McCain, why now? He fits the timesBy the way, could you imagine the Inquirer allowing, say, former President Bill Clinton to give such a glowing testimonial on behalf of Hillary because of the fact that he’s married to her (I mean, that a more substantive relationship than that between Ridge and McCain I’ll admit, but both are reasons for the type of unsubstantiated flattery shown here)?
By Tom Ridge
Since announcing my support of Sen. John McCain's candidacy for president recently, the most curious question I have received is "why now?"
The simplest answer is "why not now?"
Candidates are beginning to emerge. The '08 gates have opened, and now is the time to help a friend who I believe is the most able, proven leader in our midst to be the next president of the United States.
What compels me to speak out now about the many reasons I believe my friend of 25 years is the right person to lead this country? Because I believe that John McCain's leadership is needed now - more than ever.
No, I can’t either.
As we begin to ask hard questions of those who put forward their credentials for the presidency, it's critically important that those credentials are equal to the challenges and opportunities before us. We need a leader who fits the times, not merely a candidate who thinks it's his or her time to lead.Hmm, “credentials” to be president; I have to think about this one a bit.
OK, how about this item? Sounds like ol’ red, white and blue When Johnny Comes Marching Home McCain is engaging in just a tad more than a little bit of revisionist history here on North Korea (and properly called on it by John Kerry…Bill Clinton admitted that his framework agreement for North Korea wasn’t perfect, but at least it kept Kim Jong Il from acquiring plutonium, without which he couldn’t build his nukes).
Sounds like, despite his PR, “straight talk” is a “credential” McCain has to work on some more.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, much has changed. We are safer than we have ever been. We are thriving despite those who tried to thwart us. Progress is measurable, but we must make the utmost effort to sustain those successes and build new means to protect and defend the nation and to prosper in a 21st-century world. We must face difficulty as the definition of difficulty continues to change.By the way, this column is truly representative of Ridge in that it is shallow, uninstructive, and ultimately serves no useful purpose (and you KNOW he has to bring up 9/11, or else he isn't doing his job - so nostalgic for those idiotic color-coded alerts; remember them, boys and girls?).
The challenge of our time, however, is not simply to change, but also to leave nothing to chance. That is particularly true when electing the next president of the United States.“Patriotism is a verb?” “Instead of red vs. blue, John thinks red, white and blue?” Geez oh man, let’s put a lid on all of the PR puffery, OK?
John McCain is well known as the soldier's soldier and the citizen's soldier, whose attention to duty to country is unequalled. We know the mettle of the man who has been tested and has passed the test – as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, as a member of the United States Congress, and as a statesman who engenders the respect of our friends and allies around the world.
I know John as a good friend, but also as an artful leader, a diplomat, a tenacious legislator, a stalwart conservative, an astute negotiator and a consensus-builder. I know that while partisans think in terms of red versus blue, John thinks in terms of red, white and blue. For him, patriotism is not an ideal. It's a verb. It's a way of life. It's John's way of life, one that has never wavered in steadfast determination to defend the security and freedom of the American people.
Actually, as I slowly ingest all of this helium from Ridge, I realize that he’s trying to portray his friend as his own man, first and foremost. That would be impressive if it were really true.
The problem, of course, is that it isn’t. Check out this list of McCain’s advisers and let me know how many decisions you think McCain is really going to make by himself.
And as you glean over the list of Reagan era hangers-on and various other Repug bottom feeders, pay particular attention to Terry Nelson and wonder why a man of such supposedly high virtue as McCain would allow such a slimy barnacle to run his campaign for him (as noted here).
In my view, the times are calling John McCain forward. They are calling for the man who understands the demands of war, the leader who has long advocated a new strategy in Iraq and repeatedly called for more troops to stabilize the region. They are calling for the senator with the long view, who understands what the consequences of failure in Iraq could mean to us all.By the way, Gen. John Abizaid publicly disagreed with McCain last October in the plan to send more troops to Iraq, but I realize that you have to put an asterisk next to this, so to speak, because McCain’s plan was later repackaged as “the surge” and sold by Gen. David Petraeus (as Bill Maher has said, you can always count on the Repugs to take a bad idea and advocate for it with a catchy new name; not exactly what he said, but close enough).
And by the way, you can say that McCain was for the position of an easy victory in Iraq before he was against it (as noted here).
The times call for a leader who has fought in the relentless way that only John has fought, to ensure that America has the best equipped and supported military in the world, to ensure that the men and women of our armed forces have the resources and reinforcements they need.I do not blame McCain personally for this since I don’t believe he would ever want to see our military shortchanged in battle, but the now-happily-departed Repug congress, in which he played a significant role, was responsible for the criminal neglect of our military in this regard.
Our next president must lead as John has led: with the knowledge that, on the home front, security is not a federal effort; it's a national mission, one that requires the active role of federal, state and local authorities.If McCain loves homeland security so much, then how come the 38 votes against the Homeland Security bill this week (as noted previously) all came from his own party (and though McCain missed this vote, is it really such a stretch to imagine him voting the same way?).
With boundless energy, John has traveled the country to build relationships and communication at all levels. He was of great help to me in pushing forward improvements in commercial aviation, port security and cargo screening. He led the call for comprehensive immigration reform and increased border security. He's worked hard to build bridges to one another and barriers to terrorists.After reading that paragraph, I would be concerned about this story.
And I’m actually not going to say anything snarky about McCain on immigration, because I think he’s acting relatively sane for a Repug on this issue (as noted here on pg. 2).
Some say timing is everything in life. I am of the view that the life of John McCain and his exemplary record of service have led to this moment. The nation has called him forward to serve before. We must do so again. The times demand it.For the purposes of disclosure, Ridge really should have pointed out that he would have a lot to gain in the event that McCain received the Repug nomination for president, since Ridge has been discussed as a candidate for vice-president if McCain received the top spot on the ticket (as noted here).
That is why there is no better time for me, than now, to ask my fellow citizens to call John McCain forward once again - to serve as president and commander-in-chief.
(And by the way, here's more "straight talk" from McCain...)