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Jewish World Review Feb. 11, 2000 /5 Adar I, 5760

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter
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The Shakedown Express -- I JUST WANT TO KNOW where he stands on the Third Amendment. We know media Boy Wonder John McCain doesn't care for the First Amendment and opposes the Second. But maybe he'll back us on the constitutional amendment prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in private homes in peacetime.

Whatever his position, and whatever the criticism, McCain responds to all disagreement by impugning the motives of his critics. You are either attacking his war record or secretly opposed to his noble and selfless battle to end corruption in government! Those are McCain's only two answers to any reproach, from his famous temper to his waffling on abortion. Listening to McCain respond to criticism reminds one of nothing so much as James Carville spouting those "of course, he's tobacco's man" attacks on Ken Starr, as if that had anything to do with anything.

And the media love him.

One might have thought -- hoped, really -- that Clinton was just some freak accident in American history. Alas, no. Whatever his policies, we are browbeaten into saluting the honesty and integrity and straightforwardness of John McCain, the candidate who is the most demagogic of any in the race, including the two Democrats.

In fact, it's not McCain's policies that gall one so much (though they do somehow always give the government more power and the citizens less). It's the fact that McCain proves Clinton wasn't an aberration. The country is slowly going the way of the Congo, eagerly embracing every demagogue who comes along -- until the next one.

Some Americans have tried to cling to the belief that support for McCain is somehow an anti-Clinton vote. That theory is hopelessly discredited by the fact that McCain is the darling of the mainstream media -- the same mainstream media that saved Clinton's hide. The same mainstream media that think you don't send enough of your paycheck to the federal government. John McCain thinks so, too. Tax cuts help only the "wealthy," McCain says. Of course they do -- the same way anti-discrimination laws help only the people being discriminated against.

The day after McCain's win in the New Hampshire primary, lobbyists for McCain were shaking down Wall Street firms for $100,000 apiece with this salutation: "Other Wall Street firms are now agreeing to commit to raise $100K for McCain in the next 10 days. Can we expect the same from (fill in name of company here)?" One banker told me it got to the point that he couldn't open his e-mail without another shakedown on behalf of McCain's Straight Talk Express.

But don't trouble yourself with facts that might cast doubt on Mr. Clean's probity; it's a new era. The more money-grubbing McCain is, the more it proves the urgent need to get money out of politics.

About a month ago, McCain said, "If I could think of a way constitutionally, I would ban negative ads." He has explained that his objection to campaign commercials is that they "are almost always negative attacks on a candidate and do little to further healthy political debate." That's an interesting summary of the First Amendment: free speech, as long as it's happy speech (or engaged in by the media, which is exempt from McCain's campaign finance reform). Why is it again that the Constitution protects dour communist rags denouncing running-dog lackeys of the capitalist system?

McCain steamrolled the Republican Senate into adopting yet more federal restrictions on gun ownership in the juvenile justice bill. His bold reformist policies in the Senate included his bill to raise taxes on cigarettes in order to fund a government re-education campaign.

Maybe you think you don't need to get exercised about politicians incessantly raising taxes on cigarettes, because you don't smoke. And maybe you don't personally want a gun and even think that it might be best if only the government were allowed to have guns. Perhaps you don't want to engage in political speech 60 days before an election anyway (a freedom McCain's campaign finance bill would have prohibited for any organizations other than government-certified political action committees and the media).

But you're probably not a communist either, and you understand that if the government can take away a communist's freedom to speak, it can take away your freedom to speak, too. Freedom is very simple: It means placing restrictions on what the government can do to us. Every time the government takes someone else's freedom, it increases the power of the government.

Thatís why sneaky politicians do it one step at a time -- raising taxes on the objects no one will eagerly defend, like alcohol and tobacco, and then spending the money on new federal programs to help mothers and children. This used to be known as demagoguery. Now itís known as John McCain. Welcome to the Congo.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.


02/08/00: To mock a mockingbird
02/05/00: Summing up Campaign 2000: 'Oh, puh-leeze!'
02/01/00: A Confederacy of Dunces
01/28/00: Dollar Bill's racist smear
01/24/00: How high is your freedom quotient?
01/21/00: Numismadness
01/18/00: How dare you attack my wife!
01/14/00: The Gore Buggernaut
01/10/00: The paradox of discrimination law

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