Last summer, John McCain hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.Well, folks, I’ve just been invited to join the fight. My National Guard unit activated me this week to train troops for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Most likely, I’ll take a trip the sandbox myself this time next year. It’s been a long time coming and I’m anxious to shoulder my fair share of the burden.

Being back in uniform full-time means standing down from political activities, including blogging for my favorite presidential candidate, so this will be my last official blog entry. But my personal support for Sen. McCain will not waiver.

Rarely has a man been so eminently qualified for President. It surprises me that this isn’t obvious to everyone. But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be.

We Americans are a fickle bunch. We ask a lot from our leaders….and when they deliver, we’re more apt to complain than be grateful. Perhaps this perennial dissatisfaction is precisely what drives our Yankee innovativeness. Perhaps skepticism is the superhighway to progress, the mother of invention. But, let’s not allow this “strength” to become our Achilles Heel, to grow into cynicism and despair, and to blind us to the virtues of the here and now…including those inherent in the American dream and those embodied by John McCain.

This blog chronicles many of the Maverick’s virtues. They’re in ample supply and you can read about them by visiting the menu on the right. But one virtue stands out from the rest: his character.

John McCain’s character is time-tested. He bore it silently during his years at the Hanoi Hilton and he bears it again now as he stands-up for (often against a tidal wave of populist pressures) the most important issues of our day: the war in Iraq, climate change, illegal immigration, and the perceived decline of everything American. He leads the way out of a sense of duty, responsibility and humanity, not out of political opportunism. He is a candidate with a vision, a politician with integrity, a man we can trust.

Not surprisingly, he’s also a believer in his fellow human. I’d like to close out this blog with a few passages from John McCain’s most recent book, “Character is Destiny.”

I don’t believe in destiny. We are not born to be one thing or another, left to follow hopelessly the course that was charted for us by some unseen hand, a mysterious alignment of the stars that pulls us in a certain direction, bestowing happiness on some and misfortune on others. The only fate we can not escape is our own mortality. Even a long life is a brief experience. God has given us that life, shown us how to use it, but left it to us to dispose of it as we choose. Our character will determine how well or how poorly we choose.

It is your character, and your character alone, that will make your life happy or unhappy That is all that really passes for destiny. And you choose it…

The best I can claim for my own character is that it is still, even at this late date, a work in progress. The most important thing I have learned, from my parents, my teachers, my faith, from many good people, and from the lives of the people in this book, is to want what they had, integrity, and to feel the sting of my conscience when I have chosen a course that has risked it for some selfish reason. As I am blessed with a naturally optimistic disposition, I’m still working on my character, although I am sixty-eight years old as I write this…

Many good people have suffered for their principles. Some have died for them. But however cruel their end, they were surely comforted by the knowledge that they had made the right choice, and they had had the character to live a good life. Whether anyone knew how great their courage had been would not matter as much to them as the knowledge that they had chosen well, that their cause had been just, and their character worthy of its demands. They did not submit to an inevitable destiny. They believed their values were the power that directs our lives, and lights the world in which we burn our little candle, before our work is done and we take our rest.

I don’t believe in destiny. I believe in character.”

This just in from the Big Apple…

The New York Police Department Honor Legion apparently has no qualms about honoring one presidential hopeful on another candidate’s home turf. Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain of Arizona was slated to receive the Man of the Year award last night at the group’s 97th annual award dinner in Howard Beach, Queens, the campaign said.

“Sen. McCain takes great pride in being recognized by a group of such distinguished and accomplished leaders,” said spokesman Danny Diaz.

Click here to read the entire New York Daily News article.

John McCain and colleaguesRep. Tom Tancredo could learn a lot from John McCain. While I normally respect the Colorado Congressman, Tancredo’s recent ideological rigidity and political opportunism has resulted in a discouraging outcome. Now, thanks to the likes of inflexible leaders like Tancredo, we may very well spend another decade in immigration LaLaLand.

But John McCain, always the gentleman, ever the leader, continues to take the high ground even after his Immigration Bill stalled in the Senate. An Associated Press article captured his thoughts.

“I do what I think is right,” McCain told a town-hall audience in Iowa. “The people of Arizona sent me to Washington to do the hard things. They didn’t expect me to go there and say ‘no’ and do nothing about our broken border.”

The Senator didn’t stop there, however. His statements reflect a deep sense of commitment to basic human decency.

“[My constituents] expect me to act and preserve our security and also address the human side of it. Two-hundred people died in the desert of Arizona last year trying to come across, so I will continue to work to try to address the issue of illegal immigration,” McCain said.

As when his does, you can bet this McCain supporter will be behind him all the way.

 Couldn’t resist sharing a litte Leno genius…

Jay Leno: There are three new books out now about Hillary Clinton. One on each of her positions on the Iraq war. … The FDA has approved a pill that stops a woman’s cycle and prevents PMS. This could end of “The View” as we know it. … Paris Hilton got a new cellmate today: Scooter Libby. Prison is not the place to be when your nickname is Scooter. … Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is paying his wife $125,000 a year to help him write his speeches. She’s writing his speeches for him—and you can tell. Like last week, he gave a speech about what awful [women] the first two wives were. (Source: Patriot Post)

mcca21499a1.jpgJohn McCain made a careless slip during last night’s debate: he dared to hope for the safe, prosperous and free future of the Iraqi people.

In the polemically-charged Post-Cold War era, such hopes are characterized as cultural narcissism. Subsequent actions, if undertaken by Americans, are deemed “imperialist.” It’s no wonder, then, that few politicians venture into the shrill waters where liberals/cynics/pundits alike blithely recast aid as empire building. Sadly, hope itself has become a casuality of political correctness, cultural convenience, and/or gratuitous irreverance.

Yet McCain remains undeterred. Not even five years in a prison camp, twenty-five years in Congress, nor three decades under the media microscope have dampened his belief and enthusiasm for the best of humanity.

John McCain’s optimism would have been right at home 60 years when the Marshall Plan went into effect across a divided and devastated Europe. The plan was marvelously effective and today the Western world basks in its fruits. And like McCain’s optimism, the plan’s lofty ideals and tragic circumstances are far from outdated. In an enlightening editorial for the CS Monitor, David Harken revisits the goals of the Marshall Plan and illustrates how they still apply to today’s conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere.

First, “the world situation is serious and enormously complex. That must be apparent to all intelligent people,” Marshall stated, with clear resonance in 2007.

Second, the US – and today the powerful European recipients of original Marshall aid – have a natural obligation to help. “It is logical that the United States should do whatever it is able to do to assist in the return of normal economic health in the world, without which there can be no political stability and no assured peace.”

Third, the purpose of reviving the world economy is to “permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist” and “any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation” from the United States.

Fourth, to effect a massive aid program of the sort Marshall had in mind, it would require “breaking the vicious circle and restoring the confidence” of aid recipients to govern themselves and create their own prosperity. The initiative must come from those receiving aid and it must be a multilateral endeavor. “There must be some agreement among the countries of Europe as to the requirements of the situation and the part those countries themselves will take.… It would be neither fitting nor efficacious for this Government to undertake to draw up unilaterally a program designed to place Europe on its feet economically. This is the business of the Europeans.”

Finally, the effort should cut across party lines. “Political passion and prejudice should have no part,” Marshall declared. In 1947, he mostly meant that Republicans and Democrats should work together. But intergovernmental prejudices also pose a challenge. If Americans and Europeans, as allies with a shared history and heritage, cannot find harmony in assistance plans for Afghanistan, Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and others, then it will be difficult to keep the spirit of the Marshall Plan alive.

On that note, the most valuable comparison between the complex, postconflict world of 1947 and the complex, still-conflicted world of 2007, comes in the need in both cases to overcome cynicism and despair in looking for the right kinds of assistance, balancing among economic, educational, political, military, and other forms of aid. “With foresight, and a willingness on the part of our people to face up to the vast responsibility which history has clearly placed upon our country,” concluded Marshall, “the difficulties I have outlined can and will be overcome.”

Click here to read the entire editorial.

John McCainIt was a stellar evening for the Maverick Senator… He set the tempo and tenor for the discourse, humanity intact and without missing a beat. Even the most rancorous pundits were impressed with John McCain tonight….

National Review’s John Podhoretz: “McCain At His Best.” (John Podhoretz, National Review’s “The Corner” Blog, “McCain At His Best,”, 6/5/07)

· Podhoretz: “He gives a beautiful, soulful, substantive answer to a woman whose brother died in Iraq.” (John Podhoretz, National Review’s “The Corner” Blog, “McCain At His Best,”, 6/5/07)

The New York TimesKatharine Q. Seelye: “Mr. McCain Just Did What Few Candidates, Republican Or Democrat, Have Done So Sure-Footedly In This Campaign … McCain Stepped Up And Addressed Her In A Totally Human Way.” “Mr. McCain just did what few candidates, Republican or Democrat, have done so sure-footedly in this campaign. When a woman from the audience said that her brother had been killed in Iraq, Mr. McCain stepped up and addressed her in a totally human way. The sacrifice of your brother will not be in vain,’ he assured her. He seems to have well learned the Dukakis lesson from 1988: Show your heart.” (Katharine Q. Seelye, “The Caucus” Blog, “Live-Blogging The GOP Debate,”, 6/5/07)

National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “He hits it out of the park.” (Jim Geraghty, National Review’s “The Hillary Spot” Blog, “The Third Republican Debate, Part Three,”, 6/5/07)

NBC’s Chuck Todd: “McCain Showed His Emotional Side Which Has Always Been A Hidden Strength For Him.” “On Monday, a colleague commented to me that he was amazed at the lack of empathy in the Dem candidates on stage Sunday night when CNN had a relative who was personally touched by the Iraq War. None got up and addressed the woman directly. This colleague noted: Bubba would have had his arm around her in seconds…’ Well, McCain’s folks clearly believed the same thing when watching on Sunday. McCain showed his emotional side which has always been a hidden strength for him.” (Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s “First Read” Blog, “Bill McCain? John Clinton?,”, 6/5/07)

· New York Sun‘s Ryan Sager: “[McCain’s] answer to a young woman whose brother died in Iraq was eloquent and clearly heart-felt.” (Ryan Sager, New York Sun‘s “Latest Politics” Blog, “The NH GOP Debate,”, 6/5/07)

McCain Dominated The Debate And Drove “Home His Views” As Other Candidates Played “Follow The Leader”

Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “In A Very Smooth Move Sensing Opportunity, McCain Speaks Up And Gets More Time To Drive Home His Views On The Broader Immigration Issue.” “In a very smooth move, McCain speaks up when the English as the official language’ question is posed. Nobody else on stage, of course, dared do anything but silently acknowledge their support for such a measure. Sensing opportunity, McCain speaks up and gets more time to drive home his views on the broader immigration issue. Oh, and he slyly drops in a reference to Jeb Bush supporting the deal to all the Florida primary voters watching at home.” (Jonathan Martin, Politico’s “Smith And Martin” Blog, “McCain Buys More Time On His Immigration Message,”, 6/5/07)

NBC’s Mark Murray: “McCain Walks!”[I]n addressing the woman who asked the question about losing her brother. All other GOP candidates were sitting downThis came during the second half of the debate, with all the candidates seated. McCain got up out of his chair and directly addressed the woman.” (Mark Murray, MSNBC’s “First Read” Blog, “McCain Walks!,”, 6/5/07)

· Townhall’s Matt Lewis: McCain Is “The First To Stand Up.” “This format is much better for McCain. He’s the first to stand up. He’s better out from behind a podium.” (Matt Lewis, “Townhall” Blog, “It’s Showtime!”, 6/5/07)

Hotline’s Emily Goodin: Candidates Followed McCain By Standing Up. “The town hall format, which was the slower half of the Democratic debate, John McCain stood up when it was his turn to address the audience. Rudy Giuliani and Jim Gilmore quickly followed. It was much better TV.” (Emily Goodin, “Hotline” Blog, “We Were Watching,”, 6/5/07)

· NBC’s Mark Murray: “The GOP Candidates Are Following The Leader McCain.” “Now Gilmore walks up….The GOP candidates are following the leader McCain.” (Mark Murray, MSNBC’s “First Read” Blog, “Now Gilmore,”, 6/5/07)

NBC’s Chuck Todd: “McCain Is Dominating The Subject Matter Of The Debate.” “[S]o far, in this debate, McCain’s point of view has been the dominant topic of discussion, be it on the war or on immigration so far, this debate is providing a media spark.” (Chuck Todd, “First Read” Blog, “It’s McCain’s Debate Right Now ”, 6/5/07)

CNN’s Candy Crowley: Talking About Immigration Was “A Good Moment For McCain.” “I thought he made a pretty strong defense of his position on immigration when he said, look kind of looking into the audience my friends, we’ve done exactly what you expect us to do and that is to sit down and come up with some sort of compromise.’ He went on to say our job is to do the tough things, for which he got applause, so I thought that was a good moment for McCain.” (CNN’s “Republican Debate,” 6/5/07)

· Crowley: “McCain Obviously Came Loaded For Bear McCain Is Taking The Lead.” “I think McCain obviously came loaded for bear in terms of how he was going to explain this. This is obviously a conversation that he’s had in many townhall meetings. So in terms of just sort of the power of their presentation, I would think McCain is taking the lead.” (CNN’s “Republican Debate,” 6/5/07)

McCain Delivered “Fantastic” And “Good And Strong” Answers, Getting “Loud Applause”

National Review’s Rich Lowry:
“Fantastic statement by McCain [on Iraq] “
(Rich Lowry, National Review’s “The Corner” Blog, “‘Presidents … Don’t Lose Wars,'”, 6/5/07)

Powerline’s John Hinderaker: “I thought McCain was good and strong on there being no alternative to success in Iraq.” (John Hinderaker, “Powerline” Blog, “Live-Blog The Republicans’ Debate,”, 6/5/07)

McCain “Received Loud Applause From The Audience For Saying That The United States Needs To Succeed In The War In Iraq” And Criticizing Hillary Clinton For Her Description Of The War.Arizona Sen. John McCain received loud applause from the audience for saying that the United States needs to succeed in the war in Iraq. He criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton for describing the conflict in Iraq as President Bush‘s war. What Sen. Clinton doesn’t understand is that presidents don’t lose wars,’ McCain said. Political parties don’t lose wars. Nations lose wars and nations have the consequences of failure. We must succeed in this conflict.'” (Lauren Kornreich, “CNN Political Ticker” Blog, “McCain: Presidents Don’t Lose Wars, Nations Do,” politicalticker.blo, 6/5/07)

Townhall’s Matt Lewis: McCain “Made A Good Point Gets The First Applause Of The Night.” ” McCain just made a good point that he didn’t say it was President Clinton‘s War’ in Bosnia. He gets the first applause of the night.” (Matt Lewis, “Townhall” Blog, “It’s Showtime!”, 6/5/07)

· Politico’s Jonathan Martin: “McCain Gets First Applause.”McCain gets first applause. With an attack on HRC for her criticism of Iraq as President Bush‘s war. It didn’t hurt that he played the Bill card with the GOP crowd.” (Jonathan Martin, Politico’s “Smith And Martin” Blog, “McCain Gets First Applause,”, 6/5/07)

National Review’s Jim Geraghty: McCain “gets applause” in saying “Presidents don’t lose wars, parties don’t lose wars, nations lose wars, and we must prevail.” (Jim Geraghty, National Review’s “The Hillary Spot” Blog, “The Third GOP Presidential Debate Is Underway,”, 6/5/07)

NBC’s Chuck Todd: All The Candidates Listened “Intently To His Lecture About What’s Next For Iraq. It Was A Powerful Moment For McCain.” “There was just a moment on the tube where CNN showed every Republican candidate angled to McCain listening intently to his lecture about what’s next for Iraq. It was a powerful moment for McCain and a photo the McCain folks will want on the cover of tomorrow’s Union Leader.” (Chuck Todd, “First Read” Blog,, 6/5/07)

RedState’s Erick Erickson: McCain On Iraq “Is Well Said.” “McCain is willing to own the war. His take on of Senator Clinton and Brownback’s partition plan is well said.” (Erick, “RedState” Blog, “Miscellaneous Debate Thoughts,”

Political indecision precipitates garbage crisis in NaplesNeapolitans are knee-deep in refuse this week./AP photo

Naples is buried in garbage. Never mind that this ancient city has survived war, conquest, disease and natural disasters for millenium. Nowadays, Italy’s most populous city is overcome by an increasingly familiar phenomena: political indecision. Today, a New York Times article describes the situation:

As trash dumps filled over the years, it proved impossible to find new places or ways to get rid of garbage, largely because of local protests or protection by one politician or another. But years of postponing the problem finally caught up with Naples (and by bad luck just as the temperature rose).

“This is a situation that is tied to the incapability of the political structure,” said Ermete Realacci, an environmental expert and member of Parliament for the center-left Daisy Party. Namely, he said, politicians of all stripes have been unwilling “to make strong choices” to build new dumps or incinerators.

Naples may lie across the Atlantic, but it doesn’t have the corner on political ineffectiveness. The same handwringing that’s behind Naples’ littered streets is likewise at the root of America’s most pressing problems: illegal immigration, climate change, social security, to name a few. If our nation’s political indecisiveness goes unabated, we’ll soon be wading through the Yankee version of dirty diaper heaps.

However, all is not lost. There’s at least one political leader who refuses to be handicapped: John McCain. Right now, as a Senator, he’s got solutions on the Congressional table. As President, he’ll lead the way out of the tanglewood into the light.