Why I Support John McCain

“I’m going to fight for my cause every day as your President. I’m going to fight to make sure every American has every reason to thank God, as I thank Him: that I’m an American, a proud citizen of the greatest country on earth, and with hard work, strong faith and a little courage, great things are always within our reach. Fight with me. Fight with me.”

~John McCain, 2008

When the returns started coming in, and results were being reported on Super Tuesday I found myself in a room full of Mitt Romney supporters. Josh Romney stood quietly in the back of the room watching the numbers. There was a sense of disappointment. A resignation that the campaign was indeed at an end.

And yet, each of us was hopeful for what the future would bring. Whether that future was 2012 and another Romney candidacy, or 2008 and a McCain presidency, we did not know.Over the course of the summer I quietly held my nose when it came to John McCain. He was no conservative’s conservative. I turned my attention to the Democratic primary, and thoroughly enjoyed watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama punch each other in the stomach.

It wasn’t until late in the summer, as the Republican National convention approached, that I realized that I needed to figure out why and how I was going to support McCain.

The candidate made it extremely easy, or easier, when he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. For all the vitriol and hatred and lies that have been spat out about Palin, she remains a classy, intelligent, sharp individual. She is no doubt, a conservative’s conservative. And in every way, qualified to have her name on the Presidential ticket.

But there was still that issue of McCain himself. His campaign of reaching across the aisle was tiresome. And ineffective. I wanted to see him stand for the very principles that allowed the United States to rise from obscurity into the greatest nation in the history of the world. I wanted to hear more about personal liberty and responsibility. I wanted to hear more about honor and freedom and all those other great words that Americans love.

In short, I wanted McCain to speak like Obama. I wanted to be inspired by a stump speech.

And then I realized that inspiring stump speeches, sloganeering, and millions of people chanting in unison will mean nothing when real leadership and when real experience are needed. Joe Biden may claim that Obama is unqualified, yet has “steel in his spine”. But Obama has never demonstrated that steel.

McCain has.

John McCain showed incredible courage as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He endured countless beatings and cruel torture. He put his fellow prisoners before his own desires. He knows what it means to sacrifice and suffer for freedom. And while being a prisoner of war is not qualification in itself to serve as President, it does speak volumes about the man’s character. His resolve, his love of country. Instead of returning home bitter and disillusioned, he returned determined, motivated, and willing to dedicate the rest of his life to fighting for freedom and democracy. He said at his Republican National Convention speech that,

“I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn’t my own man anymore. I was my country’s.”

While John McCain was enduring torture and brutality in a war prison, Barack Obama’s future mentors were home in the United States setting off bombs and encouraging young people to “kill their parents.”

The contrast is stark.

John McCain understands the realities of evil in the world. He lived through that evil for over five years. And as a United States Senator for the last 20 years he has witnessed firsthand the intent of our enemies, both home and abroad. He understands that it is only through military might that this country thrives and survives. He knows that any sign of weakness will lead to the emboldening of our enemies.

Something Joe Biden also understands. He warned us all that an Obama presidency would be met with an immediate crisis. A crisis that Obama would apparently, have no idea how to handle.

Not exactly inspiring words.

But my support for John McCain goes beyond his dignity and courage as a military man. It has become clear over the course of the recent weeks that McCain is determined to reform the Washington political machine. He is determined to root out the corruption that has caused the current credit crisis. Corruption that Obama has his fingerprints all over. He is determined to eliminate earmark spending, those pork barrel pet projects that inflate every bill they have ever poisoned. Billions and billions of dollars will be saved when pork projects are rejected. Billions that can be used to generate quality change, quality improvement.

It has become clear that McCain is ready to empower the individual citizen. John McCain has no delusions of “spreading the wealth.” He understands the very basic economic principle that the less government involvement in the free market, the more wealth is created. He understands that government handouts create a culture of dependency. Or, as Mitt Romney put it, “dependency is death to initiative, risk-taking and opportunity. Dependency is culture killing. It’s a drug. We’ve got to fight it like the poison it is.”

John McCain will undo that poison of dependency. Barack Obama might know what it is like to accept a handout. But he also knows the fruits of independence. His grandparents sent him to the finest private schools. Using money they earned in the free market. Using money that came from their own hard work, not the innovation and productivity of others.

I support John McCain because he is anti-dependence. In fact, more so than any other issue or ideology or association, it is the dependency doctrine that sways my vote.

Barack Obama is the most dependency laden candidate since Jimmy Carter.

Personal liberty and responsibility are the reasons Joe the Plumber might one day own his own business. They are the reasons that you and I can someday own our own business. Or accept a six-figure corporate job, or become an organizer on the streets of Chicago.

John McCain absolutely understands this principle.

He understands the relationship between our national security and our dependence on our enemies for oil and gas. That same poison of cultural dependency applies to our energy policies. As long as we are sending billions of dollars to hostile regimes then we will always enable and abet them in their mission to destroy our way of life.

Barack Obama talks about energy independence. But has never once acted on behalf of it.

Americans declared their independence in 1776. Today we need to do declare it once again. This time not from the British, but from the idea that government is the solution to the challenges that face the United States. Our great successes and our greatest triumphs have always been because of the American individual.

John McCain knows this. Barack Obama resents it.

Today we need to declare our independence, not by using eloquence and inspiration. But by acting. By doing. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

And that is why I will be voting for John McCain in 2008.