Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Europeans for McCain? A view from Portugal

As I reported earlier, most of the European's have Obamamania. But one wise liberal, center-right European in Portugal, João Marques de Almeida, sees John McCain as the ideal American Presidental choice. Read why:

McCain is the Best: Three Lessons from the American Race…
[...] There are four questions that from Europe’s perspective are fundamental: keeping troops in Iraq; preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; engaging in World Trade Organization talks to reinforce the global free trade system; reforming the trans-Atlantic alliance and reforming NATO in 2009. I'm not sure a Democratic president will endeavor to accomplish these four objectives like McCain would.

In addition to these reasons, there are three other reasons that lead me to look even enthusiastically to McCain’s candidacy. The first has to do with McCain’s character and personality. There are few things better than to see a free politician. When during the 2006 elections the majority of Republican leaders - including the other candidates (with the exception of Giuliani) - concealed or changed their opinions about Iraq, McCain maintained his position. He passed the big test: he was faithful to his convictions even when they were profoundly unpopular. He gave priority to what he considered to be the North American interest at the expense of his immediate political career. At the end of last year, he was almost finished. A month later, he's the heavy favorite to win the Republican primaries. This is the lesson of McCain.

Secondly, if McCain is elected president in November he could change the Republican Party. As with all great parties of bipartisan political systems, the Republicans are an alliance of various political and ideological families. The Bush presidencies reinforced the power and influence of religious conservatives. However his two election victories don't seem to have sparked a longer-term trend. Almost all the other winners of the Bush years, particularly the heirs to Reagan and the neoconservatives, stand by McCain. Ironically, in view of many European commentators, the neoconservatives could play a critical role in defeating religious conservatives at the heart of the Republican Party. Despite the complications of recent times, the Republicans seem to understand that ideological radicalization is the worst thing that can happen to a party that wants to win elections. This is lesson of the Republican Party.

Finally, the electorate seems ready to challenge a truth that has up to now been almost absolute: that in times of economic crisis, the economy decides elections. After the Michigan primary, Romney found his campaign theme: he would be the best qualified candidate to solve America's economic crisis. He accused his main rival of not understanding economics. But despite this, McCain won in South Carolina and Florida. And since it isn't expected that the economy will improve by the end of the primaries nor that by then the senator from Arizona will become an expert in finance, we can assume that this is a truth that has stopped being absolute. And thank goodness, since this "truth" is based on erroneous ideas.

It isn’t governments that solve economic crises, create jobs or increase economic growth. What we ask is that they don’t take decisions that undermine the economy. [...]

(bold emphasis mine) The Republican party needs to be a "big tent" party. It needs to unite and become an effective and functional "alliance of various political and ideological families", all co-operating without any one faction dominating all the others, if it intends to win any elections. I think that's true no matter which side of the Atlantic you live on.

No comments: