Daily Iowan - student newspaper of the University of Iowa in Iowa City

Friday, December 21, 2007


John McCain was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 after spending four years in the House of Representatives. A U.S. Navy veteran, McCain was captured while serving in Vietnam and spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. The Arizona senator has succeeded in two careers: as a courageous naval aviator who defended our country in war and a longtime civil servant. These accolades make him the most qualified Republican presidential-nomination candidate, and The Daily Iowan endorses McCain's candidacy.

Despite an unsuccessful White House run in 2000, McCain was considered by many the front-runner in this election cycle at the outset. After Rudy Giuliani surged to the front of the pack nationally and Mitt Romney consistently led polls in Iowa (only to be recently eclipsed in turn by Mike Huckabee), McCain garnered little attention. That said, McCain has remained loyal to his message; after ignoring the horse race and celebrity status some candidates have earned, it's clear that McCain's vision for America stands above those offered by his Republican counterparts.

- While nearly 70 percent of Americans support large-scale troop withdrawals from Iraq, the reality is not as simple. Our country has a responsibility to the Iraqi people, and abandoning them now will have serious repercussions in the future. The Republican candidates foresee an extended stay in Iraq (except for Ron Paul, whose radical domestic policies create more problems than they solve). Though we find it worrisome that McCain doesn't discuss an exit strategy, McCain's extensive military record is nevertheless promising. The Bush administration has failed in nearly every phase of this war. McCain is correct when he says that Iraq must be managed more effectively, noting that "there must be a greater emphasis on non-military" rebuilding efforts.

- From domestic wiretapping to torture, McCain fittingly disagrees with other GOP candidates. A former POW, himself tortured by the enemy, McCain opposes the U.S. using similar tactics against our enemies. No one can deny or even contest his firsthand knowledge of torture. On the issue of warrantless domestic wiretapping, McCain says the president, without legal authorization, can't wiretap electronic communications. Giuliani and Romney insist that the Bush administration is correct on both issues, citing national-security concerns. Romney, who once suggested wiretapping mosques, often speaks in the same alarmist language typical of President Bush. A McCain administration might finally take civil liberties more seriously.

- The immigration issue has caused a substantial amount of debate in this campaign. As a senator representing a border state, McCain's insights are more valuable than most. He says that citizenship is possible for many illegal immigrants currently living in the United States - but they will have to wait their turn like everyone else. McCain stresses that integration is also important and says learning the English language, as well as U.S. civics, would be necessary for those who want citizenship. Mike Huckabee says that he will "take our country back for those who belong here." Perhaps he should enroll in McCain's proposed civics classes and learn that the United States is a country of immigrants. The McCain plan, conversely, is an optimistic one: If both sides agree to do their part, anyone can "belong" in America.

- Global warming is one of the greatest threats facing the world today. While most candidates, including McCain, often discuss energy independence and national security in the same sentence, McCain is seemingly alone among Republican candidates in recognizing the threat of climate change. In October, he even told the Detroit Economic Club that he supports higher fuel-efficiency standards. Along with opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, he says the United States should sign the Kyoto Protocol, provided India and China do the same. McCain is even bold enough to tell Iowans that he contests ethanol subsidies, a position we agree with. For Romney and Giuliani, their rationale for energy independence hinges on national security alone, while global warming goes almost unmentioned.

On numerous issues, McCain and his fellow Republicans offer nearly identical answers, and we disagree with many of them. Like other GOP candidates, McCain supports overturning Roe v. Wade. He also wants to "protect" traditional marriage, as if it's somehow come under attack; fortunately, though, he disagrees with a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. When McCain does take a divergent route, however, his arguments are striking. The senator has been labeled a "maverick" by some because he has voiced dissenting opinions not in step with typical Republican policy. These moderate beliefs are those that set him apart from other Republican presidential-nomination hopefuls.

Agreeing with a candidate on every issue is not a prerequisite to support her or him, however. Other Republican candidates offer plans that too closely mirror the Bush administration's broken strategy. McCain, relying on principles instead of partisan politics, is daring enough to voice his individual opinion, an essential presidential trait.

For this reason, John McCain is the best Republican choice for president of the United States.

Copyright © 2007 Daily Iowan.  All rights reserved.  Seeking permission to reprint (12/23/07).