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Editorial: Sen. McCain Still the Smart Choice for Arizona, America

Editorial: Sen. McCain Still the Smart Choice for Arizona, America


By    |   Monday, 22 August 2016 09:21 PM

The whereabouts of Sen. John McCain on July 4 tells you everything you need to know about why he deserves to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

Unlike politicians who spent the long weekend golfing and hobnobbing with donors, enjoying a barbecue, or waving to constituents from the back of a convertible in their local Fourth of July parade, the redoubtable six-term U.S. senator from Arizona was 7,000 miles away in Kabul, Afghanistan.

He went there to let U.S. soldiers know they have not been forgotten by their fellow Americans.

He also wanted to evaluate first-hand the likelihood that, without continued U.S. leadership, "the graveyard of empires" will soon regress back to its historic state of war, lawlessness, and chaos.

"I'm very concerned about the proposed cutbacks in the troop strength in Afghanistan," Sen. McCain told reporters during his trip. "I think it will lead to the same result as it did when [President Barack] Obama pulled everybody out of Iraq."

For over three decades, Sen. McCain has been involved in virtually every major foreign policy and national security debate in America.

Everyone's already heard about the torture this American hero endured at the hands of the North Vietnamese that left him scarred for life.

Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's then National Security Adviser, revealed that the communist North Vietnamese, recognizing McCain was the son of a prominent American admiral, offered him an early release from prison – the so-called "Hanoi Hilton."

Despite barbaric conditions and treatment, young McCain declined the offer. He would leave when his fellow Americans were all released.

All his military career McCain showed remarkable valor as a U.S. Navy aviator – before, during, and after that incident.

For his service he received a silver star, a bronze star, the Legion of Merit, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Some critics complain he's not conservative enough.

Grover Norquist, the founder and president of the Americans for Tax Reform organization, recently penned an endorsement for McCain that stated: "It would be a serious blow for conservatives to lose John McCain in the Senate."

Given Norquist's status as a weight-bearing pillar of the conservative movement ever since President Reagan asked him to found an anti-tax group in 1985, that's pretty impressive.

Other conservative icons in the Senate have stepped forward to endorse McCain as well, including Cory Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

Sen. Cotton recently wrote: "If John McCain isn't in the United States Senate, it's a big win for radical Islam. There isn't anyone in this country, especially any liberals, who can and will do more to fight terrorists than John McCain."

Perhaps McCain passes the acid test for voters: Obama simply despises Sen. McCain. He has been leading every single battle against Obama's liberal agenda, from Obamacare to his open borders policies.

On Aug. 30, Arizona primary voters will determine whether Sen. McCain deserves a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. When they do so, it's important they realize what's really at stake.

Republicans currently enjoy a four-seat advantage in the upper chamber, but the influx of immigrants and retirees from California is threatening to turn reliably-red Arizona a much more purplish hue.

The headwinds from Donald Trump's tough "deportation" plan on immigration aren't helping much either.

If Republicans find a way to lose Sen. McCain's seat in Arizona, there's an excellent chance liberal Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York will take over as next majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

For Republicans hoping to reverse the effects of eight years of Barack Obama, that would be disastrous.

Sen. McCain's GOP primary opponent is Kelli Ward, a second-term state senator trying to ride the current wave of anti-Washington populism all the way to Capitol Hill.

In 2012, she was elected to represent the 5th legislative district in the Arizona State Senate. Ward hasn't been in politics long, but some of her vulnerabilities are already showing.

As a state senator, she sponsored a controversial bill that would have blocked any state official from cooperating with the NSA's controversial data-collection programs enacted by the Bush administration to stop terror attacks. Democrats will try to use that bill to suggest she's soft on national security.

Ward also convened a hearing on a far-fetched conspiracy theory that the government was intentionally poisoning people by lacing the jet contrails of airplanes with harmful substances – the so-called chemtrails conspiracy. Ward says she was just exploring an issue important to her constituents. Maybe so, but one of the truisms of politics is that anytime you're explaining, you're losing.

Maybe a sparse political resume is an advantage in today's political arena. But it's no advantage when a constituent needs your help.

As chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain is an influential figure on Capitol Hill with a strong reputation for taking care of the folks back home. Acquiring his degree of clout takes decades. Are Arizonans ready to kiss all that goodbye?

Hopefully not.

The winner of the GOP primary will face a very capable, determined Democratic opponent in U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. Given the state's changing demographics, there won't be a lot of room for error in November.

So here's something to consider. If Donald Trump falls short and fails to pull off a comeback, Hillary Clinton will be your next president.

As soon as Clinton fills the current vacancy on the Supreme Court, the High Court will be lost as well.

At that point, the only thing stopping the sweeping imposition of a liberal agenda on America will be GOP legislators. They will be the last line of defense.

We have no doubt the savvy McCain could leverage his influence, and unrivaled foreign policy and national security credentials, to fight the Clinton-Obama agenda at every turn.

In fact, we can't think of anyone whose temperament and experience would be better suited to wage that battle than John McCain.

That's why we encourage Arizonans to cast their ballots on Aug. 30 for the only viable conservative we see in this race – Sen. John McCain.

If Republicans can't hold onto the Senate seat in Arizona, there's little reason to think they'll maintain control of the Senate.

And does anyone think a weakened Republican majority in the House, absent McCain's leadership in the Senate, could stave off a sustained liberal assault from the other branches?

You probably don't agree with every vote Sen. McCain ever cast. Neither do we.

But right now, that isn't the point.

How bitter an irony it would be if an ideological push for purity in Arizona empowered Hillary Clinton to do what Barack Obama attempted for so many years, but couldn't – imposing a wholesale transformation on America.

How would we explain that to future generations? We couldn't.

The good news is we won't have to.

At least, not if Arizona sends John McCain back to Washington to fight for them. To fight for us.

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The whereabouts of Sen. John McCain on July 4 tells you everything you need to know about why he deserves to be re-elected to the U.S. Senate.
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Monday, 22 August 2016 09:21 PM
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