I was listening to a conversation on the radio yesterday between Arizona Senator John McCain and Don Imus and I was reminded why I'll never vote for John McCain. Ever. I coined a word a while back for a politician like him. He is a legislationist. A legislationist is a person who feels compelled to write legislation to affect change. The content of the legislation is of no great importance. Whether or not it tramples your Constitutional rights is - the price we have to pay. The fact that it may be counterproductive is, well, acceptable.
How do you spot a legislationist?
Here is essentially how the conversation went. It had to do with the intelligence bill that everyone has had their undies abunch over lately. Imus asked McCain (as best I can remember) if it were true that the legislation might do more harm than good, as critics have been saying. McCain's response was, "The status quo is unacceptable."
That's it. We are doing something so something has to be a good thing.
Usually you'll see Democrats doing this sort of thing. Remember the ozone hole in the atmosphere problem? The world was coming to an end a decade ago had it not been for ... what? We passed a law banning (generally) the use of chloroflourocarbons in your hairpsray and in refrigerant (freon). Amazingly the Democrats lost interest in the subject as soon as the law was passed (and the earth was miraculously saved). Acid rain? Same deal. Bill Clinton's much-ballyhooed "100,000 cops on the street?" The crime problem was solved overnight.
I first recognized this compulsion that many politicians have a number of years ago when I was watching an interview on television. The guest on the show was then-Senator Tim Worth of Colorado, who was debating some environmental issue with the host. When the host said, "There is no evidence that a problem even exists," Wirth replied, "We can't afford to wait. The potential for environmental catastrophe is too great."
We can't afford to wait to determine if a problem even exists. We have to write legislation.
I said to myself at the time, "This guy is dangerous." There is no evidence of a problem but he is willing to unleash havoc on the marketplace because, in his mind, that ill-defined problem needs a solution - any solution. Welcome to the world of environmental law.
Such is the case with John McCain. He has proven himself to be a legislationist. America is in agreement that we need to improve our intelligence gathering capabilities. He has jumped on the bandwagon and is prepared to vote for any intelligence bill that is wadded up and thrown at him. The same can be said for gunshow firearm sales legislation. Drugs in major league baseball legislation. And campaign finance reform.
This is why I'll never vote for John McCain. For those Republicans out there who think it's most important to find a candidate who can "win" in 2008 (call it the 'Bob Dole is the most winnable candidate' mentality), I'll not be a part of it. You see, there is a rarely mentioned option that I occasionally exercise when I go into the voting booth. I used it in 1996. After having voting for congressional and local candidates, and having come to the race between Dole and Clinton, I passed. I voted for - none of the above.
So nominate McCain if you dare. My vote is too precious. I'll save it for a worthy candidate.