“Uncertainty” is probably the best word to describe the present state of the Republican Party. The legacy left by the Bush administration is a badly divided party with a serious conflict of interest. Over the past eight years our government grew bigger instead of smaller. We cut taxes without cutting spending. We turned a record budget surplus into a record budget deficit. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama defeat nearly every Republican candidate in a poll-manufactured matchup. Clearly whoever runs as the Republican nominee in 2008 needs to re-evaluate what political conservatism really means, which is why we endorse Arizona Senator Sen. John McCain.
The maverick McCain has always distinguished himself from the rest of his Republican brethren by his ability to see issues beyond party lines. At great risk to his political career, he voted against both of the Bush tax cuts because they did not cut spending. This cost him the support of several Republicans, but we feel it demonstrates McCain’s ability to place common sense above party loyalty. In reflection of his five years as a POW in Vietnam, he refuses to follow the party line on demoting waterboarding from “torture” to simply, “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
However, it is not enough for a Republican president to reject party conventions. Otherwise we would have to support Ron Paul, whose shares little to no common ground with the rest of the Republican Party. In addition to John McCain’s willingness to think outside the box, he also demonstrates a ready willingness to work with members from the Democratic Party as necessary to get things done. He co-authored a bill for campaign finance reform with liberal senator Sen. Russ Feingold. He even worked together with Sen. Ted Kennedy last year on a bill to address illegal immigration. Competitor Mitt Romney often refers to the failed bill as an “amnesty bill,” because of its relative leniency on the treatment of illegal immigrants compared to what the other Republican candidates propose. Although indeed a flawed bill, we felt McCain attempting to fix such a controversial issue through bipartisan means demonstrated much political courage.
Romney, governor of Massachusetts, meanwhile disavows his own work with to provide his state with universal healthcare. Ron Paul’s desire to eliminate the IRS and CIA, among other governmental organizations, would require powers of persuasion beyond even that of the silver-tongued Barack Obama. Mike Huckabee successfully worked across the aisle as governor of Arkansas, but the populist-bent his campaign seemed to take after Iowa soon steered into shameless Christian evangelical pandering. Rudy Giuliani transformed the city of New York from one of the least safe to one of the safest cities in America. We are confused as to what happened to this kinder, gentler Rudy when we hear him spit out venomous Fox News sound bites about the need for national I.D. cards.
John McCain is not perfect either. If elected the next president of the United States, McCain would be 72 years old – the oldest President in our history. He feels we should keep our troops in Iraq for ten thousand years if necessary. However, in a Republican race notably lacking in direction or courage or seemingly any unifying powers whatsoever, we feel John McCain is just as qualified for the job as he was in 2000… if not more so.