September 4, 2008
McCain's Thing: Much Better Than I Expected (Updated)
I surprised myself by how much I liked the speech. Part of my satisfaction was actually relief; "prompter" speeches are not John S. McCain's forte. But I found it more Reaganesque than any speech I've heard him give... in fact, more than any speech I've heard anybody give since Reagan himself.
I particularly appreciated the retelling of his POW history, but this time with a completely different theme: How his long captivity changed him from a narcissistic, jerky nasal radiator into a real mensch, a grownup, a man of humility and recognition of a cause larger than himself, and therefore a man of sagacity. I'd heard the "McCain as war hero" meme many times in this campaign, but this is the first time I've seen this version.
I liked it; it finally connects in a visceral way to the growth of his character (which, as I pointed out in a previous post, grew even more in just the last few years).
But what impressed me the most intellectually -- as opposed to what merely moved my emotions -- was the "laundry list" section in the middle; he articulated, whether by accident or design, almost every conservative theme that I share with you guys, while avoiding those that merely irritate me.
I may well be close to the target audience of McCain's speech, even though I'm already a committed anti-Barack H. Obama voter, which of course means a committed GOP voter: I'm not a conservative, yet I share many conservative values; I'm libertarian (though not Libertarian) but nevertheless believe in a robust and preemptive national defense; and I really want to hear how McCain, or any other GOP candidate, plans to get the damned government off our backs so we can get on with living long and prospering.
In that section, McCain came out foursquare for:
- School choice, to bring a kind of "free market" to educational opportunity;
- Expanding energy production, including drilling for oil and gas, using clean coal, and building nuclear reactors -- the only energy sources that will actually make a difference over the next 50 years;
- Vetoing any earmark-laden bill that lands on his desk. I don't fool myself that we can cut off every ear; but at least, with a president so hostile to them, they can be kept to a dull roar. And, as McCain promised, made very public;
- Making health insurance portable, so we don't have to stick in a lousy job we hate because we can't afford to lose the insurance;
- Cutting taxes and spending (no explanation necessary);
- Job retraining -- I loved the line that, instead of trying to recreate old-economy jobs that are never coming back, we'll train people for new-economy jobs that are never going away.
That's one heck of an audacious domestic agenda; the only policy I missed was 100% privatization of Social Security and Medicare, but I can certainly understand why that would be too controversial to discuss in a nomination acceptance speech.
Also notable was the absence of pandering:
- No call for a massive bailout of idiots who got in trouble by taking bigger mortgages than they could afford (or of the banks and S&Ls that talked them into it);
- No pledge to increase the minimum wage to a "living wage," as if teens working the popcorn counter at the local movie theater should be able to support a family of four on that paycheck;
- No paean to a new immigration-reform bill. I fully expect -- and hope! -- there will be one; but that can only be worked out during a non-election year, as the negotiations will be as tenuous and delicate as gossamer. This isn't the time -- so he wisely left it out;
- And no call for a vast increase in the number of species mollycoddled by the Endangered Species Act, no demand for ever more stringent EPA red tape -- and not a single mention of a vast, new Department of Anthropogenic Global Climate Change! In fact, I don't think he even mentioned global warming, or if he did, it was in passing (and quickly passed).
McCain had so many options available to royally screw up this opportunity, wounding his candidacy and forcing us to spend the next few weeks playing damage control; somehow, he dodged them all. In fact, I believe this speech actually advanced his candidacy -- and I predict a fairly substantial bounce (which won't show up in the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls until Saturday, since they stopped polling today before McCain's speech ended.
(However, tomorrow is the first day we'll get to see whether there is a Sarah Palin bounce from yesterday's speech.)
All in all, I am in reasonable raptures... no matter what the Fox News panel said. (They seem to have yawned their way through it; shockingly, every single person who opined on the speech tonight is a metaphorical "Beltway boy" -- Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke, of course, but also Mara Liasson, William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Howard Wolfson, Chris Wallace, Jim Angle, and Brit Hume.)
I'll bet this speech plays a heck of a lot better in the real world than it does inside Pundistan.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, September 4, 2008, at the time of 10:22 PM
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The following hissed in response by: BarbaraS
I too was am anti-Obama voter. After hearing McCain's speech I am relieved. I can now get behind McCain and support him. He made a great pick in Sarah Palin. I really do think they can shake up Washington or at the least give it a good try.
The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael
Many months ago I mentioned that if McCain was the candidate, I'd spend my energies working for the Local Republican candidates. I'm still feeling this way. I'll grant you, I'm not as resentful of John as I was before... perhaps that's time speaking, perhaps his laundry list of good intentions made an impression. I'm still not loving him as a candidate but I'm not fearing a McCain administration as much as I was.
Of course, time will tell... and I just can't bring myself to trust the man to avoid pandering to the Ted Kennedy's of the Political World. His warm-up speakers tonight do nothing to alleviate my fears. His choice of Sarah Palin for VP was inspired and inspiring... and his speech tonight also inspires hope for the future.
I'm going to watch to see how he helps the local tickets. I don't think it's possible to pick up seats in the House or Senate, but I'm now convinced that we can avoid a 67% Democrat Senate, and if McCain wins by a real Majority or even a large spread, we may even be able to institute some of the reforms McCain's dreaming about.
The following hissed in response by: hunter
If we don't get McCain, we will get damaged by a storm of incredible damage.
Unfortunately the storm is already starting, and the lying media and the DNC spin machine will simply excuse the ineffective policies the dhimmies use and blame Republicans even more.
The tredy is McCain is the real thing, but the Mordred of our time- Obama,and the proven liar, Biden- may get their time to really screw it up.
The following hissed in response by: RattlerGator
UPDATE: Something just occurred to me: Each of these is something that George W. Bush promised but couldn't deliver. Except for cutting taxes -- and even that is temporary and due to expire, if Obama and the Democrats have their way. So this list might be another subtle way to disassociate the anticipated McCain presidency from the just-ending Bush administration.
Disassociate? I don't see that. It looks like continuity to me. Dubya promised to make the effort, and he did. You must have sufficient understanding in the Congress to attain these things. Any fair observer of the last eight years knows the Democrats simply wouldn't allow that to happen. McCain will have a better chance in part because Dubya made the effort and the record demonstrates the intransigence he ran into. Circumstances, too, probably allow for McCain to have a better chance making headway.
Other than this small critique, great post Dafydd.
The above hissed in response by: RattlerGator at September 5, 2008 6:11 AM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
"not one mention of global warming"
Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends on what people mean when they say "clean coal." I'm all in favor of burning coal without producing fly ash and sulfur-- true pollutants. But CO2 is NOT a pollutant; it doesn't need to be regulated and it is an inescapable byproduct of burning coal. If by saying "clean coal" you mean you're going to spend vast sums to try to sequester the CO2, then you're buying into the great hoax that is global warming and spending those vast sums to achieve nothing. If you're believing that we can burn coal and not create CO2, your supreme ignorance is showing.
The following hissed in response by: David M
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 09/05/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
The above hissed in response by: David M at September 5, 2008 9:27 AM
The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH
If you're believing that we can burn coal and not create CO2, your supreme ignorance is showing.
A couple of thoughts. First, McCain never mentioned carbon and he made no specific reference to climate change in his speech. There is no reason why he shouldn't include "clean coal" in his energy shopping list.
Second, a technicality: there are several promising emerging technologies that may provide a cost-effective way to use the carbon dioxide produced by burning coal. A coal-fired power plant, properly scrubbed, produces electricity, carbon dioxide and low-temperature heat. That CO2 and warmth, together with sunlight, can be used to provide an enhanced growth medium for algae which, if the new engineered varieties pan out as hoped, can produce fuel stock (ethanol or bio-diesel depending on the process and the algae used.) There are pilot plants being built now. It's not a proven technology but neither is it a smoke dream. To be sure the carbon will eventually wind up as atmospheric CO2 when the bio-diesel is burned but since it will be competing with fossil fuels it must be scored as a reduction to allow for the fact that is has been burned twice to produce energy with the energy for the second burning coming from sunlight.
I am constantly irked by the excluded middle in the climate debate. Anthropogenic Climate Change is mostly a load of horse [manure] but, with the exception of a few people worrying about the next ice age, it is hard to find anyone who thinks that dumping millions of tons of CO2 into the air annually is a good thing in itself. I have no objection to carbon reduction as long as I am not expected to pay for it directly or indirectly -- or care about it very much.
[BigLeeH, watch the language, please. -- The Mgt.]
I don't believe the sky is falling but, as a bald man living in an area that grows big acorns on tall trees, I have no objection to an occasional awning.
The following hissed in response by: kate0
Both candidates promised a long list of things they will do for us; both know that they are not the only ones who have a say about our laws. Aladdin got what he wanted because he only had to deal with one genie. Congress doesn't grant the president's wishes just because he rubs a lamp. Voters who don't acknowledge that fact are invariably irate when the promises fail to materialize.
That aside, even though both candidates actually promised to work for many of the same goals, how they plan to get to them makes a lot of difference.
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
If you are using the CO2 to produce another beneficial "by-product" of electricity production, and can make money do it, by all means it should be done. It's simple economic common sense that you don't throw away something that you can sell.
But if you're doing something with the CO2 just so that you can avoid dumping it in the atmosphere, you're a fool, because Mother Nature is dumping a thousand times as much and not batting her green eyelashes about it. Maybe, and it's a big maybe, if there was any scientific evidence whatsoever that manmade CO2 caused global warming, we could consider paying something to avoid it, but even that assumes that a little warming would be harmful to humankind. That is unlikely.
The following hissed in response by: ricblog
Maybe I have just been too isolated (an Alaskan), but I just realized the FAR RIGHT and the left share many traits. Gov. Palin has been equally villified by those who have a "traditional" conservative mindset (they also shared a similar Iraq war attitude). The view from the right seems to complete a full circle in the spectrum I always regarded was a straight line.
The above hissed in response by: ricblog at September 5, 2008 10:17 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Actually, I can think of a better use for the excess CO2: Tank it and sell it to corporate farms. Much research shows that growing crops in an environment significantly higher in CO2 yields plants that grow faster and bigger, are tastier, and are more resistant to pests (so you can use less pesticide).
If I owned a corporate farm (and if I were as rich as Croesus) I would set up a large number of vaguely airtight greenhouses and introduce a significant amount of CO2 into the environment. I'll bet I could sell my "hothouse anti-global-warming" veggies for a premium.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at September 6, 2008 12:20 AM
The following hissed in response by: BigLeeH
As I recall, which is vaguely, the film Judge Dredd has exactly one memorable line. "Eat recycled food! It's good for the environment and it's OK for you!"
One would have to advertise one's anti-global-warming produce carefully. GW true believers tend to be the same people who are into organics and other food neuroses. Dafydd's Acid Rainforest Tomatoes: They're not as radioactive as people say! might be a bad tag line, for instance. And if you had the effrontery to actually make a buck you would immediately be attacked by the retooled socialists who use their new-found 'environmentalism' mostly as a bludgeon to pummel people they suspect of harboring capitalistic tendencies.
As for your idea, I like it. It could be improved by locating the farm near the powerplant (or vice-versa) so you could use pipes to transport the CO2, avoid the energy cost of compressing it, and make use of the low-temperature heat to warm your greenhouses in the winter.
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