September 5, 2008

A Republican Revival? McCain vs Obama

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character….” –Noah Webster

The campaign between John McCain and Barack Obama took a turn to the right this week. After last week’s “feel your pain” Demo-Goguery in Denver, Republicans took to the podium for some straight talk in St. Paul, and tens of millions of Americans tuned in.

A week ago, there was considerable consternation in our editorial shop as Sen. McCain was preparing to announce his running mate ahead of the Republican Convention.


For the last three presidential election cycles, Democrats have run Ivy League elitists, Leftist darlings like the populist potentate of eco-theology Albert Arnold Gore, the treasonous Jean-Francois Kerry, and now, Kerry’s lapdog, the most liberal of the Leftist cadre inside the Beltway, Barack Hussein Obama.

Because the Democrats have run candidates far left of center, Republicans have, by necessity, fielded candidates George W. Bush and John McCain, who certainly share Ronald Reagan’s principles in regard to national security and foreign policy, but have moderate records on some domestic, economic and social policies.

The consequence of electing a moderately conservative Republican president in 2000, and reelecting him in 2004, was devastating to congressional conservatives downstream as the number of conservative Republicans gave way to an increased number of moderate Republicans who were, in significant ways, indistinguishable from Democrats. This washout ultimately cost Republicans their majorities in both the House and Senate.

The logical choice for Sen. McCain’s VP from the field of contenders was Mitt Romney, but there was significant concern that, in a campaign against ultra-Leftists like Obama and Joe Biden, McCain would choose a centrist running mate.

Enter Gov. Sarah Palin.

Within minutes of confirming that Gov. Palin was McCain’s VP choice, consternation yielded to celebration. Suffice it to say that we believe Gov. Palin is a brilliant choice, and speaks volumes about the direction of a McCain presidency.

Sen. McCain has been “The Gentleman from Arizona” for so long that there is some question about whether he can make the leap from Senate diplomacy to White House executive leadership. It is promising that McCain has been steadfast in his convictions for all his years in the Senate. For example, Sen. McCain has never taken an earmark while his colleagues on both sides of the aisles have been defrauding American taxpayers with every pork-barrel project imaginable.

It is also commendable that John McCain is teachable, so much so that when he finds himself in a hole, he stops digging. When deciding he is wrong on issues, such as voting against the Bush tax cuts, he is willing to change his position.

British macroeconomist Sir John Maynard Keynes, heralded by the Left, said this of entrenched thought: “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping the old ones, which ramify, for those brought up as most of us have been, into every corner of our minds.” When a liberal criticized him for altering his economic theory, he responded, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Democrats could take a lesson on “change” from Keynes. They are mired in antiquated socialist doctrines that have never worked, and they continue to roll them out in perpetuity.

As for the Republicans, at their convention they outlined a vision for America that has a strong record of success. And make no mistake: In the next eight years, the McCain-Palin ticket has the potential to restore more than the conservative losses of the last eight years. This ticket has the potential to revive the Reagan Revolution, and I do not deliver such lofty declarations flippantly.

I believe McCain-Palin can be aptly characterized as the Bulldog-Barracuda ticket, and that prospect has both entrenched Republicrats worried about not only their diet of graft, but indeed, the future of their employment.

What follows are a few excerpts from key Republican speeches. (The full texts of the speeches are posted at our 2008 Convention Resources page, where you can also find the Republican and Democrat political platforms.)

Fred Thompson:

We need a president who understands that you don’t make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don’t lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history. Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases. They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline … or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business,” don’t worry … it’s not going to affect you. They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the “other” side of the bucket! That’s their idea of tax reform.

The Senate has always had more than its share of smooth talkers. And big talkers. It still has. …[T]he Democrats present a history making nominee for president. History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for President. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat-controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.

We need a president and vice president who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking. And we need a president who doesn’t think that the protection of babies before birth or a newly born baby is above his pay grade. The man who will be that president is John McCain.

John McCain’s bones may have been broken but his spirit never was. Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be president. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. A man who never quits is never defeated.

The respect [McCain] is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, “Who is this man?” and “Can we trust this man with the presidency?”

Joe Lieberman:

What is a Democrat like me doing at a Republican convention like this? The answer is simple. I’m here to support John McCain because country matters more than party.

My Democratic friends know all about John’s record of independence and accomplishment. Maybe that’s why some of them are spending so much time and so much money trying to convince voters that John McCain is someone else. I’m here, as a Democrat myself, to tell you: Don’t be fooled. God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man.

Sen. Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man, but eloquence is no substitute for a record.

Mitt Romney:

I spent 25 years in the private sector. I’ve done business in many foreign countries. I know why jobs come and why they go away. And I know that liberals don’t have a clue. [Democrats] think we have the biggest and strongest economy in the world because of our government. They’re wrong. America is strong because of the ingenuity and entrepreneurship and hard work of the American people.

Mike Huckabee:

When John McCain received his country’s call to service, he did not hesitate and he did not choose the easy path. He sat alone in the cockpit, taking off from an aircraft carrier, to fly in the unfriendly skies, knowing that there was a good chance he might not make it back. And one day, he didn’t make it back. He was shot down and captured, brutally tortured. He could have eased his own pain, even cut short his imprisonment, just by uttering a few simple worlds renouncing his country. But then, as now, John McCain put his country first. And he knew – he knew that to return with honor later was better than to return without it now.

John McCain doesn’t want the kind of change that allows the government to reach even deeper into your paycheck and pick your pocket, your doctor, your child’s school, or even the kind of car you drive, or tell you how much you have to inflate your tires.

Let me make something clear tonight: I’m not a Republican because I grew up rich. I’m a Republican because I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life poor, waiting for the government to rescue me.

Rudy Giuliani:

We agree with Joe Biden. Tough times require strong leadership, and this is no time for on-the-job training. Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.

Governor Palin represents a new generation. She’s already one of the most successful governors in America and the most popular. And she’s already had more executive experience than the entire Democratic ticket combined. She’s been a mayor. I love that. I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.

Sarah Palin delivered a speech Wednesday night that drew 41,000,000 viewers – almost as many viewers as the Democrat’s presidential candidate, Barack Obama, drew for his keynote speech last Thursday night. Notably, 10 networks carried Obama’s speech while only six carried Gov. Palin’s remarks. Those who tuned in for Gov. Palin’s comments understand why she attracted that many viewers. Read on:

I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man.

I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.

Barack Obama has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or even a reform, not even in the State Senate. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory,” except when he’s talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger … take more of your money … give you more orders from Washington … and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.

America needs more energy; our opponent is against producing it. Victory in Iraq is finally in sight, and he wants to forfeit. Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he’s worried that someone won’t read them their rights. Government is too big; he wants to grow it. Congress spends too much money; he promises more. Taxes are too high, and he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan. And let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, and raise payroll taxes, and raise investment income taxes, and raise the death tax, and raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. … How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.

My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of ‘personal discovery.’ This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn’t just need an organizer.

Though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you … in places where winning means survival and defeat means death … and that man is John McCain.

Our nominee … is a leader who’s not looking for a fight, but is not afraid of one either.

He’s a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years, and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight. And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief.

John McCain:

I have a privilege given few Americans: the privilege of accepting our party’s nomination for president of the United States, and I accept it with gratitude, humility and confidence.

A word to Sen. Obama and his supporters: We’ll go at it over the next two months – you know that’s the nature of this business – and there are big differences between us. Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that’s an association that means more to me than any other.

And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.

I’m very proud to have introduced our next vice president to the country, but I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington. And let me just offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second crowd: Change is coming.

We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.

I’m not in the habit of breaking my promises to my country, and neither is Gov. Palin. And when we tell you we’re going to change Washington and stop leaving our country’s problems for some unluckier generation to fix, you can count on it. We’ve got a record of doing just that, and the strength, experience, judgment and backbone to keep our word to you.

I don’t work for a party. I don’t work for a special interest. I don’t work for myself. I work for you. I’ve fought the big spenders in both parties … and the first big-spending, pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it. I will make them famous, and you will know their names. You will know their names.

I’ve fought corruption…. I’ve fought to get million-dollar checks out of our elections. I’ve fought lobbyists…. I’ve fought crooked deals in the Pentagon. I’ve fought tobacco companies and trial lawyers, drug companies and union bosses.

I’ve fought for the right strategy and more troops in Iraq when it wasn’t the popular thing to do. And when the pundits said my campaign was finished, I said I’d rather lose an election than see my country lose a war.

I don’t mind a good fight. For reasons known only to God, I’ve had quite a few tough ones in my life. But I learned an important lesson along the way: In the end, it matters less that you can fight. What you fight for is the real test. I fight for Americans. I fight for you.

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when we valued our power over our principles.

We’re going to change that. We’re going to recover the people’s trust by standing up again to the values Americans admire.

We believe everyone has something to contribute and deserves the opportunity to reach their God-given potential. We’re all God’s children, and we’re all Americans. We believe in low taxes, spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk-takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor. We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities. We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans, government that doesn’t make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself.

My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back find a new one that won’t go away.

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained, but what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice. Parents deserve a choice in the education of their children, and I intend to give it to them. Sen. Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students, and when I’m president, they will.

We’re going to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much. We’ll produce more energy at home. We will drill new wells off shore, and we’ll drill them now. We’ll build more nuclear power plants. We’ll develop clean-coal technology. We’ll increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We’ll encourage the development and use of flex-fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.

We have dealt a serious blow to al-Qa'ida in recent years, but they’re not defeated, and they’ll strike us again, if they can. Iran remains the chief state sponsor of terrorism and is on the path to acquiring nuclear weapons. Russia’s leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small, democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world’s oil supply, intimidate other neighbors, and further their ambitions of re-assembling the Russian empire. And the brave people of Georgia need our solidarity and our prayers.

We face many dangerous threats in this dangerous world, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I know how the military works, what it can do, what it can do better, and what it shouldn’t do. I know how the world works. I know the good and the evil in it. I know how to secure the peace.

I hate war. It’s terrible beyond imagination. I’m running for president to keep the country I love safe and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals – to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.

My friends, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country for many years. But I’ve been her servant first, last and always. I’ve never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I didn’t thank God for the privilege.

[As a Naval aviator in Vietnam] I liked to bend a few rules and pick a few fights, but I did it for my own pleasure, my own pride. I didn’t think there was a cause that was more important than me. [But] I was blessed by misfortune. On an October morning … I found myself falling toward the middle of a small lake in the city of Hanoi, with two broken arms, a broken leg, and an angry crowd waiting to greet me. I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people. I was never the same again; I wasn’t my own man anymore; I was my country’s.

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier, because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank him, that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other, for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight.

We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history. Thank you, and God bless you, and God bless America.

Quote of the week

“I’m not running for president because I think I’m blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.” –John McCain

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