Wednesday, April 11, 2007


A Look at McCain

Much will be said about Senator John McCain’s speech today at the Virginia Military Institute (prepared text here, courtesy of NRO).

Many will quote possibly McCain’s best line in the speech, which spoke beyond the context of his but directly to his stand on Iraq: “I would rather lose a campaign than a war.”

But I read the whole thing, as should you. Here’s what I liked best:

We, who are willing to support this new strategy, and give General Petraeus the time and support he needs, have chosen a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just. Democrats, who deny our soldiers the means to prevent an American defeat, have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election. This is an historic choice, with ramifications for Americans not even born yet. Let’s put aside for a moment the small politics of the day. The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion poll.

Jonah Goldberg acknowledges that Conservatives may have dismissed McCain as a viable Conservative standard bearer in 2008 -- based on prior history, his behavior as a Republican, campaign finance reform, or his seeming interest in positive media reactions – but nevertheless urges a second look (or third, for some).

I’ve had major heartburn with McCain, his silly devotion to ersatz Campaign Finance reform, his sometimes petty disputes with the President, his romancing of the media. It’s way too soon to stake a candidate in 2008, much can happen, with many news cycles before the primary season even begins. But I think this bears some reflection.

McCain, amply demonstrated by his speech at VMI today, stakes out a pro-victory position on Iraq. Only Hillary sycophants think she has done anything remotely similar, however much she supported the US going to war at one point in time, for political gain. Several potential Republican nominees are generally supportive of our efforts in Iraq, but I doubt they’ll invest much skin in the game, and none on the horizon are as invested as McCain has been, all along.

I know polls indicate Americans want to win in Iraq, if they think we can, that the price will have been worth it if we do. But even if even that sentiment fades in the face of an uncertain future, I know the American people value honesty, principle, leadership, and real courage, over and above what they usually see from politicians. They smell phony from a country mile.

I think a lot of people who answer surveys or respond to media are angry and disgusted, that we haven’t fought this war seriously or hard enough. They don’t want us to fight, if we’re going to do so politely, with politically correctness, or with more compassion for our enemies than for our troops. They want us to kick a**, or go home. I don’t think the mainstream media (MSM) appreciates the depth of this anger and frustration.

But beyond that, I think Americans know they don’t always know what’s right, what’s true, and what’s important. They await some leader of true character and grit to stand up and speak plainly. A real leader doesn’t need the latest “public opinion poll” to know the source of his allegiance, the objects of his faith, or the demonstrations of his honor.

If a committed pro-victory candidate might win the Presidency in 2008, just think of how the mainstream media will go apoplectic and berserk.

Read the whole thing.

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