The Left is Right

It was the buzz of the GOP debate last night, and today, the New York Times officially endorsed Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain for their respective party nominations. The editorial board at the Old Gray Lady also took some lovely shots at former mayor Rudy Giuliani, a fact that has Rudy grinning from ear-to-ear today as he basks in the glow of Florida sunshine and the Times’ hatred.

The endorsement of McCain may be exactly what Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and especially Mitt Romney need to knock the Arizona senator down a few pegs at an all-too-critical time. The newspaper may be public enemy number one among right-thinking Americans, and perhaps the liberal editorial board’s focus on some of McCain’s misgivings-in-chief among conservatives will provide a much needed boost for the rest of the GOP field.
One portion actually laments McCain’s “occasional, tactical pander to the right,” essentially admitting that the man is, in reality, a liberal with a few conservative leanings rather than the other way around. The rest of it neatly and concisely mentions the numerous problems that I, along with many conservatives, have with the senator — campaign finance reform, global warming initiatives, the failed immigration bill, and more.

Here are some of the more telling passages from the piece:

We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe (ED. NOTE: THAT’S ME!!) . With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle. He was an early advocate for battling global warming and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate. A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country’s treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character.

Mr. McCain was one of the first prominent Republicans to point out how badly the war in Iraq was being managed. We wish he could now see as clearly past the temporary victories produced by Mr. Bush’s unsustainable escalation, which have not led to any change in Iraq’s murderous political calculus. At the least, he owes Americans a real idea of how he would win this war, which he says he can do. We disagree on issues like reproductive rights and gay marriage.
In 2006, however, Mr. McCain stood up for the humane treatment of prisoners and for a ban on torture. We said then that he was being conned by Mr. Bush, who had no intention of following the rules. But Mr. McCain took a stand, just as he did in recognizing the threat of global warming early. He has been a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation, just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.
Honestly, I don’t see how Romney in particular could get a better gift on this wonderful January Friday, with so many Republican voters still up in the air as to which candidate would best perpetuate their ideals. This, along with Romney’s solid performance in last night’s debate, could shift the momentum in his favor, just in time for Florida and for “Super Tuesday.”
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