Monday, August 11, 2008

Weekly Opinion/Editorial
by Steve Fair

In eighty plus days America will go to the polls and cast their ballots for President of the United States. Every four years, the same tune is played- “this is the most important election in our lifetime.” And each time, the tune is right- it is our most important election. Seldom have Americans had such a clear contrast between candidates than this year.

On the Republican side, you have a veteran U.S. Senator John McCain, R-AZ. McCain is a former POW and highly decorated veteran. On the Democrat side, you have freshman Senator Barrick Obama, D-IL, who did not serve in our nation’s armed forces, yet wants to command them.

Obama has gone on record that he would sit down and talk with terrorist leaders. He has also been against the war in Iraq from the beginning. While that makes Obama popular among the anti-war crowd, it doesn’t endear him to the majority in the military.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said some conservative retired military leaders are concerned about Obama's "apparent lack of understanding on the threat of radical Islam to the United States."

Senator McCain has been consistent on Iraq. McCain says, “the best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.”

Even Obama supporters admit McCain has more experience than their candidate. So to compensate for Obama’s lack of experience, they have opted to sell “hope” and “change,” to the American voter. In fact, Obama’s book coming out next month is entitled, Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise. It will include a campaign photo album from the road, a collection of seven of the hit speeches and new essays outlining his policy proposals.

The first major change President Obama would make would be the increasing of taxes and fees on hardworking Americans. These would be necessary to pay for Obama’s expansion of social programs.

The second major change would be in the area of America’s foreign policy. Obama's foreign-policy pronouncements promise a break from those of the past twenty years. Two tenets are most prominent. One is to engage our enemies and be nicer to our allies. The other calls for leaving Iraq on a set timetable. If Obama is elected President, he has publicly stated all American troops would be out of Iraq in sixteen months.

Gas prices are soaring. Americans are frustrated that we continue to beg the Saudis to pump another half-million barrels a day on their soil and off their shores to ease global tight supplies, when we could pump much more than that in Alaska, off our coasts and on the continental shelf -- and thus save hundreds of billions of dollars.

Yet Senator Obama's change probably wouldn't include more drilling; more nuclear power plants; or fuel extraction from tar sands, shale or coal. Instead, his strategy emphasizes more conservation; mass transit; and wind, solar and alternate green energy. All that is certainly wise and could be a winning combination by 2030, but right now it won't fill our tanks.

McCain is a known commodity. He is pro-life. He is a fiscal conservative. He supports offshore drilling and drilling in ANWA. McCain has worked with Democrats across the isle. When asked why he is supporting John McCain, Oklahoma’s junior U.S. Senator Tom Coburn said, “John McCain is the only person running for President with the courage to veto any legislation that has earmarks in it.” “Americans need to understand that we are in a fiscal crisis and Senator McCain is exactly what we need at this time in our nation.”

The real difference between McCain and Obama is that McCain is a known commodity. Part of that is because he has been on the national scene for over twenty years and has not always followed the party line on issues. McCain has a bottom line- a core- and as his North Vietnamese captors found out, he will only go so far and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.
Obama may have a similar bottom line, core principles for which, in some sense, he is willing to die. If so, we don't know what they are. Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain's decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailers a propaganda coup. In fact, there is little evidence that Obama takes positions that challenge his base or otherwise threaten him politically. Change for changes sake is a fools game. America should go with the person they know the best- John McCain.

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