Why John McCain is not getting this conservative evangelical’s vote

Despite Mike Huckabee’s persistent drive to make a last stand, it is clear that he is spitting against the wind and Sen. John McCain of Arizona will be the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States.  However, as a conservative Southern Baptist and lifelong Republican, I will not be voting for him come November.  Make no mistake about it, I will also not be voting for Sens. Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.  However, this year I refuse to cast a vote against them to boost the chances of a politician whose integrity is at least as questionable as his potential opponents.

McCain has been a U.S. Senator since 1986 and a member of Congress since 1982, but he burst onto the national scene in 2000 when he was George W. Bush’s chief challenger for the Republican nomination.  His “straight-talk express” was praised by the media and by more moderate Republicans, but after putting up a fight early he subsequently got hammered in South Carolina and subsequently withdrew from the race.  Weeks after Bush took the oath of office, McCain met with several key Democrats about the possibility of leaving the Republican Party (something Jim Jeffords would actually do eventually).  Now he seeks to convince us that he’s a true representative of conservative values.  His record, however, screams otherwise.

  • The McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act was and is an attack of First Amendment freedom-of-speech rights that has done nothing to eliminate money from the political process.
  • He cannot stop talking about his support for the troop surge in Iraq, as if he is solely responsible for its success, and he touts himself as the war candidate. However, he is an “open borders” guy who introduced the biggest attempt at granting amnesty to illegal immigrants yet. Today he says he’s learned his lesson and that he will secure the borders first, but in a world where campaign promises are worth as much as Monopoly money, you have to look at his record.  McCain-Kennedy was amnesty, pure and simple, and an attempt to subvert the rule of law in this country.  It’s clear he doesn’t consider border security part of the War on Terror, no matter his campaign rhetoric (which should be a big red flag, especially for a Senator from Arizona).
  • He voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003.  Today he says that he did so because there were no budget cuts to go along with them.  Fair enough, but why didn’t he say that in 2001 or 2003?  Instead, he railed against the tax cuts with class warfare rhetoric worthy of Al Gore or John Edwards.  Now he says he wants to make the tax cuts permanent, but on what basis should we trust him on this issue?
  • He has worked against American energy independence by voting against drilling for oil in ANWR.  He played a key role in the defeat of a bill that would have most likely allowed this country to pry itself out of the tight grip of OPEC and become more energy independent, driving down gas and heating oil prices as a result and further securing our country.
  • He buys into the liberal environmentalist agenda that drives up the costs of food and other goods and sabotages the American economy.  The McCain-Lieberman bill regarding greenhouse gases and taxing authority is evidence of this.
  • His support of embryonic stem cell research betrays any pretense of a view that he defends the sanctity of human life.  His record may, by and large, be pro-life on the issue of abortion, but his view on stem cells makes that iffy at best.
  • McCain helped engineer the “Gang of 14” which kept Senate filibuster rules in place that make it very difficult to appoint judges.  This has not so much been a factor with Bush’s Supreme Court nominations as it has with his federal court appointments that receive much less publicity but still hold a very important role.  These rules betray the Senate’s given role in the Constitution to “advise and consent.”

McCain has done his level best to appeal to the conservative base of the GOP and convince the world that he is a faithful follower of the Reagan revolution.  But that is what Republicans hoping to win their party’s nomination do during the primary season.  Once the nomination is secure, probably with a more conservative VP candidate, I expect him to begin swinging left in an attempt to woo those independents and Democrats he’s famous for appealing to.  I suspect we’ve heard the most conservative rhetoric out of the Senator from Arizona that we’re going to here, and if he wins in November he’s going to take the Republican Party down with him.

Obama or Clinton will be bad for this country and I am by no means rooting for them; however, I believe McCain will be just as bad.  In the process of defending their President out of a misguided sense of party obligation, the Republicans in Congress will be impotent (see George H.W. Bush’s term as President), rather than galvanized against a Democratic president (see Bill Clinton’s first term).

I’m hoping conservatives will learn their lesson.  I’m a conservative who is utterly disappointed with our President (especially domestic policy) and our Republicans in Congress (utterly unwilling to dig in and fight).  The Republican Party doesn’t own my vote just because that’s where it has always gone.  I will search for an independent party candidate for President this year, knowing there is little to no chance that candidate will win, because it is what I believe is right, responsible, and politically smart.  For what it’s worth I believe McCain will lose in a landslide to either Obama or Clinton.  Ultimately, God appoints nations and their leaders so I trust in His sovereignty.  Perhaps He will grant me wisdom between now and November if I am wrong, but as of right now, I cannot vote for McCain in good conscience, and so will not do so.

Author: Matt Privett

Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor.

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