Friday, January 04, 2008
Pressing the Point.
Not pretty. But 72 is the new 68.
ALWAYS RIGHT. We earned massive uninterest when we reluctantly endorsed John McCain for the presidency last month. But given our record of being right about (almost) everything, it seemed we should share this blog entry from a genuine New Hampshire blogger who got to meet most of the candidates. Maybe he's as much of an idiot as Instapunk, but, well, here you go:
When I head into the voting booth Tuesday, I will be casting my vote for John McCain. If, a year or so back, you had told me that that's what I would be doing come primary day, I would have politely told you that you're nuts -- there's no way I could vote for the "maverick" Arizona Senator. So what has happened? How could I possibly be supporting somebody that gets regularly panned by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and others that I respect on the right? The answer is easy: the New Hampshire primary process. Because the hallmark of our state's unique position as the kickoff for the presidential races is retail politicking, we get to see most of the candidates up close and personal -- if we choose to do so, which I have...
[T]hanks to my online activities here at GraniteGrok.com, my weekly column in the Laconia Daily Sun, and the Saturday morning radio program, I have had additional opportunities to interact with several of the candidates and their closest advisors on a very personal level... [O]ne hopeful stands out from the rest: John McCain. I can attest that this is a man who doesn't pre-screen the questions that come his way and is ready to take on all comers.
While I like Rudy Giuliani, my second choice in this cycle, he just doesn't hold a candle to the Senator when it comes to having the ability (desire?) to answer standard questions from the regular folks outside of the town meeting atmosphere. In one instance, when walking beside me towards his campaign bus, the Mayor refused to answer a simple question about the trash-to-energy industry -- quite expansive in New York State -- telling me that he "simply cannot walk and answer substantive questions." I was then politely sidetracked by one of his handlers. Needless to say, as I was feeling rather disposed to vote for him at the time, I was taken aback by this brush off. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't trying to pull a "do you know who I am" moment or anything like that, but his local NH people actually DO know who I am -- and knew me to be favorable to Hizzoner at the time.
McCain and his people are completely opposite in this regard -- and not just for the likes of me. At every town hall meeting that I have attended, the campaign staffers have had to practically drag their man kicking into the bus in order to make the next stop in a timely manner. The problem? He is so comfortable with his beliefs, opinions, and thoughts, that when he engages the folks, he actually communicates with them for real. When you have nothing to hide, and you are up front with your core beliefs and ideals, there is no "trick question" one might come up with that can't be answered.
In addition to his connectivity with the people, there are the issues themselves.
Many Republicans believe that their nominee must stand opposed to abortion. There is no ambiguity here. Senator McCain definitely fits the bill on this one. For people like me, the new world war with the Islamo-fascists trumps all else. I believe that the path to victory starts with the front in Iraq. Nobody has been a stronger advocate for finishing the job than John McCain. And while you might be able to fathom his knowledge of the military and governmental players from about the globe from bits and pieces you catch at public appearances and on TV, I can assure you that you have only scratched the surface.
Several months back, I had the chance to take a ride on the Straight Talk Express, where I ate chicken wings with this genuine American hero. We had nearly an hour of conversation about a variety of things, including some details about military strategies and the realities on the ground in Iraq. I cannot stress enough how impressed I was with his understanding and awareness of these matters. Add to that his personal experience in Viet Nam, and you get a person with insight from the perspective of the soldiers that must fight wars as well. This is a man that will be ready to be Commander-in-Chief on day one. Beyond that, I have participated in a number of "Blogger Conference Calls" with the Senator. Given the wild-west nature of the blogging community, these were no-holds barred exchanges where, again, the sense of his awareness on a variety of matters both great and small was always plainly in evidence.
"But Doug, what about illegal immigration?" I am confident that McCain "gets it" when it comes to this one. At a town hall meeting in Wolfeboro just after the defeat of the so-called "comprehensive" immigration bill, he duly noted that Americans had spoken and want the borders verifiably sealed before anything else gets done in this area. It is the rare politician that acknowledges being wrong on a matter, and recognizes the collective voice of regular people.
Beyond all that, I think it's imperative that the Democrats are prevented from gaining the presidency during this moment in time. McCain still carries great appeal among Independents and even a fair number of Democrats. In a phone conversation with a prominent local Democratic leader this past Monday, he admitted to me that if McCain were to end up as the president, he would be OK with that. The president must stand ready to be the leader of ALL Americans, not just members of one party or the other. It is a good bet that McCain has the ability to attract enough votes to win it all for the GOP next November. If our Democrat friends admit this possibility as being one they can live with, then perhaps we can at least throttle back some of the bitterness that has gripped our Nation since the 1992 election. That's a notion I'm sure we can all agree with...
By all means, take a good, long, close look at his blog. I'm not sure that those who dislike McCain can ever warm up to him. I suspect it's a generational thing (which is not good). I don't have to like him to respect him -- or to accept that even in person we might not like each other -- while acknowledging that of all the people in the race, he's the one I'd reluctantly, finally, and ultimately willingly trust to negotiate the dangerous rapids we face. But then I grew up with a bunch of those old intransigent WWII bastards. I'm used to rigid and choleric old men. I know they frequently understand more than they let on. Then they tell you the truth as they see it, which you can sometimes come to terms with and sometimes not. But at least the lines are clearly drawn. I don't expect others to feel the same way. Honestly. But I'm thinking it might be time for an irascible old man to deal with the vicious untrained pups of the New Age, whether they're Putin, Ahdumjihad, Assad, Ban Ki Moon, Kim Jong Il, Pinyin, Osama bin Laden, or divers Euro-Weeny chihuahuas.
I also think I've figured out his real position on torture. If it has to be done, the President should do it himself. (He's guested on 24. How does that compute with his supposed squeamishness?) It's an old guy thing.
I know Fred is old too. But seeing him lay down the law in Die Hard 2 doesn't quite give me that same feeling. Sorry.