I’ve started reading David Brooks again now that the NYT’s has dispensed with their failed TimesSelect service. Couldn’t see spending $49.95 for Frank Rich, Krugman, Dowd and the rest of the lefties for an occasional keeper piece from Brooks or Tom Friedman. Today Brooks has just such a column on John McCain.
With a blizzard of stories out there about the difficulties faced by his opponents (the WaPo’s tale of the dysfunctional Thompson campaign is fascinating, so too was the WSJ’s depiction of Romney as “Consultant in Chief”; Club for Growth is now calling Huckabee dishonest; and Giuliani’s strategy is getting riskier by the day and by the poll in all of the early primary states) Brooks reminds us why McCain is still in the hunt:
Other Republicans used to accuse him of kissing up to the news media. But when the Iraq war was at its worst, and other candidates were hiding in the grass waiting to see how things would turn out, McCain championed the surge, which the major Republican candidates now celebrate.
He did it knowing that it would cost him his media-darling status and probably the presidency. But for years he had hated the way the war was being fought. And when the opportunity to change it came, the only honorable course was to try.
And now he pushes ahead, building momentum, but desperately needing a miracle win in New Hampshire. Everyone will make their own political choices, and you might plausibly argue that the qualities John McCain possesses are not the ones the country now requires. But character is destiny, and you will never persuade me that he is not among the finest of men.
BUMPED: And lest we forget, Tom Ridge remains a Co-Chair of Senator McCain’s campaign.