Republicans: McCain is ready to lead

BY BOARD REPUBLICANS

Every four years our nation girds itself for life-or-death political combat to determine who will occupy the most powerful office in the world. In the historical context, some of these campaigns have not, in the end, proven all that consequential. (Does anyone remember the great debates of 1996?) Even so, the urgency of this election cycle is anything but contrived. With global markets in turmoil, an ongoing terrorist threat to our country, and a government desperately in need of reform, seldom have the stakes on Election Day been higher. In this election, there is only one responsible choice: to lead America through the difficult days ahead, we need John McCain as the next President of the United States.

Events of the last month have shaken the American people’s confidence in their institutions, governmental and otherwise, in a way that our generation has not experienced previously. Those anxieties have resonated from Main Street to the hallowed grounds of Harvard Law School.

What is required now is not merely eloquence but leadership. Whatever one’s position on the bailout bill, it was Senator McCain that worked to find a solution to the crisis. While Senator Obama prepared for a presidential debate, Senator McCain prepared for action to stave off the financial meltdown. Moreover, Senator McCain stands as a modern Theodore Roosevelt, ready to curb the excesses behind the current crisis but also to strengthen the market system that has made this nation the most prosperous on earth.

Senator McCain understands that, rather than engage in the tired, risky, government-sponsored social engineering of decades gone by, we must act to preserve our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit to get our economy moving again. He appreciates that lower taxes aid in job creation and improve America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. Most importantly, he understands that the government must be a careful steward of taxpayer dollars. In the tumultuous days ahead, we need a president that will work to revive our economy, not encumber it. That person is John McCain.

We must also remain vigilant against the threats of terrorism and aggression at home and abroad. Senator McCain has spent his life serving his country and brings an understanding of national security and the job of commander-in-chief that his opponent simply does not have. Fashionable as it may be to criticize Governor Palin in elite circles, it would be Senator McCain that assumes the position of commander-in-chief.

Senator McCain recognized the necessity of victory in Iraq, even in the darkest days of that struggle. He understands the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and an unstable Pakistan. His first instinct was not to waver but to respond firmly to Russian aggression in Georgia. In contrast, Senator Obama has never faced such a crisis. With all due respect, his much ballyhooed opposition to the Iraq war in 2003 was of no consequence. He even had difficulty confronting votes in the Illinois Senate, where he served just four years ago; rest assured, the next president will not be able to cast a “present” vote whenever a crisis arises. The world’s problems call for difficult decisions and firm action. The man for the job is John McCain.

Much has been made of the need for unity and bipartisanship in Washington. The low approval ratings of President Bush and the Democratic Congress underscore the cynicism of the American people about their government. Again, one must look to record, not rhetoric, to determine who will bring about unity and change in Washington. Senator Obama and his allies in the media have argued that a McCain administration would amount to a “third Bush term.”

Although Senator McCain (commendably) agrees with the President on several issues, he has a lengthy record of working across the aisle, much to the chagrin of many in his own party. It was Senator McCain that argued for a new, successful strategy in Iraq when it became clear our efforts were faltering. It was Senator McCain that stood up to condemn the use of torture. It was Senator McCain that led the charge for the campaign finance legislation that bears his name. It was Senator McCain that fought the pork barrel politics that has defined Congress under both parties. It was Senator McCain that brokered a compromise on judicial nominations that prevented historic acrimony in the Senate.

His independence led many pundits to discount his prospects for obtaining the GOP nomination. The notion that Senator McCain is a clone of President Bush is as laughable today as it was before Senator Obama’s ad machine cranked up. Meanwhile, Senator Obama has accomplished little during his brief stay in the U.S. Senate besides a staunchly liberal voting record.

Although Senator Obama’s work with Senator Lugar on nuclear proliferation is praiseworthy, it is hardly an effort that would necessitate expenditure of political capital or tarnish his public image. As for his other forays into bipartisanship, such as his calls for merit pay for teachers, Senator Obama has not translated his politically expedient words into action.

Senator Obama is right: we do need change in Washington. From making health care more affordable and available to reforming education to rescuing social security, the nation requires reform that will renew America’s strength and prosperity. That reformer is John McCain.

Unfortunately, all indications are that Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress will expand, perhaps even to a supermajority in the U.S. Senate. Accordingly, we must consider the consequences of having a unified government under a Democratic Party decidedly out of the mainstream. Unity and bipartisanship have not traditionally been hallmarks of one-party government. The American people deserve a leader who will work with Congress to pass needed reforms but also check its almost certain excesses. That leader is John McCain.

We share the nation’s pride in Senator Obama’s achievements. His candidacy marks a turning point in American history. Even so, in light of the immense challenges ahead we owe it to our country to make our determination based upon who is best equipped to lead America over the next four years. The next president should be John McCain.

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