Letters to the Editor

‘The McCain Promise’ (5/23)

To the Editor:? Upon reading Sebastian Becker’s article entitled “The McCain Promise,” we came across numerous arguments that seemed flawed. Although we respect his positions, we must point out the errors in his statements concerning the Arizona senator. It seems as if the entire article hinges on the belief that McCain is the most qualified candidate because of his integrity, despite his controversial policies. However, we believe that this country needs a leader with strong and effective policies rather than an affable president with good character. Becker himself admits the unpopularity of McCain’s ideologies, and with a country facing both a war and a recession, issues are far more important than the dignity of the leader. We are not denying the patriotism or the integrity of the presumptive Republican candidate, but simply believe that his character does not outweigh his unpopular policies. A president needs both character and strong policies in office. McCain only possesses the former. Becker’s first point is that McCain is the most qualified because his character should attract young voters. But we must look at the facts. Young voters relate better to the charisma and messages of change coming from candidates such as Obama. Becker states that the youth is turning out in record numbers. What does this tell us? It shows us that young voters are more concerned about the America they are to inherit than they have been in the past. Issues that trouble these voters, such as the economy and the war, are solved by both effective policies and good character. Becker argues that character alone can solve these issues, however he must see that action is necessary, not just strong morals. A candidate can stand for honorable things, but if his or her support base is weak, whatever resolutions they try to pass are crippled. Becker goes on the claim that the experience McCain has had in national affairs is another reason that he should be elected. While we honor his bravery during the Vietnam War as well as his successful years in the Senate, we would like to point out that experience in these matters is not all it’s cracked up to be. The presidency is arguably the most powerful office on the face of the earth, and no amount of experience can prepare a candidate for what they are going to face. For example, Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Obama have been centered on her claims of greater experience. Look where that has gotten her: two hundred delegates behind in the race, near bankruptcy, and rapidly losing support, she is struggling to stay a competitor. Meanwhile Obama, a junior senator, has taken a decisive lead. Therefore, it is obvious that Americans are not interested in experience as much as they are interested in results. In further regard to McCain’s beliefs, Becker says that McCain is the most qualified because he stands by his ideas. However, he himself admits that these ideas are not fully supported even by his own party. Without this support, we have trouble understanding how McCain can be the best candidate. Everyone stands by their ideas, but without support to implement them, they are rather useless. Another argument Becker puts forth is that McCain is a bipartisan candidate. What he fails to see is that this is a common trend among other candidates as well, and is not only limited to McCain. For example, Senator Obama is leading a bipartisan effort to improve fuel economy, known as the Fuel Economy Reform Act. Therefore, we cannot immediately take McCain to be the most qualified candidate merely because of his bipartisanship, as other candidates are exercising this said bipartisanship as well. In addition, Becker states that McCain’s action against special interest groups controlling campaign finance further proves his integrity. However, according to the International Herald Tribune, “An examination by The New York Times of a list of 106 elite fund-raisers who have brought in more than $100,000 each for McCain found that about a sixth of his money collectors are lobbyists.” This same article goes on to state that many of the senator’s top advisors are also lobbyists. Becker cites McCain’s role as chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, which resulted in the indictment of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as proof of the senator’s hard stance on corruption. As it happens, McCain went out of his way to spare his congressional colleagues during the investigation. “He let Tom DeLay and the other members of Congress who were doing Abramoff’s bidding completely off the hook. The sole exception was Rep. Bob Ney, who is now serving time in prison,” said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “Sen. McCain knew what his colleagues were up to, he chose to take the easier path and give them a free pass.” Finally, the Huffington Post states that McCain actually accepted $100,000 in donations from Greenberg Traurig, the very firm where Abramoff once reigned. On the other hand, Senator Obama has refused any donations from federal lobbyists, and according to the New York Times, has returned all federal donations. If Becker is to argue that a candidate who snubs special interest groups and then accepts millions of dollars in donations from those same groups is the best and most virtuous candidate, he is supporting the wrong senator. Sincerely, Chris Meyer ’11 and Charlie Cockburn ’11