MUST READS: The McCain File

In Must Reads, Notes by Mark Hillman

McCain and Mo Udall – Michael Lewis, Slate.com
An old anecdote about Mo Udall in the hospital reveals something noteworthy about John McCain’s character.

McCain’s housing restraint – George Will, Washington Post
John McCain should use the debate over housing-related credit woes to illustrate the differences between the two parties — the belief in competence, responsibility and accountability of individuals.

The conservative case for McCain – Gov. Mark Sanford, Wall Street Journal
In Congress, Mark Sanford bucked his party’s leadership to fight to restrain spending.  He’s done the same as governor of  South Carolina.  Now the most conservative governor in America says people who care about the looming crisis of debt can’t afford to sit this one out.

The real reformer: McCain has best Rx for health care – Robert Goldberg, Weekly Standard
While Clinton and Obama want to "fix" health care by growing government and telling you what coverage to buy, John McCain actually has a conservative, market-oriented plan that allows people to make their own choices and defies conventional "wisdom."

McCain can’t take conservatives for granted – Brent Bozell, Washington Post
For 20 years, the moderate establishment of the Republican Party has told conservatives to sit down, shut up and do as we’re told. History shows that sometimes we bite the bullet. But not always. I absolutely guarantee that this year we cannot be taken for granted. This is a movement fed up with betrayals.

McCain’s war on pork: Earmark nation – Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal
Even congressional Democrats are running away from earmarks, but Senate Republicans seem more interested in preserving pork than winning.  Republicans can join McCain and take a position true to their small government principles, popular with the public, and politcially smart.  Or they can hurt themselves by sticking with the lard.

The McCain fiscal record
Kevin Stash, Wall Street Journal

Whether McCain can ultimately convince conservatives remains to be seen, although his 25-year record of supporting pro-growth tax cuts weighs in his favor. If that’s not enough, consider that the Bush tax cuts are on auto-pilot to expire — and neither a President Clinton nor a President Obama will have to lift a finger to impose a crushing tax hike on America’s economy.

What McCain offers conservatives
Investors Business Daily editorial

John McCain still has work to do to unite his party’s various factions. But having a president who will fight our proclaimed enemies should serve that purpose. Mitt Romney, in his gracious exit, said he wanted to have a clear message sent from the GOP about where it stood on the war on terror.