You’ll have to forgive me for not getting all worked up about John McCain’s BVT (Big Vision Thing) speech this morning in Columbus, Ohio.
The fatal flaw lies in McCain’s persistent belief, shared by the MSM and Beltway pundits, that partisanship in and of itself is at the root of all our ills.
McCain’s problem is that he has allied himself, for the unprincipled, empty cause of mindless “bipartisanship,” with people and causes that move our country in the wrong direction.
I don’t want a Republican presidential nominee who makes common cause with La Raza/The Race.
I don’t want a Republican presidential nominee who sneers about profits like Ralph Nader.
I don’t want a Republican presidential nominee who talks and walks like Al Gore.
And as I’ve said before in response to the annoying McCain platitudes about “reaching across the aisle” and “getting things done:”
When did it become the Republican Party’s top priority to “get things done?”
“Get things done” is mindless liberal code for passing legislation and expanding government.
And as McCain’s ample legislative record demonstrates, “reaching across the political aisle” never entails pulling opponents to the right. It always entails selling out the right.
How about defending our side of the political aisle?
How about standing up to the regulatory and legislative encroachment of those on the other side of the political aisle?
How about limiting the damage done by Democrat meddlers trying to get their “things done?”
How about less trashing of the entrepreneurs on our side of the aisle who are the engine of our economy?
How about getting more things undone?
From the prepared text of the speech (full text here):
Next January, the political leadership of the United States will change significantly. It is important that the candidates who seek to lead the country after the Bush Administration define their objectives and what they plan to achieve not with vague language but with clarity.
So, what I want to do today is take a little time to describe what I would hope to have achieved at the end of my first term as President. I cannot guarantee I will have achieved these things. I am presumptuous enough to think I would be a good President, but not so much that I believe I can govern by command. Should I forget that, Congress will, of course, hasten to remind me. The following are conditions I intend to achieve. And toward that end, I will focus all the powers of the office; every skill and strength I possess; and seize every opportunity to work with members of Congress who put the national interest ahead of partisanship, and any country in the world that shares our hopes for a more peaceful and prosperous world.
…I am well aware I cannot make any of these changes alone. The powers of the presidency are rightly checked by the other branches of government, and I will not attempt to acquire powers our founders saw fit to grant Congress. I will exercise my veto if I believe legislation passed by Congress is not in the nation’s best interests, but I will not subvert the purpose of legislation I have signed by making statements that indicate I will enforce only the parts of it I like. I will respect the responsibilities the Constitution and the American people have granted Congress, and will, as I often have in the past, work with anyone of either party to get things done for our country.
For too long, now, Washington has been consumed by a hyper-partisanship that treats every serious challenge facing us as an opportunity to trade insults; disparage each other’s motives; and fight about the next election. For all the problems we face, if you ask Americans what frustrates them most about Washington, they will tell you they don’t think we’re capable of serving the public interest before our personal and partisan ambitions; that we fight for ourselves and not for them. Americans are sick of it, and they have every right to be. They are sick of the politics of selfishness, stalemate and delay. They despair when every election — no matter who wins — always seems to produce four more years of unkept promises and a government that is just a battleground for the next election. Their patience is at an end for politicians who value ambition over principle, and for partisanship that is less a contest of ide as than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power. They want to change not only the policies and institutions that have failed the American people, but the political culture that produced them. They want to move this country forward and stake our claim on this century as we did in the last. And they want their government to care more about them than preserving the privileges of the powerful.
There are serious issues at stake in this election, and serious differences between the candidates. And we will argue about them, as we should. But it should remain an argument among friends; each of us struggling to hear our conscience, and heed its demands; each of us, despite our differences, united in our great cause, and respectful of the goodness in each other. That is how most Americans treat each other. And it is how they want the people they elect to office to treat each other.
If I am elected President, I will work with anyone who sincerely wants to get this country moving again. I will listen to any idea that is offered in good faith and intended to help solve our problems, not make them worse. I will seek the counsel of members of Congress from both parties in forming government policy before I ask them to support it. I will ask Democrats to serve in my administration. My administration will set a new standard for transparency and accountability. I will hold weekly press conferences. I will regularly brief the American people on the progress our policies have made and the setbacks we have encountered. When we make errors, I will confess them readily, and explain what we intend to do to correct them. I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the Prime Minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons.
We cannot again leave our problems for another unluckier generation of Americans to fix after they have become even harder to solve. I’m not interested in partisanship that serves no other purpose than to gain a temporary advantage over our opponents. This mindless, paralyzing rancor must come to an end. We belong to different parties, not different countries. We are rivals for the same power. But we are also compatriots. We are fellow Americans, and that shared distinction means more to me than any other association. I intend to prove myself worthy of the office; of our country; and of your respect. I won’t judge myself by how many elections I’ve won. I won’t spend one hour of my presidency worrying more about my re-election than keeping my promises to the American people. There is a time to campaign, and a time to govern. If I’m elected President, the era of the permanent campaign will end. The era of problem solving will begin. I promise you, from the day I am sworn into office until the last hour of my presidency, I will work with anyone, of either party, to make this country safe, prosperous and proud. And I won’t care who gets the credit.
The bulk of the speech is a “look back” as if it were 2013 and McCain’s assessing all his progress as president. You know it’s pure fantasy because of this line:
Illegal immigrants who broke our laws after they came here have been arrested and deported. Illegal immigration has been finally brought under control, and the American people accepted the practical necessity to institute a temporary worker program and deal humanely with the millions of immigrants who have been in this country illegally.
At no time in American history has illegal alien amnesty ever led to a reduction in–let alone control of–illegal immigration.