Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

McCain’s success is not surprising

Jerry Stratton, February 7, 2008

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the conservative blogosphere recently over McCain’s and Huckabee’s successes in the Republican primaries. But I think too much of the blogosphere has become focussed on the process of elections and on partisan politics, and has forgotten that issues are why elections matter.

When I wrote, in Fred Thompson vs. Barack Obama, that “if you don’t run somebody I can vote for, I’ll vote for someone else”, the media consensus was that Giuliani and Romney were the front runners. The only candidate who really inspired me was Fred Thompson. That’s still true, but I don’t see the Republican primary as the disaster that everyone else seems to see. I’m one of those voters who started considering Republican candidates after 1994—not because they were Republican, but because they were for effective self-defense. I voted for George Bush twice, and have been happy with what he’s done for me.

I don’t care Republican or Democrat. I care effective self-defense. I want a candidate who has been consistently for effective self-defense in both word and deed. And that’s traditionally been a Republican concern.

When looked at from that perspective, it isn’t surprising to see McCain on top and Huckabee effectively negating Romney’s money. Neither Giuliani nor Romney have been consistent in their support for effective self-defense. In fact, both have been fairly consistent in their opposition to it. Giuliani was especially brazen in his use of tragedies to whittle away at our self-defense rights until he started running for president, and Romney was very outspoken in support of gun control when he was running for Senator in 1994.

McCain has consistently voted for effective self-defense. He voted against the 1994 gun control bill and against the Brady bill. While his word has been somewhat inconsistent, his voting record is strong. The blogosphere and self-defense groups revile McCain’s “incumbent protection bill” (and I agree with them). But even his gun control talk doesn’t reach the level of gun control that Giuliani and Romney supported.

Huckabee supported the castle doctrine while governor. And he talks the talk, too: he doesn’t speak of firearms ownership in terms of hunting, he speaks in terms of self-defense and a bulwark against tyranny. That’s far stronger than any of the rhetoric coming from the Giuliani and Romney campaigns.

I don’t want to downplay the possibility that McCain (or Huckabee) might be a loose cannon in office. McCain’s vocal support for restrictions on inexpensive firearms and for gun show restrictions that risk shutting shows down are worrisome; they indicate that his support on self-defense issues might not be very deep. But objectively it’s not hard to see why Republican primary voters would choose candidates whose actions support self-defense and second amendment issues, over candidates whose actions and words undermine them.

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