked front to cover his sorry crooked ass past with a blanket of good intentions too wierd to ignore.

Today's business of finger pointing, however, deserves attention as mortgage broker John Mattaboni  attests at Instapundit, "there are a lot of  'subprime deadbeats' out there and they shouldn't be bailed out."

Posted by: maverick muse at January 31, 2008 01:48 PM (ODnqn)

42 McCain's disdain for the private sector is palpable. It's particularly revolting-- and reflects badly on him---because he clearly has no clue how the economy works and has absolutely NO executive leadership experience. And he's boorish about it, too; sneering and smirking.

I respect his courage in the face of torture a long time ago, but I don't respect HIM or anything he's done since.

Where does he think money for all the overbearing, intrusive government he advocates comes from? And how does he think we're going to fight Islamic extremism if he's opposed to most of the measures we need to take to find, confine, debrief and destroy them in our midst?

I'm not a "true conservative", but I am a member of the "anyone but McCain" club. I will not vote for him, even in the general election.

Posted by: carly at January 31, 2008 02:04 PM (CdZ1a)

43 The line is a terrible line filled with spite and envy.

Steyn basically has it right. Look at it this way. While McCain was serving, there were guys who served by cooking food at military bases back home. Are they less patriotic that the guys at the pointy end of the spear? No way. And, by the way, you take them out and don't replace them, and the whole military machine stops.

Likewise, there was a whole civilian workforce who worked and contributed to make it possible for both cooks and aviators to do their jobs. Are they less patriotic. Again I say, no way. And again, you take them out of the equation and nothing works.

Now, the guys on the pointy end of the spear might have greater personal courage than others (at least they don't have less). This does not translate into greater patriotism, greater leadership skills, greater foreign affairs competence, greater political will, or anything else.

McCain's emphasis of patriotism over profit underscores an obvious point: McCain is envious and insecure.

Why? You might ask. Isn't he, as Medved likes to always say, the only great man in the race?

I think not. Up to this time, Mitt Romney has had by far the more important and successful life. If I had to make the judgment, I'd say that Romney is the greater man. Of course, McCain might go on to become a great President and that would definitely rebalance the calculation...you never know.

To see my point, let's play a game called "It's a Wonderful Life". Those who have seen the Frank Capra classic movie of the same name will remember the payoff portion of the movie where George Bailey is shown what the world would be like if he had never lived. Now, imagine a world first where John McCain is taken away and not replaced then a world where Mitt Romney is taken away and not replaced.

Which world is more diminished?

Take away McCain and the world sees one less inspiring example of courage. The Navy is denied one aviator. The Navy has no liason with the Senate for a few years. Arizona sends only one Senator to the Senate for several years. The fate of a tiny number of bills is different. The Senate goes to the Dems in 2000 without the aid of Jim Jeffords, but the Bush tax cuts still pass. Throughout his tenure in office Bush gets less grief from his own team over his handling of the war. Campaign finance reform never sees the light of day. CIR does, but the bill is titled Kyl-Kennedy instead. It is still rejected. Lindsay Graham feels somehow empty and unfulfilled.

Now take away Mitt Romney. Several large businesses fail, causing their workers to be unemployed. Lives are substantially disrupted. Several families are destroyed. In Salt Lake City, the Olympics, mired in corruption, become a national embarrassment, again with far-ranging human consequences. In Massachussetts, an extreme liberal is elected Governor and some form of Hilarycare is adopted instead of a more free market solution. Hundreds die while waiting for necessary care.

Maybe its just me, but I'd miss Mitt more.

Posted by: WisdomLover at January 31, 2008 02:05 PM (NtVGS)

44 McCain does seem to have reservations about this notion, and seems to
pine for a society in which people skip the middleman of enlightened
self-interest and work directly for the vague cause of "America."

The devaluation of enlightened self-interest or any other kind of individualism in favor of everyone working for the good of The People or The Motherland or whatever useful idea you can sell, is a hallmark of fascism, according to Jonah Goldberg.

If McCain sees himself as the next Woodrow Wilson (loyalty oaths, censorship, militarism as a way to organize society toward ACTION!), then we're in for a bumpy ride.

Not that The Pantsuit is any better, but it sure would be nice to have an actual conservative representing the conservative party.

Posted by: dicentra at January 31, 2008 02:09 PM (HyYBP)

45 Seems to me that everyone's missing a very good point--McCain's service to this country very much should be honored. The same honor, however, need not be extended to his politics.

Posted by: iron grampa at January 31, 2008 02:13 PM (N4pK7)

46 It was just a year ago that McCain was insisting on the country's need for vast amounts of low-cost unskilled immigrant labor.

Turns out he doesn't want the bosses OR the workers to have any money.

Posted by: bgates at January 31, 2008 02:26 PM (z6drm)


<i>"Romney should have replied.  Anyone else in the room make $300 million?  Well then you must not know WTF you are talking about."</i>

Really?  Like, for realsies?  Romney should have said that?  OK then.  I politely disagree.

Lording your income over a serviceman is considered a core virtue for the people over at DU and Wonkette.   They literally claim that serviceman cannot disagree with them on any topic, simply because they have more money.  Think about that for a second.  That's not good.  It's what people mean when they say that they are progresive.  Literally.  I didn't expect to read that here.

Here's the 'if then' statement.  <b>If</b> you do not make $300,000,000; </b>then</b> it is impossible for you to know what you are talking about.

I'm not sure what your ethical leanings are, but the doushery of that position is pretty high on the scale.

Posted by: brando at January 31, 2008 02:28 PM (qzOby)

48 It's an article of faith among "public servants," NGO/non-profit types,
gov't-subsidized artists and entertainers, etc., that anyone operating
outside their closed world is their moral, ethical, intellectual, and
societal lesser, either a "business criminal" or an exploited idiot.
Unfortunately, many soldiers have a variation of this attitude, too.

Bingo. McCain's been patronized so long it is especially visible in his case.

Posted by: MlR at January 31, 2008 02:56 PM (mX6h5)

49 I'm going to add my possibly inflammatory 2 cents in with the rest and say that the way some people go on about McCain (not necessarily McCain himself), you'd think he was Eisenhower.  Again, also the contrast w/Admiral Stockdale's (admittedly lame) run for vice-president is also telling.  As someone above said so nicely, "This ain't Sparta."

And I wonder how many people today actually*do* remember the Keating 5. 

The more I watch this mess that passes for a political campaign the more Romney impresses me if only for his willingness to put up with this *&%$#@.

Posted by: someone2 at January 31, 2008 03:04 PM (5P3Hj)

50 Nice Mormon bashing Beloved Weaver, as a not very devout member of the LDS faith let me be the first to hope some SIDS riddled monkey ass rapes you to death.

Posted by: chad at January 31, 2008 03:15 PM (lNQg8)


Great discussion.

...I just hope that I never see the day when "they," (republicans, not conservatives), decide that Ron Paul is "the next in line."

What happened to the GOP?

Posted by: Vote RINO! at January 31, 2008 03:29 PM (zdMgK)


Nice Mormon bashing Beloved Weaver...

I do apologize, Chad.  I paused before posting that, especially the last paragraph, but the jokes were too good.  I was kinda hoping no Mormons would be mixing with the morons this evening, and it'd be taken as a stab at Romney, who I regard as a dissembler of mammoth proportions and not worthy to lick McCain's sack (which he'd do, if McCain promised to drop out of the race).  I was wrong.

Now take away Mitt Romney. Several large businesses fail, causing their workers to be unemployed. Lives are substantially disrupted. Several families are destroyed.

You do realize that Mitt caused the canning of hundreds of employees, right?  And for the sole of purpose of concentrating wealth to a select few, without really engaging in the hard work of creating any businesses.  As a former close business associate described him:

“Mitt ran a private equity firm, not a cement company,” said Eric A. Kriss, a former Bain Capital partner. “He was not a businessman in the sense of running a company,” Mr. Kriss said, adding, “He was a great presenter, a great spokesman and a great salesman.”

You know, that whole "Masters of Universe" thing, Wolfe meant it contemptuously.

Posted by: Beloved Weaver at January 31, 2008 03:48 PM (MN3Lr)


Lording your income over a serviceman is considered a core virtue for the people over at DU and Wonkette.

I fear you miss the point, Brando.  Romney isn't lording, he's pointing out that he knows how to make money, not jsut, as with McCain, to marry it and spend it.

The more I've thought about this the more peeved I've become.  At first, I just thought it was a stupid remark by a rather unremarkable candiate.  Now, I'm seeming it as an insult direct.  McCain is implying that those of us who hve spent our lives in business, greasing the machine of American prosperity, serving a machine that pays his salary and bails his sleeze pals out of their crooked doing, while still finding the power to bring unheard of material wellbeing to the  most people in the history of the world, etc, well, we're just less patriotic than he is.

Fuck him in the ear.

Posted by: toby928 at January 31, 2008 03:50 PM (evdj2)

54 You do realize that Mitt caused the canning of hundreds of employees, right? And for the sole of purpose of concentrating wealth to a select few, without really engaging in the hard work of creating any businesses.

You do realize that people don't start and maintain businesses or invest in businesses as charitable activities, right? You do realize that people start and maintain businesses and invest in them in order to increase their wealth, right? You do realize that businesses go under precisely because they do not increase wealth for the owners?1 You do realize that if a business goes under, everyone employed by that business gets canned, right?

I do realize all these things, so no, I don't realize that Mitt caused the canning of hundreds of employees. Bad prior business leadership and planning caused the loss of those jobs. Mitt saved all the jobs of those still employed by the companies he turned around.
1And, BTW, you do realize that talk of 'concentrating' wealth in the hands of a few, connotes a naive mercantilist view of wealth. As if there's a fixed store of wealth that business owners want to concentrate in their bank accounts by diluting said wealth in the bank accounts of others. This is all arrant nonsense of course. Wealth is created by successful businesses for both their owners and their employees.

Posted by: WisdomLover at January 31, 2008 04:25 PM (NtVGS)

55 So let me get this right.  The concept that having more money will automatically guarantee that others are uninformed is not the point, but merely a sub-point or premise.

I don't think it's very logical, but that's just me.

Oh well, different strokes for different folks, I guess.

Posted by: brando at January 31, 2008 07:03 PM (rDQC9)


Thanks Rambo and one or two others for remembering James Stockdale, who was A Man.

If McCain doesn't pull in his horns on this Squadron Commander thing, he's gonna get swift-boated. How many aviators have been responsible for the loss of their own aircraft carrier?

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