Friday, September 5, 2008

Country First - Why John McCain Should be Our President

Now that both party conventions are done, now that John McCain has made his case, now that the fanfare has ended and "greek columns are put into storage", American citizens are seperating wheat from chaff from the campaigns and deciding who to pick for President.

I said in my Who Should be our next President article in February 2007 that: "We ought to vote for candidates based on their character, their competence, and their vision and solutions. " For most political races, like a legislative race, it might be an easier choice. You select the liberal or conservative candidate depending on how much they agree with you. But a President is head of the executive branch and the Commander-in-Chief. It's not such a simple job and not such a simple choice. As Rudy Guiliani put it: "You can't vote Present".

I added, almost to underline the impossibility of finding an ideal candidate, that:
"While we are at it, we need a candidate who can engineer solutions to: energy dependency, global warming, Federal budget deficit, US trade deficit, failures in American education, illegal immigration, Medicare and Social Security going bust, cultural degeneration and breakup of families, and global terrorism."
It's not easy. Change doesn't come close to describing the real needs and hope is not a strategy to get there.

We find in John McCain the rare political character that makes him an ideal man of character to lead the country: He is unafraid and courageous; he puts the country before the party, faction or ideology; he has proven his good judgment through his long experience and involvement on national security matters and public policy for decades.

As RNC convention speakers ably showed, John McCain experience as a POW doesn't make him qualified to be President, but it does reveal character. The character revealed in the man who refused to be sent home early because he was going to wait 'his turn' was a patriot who could sacrifice for a greater cause.

When it came time to determine what to do in Iraq, the Democrats and even some Republicans wanted to just turn tail and run. Not John McCain. He had the right view of the necessary strategy for some time before Bush decided upon it, and in November 2006 advised Bush to support a surge strategy. President Bush salvaged a wobbly effort in Iraq, and now the surge has "succeeded beyond the wildest expectations" of those who opposed the surge. President Bush has been considered somewhta stubborn; but such decisiveness is not a bad attribute if the decisions are wise. We know from this that John McCain will have the courage to make unpopular decisions, and he also will have the good judgment to make sure those decisions are right.

It's not just Iraq surge where McCain's judgement proved sound. In 1982, McCain did not support Reagan's putting the Marines in Lebanon. Later, after a Marine barracks terrorist bombing, Reagan pulled the troops out and regretted the decision. In 1990, when Joe Biden and most Democrats voted no on the successful Gulf War, McCain voted yes. In December 2006, McCain expressed the need for more troops in Afghanistan. 18 months later, Barack Obama decided to support the same thing and made it sound like an original idea. This past month, McCain's quick and unwavering support of Georgia in the conflict with Russia made clear that he would not be silent to bullying by a Russia attempting to bring back imperialism. Meanwhile, Obama waffled, took silly credit for Russia's PR of a ceasefire (which they broke).

What about the vision and agenda?

On judges, we can expect a Supreme court Justice or two to be replaced. John McCain has made clear his support for Roberts and Alito type justices, who will interpret the law and not invent it on the bench. His opponent has expressed support for the worst kinds of liberal judicial activists.

On taxes and spending, McCain has put forward the right kind of tax agenda: Lower tax rates. He has also been unafraid to vote against earmarks and pork barrel spending. This spending is the 'culture of corruption' stuff that makes DC a cesspool of special interest. McCain will end it.
His opponent has talked some conservative talk, by adding some rhetorical statements about cutting wasteful spending and cutting taxes, but walked none of the walk. Obama has already voted many times for higher taxes in the last two years, and never for lower taxes. Neither has Obama actually voted for lower spending.

On life, we have a pro-life McCain with some centrist tendencies (support for stem-cell research), versus an extremist who is proabortion.

I do not agree on everything McCain will advance. McCain, as a self-style Teddy Roosevelt, sometimes lets his reformer instincts lead him to support unwarranted Government meddling. Global warming is an over-hyped phenomenon and CO2 caps are a poor policy to address it. Yet in areas like energy policy, his principled opposition to ethanol subsidies while supporting more economically sensible alternatives like wind, nuclear, offshore drilling and alternative energy research, strike the right balance.

More importantly, McCain is pushing key reform items - Government transparency and choice - that free market conservatives should fully embrace and should be core of the conservative reform agenda for the future. The conservative reform agenda should be the choice agenda: Healthcare choice; Education choice; retirement choice. So long as Democrats are in charge of Congress, little will be done to properly correct and reform Social Security for the 21st century, but McCain will move the ball forward in these areas.

At the end of the day, we have this in John McCain: A war hero and a man of personal and political courage, who has been tested by experience to have proven good judgment; his agenda is a center-right reform oriented agenda that will keep spending in control and end earmarks, push to keep tax rates low, address our energy challenges with a broad "lets do it all" approach to reduce foreign oil dependency, and advocate Government transparency and school choice.

We don't know what crisis will boil in the next four years. We do know that John McCain will be a steady hand at the wheel of the ship of state. We do know that we can trust his judgment, that his judgment has been tested time and time again and been proven to be sound. He is a credible Commander in Chief, who will be an able leader of the free world and who will win the war on terror and keep us safe. (His opponent's judgment was shown wrong, and provides a sorry indicator that he will be an easily foldable empty suit as President.)

For these reasons, John McCain should be our next President.

Some conservatives have grumbled that voting for McCain might harm the Republican party (this comes ironically from people who say that they will vote for Bob Barr, which is hardly party loyalty). COUNTRY FIRST is not just a slogan for the campaign, it's a way of thinking about politics. The election in November is not about the direction of the party (that's decided in primaries), it's about the direction of the country. John McCain laid that to rest to a great extent with his selection of Sarah Palin (over, for example, liberal Joe Lieberman). The selection affirms that the Republican party is a prolife and conservative party, and in doing so it has given conservatives hopes about the future of the party, with a well-spoken champion in Governor Palin.

I was asked in a comment a few months back to make the affirmative case for John McCain that didn't simply say "He's better than that awful Obama." Yet all elections are selections, the best of those running, and it should be noted that since Obama is the least experienced and most left-wing major party candidate for President ever, we must not discount Obama's many flaws as a positive and important reason to vote McCain. Nor can we ignore the agenda differences, noted above. I said in February 2007 that "I see in Obama the same kind of clueless liberalism last seen in Jimmah Carter. I'd hate to relive 4 years of that." Everything we've learned about Obama in the last 18 months only confirms that, and underlines that it will be worse.

1 comment:

charles said...

Change you can trust, a slogan that could turn around McCain's campaign?

Change you can trust contrasts beautifully with change you can believe in.

Everyone wants change, only with a team that we can trust to implement it.
If you're in a tough spot, you want someone to come to help you that you can trust, not someone you believe may want to help you.

John McCain, polls show, is rated as highly qualified and highly trusted. This slogan, change you can trust, reinforces this message.

It can even be added on to John McCain’s current slogan. Country first, change you can trust. Or perhaps Change you can trust that puts Country first. Or how about Change you can trust that puts America first

It implies without directly saying it that the other side is perhaps a little less trustworthy.

It also reinforces the message that in a time we were facing battle with Al Qaeda worldwide and two conventional wars, John McCain is a commander in chief you can trust to lead us to victory.

There are 30 days left before Election Day. Sarah Palin’s debate performance was good, but it's really up to John McCain to win.





John, are you listening???