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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

John McCain: the leader our country needs

    With the end of the Republican National Convention, the official general election campaign for President of the United States has begun. Rarely in the history of this country have the American people been given the opportunity to elect a man whose independent spirit so attracts, whose experience is so comprehensive and whose passionate love of country has been proven through the toughest of trials. John McCain stands ready to lead this country to peace through strength and to prosperity through the free market.
    As America stands once again at its quadrennial crossroads, it will choose between two very different men and two divergent visions for the future. Barack Obama, a brilliant orator and the first African-American candidate for president of any major party, appears to many as a wholly new kind of politician. But there is little new about the policies he espouses. Faced with a war on the brink of victory, he wants to retreat. Faced with an economy in trouble, he wants to raise taxes on businesses that create jobs. Faced with a looming energy crisis, he refuses to consider increased domestic oil production as central to the solution.
    Indeed, Barack Obama's plans for America appear almost identical to those put forth by Democrats in the 1960s and 1970s, which were resoundingly rejected by the American people. Depicted as a transcendental political figure, his record is that of a hyper-partisan who voted the Democratic Party line more often than even the Senate Democrat leadership. Reasonable people can disagree on the issue of abortion, but surely a responsible legislator would support protection for infants born alive in abortion clinics? Barack Obama voted against just such a measure.
    In contrast, John McCain has a long record of opposing his own party when he feels the good of the country requires it. He joined the bipartisan "Gang of Fourteen" to find common ground on the issue of judicial appointments. He supports federal action to halt climate change. McCain championed the cause of immigration reform but has accepted the American people's demand that the border be secured first. He opposes torture and aggressive interrogation, promising to close down the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He has stood fast against corruption and waste in both parties and is a tireless fighter against Congressional earmarks.
    John McCain has proven himself willing to risk his very reputation on what he believes to be right. From almost the very beginning of the war in Iraq, he was loudly calling for more troops to be committed — a very unpopular position. Barack Obama opposed any surge in troops, declaring: "I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse."
    Thus, while McCain was advocating for reinforcements, Obama was demanding a phased withdrawal, effectively agreeing with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said "this war is lost." Now, even Obama admits that the surge has been extremely successful (long after most independent observers had come to the same conclusion). However, Sen. Obama continues to argue that our impending victory is evidence that he has been right all along. While it is true that the United States will soon begin pulling its troops out of Iraq, thanks to John McCain, they will be returning with victory. Barack Obama would have brought them home in humiliating defeat.
    In an absurd Daily op-ed last week, Jimmy Pianka argued that McCain's military experience actually disqualifies him to be commander in chief. Using grievously tortured logic, Pianka suggested that a man who has been in combat and in a POW camp is less qualified to lead our armed forces than a man with no military experience who associates with an unapologetic former domestic terrorist. Pianka condemned America as "a culture still very much enamored with war" and John McCain as "shaped profoundly by violence and cruelty, whose only visible passion is the spread of American values by force," incapable of "compassion and the basic identification with all humans as kin."
    Contrast these maliciously false statements with Senator McCain's actions. After his horrendous treatment at the hands of the North Vietnamese, McCain led the push to normalize relations with that country, realizing the need for national reconciliation and healing. McCain opposes torture on the grounds that it is inhumane to do such things, even to our enemies.
    On a more personal note, he and his wife Cindy were so moved with compassion for a young Bangladeshi girl trapped in terrible poverty that they spontaneously adopted her. These are not the actions of a man warped by violence and rage. Rather, McCain's actions prove that he feels deep empathy and has a sound grasp of the subtleties of this complex world. However, he also has seen the face of evil, and America's allies and enemies alike will have no reason to doubt his resolve in the face of danger.
    Obama, on the other hand, has vowed to bomb our ally Pakistan without its permission while simultaneously promising to talk to our enemy Iran without preconditions. Such a scattershot foreign policy can only serve to confuse our friends and embolden potential foes.

Michael Hawley is a sophomore who has not yet declared a major. He is the president of Tufts Republicans.

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