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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Limbaugh Litmus Test

Rush Limbaugh and many other far right pundits have come up with a new litmus test that, they say John McCain fails. So lets look at some of the points on it, and see how other prominent Republican's do on them.

1. Illegal Immigration, we all want secure borders and no guest workers.

Ronald Reagan signed the biggest amnesty bill ever seen, it was extended by George H.W. Bush (and Bill Clinton). It did nothing to secure borders, and required only a six month wait to apply for a green card, and expanded half a dozen different types of temporary worker visas.

George W. Bush championed legislation similar to the 2005 McCain-Kennedy bill that
failed, and the toughened up 2007 bill. Rush didn't rail against him in 2000 or 2004 though, when it was known he wanted to include a guest worker program in immigration reform. He'd said during his campaigns, and as Governor of Texas.

2. Taxes, everyone wants a "Reagan Conservative" to take ahold of the tax problem, and claim McCain isn't one because he wanted spending cuts before tax cuts. Yet he's never voted for a tax increase while in office.

Ronald Reagan signed at least 8 bills that RAISED taxes during his 8 years in office. Yes, he did sign some tax cuts too, but if you are being honest you have to look at it both ways. In 1983 he said we'd get $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. In 1993 he complained that Congress never cut spending. (Bruce Bartlett of NRO wrote a great piece on this in 2003)

George H.W. Bush .... read my lips, this answer is too obvious

George W. Bush, at least he can say that he hasn't raised them, though he only got temporary cuts passed, which look to expire in a few years.

3. Supreme Court Justices. Everyone on the right is screaming for constructionist justices and worried that McCain won't appoint the "right kind" of people. But how did our past GOP presidents do? Not well, of the 6 appointed prior to GWB taking office you have 2 conservatives, 2 liberals and two swing voters.

Reagan appointed three justices, Kennedy, O'Connor and Scalia. Of the three Scalia is the only one who has retained his "constructionist" credentials. Both Kennedy and O'Connor turned into swing votes upholding Roe v. Wade and other "liberal" decisions from the Warren Court.

George H.W. Bush put David Souter and Clarence Thomas on the bench. Thomas is possibly the most conservative justice sitting, while Souter is more often than not in the liberal block on the court.

Gerald Ford nominated John Paul Stevens, a Nixon appointee to the appellate bench, and who's the most liberal member of the court by most counts.

4. 1st Amendment. McCain gets beaten on unmercifully for the McCain Feingold measure, yet Rush & Co. didn't have much to say about it in 2004, after George W. Bush signed it into law. While McCain authored it Bush signed it into law, instead of vetoing it, why didn't they cry and vote for John Kerry in 2004?

Spending is an area where McCain bests the above list, for 25 years has championed lower bugets.

Reagan only tried cutting it after the Gramm-Rudman and later Gramm Rudman Hollings acts were passed to try and reign in spending. GHWB did a better job, but still increased spending in many areas. While Democrats point to the "Pay Go" day's of the 1990's as a great spending control, like today's Paygo it's smoke and mirrors. The Pay Go bills of both eras had 4 years life spans, and new programs enacted generally waited (and still do) until the fifth year to have their full costs paid, thereby getting around the tough cuts or tax increases. This years $168 billion unfunded "economic stimulus package" is a great example of the swiss cheese like character of Paygo. We don't even need to get into GWB's spending record and lack of veto pen especially in his first term.

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