A few weeks ago, I spent a few posts addressing potential objections to McCain's candidacy. There is another challenge ahead: appealing to people whose hearts belonged to another candidate.
Let's face it, the primaries were ugly. Mud was slung. Podiums were pounded. Nominees were chosen (fairly or unfairly), PUMAs were born. And millions of Americans are now left with two men who weren't their first choice. Here are some of the objections I've heard, and some thoughts on why these people should vote McCain with a clear conscience.
"I'm disappointed that McCain won't break barriers like [insert candidate here] would!" White guy McCain may not cause the same reaction as a female or minority candidate. But McCain breaks the silent barriers in Washington. Complacency. Secrecy. Partisanship. Vanity above country. With his veto pen, he can end the multi-Billion-dollar practice of pork spending. With his military policy, he can restore fact-based decision making and pride in our troops. With his commitment to energy independence, he can lower gas prices today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow. McCain can break the barriers that count.
"I don't like McCain 'cause he's not a true conservative like [Candidate X]!" I have addressed this numerous times. McCain is not running for President Of The Conservatives, he is running to lead a Democratic-majority-Congress in a country fed up with a Republican President who was grossly ineffective or merely controversial, depending on who you ask. So here on Planet Earth, where there are only two viable candidates, the conservative movement's best - and only - chance for a future is in McCain's hands.
"I don't like McCain because he's MORE conservative than [Candidate X]!" If only these people would talk to the previous people, I'd be out of a job (hahaha). I have commented previously on why McCain's Republican identity shouldn't exclude him from being the choice of conscientious voters from all parties.
"I don't like McCain's unwillingness to talk about faith and court the evangelical vote like [Candidate X]!" John McCain is a private person. He doesn't talk much about his POW captivity, his seven children, his wife's charity work, or lots of other things that other politicians would be pimping to the hilt right now. When he attends church, it is without an entourage and with a prayerful heart. His faith, like all things about him, is evidenced not in pretty words, but in actions.
"But I agreed with [Candidate X] on [Issue Y]!" There is a handy shortcut here which allows you to look at some - not all - key issues and quickly compare McCain and Obama. And I'd be lax if I didn't point out that compared to Obama, McCain has seven times more legislative experience, 100% more military training and experience, and the only real record of successful bipartisan cooperation (and by some metrics the only meaningful record of legislation passed at all). So whether you are motivated by issues or character or both, McCain is a choice you can and should feel proud of.
I recognize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm and passion for McCain, and frankly that's okay. There is a long time until the election and open, candid discussion of the issues and the character of the candidates will make whomever wins a better leader.
But to those who think it's okay to skip this meaningful choice because they aren't on board with 100% of McCain, I say this: Voting is not an essay question in which you pledge your eternal love. If your heart is heavy voting for McCain, do it with your head. If your head is confused about the candidates or the issues, get the facts . And then decide - which of these two people would be a better leader for our country?
Yeah, that's what I thought too.