January 7, 2008


The Old Warhorse (Victor Davis Hanson, 1/07/08, Tribune News Services)

First, in a campaign year of crass political reinventions, McCain does not flip-flop. Instead, he seems to enjoy telling people what they don't want to hear. Apparently, at his age, and after what he went through in Vietnam, there is no reason to begin trimming the truth now.

To those more liberal, McCain insists that the surge is working and we will secure Iraq — only to explain to conservatives why we can't, either practically or morally, deport all 11 million illegal aliens. He seems more opposed to pork barrel and deficit spending than doctrinaire conservatives.

Second, McCain has the most diverse experience of any of the candidates in either party. Sens. Obama and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., may bicker over whether being first lady or growing up in Indonesia constitutes the better foreign-policy background. But no one would question McCain's far greater breadth of service: carrier aviator, combat pilot, wounded veteran, tortured while a prisoner of war for five and a half years, U.S. congressman and senator for a combined quarter-century, 2000 presidential candidate. And the list only goes on.

Third, we are still in a war on several fronts — as we were reminded recently by the assassination, likely by al Qaeda, of pro-American Pakistani Benazir Bhutto. Many of the other inexperienced candidates fumbled in their initial reactions to Bhutto's murder.

Obama ludicrously associated her death with the Iraq war. Huckabee, in Jimmy Carter fashion, apologized to Pakistan for the assassination — although he did not explain why. Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson demanded that Gen. Musharraf step down — as if we can snap our fingers and choose nuclear Pakistan's leaders.

McCain in contrast kept his cool. He candidly admitted that the tragic loss of Bhutto was a setback to American democratic objectives, while reminding us that a nuclear Islamist Pakistan is unstable and doesn't present America with any good choices. In this war, having a veteran fighter and savvy old statesman as commander-in-chief makes a lot of sense.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 7, 2008 11:18 PM

Terrific article by Hanson as usual but lets keep some perspective here because Hanson does, he also writes...

"Conservatives can't even count all the ways they have soured on him. Libertarians were furious that the McCain-Feingold campaign-financing law impinged on unfettered political expression. McCain never supported Bush's massive tax cuts that spurred the economy. But he did team with Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., to craft a comprehensive immigration bill that included de facto amnesty to illegal aliens.

The Christian Right opposed his support for human-embryo stem-cell research. On issues like global warming and shutting down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, McCain has sounded like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., or Kennedy."

Posted by: Perry at January 8, 2008 12:08 PM