Please excuse us while we excerpt from the Sept 8, 2008 issue of Time…
John McCain, according to one of his most perceptive & persistent critics, has struggled throughout his career to balance his principles and his ambitions, to reconcile the code of honor instilled in him as a boy with the insistent demands of political expedience. His worst moments in public office, this critic has charged, have come when he has failed to put country first – opposing a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. to bolster his conservative credibility in Arizona, concealing his abhorrence of the Confederate flag to troll for votes in South Carolina. And before you judge, you should know that the critic in question is John McCain, who has explored and deplored his own flaws in remarkable detail in his books and speeches and has apologized for them with candor that is rare in a politician. In 2000, after sidestepping the flag issue during his first presidential campaign, he returned to South Carolina to flay himself for pandering. “I don’t seek absolution,” he said. “I can only try to resist future temptations to abandon principle for expediency.”
Well, that was in 2000. Obviously the temptations of the presidency were great. Some of the honor which he values so highly slipped thru his fingers in implying that the election of Barack Obama would not just be a boon to terrorists, but that Obama is in fact a friend of terrorists.
The honorable John McCain would never make such statements. He knows and likes Barack Obama, and knows Obama would fight terrorism. He knows Obama loves America as much as he does.
Terrible things come out of our mouths when we aspire to higher office. Things that dishonor us.
Both parties use hatchet men (and women) to tear down their opponent, but we heard much less ‘character assassination’ type of attack from the Obama camp.
Curiously not until the last days of the campaign did any Republican ads run the infamous “God Damn America” clip. Even then, they were run by some Republican operative, and not approved by McCain.
No doubt McCain demanded that “God Damn America” not be used in his name. This is the honorable side of McCain.
Too bad. We could have used a lot more of that during the campaign.
We were not surprised to hear his extremely gracious concession speech. That was the real McCain. The McCain we knew and loved. He understood the magnitude of the moment, was self-effacing, funny and smart. In a word, honorable.
We suspect Senator McCain will be the statesman that Bob Dole and Barry Goldwater became when they lost their last presidential bids. Finally free of any higher aspirations, they were no longer burdened by the need to chase votes, and could speak their mind. No longer would they pretend to support distasteful issues.
Senator McCain, feel free to cast aside the yolk of ideology and follow your heart.
And welcome back.
We missed you.