Friday, June 27, 2008

SCOTUS Puts Another "Weapon" In John McCain's Arsenal

Forgive the pun.

Yesterday's 5-4 (how was this not 9-0?) Heller decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the 2nd Amendment can only help John McCain (R-AZ), if he's willing to take advantage of it.

Barack Obama's (D-IL) opinions on this issue have been less than clear, but what is clear is that John McCain came out wholly in support of the decision, while Obama did not.

McCain:

McCain, the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting, heralded the justices' action as "a landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom."

Voicing a stance that could help him woo conservatives and libertarians, McCain said, "This ruling does not mark the end of our struggle against those who seek to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. We must always remain vigilant in defense of our freedoms."

Obama:

The statement from Obama, who has long said local governments should be able to regulate guns, did not specifically say whether Obama agreed with overturning the specific D.C. ban. But he said Thursday's ruling "will provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country."

"I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms, but I also identify with the need for crime-ravaged communities to save their children from the violence that plagues our streets through commonsense, effective safety measures," Obama said.

The fact that Obama could not come out with an unequivocal statement of support for the decision should strike terror into the hearts of any gun owner, or anyone who supports the 2nd Amendment or, frankly any of the Bill of Rights, especially given the narrowness (5-4) of the decision. What if Scalia had had a heart attack this year and been forced to step down and Bush (R-USA) had been forced to appoint someone like Stevens? This decision could've gone easily the other way.

As I said at the top, this gives John McCain another weapon in his arsenal.  Given that I don't think Iraq works for him, now matter how good it's going, and that I just don't think many people care about Obama's flip-flop on campaign financing, and that the economy is an albatross around any Republican's neck, McCain doesn't have many weapons at his disposal.  He has to use them all.  Here's what I think they are:

  1. Energy Independence -- McCain has not been a knight in shining armor here, by any means, but at least he's been heading in the right direction recently.  But he needs to go farther, by getting off the backs of the oil companies and coming out in favor of drilling in places like ANWR.  The good news is that even though I can only give him a C+ (at best) on this issue, he's light years ahead of Obama's F. McCain's ideas (in general) are in agreement with an overwhelming majority of American's. Obama is living in Obamerica.
  2. Earmarks and Government Waste -- Yes, I know government waste through earmarks is nowhere near as bad as it is in entitlement programs, but standing tough on earmarks makes for better TV, and people are tired of hearing about “bridges to nowhere”. McCain is a knight in shining armor on this one, having pledged to veto any pork-laden bill that comes across his desk  if elected President. Obama has lobbied for $740 million in earmarks for his pet projects since 2004.
  3. Guns -- See above
  4. Supreme Court Justices -- Obviously, this is important to either base, and both conservative and liberals often use this as a rallying cry. But, the narrowness of the Heller decision might finally be something that McCain can use to energize the conservative base, without whom he has no shot. Yes, I know that with a Democrat controlled Senate McCain will not be able to nominate a Scalia or Roberts, but at least anybody he appoints will have to be more appealing to conservatives than a Ginsburg or Stevens
  5. Obama’s “positions of convenience” as noted here.  Obama continues to show that he is not what he has pretended to be, a "new kind of politician". He makes choices where politically convenient. Despite many conservatives ire with McCain, this is definitely not a problem with him. McCain clearly sticks to his core beliefs. Obama just as clearly has none.

This gives John McCain 5 things to talk about in his speeches and his ads.  He needs to mention at least two of them in every speech he gives between now and election day, regardless of the main topic of the speech.  Half of his ads (preferably more) need to mention at least one of these things.

Unfortunately for him, McCain has yet to show himself as being opportunistic at exposing Obama's flaws.  He has to get better.

As an aside, you may have noticed that the first mention of all the politician's names in this article included their party and area they represent.  This is the new policy at Chris of Rights, and I'll be going back and editing my previous posts in the near future to make sure they all conform.

UPDATE: Neal Boortz makes an insightful comment:

Without the appointments made to the Supreme Court by George W. Bush this probably would have been completely different.  With Al Gore in the presidency your right to own a gun for self-defense would have been ripped away today.

Yes, it was that close. If Al Gore (D) had been elected President, this decision would've gone the other way, and even now communities across the United States would be enacting legislation to take guns away.  This is why who is elected President matters, and the Supreme Court matters.

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