in a perfect world of yancies: Lee vs Lee (plus a little Yancy)

15 March 2006

Lee vs Lee (plus a little Yancy)

What follows are some of the comments I've received regarding the McCain piece, from Chris and Deron Lee.

Chris (aka Leeroy; also aka, by Deron, CR):
I agree with Krugman. Nothing, however, could help McCain more at this point, than an attack from Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

I do think McCain is different than Bush. He is more responsible, and more seasoned. But he's super trigger happy (even more than Bush) and his goals are not mine. He's also carried Bush's water on Bolton and in attacking Joseph Wilson.

>I agree with Krugman. Nothing, however, could help McCain more at
>this point, than an attack from Paul Krugman of the New York Times

Great line, CR, and unfortunately true. I agree w/ Krugman most of the time, but he has little or no credibility outside the liberal intelligentsia.

You don't have to convince me not to vote for McCain, and Krugman is right, but basically all he's saying is, McCain is a conservative, and he's a politician (i.e. he often tries to have it both ways). Duh.

But compare McCain to most other pols (in either party) on honesty and integrity, and he comes out looking pretty good--there's no escaping it. And if we have to have a Republican president, he's the only one even remotely acceptable from a liberal perspective (unless Hagel or Giuliani run). He's shown a willingness to work with both sides of the aisle, is a moderate on most issues, and he generally votes his conscience--yes, he sometimes caters to the religious right but much, much less often than most in his party, esp. Bush.

Contrary to Krugman's rather dubious-looking source, he is among the least conservative Republican lawmakers, as my magazine's vote rankings demonstrate (click here).

Deron again:
I shouldn't have said in my previous message that Krugman's source is "dubious"--I went back and looked more closely, and it seems legit. (Why didn't Krugman list the credentials in his article rather than just giving a random link to an amateur-looking website?) I tried and failed to understand the methodology; I still think the qualitative evidence shows McCain is not especially conservative as GOPers go.

Ah, but McCain is super aggressiive on foreign policy. He is a neocon's neocon. I don't mean he's as irresponsible as most neocons seem to be. But he wants to go toppling dictators and wants to transform the middle east with our muscle.

I believe in having force for the threat of force. I don't want to buy,
and McCain wants to break.

I don't see where you get the idea that he's MORE trigger-happy than Bush. Yes, he supports the war, like every Republican. Yes, he talks tough, but isn't that necessary if you want to apply the "threat of force?" You hit the
key point with your acknowledgment that he's not as "irresponsible" as the neocons.

(YHD, I may have told you CR and I have been over this before. He believes Pres. McCain would have gone into Iraq, I don't).

I'm not sure I can speculate on what Pres McC would have done, but I certainly am put off by his willingness to work w/this plan retroactively to legalize wiretaps, as well as by his recent comments to the effect that military intervention in Iran must be seen as a live option (my source is, which has some trust-worthy looking links to transcripts of television appearances)--the attitude on security and foreign policy may not sound obviously "trigger happy," but I'm not sure I'd trust him with MY missiles.

(his 90% rating from the John Birch Society, as an aside, does nothing to foster confidence among Yancies.)

I suppose I should know better with respect to Krugman & the rest of the country, but I must hold out hope that if he keeps saying true things, eventually some of it will filter down (I do agree, DL--is that what I'm to call you? this initializing of yours has me all a-flutter--I agree, that is, that PK's citing of that weird website did little for his case). . . .

And as for honesty and integrity, well, I guess I just don't care for them--nope.

McCain talks a good game. And as a talker, that's fine with me.

What about campaign finance reform? His bill only dealt with soft money (which gave the republicans a huge advantage) as if that were the root of all campaign finance problems. For all his heavy breathing on campaign finance in 2000, he only works on soft money?

from washington post:

*The Arizona senator was full-throated in his support for Bush on Iraq, Iran and even the now-defunct Dubai seaports deal. In doing so, he continued to establish his bona fides as the Republican most likely to defend and extend the president's controversial foreign policy record.

*from the 2000 campaign:

*Q: What area of international policy would you change immediately?
A: Our policies concerning rogue states: Iraq, Libya, North Korea-those countries that continue to try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. I’d institute a policy that I call “rogue state rollback.” I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.

*I think this highlights how he's MORE trigger happy than Bush. He thinks the only thing wrong with the Iraq invasion was its execution. The execution was just part of the problem. He - like other neocons- are pushing the old communist talking point of "the aims were true, but it just wasn't properly executed."

From the amount of times I've seen him huffing and puffing on foreign policy on tv, I am certain that he's more eager to start shit in the middle east. Iraq wasn't his mistake. If he gets elected, he will feel emboldened to remake the middle east - just without all the bush/iraq screw ups.

from the nation:

*In late September, as Bush's presidency tailspinned, McCain headlined a dinner of conservative intellectuals sponsored by /The American Spectator/ magazine. "Campaigning with George W. Bush was one of the proudest moments of my life," McCain declared. He downplayed his differences with Bush over immigration. (Both support a temporary-guest-worker program, but Bush wants illegals to return to their host countries after six years, while McCain advocates a "path to
citizenship.") He railed against government spending and urged a hard line on Iran and North Korea. "McCain spoke fervently and with obvious sincerity about how much he admires Bush and the job he has been doing," wrote Michael Barone of /US News & World Report/.
He's a lot more fun when he rails against the religious right. "The proudest moment" of his life?

I think the Bush administration now realizes that the army is overstretched and they can't invade Iran or North Korea. That's why the administration is working the diplomatic angles. They didn't have time or patience for diplomacy in the first term, but now they have no other choice.

I'm convinced McCain wants to be the guy to take down Iran and or North Korea. We like a maverick when he attacks Bob Jones. Do we like him so much when he tries to overthrow other leaders, no matter how loathesome?

I'm not trying to paint him as crazy. I just think that is his passion.

Deron, with the last word (although, dear reader, the debate continues in my inbox, I must by now have given you plenty to object to: feel free to comment and steer us all toward the truth):
I more or less agree; I wouldn't vote for McCain over any Democrat I can think of (maybe Leiberman, but probably not even him). I'm just saying he's no extremist--in a perfect world populated by Yancies he would be, but in our world he's not. The only Republicans I like better are Giuliani, Hagel (maybe) and a few of the northeastern blue staters. But I doubt any of those are going to run, and they wouldn't get the nom. if they did.

I like McCain because he genuinely cares about getting policy right (even if we don't always agree with his conclusions), he doesn't toe the party line, and he understands nuance. Honesty is important (duh) because it allows for open government; if Pres. McCain had wanted to invade Iraq he wouldn't have relied on faulty intelligence to talk us into it, and so we could have had an honest public debate on the merits. (Sorry, I just love these hypotheticals).

As I said, reader, your insight is priceless; please feel free to comment.


  1. The presentation is great, though the sequencing is off; that last comment by myself was in response to one of your comments, not to CR. But since I got the last word I won't complain.

  2. Yancy, thank you for this posting. Deron was so excited to debate some more by the time I reached DC that he tried to carry over the conversation with me. Unfortunately, I agree with him. I also agree that the new title for the blog is great.