In the beginning of this long and tired race, almost a year ago, I was a Giuliani man. I waffled here and there when Fred got in and thought that I could support him. I did support him, but I always questioned his rather lack-luster campaign. Well–that failed, though it probably shouldn’t have. He would have made a great President. Rudy, too would have made a great President and still may one day. His toughness, his skill, his managerial style of take no prisoners, take no B.S. is something I valued.
I think it’s a shame that his strategy failed.
But if it is true that Rudy endorses McCain, then that sways my vote. I’m one of those you occasionally read or hear about that is swayed by what his/her guy says. If Rudy goes with McCain, so do I. It’s early yet, but all indications are that Rudy will announce that he is out of the race tomorrow and he will endorse John McCain for President. I don’t come at this lightly.
In 2000, I worked “the ground game” in California for Mr. McCain. I believed he would be a better choice than President Bush, but when it was clear he would lose, I backed the Republican nominee. I continue, much to the chagrin of many of my friends and colleagues, to be proud of both of those votes. I think history will record President Bush as doing just fine, thank you–especially during a time of war.
Since that time, Mr. McCain has ruffled feathers. He has gone against the Republican mainstream a number of times. He upsets the conservative faithful and he makes Rush Limbaugh say that his nomination will mean the end of the Republican party as we know it. I don’t disagree, I just don’t care. I’m a big Rush fan and I listen to him every chance I get. I agree with him on conservative principles and I think he’s a smart, serious–and funny–guy. But, I’m not all that big on keeping things as they are–especially when it comes to a shifting and changing nation. I get that conservatism shouldn’t change, but I also think it’s key to win the war we are in and McCain can and will do that.
But, principles are principles. I disagree with John McCain in several areas, but only one key area: I think his adherence to the idea of anthropogenic global warming is absurd and borders on sycophantic. He buys it because in the end, he too believes we can stop it from happening–and that means he believes the government needs to do more. He’s wrong, of course. He’s wrong that global warming is a problem, he’s wrong that it is anthropogenic and he’s wrong that government can “fix it.” There’s nothing that needs fixed.
However, I also noticed that after he got an earful from the Republican faithful that they really couldn’t give a rat’s petootie about global warming–nor his opinion of it–it suddenly faded from his stump speeches. Good. I’m OK with that. Does he still believe it? Probably. Is it going to be a hallmark of his campaign against a Democratic nominee? Probably not.
No, I’m still a voter who considers there to be one major issue in this election and that issue is the War. This war is a serious matter and a clash of ideologies that must be won—and it must be won by the west. John McCain believes that, too–and he will fight to win, even when the chips are down. He’s shown that.
As for the “gang of 14” that conservatives don’t like regarding the 14 senators 7 R’s, 7 D’s) who agreed to vote against filibustering–or whatever, so what? Did it matter? No. As for McCain-Feingold—yeah, that was a lame stunt, but has it made a huge difference? No. As for immigration, sorry–I depart with the conservative faithful here. I’m not a anti-immigration, I don’t think we should end immigration and while I do think a fence would be a good thing, I don’t think it imperative to our life as a Republic. That’s just me, though–and I know there are those who disagree.
On the economy, McCain isn’t really strong. The meme from Conservatives is his vote against the Bush tax cuts, but his vote was principled and I agree with his principle: He said we should not cut taxes if we’re not going to cut spending as well. As Arnold Schwarzzeneger said about my home state of California, “we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.” That’s true of the US as well.
He’s got Jack Kemp on his economic team, he’s strong on the war, he’s pro-life, he believes ultimately in smaller government, he might just end No Child Left Behind (another absurd policy that many conservatives love–and I don’t). He’s got a strong presence, a good set of experiences–and he’s from the west (though I know many Arizonans who won’t vote for him).
Nope–he’s not perfect. He’s got some issues with the far right. OK, I can live with that. I can live without Rush Limbaugh’s support of him as well. Whatever the case–now that Giuliani is apparently out of the race and apparently will support McCain, I will too. I’ll be even happier if he picks Rudy as his running mate.
That’s a winning ticket–and I’m for it.