Tuesday, December 18, 2007

SAM's GOP Endorsement: John McCain

I'm not a fan of fast food, but as far as crappy burgers go, Wendy's is pretty good.

John McCain has been picking up key endorsements in the last week or so, including the Boston Globe (as in close to New Hampshire) and the Des Moines Register. And over the few weeks spent thinking about SAM's endorsements, choosing which Republican to back was never really hard. McCain leaps to the front of a somewhat lackluster field through a combination of his own merit and the shortcomings of his rivals.

First, let's deal with McCain's faults.

Yes he's old, he'd be the oldest elected president ever. But his mother is amazingly spry at 95, and 71 isn't ancient.

Yes, he pandered. He sucked up to Fallwell, Robertson and anyone else he thought might serve his policitical ambitions. He climbed into bed with them so fast you'd have thought they were Rita Hayworth (again, he's old).

But for all the miles on his odometer, and all the nauseating pandering he would still make the best president of any GOP contender. Let's take a moment to bash his rivals:

Mitt Romney: talk about pandering. Wow. Check out CP's post for more on this, but my problem with Romney is we just don't know who we'll get if he's elected. Will he be the moderate voice he was in Massachusetts or the guy who said he wanted to triple the size of Guantanamo? My bet's on the latter (remember the line from Clear and Present Danger: They want what every first term administration wants, a second term).

Rudy Giuliani: Liked him as mayor, but he's just too much of a loose cannon. Before intelligence reports revealed the true (unimpressive) state of Iran's nuclear program, you could see his trigger- finger twitch. He's also pandered to the Republican base, but to a respectable and understandable extent. The 9/11 mystique around Rudy is 75% BS, so in the end what's he really running on? A drop in crime that was essentially mirrored in other big cities around the country (and, to the extent that New York's happened sooner and slightly more dramatic, due in large part to an innovative police chief); and getting rid of sex shops in Times Square.

Mike Huckabee
: Basing his run on credentials as a Southern Baptist minister (he believes the world "may" only be 5000 years old, and rejects evolution), a consumption tax (patently unfair to poor and middle class who have to spend a much higher percentage of their wealth), and Chuck Norris' endorsement. Next.

Fred Thompson: The biggest dud of a performance since Tom Hanks put on an laughable accent in the Terminal.

Ron Paul: Cooky guy, interesting ideas, not a president.

That leaves McCain. He is a strong leader who has been at the political game a long time. He would step into the Oval Office on day one and know exactly what he wanted to do, and how to get it accomplished.

During the whole Iran showdown, he caught a lot of flack for his bad joke of singing "Bomb Iran" to the tune of "Barbara Ann," but as commander-in-chief he would not rush to war or put our troops in untenable situations.

He's been there, he's too experienced to do that.

McCain is also the only GOP candidate, with the exception of maybe Paul, with the guts to stand up against torture and try to curb US involvement in its legally ambiguous (at best) practice.

On Iraq, he was also the lone voice in favor of the surge strategy that has become so popular among Republican candidates. He was one of the first to call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. He also tackled the minefield of campaign finance reform, and has battled tirelessly against pork barrel spending.

He has the character and leadership ability to make an excellent president, and the only time he gets into trouble is when he gets away himself in exchange for votes. His ambition can have a high price.

In the end, I don't think McCain will win his party's nomination, but, as his gaining momentum indicates, we haven't heard the last of him yet.

So, for me, he's a lot like a Wendy's double cheeseburger with a vanilla frostee. Looks good, and if I was a different guy I might go for it, but ultimately I just don't have to stomach for him.

1 comment:

C. P. Coleta said...

As a SAM blogger, I second the blog's motion to endorse Senator John McCain of Arizona for the GOP nomination for President. He'd make for a hell of an opponent for any Democrat he runs against, and, if he were to win, I'd be more than content to live with him for 4-8 years.