Monday, August 21, 2006

Why John McCain Doesn't Deserve to be President

John McCain is reportedly solidifying his base for a run for the Presidency in 2008.

On the face of it, McCain has everything one could need for a decent shot at it. He's got the war record that John Kerry wishes he had (and tried to convince us that he did). He's got the money and he's got the notoriety. He's surrounded himself with influential friends. He's surrounded himself with press. Yes, it seems that McCain has all the necessary ingredients for a presidential run. But for all that he has, McCain lacks something that America really needs from a president, particularly during such a time as this.

In fact, McCain comes up short on the three commodities that separate ineffective- even horrible- presidents (i.e., Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) from effective and/or noble ones (i.e., Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, and Ronald Reagan). I would even go so far as to say that President Bush lacks an abundance of the three shining qualitites that enabled the great presidents to lead our country through many defining events- the War between the States, the Spanish American War, the years before WW1, the Great Depression, WW2, and the Cold War.

Three things.

Not that these men were all pillars of moral conduct. And they did not all necessarily have backgrounds that prepared them for their moments of truth. For no young man can prepare himself to lead this nation in time of national danger. Many have aspired to, and some have even pretended to have prepared for it in order to con their way into the American Presidency. But these great Presidents had those three things at their core during their time at the helm that made all the difference, personal flaws notwithstanding.

Three things:
1) Moral courage
2) Inward Resolution
3) Unwavering commitment.

It takes moral courage to identify, uphold and pursue the right path when all others cave in to political pressure for the sake of avoiding conflict or for personal profit. It also takes moral courage to admit being wrong- especially when one swims in an ocean full of sharks. Moral courage is what drives a man (or woman) to do the right thing instead of undermining others who pursue that path and shutting the mouths of those who point out such character flaws.

McCain has demonstrated an appalling deficit of moral courage through his co-authorship of the McCain-Feingold Bill, which abridged the right of Americans to engage in political free speech. McCain also undermined President Bush's nomination of justices who would have upheld and defended the Constitution and neutralized the influence of liberal activist judges. McCain seeks to grant amnesty to illegal aliens, at the expense ot those immigrants who have obeyed the law to come here. And McCain did these things not because they were the right things to do, but for his own political expediency. Because of this, John McCain does not deserve to be President of the United States of America.

It takes inward resolution to get up each morning and lead a nation in time of war. In such crises, America needs a visionary president who can see the ultimate outcome, identify the steps necessary to achieve that outcome, infuse his vision in other key people who can marshall their resources to achieve that outcome, and inspire the American people with that vision. And this is crucial: the vision must edify the foundational attributes of this nation: justice, honor, liberty, self-determination, equality, and righteousness. The president must have the resolve to lead the nation onward toward the realization of those principles.

John McCain does not have the inward resolution to uphold and defend the core American values. He has in fact undermined them. The public record reveals John McCain to be opportunistic, self-serving, and anti-constitutional. He has consistently valued his own political advancement above the preservation of our democracy, our Constitution, and our mission as standard-bearer of freedom and justice around the world. Because he lacks the necessary vision and resolve, John McCain does not deserve to be President of the United States of America.

The great presidents saw America as a great country with a vital mission to carry out. They were committed to America's place and role in history, they were committed to the American people, who ultimately deserve full credit for fulfilling that role. These presidents did not demand our commitment; they instead proved themselves worthy of it by demonstrating their own. It took commitment to lead our nation through a war that pitted brother against brother but in the end created, at long last, a truly united United States. It took commitment to lead America through thher establishment of a modern military in order to project power around the world and finally assume our rightful place and moral obligation in the defense of freedom and democracy around the world. Teddy Roosevelt's personal commitment to America's strength and mission ultimately prepared America for WW1 and WW2. It took commitment to lead America through her darkest hours on two fronts over two oceans, and who in the process of gaining the victory became the most powerful instrument of freedom and democracy in history. (John McCain's father was a key military leader in our drive against Japan. Unfortunately, the younger McCain has not retained the patriotism and honor.) It took commitment to lead America out of the doldrums of self-doubt and self-loathing that Carter inflicted upon us, and to regain our ascendency as the defender of freedom in an unprecedented show of our true strength that finally defeated the most destructive and lethal empire in history. It took commitment (weak thought it may be) to get America back into the fight after eight years of Clinton's selling American security to our enemies. John McCain has no personal commitment to America and to the American people. Thus, John McCain does not deserve to be the President of the United States of America.

Dissenters will argue, "How can you question McCain's patriotism? He served in Vietnam! He was a POW! He served honorably- unlike John Kerry!"

I applaud McCain's service, and I always will. But any investment firm will tell you that past performance does not guarantee future results. And I maintain that whatever John McCain was forty years ago, his most recent actions have proven him to currently be a bum.

Now to be fair, I don't see any of those three vital traits in any other Republican contender, and the Democrat pretenders are dangerously bankrupt in all three categories. Still, John McCain has proven by his own record that he shares his unworthiness of the Presidency with John Kerry, Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton who, incidentally, share one other trait with John McCain: the parasitic opportunism of a hagfish.