McCain Flip-Flops

GLENN: I got a ton of e-mails this weekend and basically they all resemble this one. So let me read it: Glenn, heard you talking about John McCain flip-flopping. That is the last thing I feel from John McCain. I don’t agree with him on everything but he seems like he will stand by his opinion even when they’re unpopular. Can you back that up? Darren in Seattle.

Yes, Darren, I can. Let’s first start with what you said. You are right. Sometimes John McCain will stand by issues even when they’re very unpopular. He stood by the surge when it was unpopular and he was right. He was one of the main spokesmen for it when the media was absolutely hammering him and he deserves the credit that is due him on the surge. He was right on the surge, but he also has an affinity for standing by things like global treaties, bloated legislation to fight global warming even when it’s not exactly, you know, popular among Republicans. You know, the same way he should get credit for the war, you should give him the same amount of credit for wanting to spend as much as $1.2 trillion a year by 2050 on something that can’t possibly affect temperatures by a measurable amount. That’s not me saying that. That is — I mean, even if the global warming theorists are 100% right, look it up. 1.2 trillion a year and it doesn’t work. And just remember that when he’s telling you that he’s a fiscal conservative.

But let’s look at a few of the flip-flops. Not even mentioning that he led the charge on amnesty on the border. If you really believe that he’s — "oh, I’ve listened to the American people now." If you really, truly believe he will say that after he’s elected, a guy who led the charge and called you a racist if you were against it, if you believe him now, you know, good for you. I don’t know how you do that.

But okay, his flip-flops. Besides the border, the Bush tax cuts. Do you believe that taxes grow the economy — cutting taxes grow the economy or don’t grow the economy? If you don’t believe in tax cuts growing the economy, well, then you’re cool with John McCain because he agrees with you. He voted against the tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. He was only one of two Republicans to do so. That’s bad enough. But we had Senator Rick Santorum on Friday. Listen to part of what Rick Santorum had to say when I asked him about John McCain.

SENATOR SANTORUM: I have real problems is that on almost every major domestic policy issue that I dealt with over the last six years anyway when I was in leadership of the Senate, John McCain was not just on the other side. There were people on the other side. Linc Chafee was on the other side. In many cases, not all for sure but many cases Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe were on the other side. But there’s a difference between being on the other side and adopting the rhetoric of the other side and condemning people who hold the position opposite to you and sort of buying in to these fallacious arguments that the left would argue on and everything from reimportation, or should I say importation of drugs to global warming to immigration. Go on down the list, of a long list, unfortunately long list of issues where he has just not only been wrong but he has joined the other side in assailing the foundational principles of, I think, conservatism and dealing with these issues which is to do so in a limited way with smaller government, and he has opted for the other course.

GLENN: The most important thing he said there to me is he adopts the rhetoric. Remember, he was the guy on the border who was talking about the hatred that so many people have for Mexicans. He was calling you a racist. He adopts the rhetoric. It’s not that he’s wrong. He adopts the rhetoric. He doesn’t believe it and he will adopt the rhetoric of the left to call you a racist.

Now, with that in mind look what he said about tax cuts in 2001. He said, I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of the middle class Americans who need tax relief. This is the classic rhetoric of the left. Tax cuts only benefit the rich. Be honest. If John Kerry would have said that, quote, word for word, and he did, if Hillary Clinton said that quote, and she did, you would be hammering them on it, hammering them. But somehow or another you’re okay — not you, I shouldn’t say, but so many people are okay. That’s the flip. That’s where he was. Here’s the flop. McCain now says he wants the tax cuts that he voted against to become permanent. Excuse me? His defense? He says to return to the old rate now would amount to a tax hike. True, it would be a tax hike but why is that bad? It’s bad, he says, because it would hurt the economy. Well, how could it possibly hurt the economy? If it hurts the economy to have a tax cut, then you must admit that that’s the exact opposite of when you cut taxes. You should have voted for it in the first place because if it hurts the economy to raise taxes, it must help the economy to lower taxes. And if the cut was bad, why would you want to keep it. If the cut only benefits the very wealthy and hurt the middle class, why would you want to keep it? And the Awful vilification of the rich eat the rich, the guy might as well be John Edwards. I think tomorrow we should play "Name that John." Is it John Edwards or John McCain.

Here is on abortion. This one holds specific and significant ramifications. I mean, this one is really, this one says a lot. Because of the amount of e-mails and calls I get from people who say they’re supporting McCain over Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney flip flopped on abortion, okay? All right. Well, let’s talk about John McCain. Here’s John McCain word for word, quote: "I love to see a point where it is irrelevant and could be revealed because abortion is no longer necessary but certainly in the short-term, even the long term, I would not support the repeal of Roe versus Wade which was force X number of women in America to undergo illegal and dangerous operations. I would not support the repeal of Roe versus Wade." That’s 1999. 1999. Here’s the flop. "I share a common goal of reducing the number of staggering abortions currently performed in this country and overturning Roe versus Wade." He also said in the San Francisco Chronicle, "I believe that the pro choice community feels that abortion is a procedure that we would like to eliminate. So yes, I want to repeal Roe versus Wade and, yes, I’m proud of my pro life voting record but I’m trying to get to the point where we can join together and reach a solution to a terrible situation. The party of Abraham Lincoln is the party of inclusion."

Here’s what’s interesting about this. McCain has a fairly good pro life record. If you look at this one fairly, it doesn’t seem like McCain was pro life and then changed positions like Romney. It just seems that McCain was in an interview where he thought showing his more moderate side would be a little more beneficial. So I suppose it’s up to you to figure out which one is worse. Your choice on abortion is either McCain, who uses the left tactic of creating fear of illegal abortions when it’s convenient but seems to be pro life. Or Romney, who is admittedly pro choice, had a pivot point. It was based in stem cell research. He could tell you the color of the room when he changed his mind and now he says he’s pro life.

Here’s ethanol, again the character of the man. The flip. "Ethanol is a product that would not exist if congress didn’t create an artificial market for it." This is John McCain. "No one would be willing to buy it." This is what he said in November 2003. Remember it’s not a product that would exist if we didn’t create an artificial market for it in 2003. Quote: "Yes, thanks to agricultural subsidies and ethanol producer subsidies, it’s now very big business. Tens of billions of dollars have enriched a handful of corporate interests"… again the rich, primarily one big corporation, ADM. Ethanol — listen to this carefully: "Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence and nothing to improve air quality." On this particular issue I agree with John McCain 100%. That last line is absolutely right about ethanol. I just wish John McCain agreed with John McCain circumstance a 2003 because here’s the flop. Now he says, quote: I support ethanol and I think it’s vital. A vital alternative energy source not only because of our dependency on foreign oil but because of its greenhouse gas reduction effects. Okay, it’s going to get us off foreign oil and it’s going to help reduce greenhouse gases. Hang on. Let me go back and look at that last line from the before on the flip: "Ethanol does nothing to reduce fuel consumption, nothing to increase our energy independence, and nothing to improve air quality." I don’t know. That sounds like a flip-flop to me. His defense from CNN.com: "McCain still pose the subsidies but indicated his attitude softened when oil prices crossed $40 a barrel." Okay? That’s good. So that must be his pivot point, when oil crossed $40 a barrel. There’s only one problem. In June 2005 when oil was $60 a barrel, $60 a barrel, $20 higher than what he was saying that was his flip point, McCain’s office put out a release warning that ethanol Band-Aids in the 2005 energy bill would result in higher gasoline prices for his constituents. He’s right but it’s not something Iowans want to hear. "He is all over the board on the economics of ethanol. And while it’s a bad defense, it’s at least a defense."

If you listen to the other parts of the quote back to back: "Ethanol does nothing to increase our energy independence, nothing to improve air quality." 2006: "Vital energy resource not only because of our dependency on foreign oil, because of greenhouse gas effects." It’s an exact reversal as far as I could see but, you know, those are the only examples I have on unbelievable flip-flops on John McCain but thanks for the e-mail.