In Which I Share Common Ground With George Will

George Will is pretty conservative.  I’m not a full blown pinko lefty, but I’ve spent most of my politically-interested life reading and disagreeing with Will’s old school conservative views.  He’s a Goldwater style conservative, whose primary enemy is inflated government.  My enemy are those who take advantage of the many to increase the wealth of the few, and to combat them on this scale, an active government is required.

Will is someone I believe is dead wrong on most issues, but I’ve usually respected his consistency on his own views.  Well, at least economically.  It’s OK to be wrong, just don’t be a liar or a hypocrite.  And I’m sure if he read anything I’ve written, he’d find little economic common ground with me as well.  That’s cool.

The last thing I expect is to see him agree with my views on a Republican presidential candidate.  I should have given him more credit.  Maybe I’m just used to conservative columnists still crowing about liberal tax-and-spend Democrats seeking big government while George W. Bush inflated the size of government more than any president since FDR.  If your complaint is the expenditure of tax dollars, corporate bailouts should bother you more than welfare, because it’s costing you more.  But “tax and spend” is more of a rallying cry than a statement of ideological opposition.

George Will, at least, sticks to his Goldwater guns and criticizes Senator John McCain for a whole host of things, including his temperament and – thankfully – his undisciplined economic liberalism.  Mr Will asks: “So, is not McCain’s party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history?”

Myself, I have no problem with spending tax dollars, within reason, for the public good.  I believe the purpose of the government is the protection of its people and its ideals, and that protection should not simply be military.  Its people should not die from hunger or from curable diseases, nor should they suffer because of unequal opportunity.  This is why I support universal health care, public schools and welfare programs, even when they are not administered properly.  Many of McCain’s supporters insinuate that Senator Obama’s economic plans will veer us toward Communism while raising no great cry as our government assumes control over our banking system.

I don’t know if George Will intends to continue his complains about McCain, or if we’ll see the traditional political shift pre-election where everyone shores up their ranks, but I want to thank him for what I imagine was an unhappy task when he wrote things like

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama.


For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are “corrupt” or “betray the public’s trust,” two categories that seem to be exhaustive — there are no other people.

and finally

It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?

I know Mr. Will disagrees with Senator Obama on most things, and probably wants nothing to do with the economic policy Obama will support.  That’s why it’s so praiseworthy that he was willing to level the same criticism on Senator McCain.  I doubt Mr. Will wants to see President Obama, but as someone who has for so long decried big government, I can’t imagine he wants to see President McCain much more.

I expect we’ll be back to our respective teams in the coming months, but I want to thank Mr. Will for doing what any of us should do in his place.  Kudos.

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