Charles Krauthammer hasn’t been the happiest of conservatives in this race, but he still understands the vital interests at stake in the election. Unlike some other conservatives who have decided to issue endorsements out of spite, Krauthammer backs the man who has annoyed him at several points in this election. He also reminds people that the Presidency isn’t a beauty or popularity contest — or at least it shouldn’t be:
The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.
Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who’s been cramming on these issues for the past year, who’s never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of “a world that stands as one”), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as “the tragedy of 9/11,” a term more appropriate for a bus accident?
Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?
Krauthammer scoffs at the notion, floated by both Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley, that people should vote for Obama because of McCain’s campaigning:
Nor will I countenance the “dirty campaign” pretense. The double standard here is stunning. Obama ran a scurrilous Spanish-language ad falsely associating McCain with anti-Hispanic slurs. Another ad falsely claimed that McCain supports “cutting Social Security benefits in half.” And for months Democrats insisted that McCain sought 100 years of war in Iraq.
McCain’s critics are offended that he raised the issue of William Ayers. What’s astonishing is that Obama was himself not offended by William Ayers.
There has been a huge double standard in the “offensive campaigning” reporting, and Krauthammer doesn’t mention the worst of it. Barack Obama and his campaign surrogates have openly called McCain, the RNC, and Republicans racists for opposing him. These statements were blatant, explicit, made repeatedly, and utterly false. With the exception of one time each by the Washington Post and ABC News (on their blogs), the media did nothing to expose this tactic by Obama and his campaign employed on these occasions:
Krauthammer calls Obama’s foreign-policy instincts “flabby”, but we can apply that to the thinking of other conservatives who have endorsed Obama. Ken Adelman followed Christopher Buckley in engaging in little more than wishing on a birthday candle that Obama will become more conservative once he wins the election. Neither of them gave any evidence to believe that Obama would do so. Instead of treating this election as a choice between a centrist and a hard-Left ideologue, Adelman and Buckley indulged in spite over their distaste for McCain and wound up making fools of themselves.