John McCain should be and will be the 2008 Republican candidate for President of the United States. If nominated, as expected, he will be our next president.
Let’s first visit why this man of honor and conviction should be the nominee. As I wrote in an opinion piece on November 30 (The Washington Times, November 30), the four core reasons are principle, consistency, character, and national security. Apparently, a lot of better minds than mine agree with this assessment.
As for principles, I argued that Senator McCain will always be guided by his core beliefs and not by polls. Listen to what the Manchester Union Leader said in his December 2nd endorsement: “McCain can be trusted to make informed decisions based on the best interests of his country, come hell or high water.” Or as the Portsmouth Herald stated in its endorsement: “McCain will tell you the truth, even if it costs him the election.”
Principles of course lend to Senator McCain’s consistency. As the Des Moines Register states in its December 16 endorsement: “time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the force of opposition from other elected leaders and the public.” Or listen to Senator Lieberman in his December 17th endorsement statement: “You may not agree with John McCain on every issue, but you can always count on him to be honest with you about where he stands, you can always count on him to stand for what he believes is right for our country – regardless of pressure from politicians or vested interests.”
And principles and consistency of course are a result of character that gives Senator McCain the courage to make the right choice no matter the political price. The Boston Globe in its December 15th endorsement stated it well: “McCain’s views differ from those of this editorial page in a variety of ways. Yet McCain’s honesty has served him well.” Even more powerful was Senator Lieberman’s statement: “John McCain has proven that we can trust him to do what is right for our country, not only when it is easy, but when it is hard; to do what is necessary, not only when it is popular, but when it is not; and to tell us the truth, not only when it is easy to hear, but when it is not.”
Beyond these personal characteristics that have resulted in these four key editorial endorsements, and the endorsement of a great bi-partisan Senate leader, there is Senator McCain’s life long leadership and skill in defending our nation, in preserving national security. But don’t listen to me – look at the ringing endorsements of four Secretaries of State, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Alexandra Haig and Lawrence Eagleburger.
I would now add a fifth core reason John McCain should be the Republican nominee – electability. The most recent polling (CNN/Opinion Research of December 11th) shows McCain beating Hillary Clinton in a head to head while Mrs. Clinton bests the other leading GOP contenders by 5 to 11 points. Respected columnist David Broder saw this even before the poll when he observed in his December 2nd column: “If the Republican Party wanted to hold on to the White House in 2009, it will grit its teeth and nominate a ticket of John McCain for President and Mike Huckabee for Vice President.”
Well if he’s the man of proven principles, consistency, character, and national security excellence, and if he’s the Republican candidate who can win in November, – why will he get the GOP nomination? It can be summed up in these events that will play out in January:
Governor Romney will be embarrassed on January 3rd in Iowa by Mike Huckabee winning or coming in a close second. Senator McCain, as everyone expect, will do poorly in Iowa despite the welcome endorsement of the Des Moines Register. After all, he opposes ethanol subsidies, and only about 4 percent of Iowans will turn out for the caucuses. The story out of Iowa will be Governor Huckabee who in the face of a Romney juggernaut and badly outspent, with a barrage of negative ads, came back to score. David will slay or at least embarrass Goliath.
New Hampshire on January 8th, which is a true primary with large turnout, will be the real test. Its outcome will be largely determinant in nominating our candidate, and John McCain will defy the expectations of all those who have written him off and will win or finish a close second. The senator has been consistently rising in the polls and is now in second place, not too far behind Romney. Senator McCain will close this gap with the help of Romney’s uninspiring showing in Iowa, by the 44 percent of New Hampshire voters who are independents, by the large number of registered Republicans who have indicated an absence of deep commitment to their favored candidate, and by the large group of voters who are currently undecided. He would be aided further by a Clinton victory in Iowa, encouraging independents to vote in the Republican primary vs. a competitive Democrat Primary. The endorsements from the Union Leader, Herald, and Globe will help, but the main boost to McCain will be the Granite States’ voters realizing they want a candidate whose principles, consistency, character, and fortitude match their own. As they search deep within themselves, they will realize, as did Joe Lieberman, that John McCain is the only candidate with these characteristics – and the only candidate who can unite and lead this country.
The South Carolina primary is eleven days later. In these eleven days, Senator McCain will be celebrated as the “comeback kid.” The reasons he came up from the back of the pack will be headlined, analyzed, and discussed endlessly. And the reasons will be clear to all that they are what leading columnists and editorial boards have finally perceived; principles, consistency, character, national security, and electability. These reasons will be embraced by a state where military tradition and character are prized, and Senator McCain will win the South Carolina Primary on January 19th.
The force of momentum from these early primaries could turn this into a two man contest – McCain vs. Giuliani. If so, where do you suppose conservative voters will go? Even if it isn’t a two man race at this point, John McCain will be poised to roll to victory in Michigan, and Florida, and the February 5th Super Tuesday races.
John McCain will be the Republic nominee for President. And he will be the next President of the United States. If so, the American people will be well served.