Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cincinnati Enquirer endorses John McCain: "This is John McCain's time"

The Cincinnati Enquirer today endorsed Sen. John McCain for President, noting that his character, courage, and experience to hold the highest office of the land.

In an editorial publicizing their position, they wrote:
Many Americans consider the Nov. 4 presidential election to be by far the most important one of our lifetime, a historic turning point for our nation.

We are divided over our involvement in wars overseas, shaken by the collapse of financial institutions and the weakened economy, uncertain about our families' future well-being, and seemingly more polarized on partisan, cultural and regional lines than ever.

This is a time for a president with deep experience and proven character, a president who thrives in the great, good, honest middle ground in which most Americans live, a president forthright enough to tell us what we'd rather not hear, a president with the courage to follow his convictions and the grit to persevere.

This is Sen. John McCain's time.

We endorse the Arizona Republican for president.

McCain offers up his compelling biography as a war hero, his admirable candor and his centrist independence in an increasingly polarized political environment. A McCain administration would chart a wiser course on the economy than one led by his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. McCain's campaign has recently found a sharp focus on economic and tax issues, allowing voters to draw clear distinctions with policies Obama would pursue.

And as president, McCain would fill the need for some semblance of partisan balance in Washington, keeping what promises to be a more heavily Democratic Congress from running roughshod on business policy, unions, free trade, health care and more.

This endorsement comes with an acknowledgement - a celebration, really - of the historic nature of this campaign. Obama, the first African-American presidential nominee for a major party, stands poised as the front-runner to help America take a step thought unimaginable in previous decades.

Since bursting upon the national scene four years ago, the Illinois Democrat has become a formidable figure, employing his personal brilliance, political savvy and persuasive powers. We believe his candidacy has had a positive effect on how we are perceived abroad - and how we perceive ourselves. Because of Obama, American society is changed forever, and for the better.

But on a range of policies, McCain stands far closer to positions The Enquirer has taken over the years. With his experience and reputation as a skilled legislator, he'd be more effective than Obama - most of whose brief Senate career has been spent running for president - in working with Congress to craft sound bipartisan legislation.

Moreover, he has more consistently taken strong positions, and had the courage to stick with them, than Obama, who has tended to waffle, equivocate or simply wait to see which way the wind was blowing. When Russia invaded the republic of Georgia recently, for example, McCain issued a strong, well-reasoned policy statement with a tone of reassuring authority. Obama said nothing substantive, then later issued a belated "me too."

And let's not forget McCain's early, consistent support for the troop surge in Iraq when that plan was highly unpopular. His campaign for the GOP nomination seemed dead in the water, but McCain persevered and won his party's nod anyway. He was proven to be correct on the surge - a fact Obama has very grudgingly acknowledged.

Unlike Obama, McCain isn't a smooth, effective campaigner. But his record of leadership suggests he will be a far better president than candidate.

The recent dialogue between Obama and "Joe the Plumber," Ohio resident Joe Wurzelbacher, illustrated to voters Obama's focus on "spreading the wealth" through taxes rather than growing the nation's wealth by encouraging middle-class Americans to aspire upward, creating more businesses, jobs, income - and more tax revenue. "A strong government hand is needed to assure that wealth is distributed more equitably," Obama says. That's a zero-sum, central-control mentality.

That is a stark difference that McCain has seized upon. He would cut the nation's corporate tax rate, now the second highest in the world, to help keep jobs here. Obama would increase taxes on Americans making over $250,000, which includes small businesses that create most of the nation's new jobs, since 90 percent of small businesses file as individuals. Obama says only 2 percent of small businesses would be affected, but that 2 percent represents the largest such businesses, accounting for 56 percent of all small-business income and employing 16 million people.

Particularly disturbing is Obama's support for a pending bill, strongly advocated by labor, to institute a union check-card system that would allow the intimidation of employees and could, in effect, create a system of forced unionization. If Obama is elected, this will become law, to the detriment of our business climate and personal freedoms.

Obama's barely veiled attacks on free trade also are unsettling. And his plans to punish businesses that "take jobs overseas" may have a satisfying populist ring to many Americans, but the truth is that it would hurt the efforts of companies that produce substantial income overseas to sustain jobs here at home, such as Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, where many local jobs are tied to sales abroad. Obama's policy actually could send more jobs overseas.

On energy, McCain has been out in front, supporting measures to combat global warming and promote alternative sources as part of an "all of the above" strategy that includes more drilling and nuclear energy. Obama offered token support for drilling only when it became clear most Americans favored it.

McCain took heat for suspending his campaign last month during the financial meltdown, but his high-stakes gambit helped focus the public's attention on the crisis - and Congress' handling of it. He called for a solution to address the housing market and help homeowners with their mortgages, which the Fed this past week finally started to do.

Obama's record lies to the left of most Americans, yet he is running as a centrist who can reconcile a range of viewpoints. But can we have confidence he will govern from the middle? Will he even need to, or be able to, with a Congress heavily controlled by Democrats, perhaps with a filibuster-proof Senate? He would be under great pressure to approve a long list of measures - the union card-check proposal, elimination of limits on lawsuits and more - that have so far been blocked by the Senate.

It is much easier to see John McCain standing up to a Nancy Pelosi or vetoing a bad bill than Obama. McCain would preserve divided government, which has consistently produced better results for the American people - and which we have long advocated on the state as well as federal level. The prospect of unchecked one-party rule is disquieting.

Obama has run on a theme of change, but ironically McCain could be a more effective change agent on issues such as health care. His plan is clearly more progressive than Obama's, with tax credits stimulating competition, encouraging consumer responsibility, and countering the traditional employer-provided coverage subsidies that are unfair to those who don't have such coverage. McCain's strategy is one that Obama's now-chief economic adviser, Jason Furman, advocated two years ago. Obama would continue the current path of incremental steps toward a completely government-controlled and -rationed care system.

While the campaign has focused mainly on the issues, it has brought Americans some ugly rhetoric from the extremes on both sides. Both candidates have ably risen above it. McCain has consistently rebuked those who would insinuate racial prejudice into the equation. Yet the nation remains sharply divided country on partisan, ideological, cultural and racial lines. We urge the winning candidate to invite the loser to help him advance the nation's agenda.

America needs an experienced, skilled hand in the White House, someone who can exercise a moderating influence, someone who can summon the courage to change and the consistency to stick with his convictions. That someone, we believe, is John McCain.
This is John McCain's time.

McCain-Palin 2008

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