In 1862, when some of Abraham Lincoln’s political allies, furious over the losses at Shiloh, demanded the removal of Ulysses S. Grant from the leadership of the Army of the Tennessee, the first Republican President responded with unequivocal fervor.
“I can’t spare this man,” Lincoln said. “He fights.”
What John McCain requires in a Vice Presidential choice today is an individual who exhibits the best qualities of an intelligent political fighter. He needs a hard worker – a loyal, principled leader – an individual whose reputation is above reproach. And we are convinced that in this case, the right choice is clear.
Pitted in a deadlocked campaign against an eloquent yet inexperienced young evangelist of Hope and Change, McCain requires an individual who with every argument will prove that the Obama-Biden ticket is uninterested in real change or reform. He or she must be equipped to make the case that the ideas they espouse today are the same tried and failed liberal solutions that Biden has supported in his 36 year Senate career – the vestiges of the Great Society made shiny and new for a generation of voters who has no memory of their destructive effects on the nation. He or she must possess a bright policy mind and a telegenic demeanor for explaining these policies in the course of the ongoing debate. And in an election this divisive, McCain’s choice must be prepared to fight for new areas of the voting populace, expanding the center-right footprint while simultaneously inspiring the portion of the grassroots base still unenthused with the top of the ticket, and not threaten to break the delicate coalition of the willing who have swallowed their pride to support a former political foe.
One of these tasks alone would not be easy – together, they seem nigh impossible. Yet it is our great fortune today to be blessed with an individual who has all of these qualities and abilities. He is a hard worker, bright, capable and principled. He is a family man, strong in his values, his faith, and his character. And he is truly a man of the right.
He is the Congressman from Virginia, Eric Cantor.
While a young man, Cantor has served in federal office twice as long as Barack Obama – and was a member of leadership when Obama was still in Springfield. In that short time, he has established himself as a dedicated and intelligent member of the House. As the Chief Deputy Whip, he has proved to be an organizer, an innovator, and a natural leader. His knowledge of foreign affairs is above what one would expect from a member of the House, and as a devout Jew, he is one of Israel’s greatest allies in Washington and has a wide range of evangelical supporters. He is pro-life without reservation, a strong supporter of gun rights, a fiscal conservative and a loyal advocate for the war on terror. And beyond being a member from a state McCain must carry to win in November, Cantor has proven himself as one of the best fundraisers in the House, with a massive base of support in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
Above all, though, Cantor is a good man – ethical, motivated and hard working. He is the kind of choice who best represents the face of the conservative movement in the decades to come. We would relish the opportunity to seem him in a debate with Joe Biden, and we have no doubt that he would win.
Cantor’s selection would be welcomed by conservatives, applauded by most moderates, and inspire confusion and revealingly insulting attacks from the left.
It would elevate a strong young voice for principled conservative reform to the national stage, not merely for political gain, but because he deserves the platform. And it would cement McCain’s election as something that is not just a block against four years of Obama-Biden, but a positive good for the center-right coalition for the future.
John McCain’s story is one of determined heroism in the face of torture and fear. It is a story that is profoundly moving. Though few of us at Redstate supported McCain in the primary, all of us view him as a patriot.
John McCain makes people of all political stripes proud to be American. Eric Cantor will make you proud to be a Republican.
We need him. He fights.