Wednesday, October 1, 2008

McCain for president: A certain leader for uncertain times

By Boston Herald editorial staff
Wednesday, October 1, 2008 - Updated 8h ago

Another sobering start to an exceedingly sobering week - but one which points to the need for a political leader who is steady in the face of crisis, mature in judgment and able to reach across the aisle to break the gridlock that has for too long gripped Washington.

That man is Sen. John McCain and at this critical moment in history, this paper is pleased to endorse his candidacy for president of the United States.

McCain won a lot of hearts and minds around here in 2000, and we can’t help but wonder how history might have been different had he won his party’s nomination and the White House back then.

But there is no going back. There is only the future and it is impossible to envision the future of this great nation being put in the hands of an articulate but inexperienced first-term senator from Illinois.

Being commander in chief isn’t the place for on-the-job training; it’s a job for someone who has already proven his leadership skills - in battle, as a prisoner of war and during more than two decades on the floor of the Senate.

John McCain’s heroic resume isn’t just about his sacrifice and his experience; it’s about what he learned from those experiences. And on that issue his own words from “Faith of My Fathers” are telling:

“In Vietnam I had come to understand how brief a moment a life is. That discovery did not, however, make me overly fearful of time’s brisk passing. For I had also learned that you can fill the moment with purpose and experiences that will make your life greater than the sum of its days. I have learned to acknowledge my failings and to recognize opportunities for redemption.”

John McCain sought that purpose - and, yes, at times redemption - in public life and in public service. And that helps account for that independent streak that has often driven members of his own party slightly wild, but has endeared him to millions of American voters who, truth be told, usually put doing the right thing ahead of party too.

•This Senate maverick has spent years forging coalitions - on campaign finance reform, immigration reform, on judicial nominations - all with the intent of getting things done in the toxically partisan world of Washington.

His efforts at budget reform, at controlling congressional earmarks - not just because taxpayers can no longer afford them, but because of the corrupting effect they have on the political process - have surely not endeared him to fellow Republicans. But McCain has never shied away from a good fight - on issues worth fighting for.

•The economic future of this nation surely has to top the list of those issues right now.

Whatever becomes of the latest version of a bailout proposal, it is clear that this nation is in for years of economic uncertainty.

So who do we want to help guide us through that uncertainty?

McCain insisted during his Friday night debate with Barack Obama that “the first thing we need to do [post-bailout] is get spending under control in Washington.

“We’ve let government get completely out of control. . . the point is we need to examine every agency of government,” he said, adding that cutting ethanol subsidies and doing away with Defense Department cost-plus contracts would top his list. And he’d support a spending freeze on everything but entitlement programs, defense and veterans benefits.

The most that Obama will concede is that some of the $800 billion in new spending programs he’s proposing “are probably going to have to be delayed.”

Bailout drama continues
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