Although Sen. John McCain has locked up the Republican nomination for President, some conservative leaders continue to snipe at him. While I agree with elements of most conservative critiques of Sen. McCain, I could not possibly disagree more with their conclusions – especially if those conclusions cause conservatives to sit this election out.
Sen. McCain is not the lesser of two evils. In fact, he is worthy of the enthusiastic support of every thinking conservative.
I join many citizens in gratitude that a genuine American hero with core conservative beliefs – who has already given so much for our nation — is willing to spend his eighth decade on earth serving a cause greater than himself.
If you are an across-the-board conservative like I am – a fiscal, social and foreign policy conservative – it is in your interest and the national interest to elect Sen. McCain.
It’s not just because either of the Democratic alternatives would jeopardize our security, our economy and our values – though they would. It is because the election of John McCain will substantially advance the conservative principles and values we’ve been fighting for.
In the interest of full disclosure, Sen. McCain endorsed me in the Republican primary for Governor in 2006, even making strong television ads on my behalf. I was honored to have his support in a contested primary that I eventually won. But he never asked me for anything in return, then or now.
I write today on my own, without the knowledge or approval of the McCain campaign. And I do so because I am concerned that some conservatives are heading down a path that will result in the destruction of every principle they claim to promote.
Foreign policy conservatives should have the least concern about McCain. He has the experience and determination to carry the battle to the enemy in what he describes as the “transcendent issue” of our time – the fight against radical Islamic extremists. He is committed to victory in Iraq, and was an early proponent of the surge that has turned the tide.
Both Democratic candidates have made promises of withdrawal that will embolden our enemies and put at risk not only our troops but also the free citizens of Iraq who have trusted us with their lives.
Social conservatives have worked for a generation to promote the unique humanity and value of every human life, and are finally winning the battle of public opinion. Sen. McCain not only has voted pro-life for more than two decades – receiving the endorsement of Arizona Right to Life in every election since 1982 – but has pledged to appoint judges who are committed to constitutional fidelity. He has fought for every conservative appointment to the high court, including Robert Bork.
When we are so close to restoring the promise of the Declaration of Independence – the “unalienable” right to life of every human child – why would any sincere pro-lifer sit this election out? Unfortunately, we know what either Democrat would do – the “litmus test” of commitment to the flawed Roe v. Wade decision is alive and well. Aging liberals on the Court will line up to let Clinton or Obama replace them with liberal justices 30 years younger – preserving Roe and other activist decisions for at least another generation.
Sen. McCain supports marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Like Fred Thompson, he opposes amending the U.S. Constitution to protect marriage unless it is absolutely necessary — which it would be if federal courts overturn state definitions of marriage. For now, he supports state efforts to confirm marriage as the unique bond of male and female.
Economic conservatives should appreciate Sen. McCain’s lifelong quest to reduce the size and scope of government and to end pork barrel spending. He has never voted for a tax increase and is committed to making the Bush tax cuts permanent. He believes in free market solutions to health care, not the government take-over promoted by Democrats.
With a lifetime conservative voting record of 82.3 percent, Sen. McCain’s commitment to our principles stands in stark contrast to his Democratic opponents, both of whom vote conservative less than 10 percent of the time.
The suggestion by one pundit that Hillary Clinton is “more conservative” than McCain is hyperbole on steroids — so factually wrong that it’s just plain silly.
Talk show pundits have bludgeoned us with the list of McCain’s sins against conservative orthodoxy, beginning with his immigration bill.
But consider this – even in dealing with illegal immigration, Sen. McCain’s concern for national security and his recognition of political reality will cause him to do much more to secure the borders than any Democrat. If that’s the only issue you care about, Sen. McCain is still your best hope for progress – the Democrats can’t even given a straight answer about whether they would give drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens.
I first met McCain in 1984, when he came to my office for an interview while I was the editor of ASU’s daily student newspaper. Later, in a debate at ASU, he criticized federal efforts to stop illegal immigration. Consistent with his position today, he expressed concern about rounding up and deporting people who have been here for years. But then he said, “We need to tighten up our border control.”
That’s right – all the way back in 1984, when many of us who are concerned now about illegal immigration were not even aware of the issue – John McCain was on record calling for more border security.
For conservatives, supporting John McCain is not a compromise or a sell-out of our principles. He is a presidential candidate who will strengthen national security, appoint conservative judges, support the sanctity of life, keep taxes low and veto pork barrel spending. He will advance the conservative cause in significant ways.
Every day that conservative leaders grumble and express reservations about McCain increases the likelihood that a liberal Democrat will take office next January.
Then there will be no checks on the liberal tendencies of Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic Congress. The Supreme Court will be gone for a generation. Our right to make medical decisions will be lost. Our economy will be stifled by taxes and regulation. Our border will remain wide open. And we can only pray that our pullback from the war effort does not lead to more attacks in the United States.
For conservatives, that’s an awfully high price to pay because you’re mad about campaign finance reform or a dead and buried immigration bill.