October 30, 2008


McCain's Best Argument (Quin Hillyer, 10.30.08, American Spectator)

[H]ere is why John McCain should be the next president of the United States:

There is something special about this country. The United States is exceptional. We are blessed by the good Lord, and in turn we have done more, far more, than any other people to spread freedom across the globe, and prosperity across the globe, and human rights across this great good Earth. We are a particularly good people -- and John McCain understands all this and believes it with every fiber of his being, down to his very marrow, in a way that is deeply spiritual in nature. There is nothing fake about McCain's belief in American Exceptionalism. His belief in this is as genuine, and as deeply felt, as is a son's love for his father. He will defend this country, fight for this country, with every last breath in his body.

And McCain has a record of making the right calls, again and again, when it comes to securing the American national interest around the world. He was right to back Ronald Reagan to the hilt in the greatest foreign challenge of the past 60 years, namely the victorious effort to win the Cold War despite the strenuous and at times vicious opposition of the American Left. But he was right to oppose Reagan when Reagan, with all good intentions, decided to station Marines in Lebanon. McCain broke with his entire party, and warned that the Marines would be sitting ducks, and voted against the deployment. Tragically, McCain was right: More than 200 Americans died in Lebanon in a suicide truck bombing about a month after McCain's warning.

McCain was right -- and Joe Biden wrong -- to support the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in 1991. McCain was right to support intervention in Kosovo later that decade: It worked. He was right to support a stronger military and greater numbers of personnel when Bill Clinton was cutting it. He was right to fight against wasteful weapons systems, and against corruption in military contracting. He was right to right a specific boondoggle involving an Air Force tanker; he brought corruption to light (the perpetrators both in the Air Force and at the contractor went to jail) and saved the public $6 billion.

McCain was right to say that Saddam Hussein could be overthrown fairly quickly, with little loss of American life. He was right to say that Hussein was a terrible threat. But he was right, very early on, well before anybody else in the Senate, to say that it would take more troops and a different strategy to secure the peace after we had won the war. He broke with President Bush to say so, way back in 2003, and he was right.

John McCain has suffered for his country in a way only a tiny slice of the population ever has. The story is well known -- not just that he suffered in Vietcong captivity, but that he turned down early release in a profound expression of solidarity with his fellow prisoners. Yet McCain had the grace, when the time was right, to hold out an olive branch to the Vietnamese a couple of decades later when they showed a movement toward greater economic freedom.

John McCain is committed to reaching beyond party labels. Whether always right or wrong to do so, he really cares about doing what he thinks is right no matter whose political ox is gored. Barack Obama may talk a bipartisan game, but he never has actually played on that field. The reality, meanwhile, is that sometimes it helps conservative ends to work with people from the other party. Ronald Reagan knew this.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 30, 2008 7:16 AM
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