John McCain, as he concluded his acceptance speech, said, â€œI fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. … My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. And I will fight for her for as long as I draw breath, so help me God.â€
McCain said, â€œI’m going to fight for my cause every day as your president.â€ And then, he used the word â€œfightâ€ seven more times in the last few words of his speech:
â€œFight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country. Fight for the ideals and character of a free people. Fight for our children’s future. Fight for justice and opportunity for all. Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history. Thank you, and God bless you.â€
McCain, Iâ€™m sure, was using the second definition of the word, â€œfightâ€ — â€œto put forth a determined effort.â€ But his risk in using the word â€œfightâ€ is that it reminds listeners of the first definition: â€œto contend in battle, to strive to overcome by blows or weapons.â€
I early predicted that McCainâ€™s emphasis on â€œfightingâ€ — on using the military — would turn primary voters away from him. In â€œWhy Republicans Eventually Will Reject McCain,â€ I wrote, â€œMcCainâ€™s comments about Iraq will torpedo his candidacy. McCain says that even at the time â€” March, 2003 â€” if he had known that Iraq had no biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, he still would have advocated and supported a U.S. invasion of Iraq in order to topple Saddam Hussain. This is a pretty amazing position which reveals that McCain, rather than seeing the use of military force as the last possible alternative, sees the use of military force as a reasonable means to advance U.S. policy.â€
Iâ€™m still amazed that, with his comments about Iraq, McCain got the nomination. McCain is on record that he felt that the way to â€œfightâ€ Iraq — even if Iraq had no WMDâ€™s — was to invade it, â€œto contend in battle,â€ and to â€œovercome by blows and weapons.â€ How could anyone with such thinking be elevated to our highest office?
I agree that we need a president who will â€œfight,â€ who will, â€œput forth a determined effort.â€ But â€œFight Fight Fightâ€ hardly seems like a topic McCain would want to emphasize. It is surprising that McCainâ€™s would end his speech by hammering the fight theme. McCainâ€™s eagerness to use the military to â€œfightâ€ Iraq, in my thinking, disqualifies him to be president. And I’m thinking that a lot of the Republican base, those attracted to Ron Paul, when they think it over, will see that it is exactly because of McCain’s experience — the track record he has laid down — they should not vote for him, even by “holding their nose.” With his record of bellicosity, why in the world would anyone want to give McCain authority over our nuclear codes and our trillion dollar military?