Posted by Adam @ 7:54 am on November 4th 2008

John McCain for President

I have not, for reasons various, for some time been able to commit effort to writing many blog posts, let alone something requiring the care and attention of an endorsement; whilst this has undoubtedly been a considerable relief for the readers, I thank my fellow bloggers for carrying my dead weight.

Regarding my endorsement, however, I stand by what I wrote for the Primaries endorsement of John McCain (found in this post), because, despite the frantic and apparently unforgiving nature of the campaign, I still believe it. Lightly edited (thanks Brad!), here it is:

Marrying Efficacy with Integrity

Perhaps the most important lesson of the 2000 election which took
place at a time when things were, in general, pretty damn good and
the 9 years that have followed it is that there is never a time when
electing the President is unimportant. As a corollary of this, we should never
convince ourselves that now, this moment, is somehow uniquely special
in its importance, that we need a special candidate now, that
circumstances are sufficiently exceptional to short-circuit the normal
decision-making criteria.

The President should be picked for competence and the correct
positions on the whole range of issues that may confront him or her.
We can’t know which will be the most important issues during the
course of the presidency if we could, we could just vote on those
issues directly, now, and put a computer in charge so we have to
select a candidate with the fullest range of abilities and correct
opinions. the candidate who, for the reasons discussed
above, should be President, is John McCain.

A strong case for McCain himself can be made based
on the situational politics that dominate much of the campaigning in
this, and every, election cycle; the immigration bill, on which McCain
bravely held the correct position, shows the need for a candidate of
McCain’s vision. The promising early results from the ‘surge’, an
effort that McCain had been calling for and which he supported despite
the political risk, illustrate his moral and strategic robustness, as
did his earlier, entirely correct, criticism of administration
incompetence in the administration of the effort in Iraq. Indeed,
these examples clearly do illustrate McCain’s intrinsic worth, but to
tie ourselves to the observation that McCain is the best candidate to
deal with current concerns over Iraq, immigration, economy or growing
protectionism is to obscure the most important fact that McCain is the
best candidate for dealing with the potentialities which will define
any President’s success or failure.

A further temptation to eschew is the temptation to list why you
should not support the other candidates; I believe that a
well-informed reader will see where the other candidates are deficient
as we proceed with the discussion of the qualities that make McCain
the best candidate for President.

The principal areas which we shall discuss are political positions,
competence and character. These are the essential intrinsic parameters
to consider in judging a candidacy.

John McCain is a supporter of free trade and an opponent of subsidies;
McCain understands that free trade, with its competitive environment,
brings out the best in the participants, which enriches us all. McCain
understands that a free trade in labour is also an essential component
of free trade; he has avoided the populist rabble-rousing of the
immigration restrictionists and kept his bearings amidst wild
accusations and specious attacks by make-believe conservatives. John
McCain has opposed torture when the party base have turned a
sanctimonious blind eye and he understands that the benefits of
upholding moral standards are worth the consequent difficulties. John
McCain, furthermore, has understood the importance of American
influence abroad and has steadfastly supported the position that the
US must bear responsibility for its actions regardless of short-term
pain and handwringing from emotionally-mastered idealists. Time and
again, John McCain has taken the authentic conservative
position on issues regardless of emotive appeals to parochialism, fear
and partisanship.

John McCain has been one of the most successful members of the US
Senate. In a venomous and divided DC environment, McCain has been able
to find compromises to further legislation based on sound logic,
despite kneejerk partisanship and demagoguery from Senate colleagues
of both parties. John McCain can set aside past and current
differences, finding and shielding allies along the way, to pursue the
legislation that the nation needs. Indefatigable, John McCain keeps
working until the debate shifts; rather than changing his position to
suit current popular, but fallacious, positions. McCain has stayed
true to conservative values even whilst the party has lost its way;
the ‘maverick’ label does not just reflect McCain’s steadfastness in
the face of perfidious Republican short-termism but also reminds us
that the Republican party, if it is to remain the party most aligned
with conservative values, needs McCain’s leadership. John McCain the
president will not be a signatory to a free-wheeling partisan
boondoggle nor an angry irrelevance unable to work with Congress;
McCain has successfully threaded the needle of being both an effective
and a principled politician and I have faith that he will
continue to do so as President.

Finally, John McCain is a man of great character. Whilst it is
generally hard to judge the worth of the candidate as a man or woman,
due to the relatively unexceptional circumstances in which most
happily live their lives, during his imprisonment in Vietnam John
McCain was put to a test more extreme than the vast majority of people
will ever experience. As is well-known, McCain acquitted himself in
the most honourable and courageous manner possible despite facing
terrible privation and the chance to defensibly escape it whilst
leaving others behind; it should not reflect poorly on the other
candidate that they have never faced such a test of their fibre, but
it shows us the intrinsic value of John McCain the man,
giving us the best possible foundation for faith that he will, as
President, do what is right regardless of how much personal harm he
may suffer as a result.

Other candidates can be judged, as best we can, by their actions in
the course of the more conventional challenges thrown their way by
political life a consideration in which, for reasons implicit in the
previous narrative on McCain’s policy positions and competence, we
believe that McCain still wins hands-down but it would be foolish to
ignore the fact that John McCain came through a terrible test not just
with his honour intact but, rather, with his honour enhanced.

We should not concern ourselves greatly with the obvious missed
opportunities; that John McCain was the best choice for Republican
nominee and for President in 2000 must be apparent to nearly everyone.
We must simply consider that John McCain is the best candidate in the
present, as he is for any other time, and vote for him now, in the


  1. I will give you that we would have all been a lot better off had he won in 2000.

    He, and we, sure have come a long way.

    Comment by Brad — 11/4/2008 @ 12:24 pm

  2. That was good.

    I wish he’d have made that argument on the stump, about being better off if we’d elected him in 2000.

    Comment by Jerrod — 11/4/2008 @ 6:09 pm

  3. That would have been an interesting angle for him to go to. Not least of which because it would be about as strong a repudiation of Bush as you could get. Mixed in, of course, with a fair bit of arrogance and presumption, though in this case, not at all unwarranted.

    Comment by Brad — 11/4/2008 @ 6:13 pm

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