Thursday, August 25, 2005

President John McCain?

This isn't much of a surprise, but it looks like he's already on the pre-campaign trail, gearing up for a run at the White House in 2008:

U.S. Sen. John McCain knows why he wants to be president.

He isn't running for the job -- officially. That won't happen, if it happens at all, until after next year's midterm elections.

McCain, who turns 69 on Monday, said "there's no point" in formally announcing his candidacy until after the 2006 congressional elections.

But the Arizona Republican didn't skip a beat Tuesday when asked why he would want to run for the White House in 2008.

"Because we live in a time of great challenges," McCain said in an interview with Arizona Daily Star editors and

Chief among them is the war on terror, a "transcendent issue" likely to last for years, he said. But there is "a broad variety of domestic challenges" as well.

Sounding much like a candidate ticking off the priorities of his platform, McCain said they include immigration, Social Security, global warming, rising health-care costs and the "obscene" spending practices of Washington.

"My ego is sufficient to say that I think I have the background and experience to take on these challenges," he said.

True enough, perhaps, and I've always liked McCain a great deal. But may I mention that in recent days he has come out in support of the teaching of so-called intelligent design alongside evolution? And that's but one example of the ideological conservatism behind his cross-partisan cult of personality. Sure, he's a maverick -- and even, on some issues, a moderate -- but his conservative credentials are undeniable. Like him or not, at least understand him for what he is. His foreign- and military-policy experience is impressive, as is his personal history, but the substance is more important than the image, especially when we're talking about the presidency.

But, hey, at least he mentioned global warming.

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