Eight years ago, after the candidate of my choice (Steve Forbes) was knocked out of the Republican presidential race, I found myself supporting John McCain. It was a surprise to nearly all who knew me – and in truth, to myself as well. I came to support McCain then because I considered him the best among the candidates who remained.
That I came to that conclusion was a surprise then; that I have come to the same conclusion eight years later is a complete shock. Granted the circumstances were the same – my preferred candidate (in this case, Duncan Hunter) was knocked out of the race, forcing me to choose again.
Still, I think an explanation is warranted as to why I am the only OBDA member besides SST’s Old Zach to support the Senator from Arizona.
As I have traveled the road from Fairfax County political activist to Spotsylvania blogger, America has gone from a deceptive “peace” to a war for her survival against an array of enemies from the Middle East and Central Asia (Wahhabists, Ba’athists, and Khomeinists – hence my term for this war: the Wahhabist-Ba’athist-Khomeinist War, or WBK War for short). Now, of the five candidates, only four (McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Huckabee) and seem to recognize the danger we face; only three (McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee) seem determined to fight the enemy wherever it can be found; only two (McCain and Giuliani) are adequately aware of the ways of the world to put that determination to good use.
Only one has the experience, determination, foresight, and vision to win this war as soon as possible, and he is John McCain. Now, the lack of foreign policy experience is not Giuliani’s fault, and I certainly believe Rudy could make up for it quickly, but McCain’s advantage cannot be denied.
On domestic matters, the picture is admittedly more cloudy. However, I would humbly submit that John McCain – yes, John McCain – is the closest we will get to a genuine right-wing alternative. His deviations from the norm – campaign finance “reform”, “global warming”, and the early opposition to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 – are far less problematic than they appear at first. For starters, has any candidate pledged to repeal the now infamous McCain-Feingold? Would anyone besides Dr. Paul even consider doing such a thing? As for the Bush tax cuts, while McCain opposed them at first, he did vote to make them permanent in 2006. That may seem contradictory to some, but in reality, McCain – whatever his problems with the Bush tax cuts (and I disagreed with him on them then) – has always opposed an economic tax increase (he did support a heavy – and in my view unwise – tax on tobacco in 1998). He also recognizes that sunsetting the 2001 and 2003 tax reductions would be a mammoth tax increase that must be avoided at all cost. Just as important, McCain is the one candidate (outside of Dr. Paul) who has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce government spending to cure our economic ills (in particular contrast to Huckabee). He also presents a far more national economic outlook than the local pandering to which both Romney and Giuliani have succumbed. As for “global warming,” I’ll admit McCain’s position troubles me, but he has also insisted that any action against “climate change” would have to include Communist China – which, as I have found from following politics outside the United States, is an effective poison-pill for any successor of the Kyoto fiasco. Besides, while no one has gone as far as McCain on this issue, nearly all (i.e., all except Paul) have swallowed the “global warming” nonsense.
The fact is, each candidate has problems on domestic issues – even Dr. Paul is not perfect. However, on the gamut of issues (defense of pre-born life, free trade, taxes and spending, gun rights, etc.), McCain has the best spectrum of positions and policies besides Dr. Paul, who has disqualified himself by his refusal to accept the nature of the war we are fighting.
I will make one comment on ”electability.” I generally don’t concern myself with this, in part because it is an amorphous notion that is far more difficultly defined than most are willing to admit (see my numerous comments on Virginia’s upcoming U.S. Senate race). That said, it has been clear in several polls that McCain – and only McCain – is competitive with Barack Obama; and he alone routinely beats Senator Clinton in the polls. I only mention this because I genuinely believe (and have repeatedly stated) that the Democrats, should they take power, will withdraw not only from Iraq, but also from Afghanistan. As such, this election is far more important than many realize.
This also returns us to the WBK War – and the main reason I have once again come to support McCain. Again, of the five candidates remaining, only John McCain has the experience, determination, foresight, and vision to win this war in the least amount of time, blood, and treasure.
Would I have preferred a better candidate? Don’t forget; I had a better candidate in Duncan Hunter; were he still in the race, he would still have my support. He is not, and for me, among the group that’s left, I choose to support McCain.
UPDATE: Of course, there is also the issue of illegal immigration, in which all four candidates not named Paul held similar positions. I leave it to others to affirm the validity of the sea-changes of the other three; I find them extremely suspect. Besides, if George W. Bush couldn’t get “immigration reform” through a Republican or a Democratic Congress, I sincerely doubt McCain will.