Thursday, November 30, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson: America, Do You Have the Guts to Win this War?

Victor Davis Hanson is calling us out, and rightfully so. VDH writes in today's WSJ about America's fight against radical Islamic extremism that:

Our current crisis is not yet a catastrophe, but a real loss of confidence of the spirit. The hard-won effort of the Western Enlightenment of some 2,500 years that, along with Judeo-Christian benevolence, is the foundation of our material progress, common decency, and scientific excellence, is at risk in this new millennium.

But our newest foes of Reason are not the enraged Athenian democrats who tried and executed Socrates. And they are not the Christian zealots of the medieval church who persecuted philosophers of heliocentricity. Nor are they Nazis who burned books and turned Western science against its own to murder millions en masse.

No, the culprits are now more often us. In the most affluent, and leisured age in the history of Western civilization--never more powerful in its military reach, never more prosperous in our material bounty--we have become complacent, and then scared of the most recent face of barbarism from the primordial extremists of the Middle East.

Take Hanson's call seriously and determine who can best lead the nation to fight an enemy who is determined to undermine not just America, but all of Western Culture.

Straight Talk Iowa Style believes that John McCain has the leadership and crediblity to galvanize the American national spirit needed to win the long fight in the war on terror.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Common Sense Conservatism (A Preview of McCain's 2008 Agenda)

In a Thanksgiving Weekend letter-to-the-editor of the Manchester Union Leader, John McCain writes that:

COMMON-SENSE conservatives believe the government that governs least governs best, that government should do only those things individuals cannot do for themselves, and do them efficiently. Much rides on that principle: the integrity of the government, our prosperity, and every American's self-respect, which depends, as it always has, on one's own decisions and actions and cannot be provided as another government benefit.

McCain's view of American governance is clear and he sounds comfortable with it. Clearly, he believes as many conservatives do that Republicans need to come home:

We have more significant priorities ahead of us than finding new ways to spend money unwisely. Thanks, in part, to Republican economic policies, America still has the most productive, flexible and energetic free economy in the world. But to keep our nation prosperous, strong and growing we have to rethink, reform and reinvent: the way we educate our children, train our workers, deliver health care services, support retirees, fuel our transportation network, stimulate research and development and harness new technologies.

And on the biggest issue of our time he gets it:

Our most important obligation, of course, is to protect Americans from the threat posed by violent Islamic extremists. They are moral monsters, but they are also a disciplined movement driven by an apocalyptic religious zeal, which celebrates martyrdom and murder, has access to science, technology and mass communications, and is determined to acquire and use against us and our allies weapons of mass destruction. The institutions that sustained us throughout the Cold War and the doctrine of deterrence we relied on are no longer adequate to protect us in a struggle where suicide bombers might obtain the world's most terrifying weapons.

McCain goes on in a realistic and even-handed tone to let Americans know that this is going to be a long war and that victory is the only acceptable outcome (this is the stuff good leaders are made of):

We must be honest about the war in Iraq. Without additional combat forces we will not win. We must clear and hold insurgent strongholds, provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies, arrest sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias, train the Iraqi army, and embed American personnel in weak and often corrupt Iraqi police units. We need to do all these things if we are to succeed. And we will need more troops to do them.

It is not fair or easy to look a soldier in the eye and tell him he must shoulder a rifle again and risk his life in a third tour in Iraq. As troubling as it is, I can ask a young Marine to go back to Iraq. And he will go, not happily perhaps, but he will go because he and his comrades are the first patriots among us. But I can only ask him if I share his commitment to victory.

Read the entire letter...STIS believes it's a preview of the 2008 election. Many parts of it have been popping up again and again in the post-election speeches which McCain has delivered and seem to be going over well with audience members in attendance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Novak: McCain, Fight in Iowa or Go Home

Bob Novak must have been reading this blog. STIS laid out efforts being made that indicated McCain wants to compete and win in Iowa months ago. From Novak today:

If McCain were to skip Iowa and then lose to, or narrowly defeat, Romney in New Hampshire, he would then risk being shut out through the Southern states' presidential primaries, nearly putting him out of contention. By the time the Michigan primary rolls around, McCain's credibility could be seriously diminished, and his home-state primary would become meaningless rather than being a momentum-building win that contributes to his image as the inevitable candidate.

Novak goes on to say that McCain needs to commit to Iowa:

[A] strong showing in Iowa would give him [McCain] momentum for New Hampshire that could carry over to the next set of states, including Missouri and South Carolina.

We have commented extensively on McCain utilizing an organizational strategy similiar to GWB in 1999. It's also McCain himself who has admitted that competing in Iowa would be neccessary to winning the nomination.

Novak goes on to wrongfully state that McCain's sore spot is ethanol:

McCain's biggest problem in Iowa has always been ethanol, which critics deride as an energy-losing fuel additive which the government only mandates in order to appease farmers and artificially inflate their crops' value. McCain, always an anti-porker, has always opposed it as a bad deal for his non-agricultural state. In fact, nearly all politicians from coastal and mountain states reject ethanol and vote against it, but farm states hold a huge majority in the Senate, and the agricultural-industrial lobby is so powerful that massive ethanol mandates are not going to disappear anytime soon.

We disagree with Novak and have written about this extensively. Engery issues are a greater part of the national security debate and that's McCain's strong suit. Rolling energy issues into the greater national security debate will allow McCain bleedover crediblity on the issue. Also, McCain reasserted his support for ethanol in August in Council Bluffs.

Further, influential Iowa activists have dismissed the national media's assertion that ethanol is a loser for McCain. Burt Day spoke out about ethanol and McCain during the state fair.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The John McCain Exploratory Committee is up and running. It has a great black and white "West Wing" feel to it. Visually appealing in a classy-retro way.

The site is appealing and simple. Check out the bio portion where McCain's family naval history is prominently displayed.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Presidential Exploratory Committee Forthcoming

McCain set to announce Presidential Exploratory Committee setup is imminent.

From ABC News:

His party may have taken "a thumpin'," in the words of President Bush, but ABC News has learned that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his political team have decided it's full steam ahead for his 2008 presidential campaign. Although no absolute, final decision has been made, sources close to McCain say on Wednesday in Phoenix, he and a half dozen of his top aides huddled and decided to proceed more formally with his quest for the White House.


A presidential exploratory committee will be set up this month — perhaps as early as next week.

Staff is already on the ground in the key early states along with committee co-chairs and plenty of elected officials to help organize turnout.

Straight Talk Iowa Style predicts the Straight Talk Express will be rolling into Iowa and elsewhere shortly.