Bill Bennett wrote an article with Seth Leibsohn published both on his website and National Review Online discussing Senator John McCain’s validity as a Conservative candidate for President. The following are excerpts from the articles:
Today, many in the Republican party and the conservative movement are saying some strange things about the prospect of our very likely nominee, Senator John McCain, and his ascent to the GOP nomination. Many think he will destroy the conservative movement if not the Republican party, and many have even said they simply will not vote for him in a general election if he heads the GOP ticket. Moreover, others have even said they would consider voting for Senator Hillary Clinton or that there is simply no difference between Senators Clinton and Barack Obama on the one hand, and Senator John McCain on the other. Some who have said the foregoing are our dear and close friends, allies, and callers.
This sense and sensibility is simply wrong.
We know the conservative indictment against Senator McCain – we hear it every day, and even recite some of it ourselves some days. We concede much of it. There is a great deal on which the senator and we do not agree. And yet there is another brief that needs to be submitted in light of some of the latest things we’ve heard from friends, callers, and others. Namely, that it will not matter to them whether Senators McCain or Clinton or Obama are elected if that is their ultimate choice.
There is a great deal of difference between Senators McCain and Clinton (and Obama), and those records become important as we recognize a few simple facts: We are in an existential war against Islamic terrorists throughout the world. This very week, Senator Clinton was asked what her first act in office would be. She stated that first act would be the beginning of the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq within 60 days. Her first act. That is a surrender to the enemy – there is no other way to portray such a withdrawal and there is no other way it will be portrayed by our enemies and other observers around the world.
Some will say, “She can’t mean it, she’s stronger and more sensible than that.” Caution: Recall that Senator Clinton will be our commander-in-chief from a party that also runs the Senate and House – and the leadership in the Senate and House, not to mention the most active members in them, want us out of Iraq. Even on her most “sensible” day do we think she can be relieved of that pressure? The Democrats on the Hill have been chomping at the bit to make good on their 2006 promises; will she really turn on them? Can she?
Second, we come to the realization that at least one Supreme Court justice is about to retire, and several others will be over age 70 come January 2009. Do we really think the nominees Senator McCain or Clinton (or Obama ) would appoint will be no different?
Let’s go to their records, to the very time-period opponents of Senator McCain cite in their indictment of him.
What follows is a compelling and comprehensive list of differences between McCain and HRC (and what Obama would do as well). In some respects, after reading this list, I am feeling better about McCain as the Republican candidate than before.
McCain has been portrayed as a maverick, a loose cannon on the Senate floor, voting his conscience instead of following the party line in lockstep. And perhaps that is what this country needs – a person that follows his principles.
It is clear that McCain has the experience far exceeding that of his opponents. And the way the proponents of “Clinton again” or “Change” are structuring their campaigns, experience as well as promises will carry a great deal of weight with the voting masses.
Am I sold on McCain? No, I’m not. But given the alternative, I (and you) may not have a choice. We just may have to take our chances.