counter statistics

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Des Moines Register Endorses McCain, Clinton

Here's the editorial re: the Republican choice.

Republican endorsement editorial: Why McCain


The leading candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president present an intriguing mix of priorities, personalities and life stories.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani inspired the city and nation with his confident leadership after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister from Arkansas, charms with homespun humor. Mitt Romney, the multimillionaire investment adviser from Massachusetts, exudes
executive discipline. As governors, both worked across the party divide to improve education and health care in their states.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee brings an actor’s ease to his no-nonsense calls for a return to fiscal discipline.

Yet, for all their accomplishments on smaller stages, none can offer the tested leadership, in matters foreign and domestic, of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. McCain is most ready to lead America in a complex and dangerous world and to rebuild trust at home and abroad by inspiring confidence in his leadership.

In an era of instant celebrity, we sometimes forget the real heroes in our midst. The defining chapter of McCain’s life came 40 years ago as a naval aviator, when he was shot down over Vietnam. The crash broke both arms and a leg. When first seeing him, a fellow prisoner recalls thinking he wouldn’t live the night. He was beaten and kept in solitary confinement, held 5 years. He could have talked. He did not. Son of a prominent Navy admiral, he could have gained early release. He refused.

The one-time playboy emerged from prison a changed, more serious man. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and the Senate in 1986, he has built an unconventional political career by taking stands based on principle, not party dogma, and frequently pursuing bipartisanship.

His first term was touched by scandal when the Senate rebuked him for meeting with savings-and-loan regulators on behalf of campaign donor Charles Keating Jr., who was later imprisoned. That ordeal steered him into championing government transparency and battling alongside Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold for the campaign-finance-reform bill that bears their names.

Time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the face of opposition from other elected leaders and the public. He has criticized crop and ethanol subsidies during two presidential campaigns in Iowa. He bucked his party and president by opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. A year ago, in the face of growing criticism, he staunchly supported President Bush’s decision to increase troop strength in Iraq.

In this campaign, he continues to support comprehensive immigration reform — while watching his poll standings plunge. Some other Republican candidates refuse to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat caused by human activity. McCain has worked on the issue for seven years and sponsored bills to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

McCain would enter the White House with deep knowledge of national-security and foreign-policy issues. He knows war, something we believe would make him reluctant to start one. He’s also a fierce defender of civil liberties. As a survivor of torture, he has stood resolutely against it. He pledges to start rebuilding America’s image abroad by closing the Guantanamo prison and beginning judicial proceedings for detainees.

McCain has his flaws, too, of course. He can be hot-tempered, a trait that’s not helpful in conducting diplomacy. At 71, his age is a concern. The editorial board disagrees with him on a host of issues, especially his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage. McCain foresees a “long, hard and difficult” deployment of troops in Iraq. The Register’s board has called for withdrawal as soon as it’s safely possible.

But with McCain, Americans would know what they’re getting. He doesn’t parse words. And on tough calls, he usually lands on the side of goodness — of compassion for illegal immigrants, of concern for the environment for future generations.

The force of John McCain’s moral authority could go a long way toward restoring Americans’ trust in government and inspiring new generations to believe in the goodness and greatness of America.

You can read it for yourself here.

It will be interesting to see the actual results, as the most recent poll numbers don't favor either of these candidates in the Iowa caucuses.