Today’s Washington Post contains a must read from George Will. here’s the key passage:
The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain’s party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history? The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?
On “60 Minutes” Sunday evening, McCain, saying “this may sound a little unusual,” said that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic attorney general of New York who is the son of former governor Mario Cuomo. McCain explained that Cuomo has “respect” and “prestige” and could “lend some bipartisanship.” Conservatives have been warned.
Will then goes on to note what I too have observed that the case for McCain often relies on him being better on judges:
Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.
But temperament aside, claims about superior judge picks are still suspect.
McCain is likely to make support for McCain-Feingold - an issue he has said is “of transcendent importance” to him - a litmus test for judges. It is very hard, however, to find judicial candidates who think McCain-Feingold is constitutional yet who are also are anti-Roe v. Wade and generally respectful of the Constitution. For anyone with a coherent judicial philosophy of federalism and limited government, the two just don’t go together. When McCain says he wants to appoint justices like Thomas and Scalia, we must consider that Thomas and Scalia would overrule all of McCain-Feingold, indeed all pre-existing campaign finance law except perhaps some disclosure. It is almost impossible to believe that Senator McCain would appoint Thomas or Scalia to the bench, let alone the Supreme Court.
In fact every indication is that had Justices Alito and Roberts been on the court when McCain-Finegold was decided they too would have been against it, meaning they too would have failed a litmus test on McCain’s issue of “of transcendent importance.”
McCain supporters may reply that campaign finance regulation is a dead issue, but McCain’s own actions suggest that this is not the case. After all, as recently as this Spring McCain says he doesn’t regret refusing to shake Bradley Smith’s hand at a Congressional hearing in 2004.
Leaving us to believe that he still stands by his name calling of Smith, when the Senator said: “You’re a bully and a coward. You have no regard for the Constitution. ” (Apparently consistently opposing campaign finance regulations on free speech grounds means one has “no regard for the Constitution.”)
Such a comment makes the incident with Smith a perfect example of the convergence the two issues: (1) the poor prospects for solidly conservative judicial selections by McCain, and (2) his notorious temper.