Principle: General

Flashback Friday has arrived as we jump back to 2008, just as the Presidential Republican Primary was heating up. One of the main reasons The Proservative® Group continues to thrive and grow is that there is no questioning who is and who is not a Proservative®. In 2008, the question was whether John McCain was, in fact, “a conservative”. The author of this article answers no and explains how deciding who is or is not “a conservative” is a tricky matter at best.

RealClearPolitics – One of the larger questions overhanging the race for the Republican presidential nomination is this: Is John McCain a conservative? That question is best answered by borrowing a distinction Bill Buckley has made about both President Bushs. According to Buckley, they are “conservative,” but not “a conservative.”

By that, Buckley meant that they would usually list toward the conservative position, but weren’t anchored by the philosophical tenets of modern American conservatism he did so much to expound and popularize. To answer the question of how much McCain can be expected to list conservative requires, regrettably, also borrowing from Bill Clinton: It depends on what the definition of “conservatism” is.

Channeling Teddy Roosevelt

McCain is most clearly not “a conservative” on the issue of the appropriate role of the federal government. Here, McCain has taken after Teddy Roosevelt, one of his political heroes. Roosevelt viewed the federal government as the ultimate arbiter in the political economy with a particular role in being a counterweight to accumulations of wealth or power. He didn’t much see a need for the authority of the federal government itself to be constrained.

Read more at: RealClearPolitics – Articles – Is John McCain a Conservative?.