Can you believe it has been two years? For two years we have listened to candidates build platforms, argue their cases and tear down their opponents. Now we look at the final two candidates and the question that should be on everyone’s mind is this: who offers the best solutions for this country? My answer is John McCain.
Note: Also check out OFB's editorial endorsement on John McCain, here.
The man who should have been the next president of the United States, Gov. Mike Huckabee, aired this amusing video during his program on Fox News tonight as part of his opening (humorous) monologue:
Well, here's the story. I first heard Sen. McCain was coming to town last Friday. When I discovered he was coming on Monday morning at a rally starting at 9:00 a.m., however, I was disappointed. I have a class at 11:30; I never skip class, but even had I wanted to, I couldn't, since there was a quiz.
That aside, I wondered if maybe just maybe there would be enough time to squeeze in the rally. I've been to rallies in 2000 and 2004, and I really hated to miss the opportunity to cheer on “my candidate” this year. There is something about the atmosphere of a rally which is worth experiencing, and just seeing the living, breathing candidate (and his entourage) is an amazing experience. It makes the race seem all the more personal.
Doors opened at 7:00 a.m., at which point the New Town amphitheater was rather empty, but by 9:00 a.m. it was relatively crowded for an early morning, weekday rally. Rep. Kenny Hulshof (running for governor) started the series of speeches at 8:45 a.m. or so. Amidst live country music from a local band, Mike Gibbons (running for attorney general of Missouri) and my district's U.S. congressman, Todd Akin (a Covenant Seminary alumnus), spoke as well. Finally right before 10:00 a.m., retired Sen. Jack Danforth (R-MO), now heading up McCain's effort to stop voter fraud, and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) spoke.
Then, nearly perfectly on queue, the motorcade pulled up — you could see it, since this was an outdoor event — and out came Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ). It struck me as interesting that I was seeing two members of the Gang of 14 at once.
After Graham's introduction, McCain started speaking and a few things were striking. He seemed much younger, more passionate, more, well, John McCain-y, then he has seemed in a long time. Sen. McCain's voice boomed as he gestured wildly, defending Joe the Plumber, explained his plans, countered Sen. Obama's “spread the wealth” remarks, and worked his way to the crescendo of “Fight with me […] Stand Up! Stand up and Fight! Fight with me […] Now let's go win this election.”
It ended roughly like his nomination speech, but in person it was even more powerful. It works not just because the words are eloquent, but because the idea of Sen. McCain arguing for Americans to stand up and join him in a fight, fits his personality and his story. “We never hide from history. We make history.” McCain is a fighter, and a genuine American hero, for his service. That makes his call for so effective. While politically I have often had differences with him, I have been and remain confident he is the best man for the job. I supported him in the 2000 primary, and though I did not vote for him this primary season, I'm glad to have him as the nominee. It was an honor to see him in person.
Be sure to check out the photos I posted yesterday. I missed a few of my favorites, which I will post in the near future.
I've had an amazingly fun last two days. In short, with more detail later:
- Yesterday, I discovered a signed copy of Bill O'Reilly's new book, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, was at my door in a DHL envelope. It seems I won Parade Magazine's Bold Fresh Contest that I entered a few weeks ago. What a wonderful surprise!
- I saw Sen. John McCain today at New Town. I've posted some photos. The story will come tomorrow, hopefully. This makes for 3 presidential rallies I've attended, one in each of the last three presidential election cycles. Everyone should attend one.
One has to wonder, why doesn't this bit of McCain's nomination speech get plastered everywhere by the McCain campaign? If McCain is going to win this race, this inspiring call is the sort of thing that will do it. Hope, change, all that stuff — it goes right along with this video. Does McCain need a new campaign manager, perhaps? I could free up some time on my schedule…
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.
Fight for what's right for our country.
Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.
Fight for our children's future.
Fight for justice and opportunity for all.
Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.
Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.
Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We're Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.
Thank you, and God bless you.
John McCain is not a guy known for his stunning speeches, but somehow he managed to do a pretty amazing follow up to Sarah Palin's excellent example of oratory. His acceptance speech, I think, will be remembered as one of the most sincere and well crafted in recent decades. Key to the speech was that it moved up to its climax slowly and patiently, reaching its pinnacle in his war story, which came later rather than (as I had expected) earlier. The fact that he used his POW story as an explanation for how he went from a egotistical fly boy to a “Country First” presidential candidate was powerful and gave a strong push down the slope of conclusion to his speech, so that he was able to end with the masterful crescendo above, which he shouted out over thunderous applause.
For a man whose preferred venue is the town hall, this was nearly magical.
The speech came across as humble, confident and connected. His critiquing of his own party — which delegates did not seem to know what to do with — was fitting and, I believe, will ultimately be effective. He presented a case for a return to more sensibly conservative Republicanism, and I think that is a brand far more attractive than the “compassionate conservatism” that the party had rebranded to in recent years. McCain was like the CEO of the Coca-Cola Co. announcing the return of Coca-Cola Classic after months of New Coke.
I'm excited. Let's win this election, shall we?
That's how Sarah Palin defined “hockey moms” such as herself, and boy did it fit. She brilliantly delivered attacks that struck deep into the weaknesses of the Obama-Biden campaign while doing so in a humorous and intelligent way. Even many reporters that were clearly in the tank for Obama have been gushing about her speech tonight, and for good reason: she didn't hit a home run, she hit a grand slam.
Go Palin! I'm looking forward to President Palin someday down the road, and President McCain in January!
I'm really excited about Sarah Pallin. I think she is going to shake this election up, as early polling is indicating. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are in town today, alas previous commitments made it impossible for me to go hear them. I hope they swing through this swing state again before the election — then, hopefully, I will catch them.
In any case, the ticket looks really, really strong. Palin has quite a reputation for major action only a few years into her political career. With ethics reform and fiscal responsibility measures gracing her CV, it seems hard not to be excited. Moreover, the fact that she is not only pro-life, but has shown how strong her commitment is by keeping her youngest child despite knowing he would suffer from Down's Syndrome, shows she can walk her talk and adds a powerfully humanizing element to a sometimes abstract debate (not that I'd suggest one's family should be turned into political pawns, but nevertheless, one's personal actions certainly provide helpful support for one's policies — if they match). Even some pro-choice analysts seem to be soft on Palin's pro-life stance because she is not someone speaking from a distance.
The McCain-Palin ticket looks like it could potentially reset the Republicans to a someone pre-neocon state, which would not make me the least bit sad. While McCain's support of Iraq obviously ties him into the neo-conservative spectrum, there can be little doubt that he is not four more years of President Bush. I like President Bush better than most, but at the same time, I think only a very small minority thinks the Bush era GOP is better than the Reagan era party.
And, of course, it is obviously exciting that whichever party wins, a happy bit of history is now going to be made this election. While I do not think one should vote for the Republican ticket because it will give the U.S. its first female vice president, or the Democratic ticket because it will give the U.S. its first African-American president, all else aside, cracking the proverbial (and — this week — popular) cracked glass ceiling would be good for all of us.
Check out this important announcement from Sen. Clinton.
For Good Friday, I republished on OFB a meditation entitled “Pilate's Truth” which I originally presented during a Good Friday service two years ago and subsequently posted here. You can find it over at OFB.