McCain Positions Himself as the Common Sense Conservative
Last week Senator McCain gave two speeches that I believe put him at the forefront of the conservative approach to win back congress and keep the White House. Both speeches talk about the need for conservative leadership in this country, but leadership that uses common sense in its practice.
At the Federalist Society function last Thursday, McCain spoke about the mid-term elections and the need for a limited government and the importance of law. His position is that the voters did not vote for the democratic platform (if there was one), but rather they voted to send a clear message to the republican congress. McCain stated “Nor do I believe Americans rejected our values and governing philosophy. On the contrary, I think they rejected us because they felt we had come to value our incumbency over our principles, and partisanship, from both parties, was no longer a contest of ideas, but an ever cruder and uncivil brawl over the spoils of power. I am convinced that a majority of Americans still consider themselves conservatives or right of center. They still prefer common sense conservatism to the alternative. Americans had elected us to change government, and they rejected us because they believed government had changed us.”
At the GOPAC dinner, McCain followed the same line of thought but expanded upon his concept of “common sense conservatism. He stated: “Common sense conservatives believe in a short list of self-evident truths: love of country; respect for our unique influence on history; a strong defense and strong alliances based on mutual respect and mutual responsibility; steadfast opposition to threats to our security and values that matches resources to ends wisely; and confident, reliable, consistent leadership to advance human rights, democracy, peace and security.”
“We believe every individual has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach his or her God-given potential. We believe in increasing wealth and expanding opportunity; in low taxes; fiscal discipline, free trade and open markets. We believe in competition, rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.”
“We believe in work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility. We believe in the integrity and values of families, neighborhoods and communities. We believe in limited government in a federal system, individual and property rights, and finding solutions to public problems closest to the people.”
“We believe in the rule of law and equal justice under the law, victim’s rights and taxpayers’ rights, and judges who interpret the Constitution and don’t usurp, by legislating from the bench, the public’s right to elect representatives to write our laws.”
“Common sense conservatives believe that the government that governs least governs best; that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity; and every American’s self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one’s own decisions and actions, and cannot be provided as another government benefit.”
McCain’s charge to his fellow conservatives is simple. “We must spend the next two years reacquainting the public and ourselves with the reason we came to office in the first place: to serve a cause greater than our self-interest.”
The Senator hit a home run with these two speeches. He is absolutely right in that the majority of people are to the right of center. Any candidate that can run holding the base and attract moderates will be a successful candidate and President. McCain has clearly positioned himself as that candidate.