I have a piece in today’s Washington Times about John McCain and keeping Virginia Republican. Please take a look. Here’s the link — and here’s the full article:
McCain and Virginia
November 30, 2007
By Frederic V. Malek
I am doing double duty in politics this year, serving as both co-chairman of the McCain campaign for president and as finance chairman for the Republican Party of Virginia. Officially, a state finance chair is supposed to remain neutral in primaries. But in this case, I committed to John McCain before accepting Ed Gillespie’s request to be state finance chair. I am glad I did and now see a nexus between the two.
That 2008 will be a tough battle for Republicans will not come as news to anyone. In Virginia, we Republicans have suffered three consecutive statewide losses (governor, governor and senator), and earlier this month lost our majority in the state Senate.
Furthermore, we face a popular former governor, Mark Warner, in the 2008 Senate race. Most of the margin for Democrats has come from Northern Virginia, and The Washington Post in fact has already endorsed Mr. Warner, declaring in Sunday’s editorial that the leading announced Republican candidate, former Gov. Jim Gilmore, was confrontational and irresponsible. In fact, Mr. Gilmore was a tax cutter who controlled spending and was an outstanding governor. He also helped carry the state for President Bush. Nevertheless, The Post editorial underscores the challenge we face in both the senatorial and presidential race.
We will easily keep the Commonwealth of Virginia in the red column in 2008 with a strong presidential candidate with unchanged and unshakable conservative principles and the proven national security experience to lead our nation in time of war and peril. Mr. McCain is the only candidate who meets these criteria, and this is why I enthusiastically support him. He can win in Virginia, and his lead will help our Senate candidate win as well. Both races will be helped by the two outstanding leaders who occupy the other two top statewide offices, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Bob McDonnell.
Why Mr. McCain, and why can he win, especially in Virginia? There are four core reasons: Principles, consistency, character and national security. Let’s briefly review each of these:
Principles: You may or may not agree with Mr. McCain on all of his positions, but one thing you can be sure of is that he will always be guided by his core beliefs and not by polls. Isn’t this the definition of leadership, and isn’t this what America needs in a leader?
Consistency: There is only one candidate in either party who has demonstrated consistency in his beliefs over time — who knows clearly who he is and what he stands for. The consistency in core beliefs extends from his defense of an unpopular “surge” strategy in Iraq (which now seems to be working) to social issues such as the right to life. He hasn’t changed his views to comply with voter preference — he has led voters toward his views.
Character: At my alma mater, West Point, we had a clause in the cadet motto that extolled “the courage to choose the harder right vs. the easier wrong.” Make the right choice no matter what the personal or political price might be. It encompasses principle and consistency, but is the embodiment of character. No one in recent history has demonstrated this more vividly than Mr. McCain. Most of us are aware of his refusal to be released after 3 years of torture and deprivation in a Viet Cong hell hole, unless his men and colleagues accompanied him. Who among us could show such courage? Such honor? He has continued these choices throughout his career and taking on the administration’s conduct of the Iraq war early on (supporting more troops and different tactics), forcing the administration to tighten its standards on torture prevention (who could know more about this or speak with more moral authority), and recently supporting the vastly politically unpopular but successful surge in troops.
National security: Mr. McCain has been immersed in national security his entire life and has shown leadership and skill at every turn. This extends from his time leading a Navy fighter squadron and his leadership of a group of prisoners of war, to his twenty years in the United States Senate where he has been a rigorous, consistent and effective voice on defending our country. He knows his stuff — he doesn’t need on the job training. And he has the right staff to make those truly hard decisions under duress that strike the right balance between national defense, moral authority, and respect for others.
These are the reasons I support Mr. McCain. They are also the reasons why Mr. McCain can carry the Commonwealth of Virginia and lead our Senate and congressional candidates to victory. A principled, consistent, experienced man of proven high character in a state that since the birth of the Republic has itself exemplified these characteristics.
Frederic V. Malek is a graduate of West Point and the Harvard Business School, and served in Vietnam. He also serves on a number of charitable and educational Boards.