America is at war overseas and in an economic crisis here at home. Many of her citizens believe the country is on the wrong track. It is for times such as these that men like John McCain are made, to put country first so that it can be put right in its time of need. For this reason, The Examiner endorses McCain for president and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for vice president.
Cut through the high-toned speeches and campaign cut and thrust, and the pre-eminent issues of 2008 become strikingly clear. First, the next president must have the hard-earned experience, unrelenting toughness and uncompromising character to wage and win the war against al Qaeda and other terrorists who seek the destruction of America. Second, he must have an unshakable commitment to restoring honest taxing and spending by government at all levels, the essential first step of which is ridding Washington of pork-barrel “earmarks,” the gateway drug to budget deficits and political corruption.
Most importantly, the next president must be an inspirational leader who can restore for future generations of Middle Americans the enduring virtues – nurturing the energy and innovation inspired by individual liberty, preserving the life-giving bonds of faith, family and fellow citizens, raising up a new generation of public servants who will speak the truth to the American people, appointing judges bound by the actual words of the Constitution, and, finally, never forgetting that, for all her faults, America remains for billions of people around the world the light of freedom, the shining city on a hill that must be defended and preserved.
McCain's adult life has been devoted to this nation's service, including five excruciatingly painful years in a North Vietnamese prison cell in which he provided his countrymen a stirring example of honor lived. He came home, completed his Navy career with distinction, and was elected to Congress – where, as he delicately puts it, he has “never been elected Miss Congeniality.” He has since been an unwavering voice for strong national defense – from support of President Ronald Reagan's bold leadership in winning the Cold War against the Soviet Union to his courageous, early advocacy of the successful U.S. military surge in Iraq.
Domestically, McCain is unique in never seeking an earmark to benefit a family member, political ally back home, or financial contributor. As president, he will veto all earmarks and other pork barrel spending. He believes Americans know better than government how best to spend their hard-earned money, and he promises – in words that make many of his colleagues in Congress swallow very hard – to make famous those in government who waste or steal tax dollars.
Ever the maverick, McCain selected Palin because her record mirrors his own in courageously standing up to corrupt special interests regardless of party and cutting government waste. She has the instincts, temperament and backbone to help restore the Republican Party to its conservative principles and the country as a whole to those foundational ideals of individual freedom, equal justice and government that truly is of law, not of men.
Some friendly closing advice: McCain must rein in his legendary temper and his tendency to personalize differences over policy. Presidential leadership requires a steady hand, always, and McCain must lead from his head, not from his heart. He should surround himself with the best appointees available, then demand their candid advice, especially when it hurts. Palin possesses magnificent political gifts now, but her limited experience in national and international affairs makes it incumbent on her to be extra diligent in mastering the realities of higher office.
While no candidate is perfect, presidents like Harry Truman remind us that defending and enriching America's place in a dangerous world often requires the sometimes rough-hewn character of men and women who always put country first, no matter the cost to them personally. It is precisely for times like these that America needs John McCain and Sarah Palin.