Sparked by the combination of the books I have been reading and by Patrick’s post below, one comment about Senator McCain:
He has survived as a candidate because of the legendary toughness he displayed as an American hero enduring the worst the communists could throw at him.
The beautiful film, The Kite Runner, is a movie about courage, and it evokes the old line from Thucydides: “The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom is courage.” It also reminds us of the brutality of the enemy we are facing, and their fanaticism. A president will need courage in great quantities in the years ahead.
Courage is not enough to make a good president, but it more than enough to make a great man. I hope the senator does not get close to the nomination because on the issues there is a vast gulf between him and the center of the GOP, and others seeking the nomination will also bring courage to the office, though of course nothing like Senator McCain’s sacrifice on behalf of the country.
But his appeal is obvious: The world’s bad guys would never for a moment think he would blink in any showdown, or hesitate to strike back at any enemy with the audacity to try again to cripple the U.S. through terror.
That could not be said with certainty of any of the Democrats, and it is ultimately why Republicans would put aside their many differences with the Arizona senator and support his candidacy whole-heartedly if he somehow figured out a path to the nomination. The same is true of Rudy, Mitt and Fred. Each has earned a number of political enemies in the course of the campaign, but the party would unify behind any of them because they understand the war, and are generally conservative.
I sincerely do not believe that would be the case with Mike Huckabee, as many Republicans would see in his economic populism a deal killer, while others would worry that even Hillary would be tougher on the bad guys in crisis. I would vote and work for him, but in a Kite Runner world, Mike Huckabee would see a lot of Republicans crossing over to vote for Hillary on the theory that she is at least toughened by years in the arena and political crisis after political crisis.