Wednesday, January 31, 2007

John McCain for President

It's still very early in the campaign for the 2008 Presidential election. A whole slew of hopefuls (and many who are more wishful than hopeful) have thrown their hats into the ring, including:
Al Sharpton (Civil Rights Activist) (thank God he's not really a contender); Barack Obama (D-Sen, IL), who many think could be a contender, but I think the American people will recognize the fact that he doesn't have the experience; Bill Richardson (D-Gov, NM); Chris Dodd (D-Sen, CT); Dennis Kucinich (D-Rep, OH), who is again not really a contender; Duncan Hunter (R-Rep, CA); George Pataki (R-Gov,NY), who probably doesn't stand a chance with New Yorkers if Rudy runs; Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-Sen, NY), who many think has a very real shot at being the first female President of the United States, though I think her popularity is more due to the support of her husband than any real political value she might have; Jim Gilmore (R-Fmr Gov, VA); Joe Biden (D-Sen, DE), who I personally don't think stands a realistic chance of winning the nomination; John Cox (R), who is someone you have probably never heard of, which makes his chances virtually nonexistent; John Edwards (D-Fmr Sen, NC), again, no chance in 2004, no chance in 2008; John McCain (R-Sen, AZ), who is probably the best Republican chance so far; Mike Huckabee (R-Gov, AR); Mitt Romney (R-Gov, MA), who has flip-flopped a bit to win Conservative support; Newt Gingrich (R-Fmr Spkr, GA); Rudy Giuliani (R-Fmr Mayor, NYC), who might drum up some real support if he ever makes a real announcement; Sam Brownback (R-Sen, KS); Tom Tancredo (R-Rep, CO), who seems to have a one-issue candidacy against illegal immigration; and Tommy Thompson (R-Fmr Gov, WI).
Feeling a bit overwhelmed yet? Well, it's understandable. Many of those people haven't officially announced their candidacy but most have formed "exploratory committees," which just means that their exploring the possibility of getting together enough money and support to even make a quasi-respectable stab at the White House. Others in the list are actively being pursued by grass-rooters who are trying to recruit them into a run, while the remainder are just the usual flotsam and jetsam that muddies the waters of every Presidential election.

Through all the fodder we're fed by the mainstream media and the candidates themselves, it can be quite difficult to get to the meat of the issues and determine which candidate (if any) really have what we're looking for in our next President. I've been doing some watching and listening myself, and while it's entirely too early to make a call or endorsement of any kind, my early favorite is Arizona Senator John McCain.

When it comes to the issues that matter most to me, McCain is solidly a Conservative (with a Conservative rating of 83 by the American Conservative Union) with the right views.
  • McCain on Foreign Policy:McCain (like most of the Presidential candidates currently holding seat in the Congress) voted for authorization of the war in Iraq. McCain stands out among his peers, however, in his firm support of investing the resources necessary to finish the job right and emerge victorious.
  • McCain on the Environment: McCain has expressed concern over global warming, opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and opposes ethanol subsidies.
  • McCain on Social Issues: While McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, arguing that each state should be able to choose whether to recognize gay marriage, his true colors came through when he supported the Arizona initiative to ban gay marriage. McCain supports protecting unborn children from the moment of conception, which would "implement equal protection ... for the right to life of each born and preborn human person."
  • McCain on Illegal Immigration: When asked about a bill that contained funding for building a fence on the Mexican border, McCain said, "In the short term, it probably galvanizes our base. In the long term, if you alienate the Hispanics, you'll pay a heavy price. By the way, I think the fence is least effective. But I'll build the go**amned fence if they want it." McCain, unfortunately, supports amnesty and citizenship for the twelve to twenty million illegal aliens currently residing in the United States, with the notable exception of those diagnosed with HIV. In a November 2006 speech before GOPAC, McCain said, "I understand the magnitude of the problem. We can do all that is possible to defend our borders from illegal immigration, and affirm the rule of law. When we have made these improvements, we must still recognize that job opportunities here and poverty elsewhere in the world will still attract immigrants desperate to improve their lives, and who will use increasingly desperate measures to do so. We can devise a rational and fair process, which protects our security and affirms America's promise as a land of opportunity." While I understand McCain's stance on immigration, I respectfully disagree with giving amnesty and citizenship to those illegals currently in our country.
  • McCain on Education: McCain supports the teaching of intelligent design education in public schools. McCain has stated that he believes "all points of view" should be available to students. Though McCain initially opposed stem cell research, he later came out in support of the controversial method of research. A bill supported by McCain would have allowed federal funding of stem cell research on lines of stem cells derived from discarded human embryos created for fertility treatments but would have banned any form of human cloning. Essentially, discarded human embryos could then have been put to better use while at the same time preventing the creation of embryos specifically for the purpose of research. This is not an entirely unacceptable approach to stem cell research.
  • McCain on the Middle East: McCain firmly supports the state of Israel. McCain tried to persuade FIFA to ban Iran from the 2006 World Cup given Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments that the Holocaust never happened (which is a criminal offense in Germany where the competition was held).
  • McCain on Senate Confirmations: McCain was instrumental in brokering a bi-partisan agreement in the Senate that resulted in three of the most contested Bush appellate court nominees receiving a fair up-or-down vote on the Senate floor, and contributed greatly to the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, two recent Conservative additions to the Supreme Court.
  • McCain on Gitmo: McCain, a former Vietnam POW, authored the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. McCain argues that American military and intelligence personnel in future wars will suffer for abuses committed in 2006 by the US in the name of fighting terrorism. While it might be easy for millions of armchair quarterbacks across the country to defend the treatment of prisoners at Gitmo (and I'm one who personally believes that they probably deserve whatever treatment they receive), it makes sense that someone who has been there (as a POW in Vietnam) is far more qualified to speak on the matter.
  • McCain on Campaign Funding: With Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, McCain pushed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (the "McCain-Feingold Act"), which banned unlimited donations to national political parties ("soft money") and curtailed issue-advocacy ads.
  • McCain on the Deficit: McCain has emphasized deficit reduction over tax cutting, and is one of the Senate's most outspoken critics of pork-barrel spending.
While there is no perfect candidate for the White House, I currently have been unable to find a more well-rounded choice than Senator John McCain. And while Independent (and former Democrat) Senator Joseph Lieberman has said that he will not run for President in 2008, I have recently toyed with the thought of what a McCain-Lieberman Republican ticket would look like. They're good friends with many of the same views, and would make a solid team that would help us to win the war in Iraq without bowing to the pressure to withdraw troops, leaving the fledgling Democracy to fend for herself.

Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.


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