If I were drawing up John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump digs in on conspiracy theory over bin Laden raid At 97, Bob Dole is still fighting for his country Leadership matters: President's words and actions show he is unfit to lead our nation MORE’s campaign slogan, it would be the title of this essay.

Honesty: McCain’s reputation for honesty is legendary. He is a straight talker in ways that most politicians are not. He gets angry sometime, and he has a sharp sense of humor that can get him in trouble. But he is an honest guy.

What this country needs is a good dose of honesty. We need to hear an honest discussion about the crippling costs of entitlement programs. We need an honest discussion of why our schools are failing. We need confront the reasons why healthcare costs are out of control. We need an honest discussion about the failures of our immigration system.

The American political system has drifted along the last couple of decades without enough honest discussions. McCain can provide that kind of leadership.

Integrity: Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles or values. McCain’s life experiences have imbued him with a strong sense of integrity. He has a fierce patriotism that may seem off-putting to those with whom he does battle, but this sense of integrity makes him a good leader. McCain’s battles with the special interests are entirely consistent with his sense of integrity.

Our political debate requires a strong sense of integrity. We need to get square with who we are as a people. When McCain says that we as a country shouldn’t use torture, he not only brings to that debate personal experiences, he says so with complete integrity.

Courage: McCain’s personal courage is, of course, legendary. He survived the most horrific treatment as a prisoner of war, and he has used that experience as a way to drive himself to achieve great things. McCain also has great political courage. He tries to always do the right thing, despite the political ramifications.

What this country needs now is a leader with great personal and political courage. Spending needs to be reformed. Waste needs to be cut. Government needs to be fixed, to be made more responsive, more efficient, more effective. Reform will not be easy. Special interests, entrenched in the very fiber of the bureaucracy, will do all they can to stop change. Real change requires a leader of great courage.

As the general election unfolds, there will be a clear philosophical distinction between the candidates. McCain’s campaign should be based less on the individual issues that may arise, and more on how he will lead this country for the next four years, with honesty, integrity and courage.


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