03 Jan 2008

John McCain: Too Old, Too Unsound

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Quinn Hilyer looks at John McCain, who has been garnering endorsements in new Hampshire recently, and shudders.

As truly horrific as it would be for the liberal and unethical Mike Huckabee to win the Republican presidential nomination, many Republicans still believe it would be almost as difficult to stomach the nomination of John McCain.

Huckabee, of course, would utterly destroy the old Reagan coalition, as even his campaign chief Ed Rollins has acknowledged. Huckabee’s bizarre propensity for letting criminals return early to freedom, combined with his utter cluelessness about foreign policy, also means that he would get absolutely crushed by the Democrats in a general election contest.

But McCain’s problems are almost as great, which is why reports of a comeback by the Arizona senator have so many conservatives scratching their heads.

McCain is, and looks, more than two years older than Ronald Reagan was when Reagan was elected president, and a poll last year showed that 42 percent of respondents said they would not vote for somebody who is 72 years old. That is a far higher percentage than that of people who would not vote for a Mormon (24 percent), a woman (11 percent), or a black person (5 percent).

McCain is not a tax cutter in a party that has made tax cuts one of its most basic tenets for nearly 30 years. Not only did he vote against President George W. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 — cuts that clearly are responsible for the booming economy of the past four-plus years — but just last week he told National Review’s Rich Lowry that he was correct not to vote for those tax cuts.

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