As you head into the voting booth and choose the next president of the United States, try to forget the hype, the campaigns and the advertising. Those are productions of campaign staffs and reflect packaging, not the character of the men at the center of the election.
Character is most easily judged by the record of the candidate, and character is what matters most when choosing a president. Will the man be truthful, be able to work with members of both political parties, be able to represent America from a position of strength in matters of national security? When the men are pared down to their character, we find Sen. John McCain to be what the nation needs and we endorse him for president.
His record speaks volumes more about the true nature of his character than the eloquence of Sen. Barack Obama says about him.
McCain's record as a Navy aviator during the Vietnam War is more than a stirring story of patriotism and selflessness. McCain's behavior as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam demonstrated that, at his core, he puts duty, honor and country above all else.
Strangely, his opponents have begun to mock McCain's record as a maverick, even as they call upon the federal government to be less preoccupied with partisanship. But McCain's 25 years in Congress show a pattern of eagerness to work with politicians of both major political parties to get things done. On controversial issues, McCain has been a motivator - not just a proponent - of change since long before the term became a slogan.
National security, a key concern of most Americans, has been McCain's strength. Most Americans are fully aware of his tenacity in fighting for what is right in defense policy, as well as for members of the armed services. That sometimes has forced him into conflict, even with leaders of his own party. McCain, of course, was an early critic of the failed strategy in Iraq - and a proponent of the new, successful plan.
McCain recognizes that the size of government needs to be reduced - not expanded, as his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, wants. Smaller government leads to lower taxes, allowing Americans to keep more of our money and grow our economy. Thus, McCain may not be saying what Americans want to hear, but he speaks the truth about where growth, recovery and prosperity must begin. Obama's tax cut proposal while proposing hundreds of billions in new spending will either amount to the tax cut being abandoned or taxes to rise dramatically. His eloquence is merely the modern version of "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." Don't be fooled.
Had Congress reacted properly to an initiative McCain helped lead in 2005, the current financial crisis probably would not be occurring. McCain was a co-sponsor on Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which would have reined in many of the abuses involving "subprime" mortgages. Liberals in Congress defeated the measure.
Troubling questions remain about the character of Obama. He was elected to the Senate only because of efforts by the Chicago political machine. His personal associations involved one - closer than Obama will admit - with a leader of the 1960s Weather Underground terrorist organization. That man, William Ayers, has commented that, "I don't regret setting bombs." And Obama's association of many years with his pastor, the anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright, ended only when the relationship was brought to light by the news media. His relationship to convicted felon Tony Rezko also is troubling.
McCain's character, on the other hand, has been one of working closely with those who would build America up - not tear her down. He has the backbone to say what he means, not just what campaigns and campaigners would have him say to soothe the voters' ear.
It is not too much to say that the contest for president this year pits a dedicated liberal politician, Obama, against a veteran servant of the public - McCain. Obama is easily the most liberal of the 100 senators. His running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden, is a close second.
Simply because McCain's character has been one of service to the people - not to a political party or the gigantic federal bureaucracy - we urge residents of our area to cast their ballots for John McCain, the leader Americans need.