A Southerner, Decorated War Veteran, Looks At John McCain
January 14, 2008, 04:00 AM
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"The Confederate flag is offensive in many, many ways, as we all know.  It is a symbol of racism and slavery."—John McCain, January 9, 2000, South Carolina

I have several things in common with John McCain. We are both combat veterans of the Vietnam War; we both have ancestors who served in the Confederate Army; and we are both long-term Republicans.

But I am a Southerner. I love my people, and I am justly proud of our heritage. Senator McCain has demonstrated time and time again that he has little appreciation for the South, its people, or their heritage. He has also demonstrated that he is either ignorant of the causes of the so-called "Civil War" or that he is a slave to political correctness and especially to political expedience.

I suspect there are large measures of both historical ignorance and political expedience reflected in John McCain's statements about the South and the Southern Cross—the Confederate Battle Flag.

The worst aspect: he is constantly trying to make himself look righteous at Southern expense. He often projects that combination of stubborn ignorance and arrogant self-righteousness that Southerners have endured at the hands of their detractors for almost two centuries.  Those Southerners who have some knowledge of the "Civil War"—beyond the politically correct distortions and whitewash now taught in public schools—have a reasonable grievance against him.

On the other hand, "straight talk" McCain is notorious for flip-flopping his positions depending on where, when, and to whom he is speaking.

This on January 12, 2000, three days after stating that the Confederate flag was all about "racism" and "slavery," McCain made this flip-flop on Fox News: "Personally, I see the flag as a symbol of heritage."[Apologetic McCain calls for removal of Confederate battle flag from S.C., CNN.com, April 19, 2000 ]

But then, in his latest campaign book Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them, McCain continues to make the South and the Confederate Battle Flag objects of moral scorn in order to make himself look principled and righteous. His righteous posturing and political scapegoating of Southern heritage slander the memory of courageous soldiers and a brave people.  

A winning plurality of New Hampshire Republicans and independents were apparently bamboozled into voting for John McCain because of national security issues. And indeed, following the news of the Bhutto assassination, he did seem to be a little more knowledgeable on Pakistan than several other candidates.

Yet for the last several years McCain has been a key Senate operative in several attempts to push huge amnesty-guest-worker bills though Congress. It is hard to conceive of any Congressional action that would be more damaging to national security.

But to McCain, catering to the cheap labor lobby and ethnic activists apparently trump national security.

The Kennedy-McCain bill (S.1033 of 2006) would have rewarded 12 to 20 million illegal aliens with guest-worker status and opened the door for countless millions more. Even Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has admitted that approximately 15 percent of them have criminal records—over and above border and visa violations, theft and fraudulent use of social security numbers, tax evasion, and sundry identification forgeries.

McCain claims that Kennedy-McCain was not an amnesty because illegal aliens would have been required to pay a $2,000 fine before being given a guest-worker card and put on a path to citizenship. The $2,000 fine—which was subject to many illegal immigrant and employer facilitating loopholes—was more public relations eye-wash than reality. But it did indicate the low value some of our globalist leaders place on American citizenship. 

McCain was also a sponsor of several later bills  (most notably S.2611 and S.1639) to cram amnesty and thousands of new guest-workers down the throats of the American people by means of stealth and unprecedented despotism in Senate parliamentary procedure. Little time was allowed for hearings, and McCain and his conspirators gave little study or heed to the consequences of their proposed legislation. But others, such as the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, and NumbersUSA did study the probable consequences.  These bills would have resulted in a tsunami of 30 to 60 million more legal and illegal immigrants within a decade or two. The impact on American workers and their families would have been devastating, displacing millions of American workers and substantially suppressing their wages and benefits, while also inflicting taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in increased educational, healthcare, and law enforcement costs to support a host of legalized invaders. 

Islamic terrorists are already exploiting the Bush administration's Open Border policies. The immigration tidal wave which would have followed Kennedy and McCain's amnesty-guest-worker bills would have further facilitated both penetration of our borders and clandestine operations within our borders by Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist groups. National security and public safety would have been seriously compromised by these bills.

Do Americans want a President who would place a higher priority on subsidizing employers with cheap foreign labor than on strengthening national security? Do we want a President who would jeopardize national security to appease ethnic lobbies? Do we want a President who would callously injure the economic security of tens of millions of American workers and their families to facilitate the use of cheap foreign labor? Will that make us more secure or just poorer and less secure? Will fleecing American taxpayers to pay for the costs of cheap foreign labor make us more secure or will it limit our ability to provide for our defense and make us more vulnerable to attack by foreign enemies?

Should Americans trust the sort of leadership that sought to deceive them on the real nature and provisions of several amnesty-guest-worker bills? What sort of leadership seeks to ramrod such important bills through the Senate without proper examination and largely outside public scrutiny?  Would a Senator who gave little thought or study to the costs and consequences of a huge amnesty make a wise President? 

No—and that is why Americans should not trust our national security to John McCain. Personally, as an Air Force combat veteran (Purple Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross) and former intelligence officer, I do not want John McCain anywhere near a red phone.

McCain is no conservative, and there are a number of other issues that rankle knowledgeable Southerners about his record. There is McCain-Feingold, passed in 2002 as "campaign reform,"—another of his cooperative efforts with liberal Democrats—which had the effect of curtailing the First Amendment freedoms of grassroots organizations such as Wisconsin Right to Life. He once referred to Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as "agents of intolerance" too extreme to receive the attention of the Republican Party. True to his principles of political expedience, he flip-flopped on that as well. His positions on gay marriage and civil unions are as clear as mud.

Although I have been an active Republican for over forty years, John McCain's irresponsible record and dissembling on immigration, his slander against the Southern people and their symbols, and his murky positions on social issues, would drive me to revolt if McCain received the Republican nomination.

I believe this feeling is widespread in the South.

Mike Scruggs [email him] is a retired business executive living in Hendersonville, North Carolina, and is a former Republican County Chairman.  He holds a BS from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. He is a decorated USAF combat veteran of the Vietnam War and until recently was Chairman of the Board of a Classical Christian School. He is the author of The Un-Civil War: Truths Your Teacher Never Told You and writes a weekly commentary for the Tribune Papers in Western North Carolina.