Thursday, December 20, 2007
By Boston Herald editorial staff
There are times in this nation’s history so perilous that they cry out for a steady, experienced leader, a person so trusted that we would put the fate of this country in his hands.
This is one of those times, and Sen. John McCain is that person.
He has a brand of courage that is rare in the public arena these days - a courage forged in part by those years spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and in part by more than two decades of fighting for what he believes in on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
In an age when too many candidates are driven by polls and focus groups, fashioning and re-fashioning their “core” beliefs, McCain is a man of unwavering conviction and integrity. His values, his beliefs, his goals are what they were when he first entered public life, what they were in 2000 and what they will be a decade from now.
And those goals include a safe and secure America, a country that is respected around the world for honoring its commitments, for encouraging and respecting the rule of law whether in Baghdad or Guantanamo Bay.
During a meeting with Herald editors and reporters Wednesday McCain was accompanied by James Woolsey, a man who has served in two Republican and two Democratic administrations, including a stint as CIA director under President Clinton. If Woolsey’s presence was designed to send a message - well, message received, at a number of levels. Yes, McCain is well regarded by those who share his commitment to national security. And, yes again, there are those who operate above the partisan fray.
The two men were passionately critical of the latest National Intelligence Estimates that downplayed the danger of a nuclear Iran.
“It’s not up to the intelligence community to make policy,” McCain said, adding that their conclusions about Iran’s future nuclear capability is “not substaniated by the facts on the ground.”
The war in Iraq has, of course, loomed large both in the national consciousness and as a campaign issue. McCain knew that the administration’s early military strategy was not enough to get the job done. And he was among the first to sign on to this year’s troop surge as devised by Gen. David Petraeus.
“John Edwards used to call it ‘the McCain surge.’ He doesn’t anymore,” McCain said. “Al-Qaeda isn’t defeated in Iraq, but it’s on the run.”
But John McCain’s expertise doesn’t begin and end with national security. He is now a firm believer in the power of tax cuts as a driver of the economy. He saw the Bush tax cuts work and vows to make them permanent. He also supports an end to the alternative minimum tax, which has managed to snare far too many middle class families in its unindexed grip. This week the Congress moved to increase the exemption for the middle class, but that’s merely a one-year fix.
McCain’s name, of course, is also synonymous with immigration reform - the kind of real reform that will both safeguard our borders and provide a path to citizenship - not amnesty - for the 12 million illegal aliens who now live among us. The senator freely acknowledges that his support for immigration reform threatened to jettison his presidential candidacy.
“What we miscalculated was the total mistrust in government,” McCain told the Herald. “They didn’t believe we could secure the borders.” But this isn’t 1986. The technology has changed. But more than that, it takes commitment. A McCain administration would have that commitment.
On immigration reform, on tax reform, on campaign reform McCain has proven time and time again that he has the ability to reach across that increasingly wide partisan divide and make things happen.
This week Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who was himself on the Democratic presidential ticket in 2000, took the unprecedented step of endorsing McCain in the upcoming Republican primaries. He did so with these words:
“In this critical election, no one should let party lines be a barrier to choosing the person we believe is best qualified to lead our nation forward. The problems that confront us are too great, the threats we face too real, and the opportunities we have too exciting for us to play partisan politics with the presidency.”
The Boston Herald agrees. And so this newspaper too will break with its decades-old tradition of endorsing candidates in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. In doing so we also address our words particularly to those millions of independent voters here, in New Hampshire and around the nation who can choose to cast their ballot in either party primary.
The choice this year is indeed clear. John McCain should be the next president of the United States and the Boston Herald is proud to endorse his candidacy.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Romney's migration: He shouldn't need to lie
REPUBLICANS, please identify which of your presidential candidates said the following:
"We're not going to round up 12 million people and send them out of the country."
John McCain? No, Mitt Romney, saying in May that he would deport some but not all illegals -- which is also John McCain's position.
Please identify which of your presidential candidates said this:
"They require people signing up for, registering and receiving, if you will, a number, a registration number, then working here for six years and paying taxes, not taking benefits -- health, Medicaid, food stamps -- and so on, not taking benefits, and then at the end of that period, registering to become a citizen or applying to become a citizen and paying a fee. And those are things that are being considered. I think those are reasonable proposals."
John McCain? No, Mitt Romney -- supporting John McCain's position on immigration in 2005.
Earlier this month Romney sent a flyer to New Hampshire households stating that McCain would grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens. That is a lie. Both McCain and Romney would grant benefits to immigrants only after they receive citizenship.
If Republicans are voting for Mitt Romney because they think he would be tougher on illegal immigration than John McCain would be, they need to explain how Romney suddenly switched from supporting McCain's position just two years ago to attacking it (with distortions) this year.
And don't get us started on Rudy Giuliani, who has said time and again that as mayor of New York he only supported deporting illegals who were criminals. Mr. Mayor, they're all criminals. That's where the word "illegal" comes from.
The fact is, neither Romney nor Giuliani nor McCain has a pure conservative record on immigration. The difference is, Republicans know for sure that McCain isn't hiding his true position. The same cannot be said of Romney and Giuliani.
Friday, December 14, 2007
McCain is No Ordinary Hero
THERE IS only one presidential candidate with the courage, character, and conviction to lead this country: John McCain.
I can't say I recall Oct. 26, 1967. I was 2 when John McCain was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese. But I've seen the chilling footage. I've heard his band of brothers attest to his bravery. I've listened to him humbly describe the acts of humanity he witnessed during his years in prison. Most impressive, I've watched him build a life of service to his country, without bitterness or recrimination.
McCain is no ordinary hero, and these are no ordinary times.
America's ability to maintain a thriving economy and a strong defense hinges on electing a president willing to make the tough calls. McCain's career has been defined by independent leadership. His relentless attacks on pork-barrel spending haven't won him popularity contests in the Senate cloakroom, but he can sleep at night knowing that he made the right choices for America.
True to his conservative values, McCain understands that fiscal restraint requires setting priorities and sticking to them. We have urgent national challenges - wars on multiple fronts, skyrocketing debt, unfunded entitlements - and yet, Congress still finds the time and the dollars for pet projects that deflect resources from our true national interests. McCain is the only candidate with the experience and conviction to level with Americans and force Congress to do the right thing.
He's also the only Republican who can win. American voters evaluate candidates with two criteria: first, on their issue positions. Does she or he believe what I believe? Education policy is my top concern. As one of McCain's advisers on the issue, I've discussed the challenges of providing an excellent education to every child. He is willing to do what it takes to get us there.
At the same time, it's rare for a voter and a candidate to agree on absolutely everything. Case in point: McCain and I disagree on the issue of abortion, but we maintain a mutual respect. Millions of Americans feel the same way.
That's why the second criterion is more of a gut check. Americans are aspirational people. We seek leadership. We crave integrity. Today's voter is in search of a president who can elevate politics above self interest and petty partisanship.
McCain's approach to the troop surge in Iraq is a perfect example. Critics assailed the plan as Quixotic at best and ill conceived at worst, but McCain believed it would work. His standing in the polls plummeted. He refused to change his position. "I'd rather lose an election than a war," he said - spoken like someone who has been on the battlefield. That's leadership. That's presidential.
The defining moment of my time as governor was Sept. 11, 2001. I recall with clarity and horror the experience of that day. My understanding of what it means to lead changed forever, and I have a much deeper awareness of the challenges associated with keeping an open society safe. It takes more than excellent management skills and inspirational rhetoric. Certainly, a president needs to muster both.
It takes the ability to see the larger picture. Combating terrorism depends on a strong military and excellent intelligence. No candidate has better judgment when it comes to how and when to deploy force than John McCain. It depends on strong allies. No candidate has more experience on the international stage, and no candidate is more respected by our friends and feared by our foes. And it depends on a keen understanding of the geopolitical forces that limit our ability to operate in our best interests - from poor border security to environmental meltdown to dependence on foreign oil. No candidate knows these issues better than McCain.
This election offers the rare opportunity to choose the right man for the right moment. Let's take it and be proud we did.
Jane Swift served as acting governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Yesterday the Union Leader threw its consierable weight behind John McCain with its endorsement. They noted that while they don't agree on all fronts that, "What is most compelling about McCain, however, is that his record, his character, and his courage show him to be the most trustworthy, competent, and conservative of all those seeking the nomination." Kudos to the Union Leader for recognizing the candidate that is best qualified to be commander-in-chief.
John McCain is the man to lead America
From the Union Leader
On Jan. 8, New Hampshire Republicans will make one of the most important choices for their party and nation in the history of our presidential primary. Their choice ought to be John McCain.
We don't agree with him on every issue. We disagree with him strongly on campaign finance reform. What is most compelling about McCain, however, is that his record, his character, and his courage show him to be the most trustworthy, competent, and conservative of all those seeking the nomination. Simply put, McCain can be trusted to make informed decisions based on the best interests of his country, come hell or high water. Competence, courage, and conviction are enormously important for our next President to possess. No one has a better understanding of U.S. interests and dangers right now than does McCain. He was right on the mistakes made by the Bush administration in prosecuting the Islamic terrorist war in Iraq and he is being proved right on the way forward both there and worldwide.
McCain is pro-life. Always has been. He fights against special-interest and pork-barrel spending, and high spending in general, which ticks off liberals and many in the GOP who have wallowed at the public trough. Yet he also has the proven ability, unique among the contenders, to work across the political divide that has led our government into petty bickering when important problems need to be solved.
We have known John McCain for many years. We will write more about him in the days ahead. For now, we leave you with this to ponder:
When McCain was shot down and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese, he was repeatedly beaten. When his captors discovered that his father was a top U.S. admiral, they ordered him released for propaganda purposes. But McCain refused, insisting that longer-held prisoners be released before him. So they beat him some more. He never gave in then, and he won't give in to our enemies now.
John McCain is the man to lead America.