Top Ten Reasons to be optimistic about McCain as the GOP nominee

First it was Rush Limbaugh:

I can see possibly not supporting the Republican nominee this election, and I never thought that I would say that in my life.

Then it was Ann Coulter:

If McCain is the nominee, I will campaign for Hillary Clinton.

And now James Dobson:

I cannot, and I will not vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience… I simply will not cast a ballot for president for the first time in my life.

While I agree that certainly McCain has been a pain in the rear-end for Republicans on some issues through the years, when I consider the lay of the land and the current reality of the public’s mood, the Arizona Senator represents the best shot we’ve got at defying the conventional wisdom that puts a Dem in the White House come January 2009.

Rather than join the anti-McCain chorus like some mind-numbed robot repeating the conservative hierarchy’s talking points, I have come to my own conclusions about the man. To do this, I applied the first hand contact I had with the most likely GOP nominee when he was campaigning here in the Granite State for almost a full year and considered the people that I greatly respect that have endorsed him. I have spoken directly with Senator McCain and asked him specific questions about things important to me, and was generally pleased with his answers.
When all things are considered, and then combined with his electability given the current zeitgeist, we could do a whole lot worse than John McCain. Here are my top ten reasons to be optimistic about having McCain as Republican nominee going into the 2008 presidential election:

10) He’s a fighter. The present administration has inexplicably decided that it would never defend itself or its decisions when attacked by the opposition. Perhaps if they had taken stronger steps to explain things to the American people, Bush, and by extension, the Republicans wouldn’t be playing catch-up to the Democrats. I don’t see a McCain administration enfeebled in this area like Bush. I don’t see McCain allowing his opponents to define him.

9) He can plausibly represent “change” in an election where people want “change.” This is important, unless your idea of “change” means electing a Democrat, which I think would be disastrous for America. The few “sticks in the eye” of Bush through the years paints McCain as one marching independent of the present administration. People are tired of Bush, as they would be after any two term president.

8) His advanced age. Huh? “But Doug, I thought even you said you have a problem with this!” Yes, it has been a concern. But think about this– during her first senate run, Hillary was portrayed as a victim when “attacked” by a “heavy-handed” Rick Fazio during the debate. Poor Hillary– A WOMAN– was “picked on” by the bad man. McCain, like your grandfather at a family gathering that might make some off color comment, gets a pass due to age, respect, and wisdom. Dittoes for the black man, Barack Obama. A Mitt/Obama match up will be portrayed as white-bread America once again trodding upon the oppressed minority. Again, advantage McCain, for the same reason. (Not that any Republican would make a big deal out of his color, but that will be the media’s portrayal)

7) McCain is well-liked by the mainstream media. While this may be enough to turn conservatives into fits of rage, you have to consider the fact that many people in America still rely on them for their news and information. In order to win, the successful candidate must gain the support of that middle third of Americans that pay little to no attention to politics other than at election time. They are not self-described as “left” or “right”, but instead, generally abhor politics. In a potentially close election, this might leave the Republican with less of a disadvantage from the start. Of course, McCain also fully engages the New Media. This connects him to the younger folks through their chosen medium as well.

6) While I don’t agree that global warming is man made, the reality is a lot of Americans do. And yes, perhaps a leader might lead the charge to try to counter this prevailing, incorrect notion. That, in the short term, won’t help a person get elected president. McCain approaches this issue in much the same way I do– anything that reduces our dependence on foreign sources of vital energy is a GOOD thing. Anything that reduces particulate pollution is a GOOD thing. He promises to revive nuclear power as a source of energy here in America and that is a VERY GOOD thing. Think about it– if we burned less oil in our massive electricity making power plants, then that would leave more available to heat our homes and make gasoline for our cars. This is a winning issue, especially at the moment.

5) He is a politician that can acknowledge mistakes and learn from them. He freely admits his error on the immigration matter, and plainly states his understanding that Americans want the US borders certifiably sealed before anything else can be done about illegal immigrants here in the country. He unabashedly calls for the creation of a biometric ID card for foreigners and the enforcement and prosecution of employment law. When his campaign fell into complete disrepair last summer, he analyzed the mistakes that brought him to that point, and fixed them. President Bush’s admirers and detractors alike admit this is one of his weakest areas. Again, McCain provides a 180 from this.

4) McCain’s personal story is compelling, indeed. He is a genuine war hero, and people can’t help but look at the guy in awe when they consider five-plus years of captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Anybody that can go through what this man has, and come out in one piece, is certainly someone with the mettle to tackle the troubles posed a president. Do I agree with his “against torture” position? No. But many people do.

3) McCain is one of the few Republicans that stands in contrast to the party when it comes to wasteful spending and pork projects. While the rest of Congress, along with George Bush, was spending money like there was no tomorrow, McCain was one of the few “lone voices in the wilderness” that sounded the alarm. Republicans paid dearly for this in the ‘06 election. When he talks the Republican meme of ‘less spending’ he means it– and people know he does.

2) McCain is pro-life. Unlike Mitt Romney, he didn’t come to his position once he caught the aspiration to be president. Republicans early on were worried about someone like Rudy Giuliani, pro-choice, gaining the nomination against the party’s long-time position favoring life. McCain as the nominee avoids an internal battle, leaving people free to fight the Dems on this one. (James Dobson, notwithstanding)

1) McCain is ready to be the Commander-In Chief. He has military background, and is completely up to speed with the facts on the ground in the various theaters of operation. He made the right call long before anyone else regarding the surge— even when it was politically unpopular. Here in NH, we had a front-row seat for McCain’s “No Surrender” tour that flew in the face of what everybody else was saying at the time. For me, the world-war with Islamofascism trumps everything else. Based on blogger conference calls, town hall meetings, one on one interviews, and his statements during debates and media appearances, I truly believe Senator McCain “gets it” when it comes to the big picture and the dangers we face. He also, based on the Vietnam experience, knows the consequences of failing to fight through to victory.

Once you get past the obvious oft-stated reservations about the guy, there are many things to like about the notion of a John McCain presidency. Those who we currently find near purple with rage over the prospect ought to take a deep breath and actually think for a moment or two. If you agree that Mitt Romney lacks the appeal to win at a time that Republicans are already the odds-on favorite to lose in November, then who else is there?
Maybe Rush, Ann, Mr. Dobson, and all the others wish to see the Republicans lose in order to rebuild a conservative majority within the party as a result. Me? I don’t think we can afford the damage that would be caused by a president Hillary or Obama and their radical liberal ideas being implemented. Once the universal healthcare train leaves the station, it will be unstoppable no matter who gets elected four or eight years later. It will be too late. Given the results of yesterday’s Super Tuesday voting, only John McCain stands between us and the national socialism that will be the result of a Republican loss come Election Day. Only John McCain stands between victory and defeat in the Iraq war. If McCain loses in November, who will get the blame for the results that will follow? I know who I’ll be pointing the finger at…

Doug Lambert blogs at GraniteGrok, where the original version of this post appears. He appreciates John’s invite to guest blog here at RWN and hopes he gets asked to do so again, despite his enthusiastic support for John McCain 🙂

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