The Road Less Traveled
The esteemed publisher of The Tentacle has asked regular contributors to offer some words reflecting their preference for a particular presidential candidate over the other. The condition for submission was that the piece was supposed to reflect why we support our guy, not our critique of the opponent.
Of all of the subjects tackled in six years of writing, this may be the hardest undertaking of all. It is much easier to tell you why the other guy shouldn't be elected president than why my guy should!
On second thought, maybe neither guy should be elected. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to give up my right to complain for 4-8 years, so not choosing is not an option.
So, here's why I'm leaning toward Arizona Sen. John McCain. First, he possesses the necessary basic grasp of the functions of our federal government. You cannot hang around the cloakrooms of the Congress as long as he has and not develop that understanding.
Second, John McCain is a legitimate national hero. He suffered terribly at the hands of his Vietnamese captors, yet he never forgot that he had to suffer that torment in a dignified manner. He always knew that he could have chosen a simpler path. His father, head of the Pacific Command for the U.S. Navy, could have been used as a device to facilitate favorable treatment, but he never sought that favor.
Senator McCain has established a long and revered reputation as a reform-minded budget hawk. He typically opposes sending bills containing "pork-barrel" legislative requests, and has supported line-item veto and other control mechanisms to end this practice.
He is considered an expert on military affairs, recognized by the Pentagon and the military establishment as a credible voice. He understands the Department of Defense budget as a well as anyone, and has fought against a number of major weapon systems acquisition programs because he felt those programs did not reflect the current need or mission.
Needs and mission really matter to him. In spite of the rhetoric from his opponent, Senator McCain strongly objected to the early strategy decision in the war on terror. He felt that the troop levels were dangerously insufficient for the need, and spoke bluntly into every microphone that the Bush Administration's war plan was seriously flawed.
Senator McCain was for the "surge" strategy before anyone knew it would work. In fact, two leading opponents of that same overwhelming force strategy that is clearly working to restore a sense of calm in Iraq were Senators Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
John McCain, in response to a reporter's question, made clear his philosophy. The reporter asked: "Senator McCain, aren't you concerned that your continued advocacy for the surge will hurt you with American voters?"
Senator McCain, reeling from a series of primary losses to the suave former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, responded in typical McCain fashion. "I'd rather win the War in Iraq than worry about losing an election" was his response. Bet you'd never get that from a President Obama!
Regarding the national financial meltdown, Senator McCain proved his mettle again. He was pushing for reform of the quasi-governmental mortgage company's Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back when Senators Harry Reid and Christopher Dodd were aggressively defending the practice of backing a mortgage that the borrower could never repay.
That's a key reason I'd prefer a McCain presidency over the other guy. Senator McCain understands that personal responsibility still matters, that government is not the best solution to every problem.
It's easy to respect a guy unafraid to challenge his own party. Time after time, Senator McCain has proven a proclivity to take on his own kind, regardless of the consequences. Sure, that makes many uncomfortable. Too bad! Again, you'll probably never hear of a conflict between a President Obama and the National Democratic Party. They rarely disagree, and when they do, Senator Obama typically keeps his opposition to himself.
Having had many of the bones in his body broken and suffering relentless beatings by his captors, Senator McCain is adamantly opposed to torture as a means of extracting information. No one on earth has more credibility in this debate.
John McCain is a Republican environmentalist. Sure, it's a little oxymoronic. He believes that man is responsible, in large measure, for the affects of global climate change. As such, man should take responsibility for the solution.
He sponsored a Bush Administration bill to provide a path to legal citizenship for illegal immigrants. Assailed by conservatives, this "amnesty" program was dead before it was even developed. Initially, Senator McCain tried to defend his work, citing the alarming statistics about immigration and demands on our social services networks.
It just didn't matter, because once the talk radio stations started broadcasting this amnesty plan, Americans inundated their congressional representatives with opposition. Senator McCain did something stunning for a D.C. politician; he admitted that he had been wrong. He acknowledged that he had failed to listen to the American people. He now indicates that he will not pursue a similar solution in the future.
My strongest advocacy for my candidate is that he does not believe in the concept of wealth redistribution. The whole idea is morally bankrupt, and creates a dangerous artificial division along economic lines. The haves and have-nots will be arrayed against one another, and we'll relive chapters in our nation's history that have the potential to cause great harm and damage.