TCR over the years has had differences with John McCain on issues like campaign finance reform, supply side tax cuts, and at times, immigration reform, but has always respected him as a man of principle.
In the early skirmishes of the 2008 election, John McCain has stood head and shoulders above all the other candidates by speaking the truth about the war in Iraq and the problems of runaway federal spending and deficits.
McCain's recent speech at VMI in its breadth, scope and clarity is as if Winston Churchill has returned. What is most compelling is that he speaks the truth regardless of short-term political consequences. Here are a few highlights:
"We still face many difficult challenges in Iraq. That is undeniable. But we have also made, in recent weeks, measurable progress in establishing security in Baghdad and fighting al Qaeda in Anbar province. To deny the difficulties and uncertainties ahead is an egregious disservice to the public. But as General Petraeus implements his plan to correct the flawed strategy we followed in the past, and attempts to spare the United States and the world the catastrophe of an American defeat, it is an equal disservice to dismiss early signs of progress. And now we confront a choice as historically important as any we have faced in a long while. Will this nation's elected leaders make the politically hard but strategically vital decision to give General Petraeus our full support and do what is necessary to succeed in Iraq? Or will we decide to take advantage of the public's frustration, accept defeat, and hope that whatever the cost to our security the politics of defeat will work out better for us than our opponents? For my part, I would rather lose a campaign than a war.
However it ends, the war in Iraq will have a profound influence on the future of the Middle East, global stability, and the security of the United States, which will remain, for the foreseeable future, directly affected by events in that dangerous part of the world. The war is part of a broader struggle in the Arab and Muslim world, the struggle between violent extremists and the forces of modernity and moderation.
Many in Washington have called for an end to our involvement in Iraq. Yet they offer no opinion about the consequences of this course of action beyond a vague assurance that all will be well if the Iraqis are left to work out their differences themselves. It is obviously true that no military solution is capable of doing what the Iraqis won't do politically. But, my friends, no political solution has a chance to succeed when al Qaeda is free to foment civil war and Iraqis remain dependent on sectarian militias to protect their children from being murdered.
America has a vital interest in preventing the emergence of Iraq as a Wild West for terrorists, similar to Afghanistan before 9/11. By leaving Iraq before there is a stable Iraqi governing authority we risk precisely this, and the potential consequence of allowing terrorist sanctuary in Iraq is another 9/11 or worse.
What struck me upon my return from Baghdad is the enormous gulf between the harsh but hopeful realities in Iraq, where politics is for many a matter of life and death, and the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute for statesmanship in Washington. In Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers risk everything to hold the country together, to prevent it from becoming a terrorist sanctuary and the region from descending into the dangerous chaos of a widening war. In Washington, where political calculation seems to trump all other considerations, Democrats in Congress and their leading candidates for President, heedless of the terrible consequences of our failure, unanimously confirmed our new commander, and then insisted he be prevented from taking the action he believes necessary to safeguard our country's interests.
Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating.
We all agree a military solution alone will not solve the problems of Iraq. There must be a political agreement among Iraqis that allows all groups to participate in the building of their nation, to share in its resources and to live in peace with each other. But without greater security imposed by the Unites States military and the Iraqi Army, there can be no political solution.
In the many mistakes we have made in this war, a few lessons have become clear. America should never undertake a war unless we are prepared to do everything necessary to succeed, and unless we have a realistic and comprehensive plan for success. We did not meet this responsibility initially. We are trying to do so now. Responsible political leaders - statesmen - do not add to the burdens our troops carry. That is what Democrats, intentionally or not have done by failing to provide them with the resources necessary to succeed in their mission.
This is an historic choice, with ramifications for Americans not even born yet. Let's put aside for a moment the small politics of the day. The judgment of history should be the approval we seek, not the temporary favor of the latest public opinion."
TCR Comment: No one running is better prepared to be a wartime leader for America than John McCain.
New Study Takes Temperature Of Texas Voters
Tower Institute Reveals Changing Texas
The Tower Institute for Strategic Analysis & Action in Public Policy recently revealed its 2007 Poll in Texas.
Among the interesting results:
- Who do you have confidence in finding solutions in line with your beliefs? 34% GOP - 34% Democrats - 21% neither.
- Do you support policy requiring people receiving government services like CHIP to demonstrate a continuing need for government assistance? 75% yes - 20% no - 5% undecided.
- To balance the budget, do you prefer raising taxes or cutting spending, even if it means a reduction in services? 63% cut spending - 22% raise taxes.
- Regarding controlling the growth on property appraisals, revenue and spending.
- 69% support a lower appraisal cap of 5% from the current 10%
- 65% support voters being able to approve / disapprove government spending beyond 5% increase
- 54% support a change in the law to mandate an automatic tax rate rollback election without a petition of voters.
- Use of tax dollars to lobby the Legislature? 68% don't believe schools should be able to use tax dollars for lobbying or sue the state for more money; 73% find it unacceptable use of tax dollars to pay dues to associations that lobby government.
- Vouchers for education: after informing the voters that high school dropout rates are above 50% in some inner city schools; 56% said they would support vouchers for at risk students who chose another school, even a private school.
TCR Comments: Great work by this public policy group named after Sen. John Tower. Their findings are interesting and confirmed Texas' desire for conservative government in Austin. The question is will they get it?
Of the issues we discussed, how are conservatives doing? Not great. No progress on spending cuts, property appraisal caps, taxpayer dollars for lobbying and vouchers for education. Reversal - need for government assistance (CHIP once a year signup as opposed to every six months.)
What about the strength of the political parties? The parties are seen as even as to who can find better solutions. This shows dissatisfaction with the party in power: the GOP and a failure to deliver on enough conservative issues.
COMING (Friday, April 27, 2007 at 8 pm) on Channel 8 PBS in Houston, Texas - The Connection - Red, White & Blue, featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones with special guests Merle and Earl Black, political experts and authors of a new book: Divided America:The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who recently completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his tenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last six years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.