Friday, September 05, 2008


When John McCain sewed up the Republican Party's nomination this spring, I, like millions of other true conservatives, shook my head in disbelief and disappointment. The man known as the "Maverick" had betrayed his party and our conservative cause. His role in McCain-Feingold, his "gang of 14" efforts and its impact upon judicial confirmations, and his leadership in the failed Senate push for "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" angered me and countless others. My vote on November 4th would be cast for him, but tepidly, reluctantly, more as a vote against ZerObama than for the aging Senator from Arizona.

And although I am still angered at Mr. McCain for the "shamnesty" debacle in the Senate last spring, and what I deem are his several other misguided efforts, I have begun growing unexpectedly warm to him these last few days.

Last Friday's introduction of Alaska's Governor Sarah Palin shocked me as it did the rest of the world. His nearly flawless rollout of the announcement on the heels of his opponent's Invesco Field spectacle delighted me. Palin's spectacular Wednesday night address in St. Paul assuaged any doubts about his judgment for his veep selection. And during his Thursday night acceptance speech the ice continued to melt.

I have begun to see his maverick nature in a new light. Sarah Palin's war against government corruption, even within her own party, got me to thinking afresh about how my party's own representatives in Washington had betrayed us. We Republicans had the Whitehouse, the Senate and the House. And what did we do with this power? We squandered a perfect opportunity. Our Republican representatives, and even our president, recklessly authorized the waste of billions upon billions of dollars of the people's money. Big-moneyed lobbyists bought influence. Corruption ensued.

Although not nearly as charismatic as his running mate, McCain, speaking to his party and the nation, laid out his case for reform. He pointed to his own party's failures and to the failure of big government to deliver upon its myriad promises to make our lives better. He said:

"We believe in a government that unleashes the creativity and initiative of Americans -- government that doesn't make your choices for you, but works to make sure you have more choices to make for yourself."

Earlier in the election season, I had learned of McCain's strong record of opposing legislative "earmarks," what we used to call "riders," those troublesome bill attachments filled with self-serving "pork-barrel" money--the reason most of West Virginia's parks, bridges, and public buildings have Harry Byrd's name in front of them. Why should the money I worked hard to earn in Virginia money go to fund a "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska?

McCain and his team have proven to be far smarter, far more adept and intuitive than I, and many others, gave them credit for. They craftily conceived their theme of "Country First," and brought Palin on board to reinforce it with her dynamic testimony of taking on waste and corruption. Then Thursday night as he walked haltingly out on the stage, unable to raise his arms above his shoulders as he waved to the crowd in the convention hall because of the torture he endured, my resistance softened to this unusual man. Then he won me over with the very personal story of his own awakening, his own painful road to discovering his love of country over love of self. He demonstrated true humility, even alluding to being broken by his captors in Viet Nam and how his countrymen saved his life, feeding him when he could not feed himself.

Both Palin and McCain are authentic. ZerObama is smoke and mirrors.

Honestly, as one who has long carried a burden for the direction this country has taken these last forty years, my hope has been renewed. Both Palin and McCain have shown me that in our cause of liberty and our battle against the ever-encroaching menace of big government, we are not alone. I have been energized afresh to fight. McCain invited me to join him to do just that.

"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 childrens' 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."

This election is no longer about choosing "the lesser of two evils." Clarity broke into our lives this week. And on November 4th, when I go to cast my vote, I won't be holding my nose after all.

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