The next president of the United States must be a consensus builder to lead this nation through the treacherous terrain of our times economic struggle, bloated, debt-ridden government, Social Security, energy and health care crises and daunting foreign policy decisions on a nearly daily basis.
Sen. John McCain carries a 25-year record of compromise and consensus building, acknowledged foreign policy acumen and a lifetime record of military heroism. It is the ideal resume to qualify him as the next president of the United States. We endorse McCain for president based not on campaign trail excellence but on his record, which is the best indicator of what someone would do as our next leader.
The president is, first and foremost, the nation's commander in chief. McCain's record as a Navy aviator in the Vietnam War is a stirring story of patriotism and selflessness and his behavior as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam demonstrated his care values of duty, honor and country above all else.
It's one thing to say national security is McCain's strength. It's quite another to have it on record. McCain was an early critic of the failed strategy in Iraq - and took heat from leaders of his own Republican Party for it. He was a proponent of new "surge," was willing to put conviction and knowledge over the easier, more popular sentiment, and has been proven correct as the new Iraqi government has gained control of its destiny with the help of that surge.
McCain's opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, was willing to promise a pullout date to our enemies and has openly talked of working with rogue dictators who possess weaponry that threatens our country's very existence.
Had Congress reacted properly to an initiative McCain helped lead in 2005, the current financial crisis probably would not be occurring. McCain was co-sponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have reined in many of the abuses involving "subprime" mortgages.
These actions are a matter of record. When examining Obama, there is almost no record and what there is suggests someone who would govern much too far to the left at a time when the country desperately needs centrist solutions to solve the problems listed above.
Obama's historic nomination should be a source of pride to all Americans, for it says much about where we have come as a nation. His oratory is often inspiring and he is clearly the more polished campaigner. But these strengths should not be allowed to obscure troubling questions about his experience and character. He was elected to the Senate only because of efforts by the Chicago political machine. His associations closer than he admits include William Ayers, a leader of the 1960s Weather Underground terrorist organization, and anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
While candidates should not be painted into a corner over everyone they have ever known, these are associations just too hard to ignore except by a national media obsessed with getting Obama elected and far too eager to inaccurately portray McCain as four more years of President Bush.
From a policy standpoint, Obama's tax cut plan is a thinly disguised transfer of wealth that borders on socialism and would do critical harm to the small businesses that employ most Americans. His promise to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans makes great campaign oratory, but it simply can't be done since about 40 percent of Americans don't pay federal taxes.
He promises change. Candidates have been promising that for decades. Just because he does it more eloquently than most doesn't separate him from all the others who have done so, especially when his record suggests he would not be able to garner consensus needed to effect such change.
We endorse McCain for a lifetime record of dedication to this country and a proven ability to build consensus.