With so much written and said daily about the upcoming election, I’ll get right to the point: John McCain really needs to be elected president in November. Despite all the arguments for and against him, there are three really big reasons to elect McCain, any one of which is sufficient to persuade me personally to vote for him over Barack Obama.

Reason No. 1 – End the tyranny of the Supreme Court: Thursday’s stunning 5-4 Supreme Court decision preserved Americans’ most precious right – to keep and bear arms. You heard me right: “most precious” – more so even than the right to free speech, or freedom of religion. Why? Because without the right to keep and bear arms – not just to defend against criminals and terrorists, but as our founders knew so well, to serve as a natural and necessary restraint on government – all other rights have no meaning whatsoever.

Now, consider that this most fundamental right, in defense of which millions of American soldiers have been killed or maimed over the last 200-plus years, was upheld by a one-vote majority. For some reason only God knows, the court’s unpredictable “swing” justice, Anthony Kennedy, joined the conservatives – Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas – thereby keeping this nation from plunging into 100 years of darkness. The other four justices simply violated their oaths of office, as they routinely do, and ignored the clear meaning of the Second Amendment.

Trust me, Kennedy could just as well have sided with the four hardcore liberals on the court – John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Indeed, Kennedy did exactly that in the court’s appalling 5-4 ruling, announced just one day earlier, that capital punishment for child rapists is cruel and unusual, and therefore unconstitutional. Had Kennedy sided with the liberals on the gun case as well, we’d now be living in a nation where the highest court in the land decreed law-abiding American citizens have no constitutional right to defend themselves. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

Now let’s bring this back to the election: In case you didn’t know, several Supreme Court justices are very old – especially John Paul Stevens who just turned 88 in April. Kennedy is 71, Souter is 68, Ginsburg is 75, Breyer is 69, and Scalia is 72. That’s the entire liberal side of the court – plus the conservative Scalia. Stevens’ seat almost certainly will be filled by the next president, and no one knows how many other aging justices will be replaced as well.

If elected president, McCain will appoint conservatives like Roberts and Alito. He has vowed to do precisely this, publicly and repeatedly, and there’s no reason to think someone with such a steadfastly pro-life Senate voting record as his would do otherwise. Obama, on the other hand, has made it clear he will appoint justices dedicated to preventing Roe v. Wade from being overturned any time in our lifetimes.

Remember, although a presidential term lasts only four years, Supreme Court appointments are forever – or almost. We’ve been stuck with Stevens since 1975, with Souter since 1990, with Ginsburg since 1993 and with Breyer since 1994. That’s 33 years, 18 years, 15 years and 14 years, respectively. If you’re an anti-McCain conservative or independent contemplating a third-party or protest vote, here’s the reality you’re facing: Should Obama become president, it really doesn’t matter what you hope and dream you’ll accomplish in the 2012 election. Perhaps your dream is that disaffected conservatives will coalesce behind a powerful Constitution Party and take the White House in 2012. Or that a chastened, energized and morally renewed Republican Party will roar back with a new Ronald Reagan leading the charge in the next election. Either way, it will simply be too late to change the composition of the court if Obama becomes president and appoints two or three 50-something justices. They’ll be entrenched on the high court for decades. You’ll be much older, perhaps even will have passed on from this life, when another chance comes along to reverse Roe v. Wade.

I know we’re all too preoccupied with the price of gas right now to pay much attention to abortion during this election cycle. But just remember: The number of healthy American babies violently executed in their mother’s wombs each and every day is greater than the entire death toll from the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Do you want to reverse Roe v. Wade? (And while you’re at it, preserve your right to keep and bear arms? And to freely express yourself, including your religious beliefs? And to execute heinous criminals? And a great deal more?) Then support McCain, because if he is not president, Barack Obama will be president, and will recreate the Supreme Court in his image. For decades, good Americans have suffered under the judicial tyranny of a rogue Supreme Court. Right now, there is a rare opportunity to transform it into a court that honors the Constitution and the American people. Don’t blow it by allowing Obama to become president.

Reason No. 2 – Win the war against radical Islam: In case you’ve been too distracted by other concerns lately, let me respectfully remind you that America is at war. Really. We’re under a prolonged, multi-faceted assault by an extremely violent, global mind-control cult called “radical Islam.” Members do things like hijack planes and fly them into buildings, killing thousands. Al-Qaida says it needs to kill 4 million Americans, including 2 million children, as revenge for America’s evil. This from a culture based on rage and hatred even toward one’s own family members, as evidenced by an astonishing level of wife and child abuse and a never-ending stream of “honor killings” of innocent girls. They stone people to death, behead them and amputate their limbs on the flimsiest of legal pretexts, including “crimes against chastity” and “apostasy.” Oh, and just last week a Saudi cleric explained publicly that it’s perfectly proper for Muslim men to have sex with 9-year-old girls, because that’s what the Prophet Muhammad did.

And these are the people who believe they are destined to rule the world, and to force their laws, beliefs and religion on the rest of us – by violence and terrorism if necessary.

Yet despite constant threats of ever-greater terror attacks since 9/11, there hasn’t been a single major assault on the U.S. homeland. And for this incredible feat, George W. Bush is rewarded with some of the lowest approval ratings in history.

Which brings us to Iraq and the next president.

The news about the war, what little there’s been lately, is terrible – terrible that is for Democrats. You see, incredible as it sounds, we’re winning the war in Iraq. We’ve eliminated one of the world’s most brutal dictators and his apparatus of tyranny and torture. We’ve planted a democracy there in its place. And we’re defeating the terrorists there – that’s why they’re not attacking us here.

As Ann Coulter wrote recently: “Despite its newness, Iraq’s democracy appears to be no more dysfunctional than one that would condemn a man who has kept the nation safe for seven years while deifying a man who has accomplished absolutely nothing in his entire life except to give speeches about ‘change.'”

Perhaps you haven’t heard the news about the war going well? Well, that’s the idea! There is no news. The establishment press, which wants Obama to win in November, is all but ignoring Iraq these days because things have improved so much there. After all, Obama has made it a centerpiece of his foreign policy that he’ll pull our troops out of “this failed war” as soon as possible.

In an amazingly candid editorial, the Washington Post recently let the cat out of the bag. It was headlined: “Don’t look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.”

While Washington’s attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaida. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have “never been closer to defeat than they are now.”

Back to the presidential race. If we’re so close to victory, and with so much at stake on so many levels, should the U.S.: 1) stay the course and win? Or, 2) cut and run, regardless of the outcome?

McCain understands that losing in Iraq is unthinkable – betraying all the coalition forces and Iraqis who have fought and died there, turbo-charging Islamic fanaticism the world over, transforming Iraq into a mecca for terrorists and further radicalizing the entire Middle East. He knows the military inside and out, and has what it takes to be a wartime commander in chief.

Obama, on the other hand, is a weak and inexperienced leader and would undo all that has been accomplished at such great cost in blood and treasure. Like other liberal elitists with giant egos (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton), Obama believes that somehow his superior intelligence, judgment and niceness will win the day, whether by meeting with terrorist leaders like Iran’s Ahmadinejad, or in undermining the Iraq war effort. The young Illinois senator simply lacks the maturity to understand what he’s actually dealing with: Evil that can be dealt with successfully only with overwhelming strength and determination.

Reason No. 3 – A president needs strong character: Although Ann Coulter describes Obama as having “accomplished absolutely nothing in his entire life except to give speeches about ‘change,'” he’s not just a young, empty slate with a dazzling exterior. All his adult life Obama has associated with radicals, criminals, communists and terrorists. If you think I’m exaggerating, you haven’t been paying attention – no thanks to the establishment press, which is doing its best to conceal the truth about Obama. In every area – from abortion and gay rights to taxes and spending to foreign policy – Obama’s policy positions are some of the worst in history.

What about McCain? He’s a mixed bag. He’s consistently pro-life, a leader in opposing congressional pork, strong on defense, and so on – but he’s also a “true believer” in global warming, opposed to drilling for oil in ANWR and has been soft on immigration. In short, he’s a flawed human being like the rest of us.

But there’s another factor we need to consider seriously in picking a president, as Karl Rove insightfully noted in a Wall Street Journal column.

Rove tells of a recent dinner date with Col. Bud Day and his wife. A congressional medal of honor recipient and former fighter pilot and Vietnam POW, Day was John McCain’s superior officer and roommate at the “Hanoi Hilton” prison.

“When it comes to choosing a president,” said Rove, “the American people want to know more about a candidate than policy positions. They want to know about character, the values ingrained in his heart. For Mr. McCain, that means they will want to know more about him personally than he has been willing to reveal.”

In pursuit of this goal, Rove related a few of the stories Day told him, including one about what happened to Day after escaping from a North Vietnamese prison during the war:

When he was recaptured, a Vietnamese captor broke his arm and said, “I told you I would make you a cripple.”

The break was designed to shatter Mr. Day’s will. He had survived in prison on the hope that one day he would return to the United States and be able to fly again. To kill that hope, the Vietnamese left part of a bone sticking out of his arm, and put him in a misshapen cast. This was done so that the arm would heal at “a goofy angle,” as Mr. Day explained. Had it done so, he never would have flown again.

But it didn’t heal that way because of John McCain. Risking severe punishment, Messrs. McCain and Day collected pieces of bamboo in the prison courtyard to use as a splint.

Mr. McCain put Mr. Day on the floor of their cell and, using his foot, jerked the broken bone into place. Then, using strips from the bandage on his own wounded leg and the bamboo, he put Mr. Day’s splint in place. …

Years later, Air Force surgeons examined Mr. Day and complimented the treatment he’d gotten from his captors. Mr. Day corrected them. It was Dr. McCain who deserved the credit. Mr. Day went on to fly again.

Another story the Days told him over dinner, said Rove, involved McCain’s role as one of three de facto chaplains for his fellow POWs. Day, the senior officer at the Hanoi prison, appointed McCain to help administer religious services to the other prisoners. As Rove explained it:

Today, Mr. Day, a very active 83, still vividly recalls Mr. McCain’s sermons. “He remembered the Episcopal liturgy,” Mr. Day says, “and sounded like a bona fide preacher.” One of Mr. McCain’s first sermons took as its text Luke 20:25 and Matthew 22:21, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” Mr. McCain said he and his fellow prisoners shouldn’t ask God to free them, but to help them become the best people they could be while serving as POWs. It was Caesar who put them in prison and Caesar who would get them out. Their task was to act with honor.

Already well-known is the fact that McCain refused early release from the Hanoi Hilton, due to his father’s position as a U.S. Navy admiral. Comments Rove:

Mr. Day recalls with pride Mr. McCain stubbornly refusing to accept special treatment or curry favor to be released early, even when gravely ill. Mr. McCain knew the Vietnamese wanted the propaganda victory of the son and grandson of Navy admirals accepting special treatment. “He wasn’t corruptible then,” Mr. Day says, “and he’s not corruptible today.”

However, the stories the Days told Rove went beyond the Vietnam War era. In 1991, for instance, “Cindy McCain was visiting Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh when a dying infant was thrust into her hands,” Rove writes. When it became clear the orphanage couldn’t provide the medical care necessary to save the child’s life, Cindy McCain brought the child back to America with her, where she was met at the airport by her husband.

When Mrs. McCain explained that the child desperately needed surgery and years of rehabilitation, and said to John, “I hope she can stay with us,” McCain agreed. “Today that child is their teenage daughter, Bridget,” writes Rove.

While Rove says he was aware of this story, what he didn’t know previously was that Mrs. McCain had brought back a second infant – a little girl that ended up being adopted by young McCain aide Wes Gullet and his wife.

“We were called at midnight by Cindy,” Gullett later told Rove, and “five days later we met our new daughter, Nicki, at the L.A. airport wearing the only clothing Cindy could find on the trip back, a 7-Up T-shirt she bought in the Bangkok airport.” Today, Nicki is a high school sophomore. And, Gullett told Rove, “I never saw a hospital bill” for her care.

Rove, who calls McCain “one of the most private individuals to run for president in history,” described these details of the candidate’s private life not only “deeply moving,” but “politically troubling” – troubling because, in Rove’s words, “if Mr. McCain is to win the election this fall, he has to open up.”

To be sure, explains Rove, Americans need to know about McCain’s vision for America’s future, including “his policy positions and domestic reforms.” But, he stresses, “they also need to learn about the moments in his life that shaped him. Mr. McCain cannot make this a biography-only campaign – but he can’t afford to make it a biography-free campaign either. Unless he opens up more, many voters will never know the experiences of his life that show his character, integrity and essential decency.”

Although John McCain is far from a perfect person or candidate, he has demonstrated both the strong character and the core American values we want and need in a president. Barack Obama, whose entire campaign is based on dazzling as many people as possible with beguiling words while concealing at all costs his breathtakingly destructive, far-left agenda, has not demonstrated the character needed to be president.

Friends, please don’t bother e-mailing me about all the wrong things McCain has done over the years. I’ve been a newsman for most of the past 25-plus years. I’ve heard it all, and then some. Our nation has never had a perfect chief executive, and we frankly don’t require one. What we absolutely do need, as Rove put it, is one with “character, integrity and essential decency.”

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