Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Real Leadership for America

The Maverick John McCain has struck again with his bold decision today to suspend his campaign and proposal to reschedule Friday nights Presidential Debate in Oxford, Mississippi so he can return to Washington to work to solve the looming financial crisis.

This decision is a bold and risky one that only John McCain could present to the American people. It is also predictable for the McCain camp which has proven effectively adept at throwing conventional wisdow aside when the interests of the country and his campaign are considered. Consider the following decisions by John McCain during the current campaign:

a. John McCain proposed the current Surge Strategy in Iraq when his Democratic opponent was calling for an immediate troop withdrawal.

b. John McCain rebuked conventional wisdom in selecting his Vice Presidential running mate by choosing a little-known Governor from a small state in Sarah Palin.

Both decisions were unpopular at the time but turned out to be crystal clear with time that John McCain made the right decision for America and his campaign.

Political pundits have questioned Mr. McCain's decision-making ability time and time again only to be rebuked by the correctness of his bold leadership. The Surge worked and was overwhelmingly successful in reversing the results on the ground in Iraq. Today, no one is questioning the success of the Surge. Even his Democratic challenger admitted as such in recent television interviews with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor." And, despite the liberal media and his opponents, the selection of Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate has reaped positive reviews in the polls as well as with middle American voters.

Now, John McCain has once again struck with bold leadership by putting aside his political aspirations to suspend his campaign, return to Washington to lead the effort to solve the current financial bail out in Congress and put America's real issues above his political considerations. Sure, the decision is risky but John McCain has once again struck with bold, decisive leadership to solve America's problems.

By doing so, McCain has once again struck while the iron was hot, trusted his judgment and instinct and put his Presidential aspirations on the line. However, on second glance McCain's decision is not that unpredictable. John McCain has fostered a career in Washington in bucking conventional wisdom with bold, decisive leadership. His McCain-Feingold bipartisan bill to reform campaign finance still holds water in today's political environment. His support of the Surge in Iraq was brilliant and is being proven more correct every day by events on the ground in Iraq. And, his surprise selection of Sarah Palin has emboldened his campaign, reinvigorated the Conservative base of his party and put his Democratic opponent on the defensive.

Now, John McCain has once again put his personal goals aside for the betterment of America with his decision to suspend his campaign in the fourth quarter of the election to return to Washington to solve the financial crisis. However, every good tactician knows that when faced with obstacles to strike at your opponents strength to negate their assumed superiority. Here are several sports analogies to show John McCain's tactical strategy:

a. In the 1968 World Series, the Detroit Tigers were behind 3 games to 1 to the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Tigers were clueless in two of those losses to the Cardinals right-handed phenom Bob Gibson who established a World Series record 17 strikeouts in his Game 1 victory. Both Gibson victories came against Tiger ace Denny McClain in games 1 and 4. Gibson and McClain had combined for 53 victories and 19 shut outs during the regular season so many expected a final showdown in Game 7, if necessary. However, the scrappy Tigers were able to punch out a couple of victories at home in Detroit to set-up the climatic Game 7 showdown in St. Louis. What did the Tigers do in Game 7? Instead of predictably using their ace McClain for the game 7 showdown, the Tigers used their ace in Game 6 for a victory over a slew of Cardinal pitchers. Instead of McClain, they sent their crafty left-hander Mickey Lolich up against the invincible Gibson in Game 7 on only two days rest. Even though Lolich had beaten the Cardinals in Games 2 and 5, no one in baseball circles gave the Tigers any chance in Game 7 against the powerful Gibson. However, the decision to send Lolich back to the mound on a short rest to face Gibson and the Cardinals in St. Louis proved miraculous. Lolich had confounded the St. Louis hitters in Games 2 and 5 and did it again in Game 7 cementing the Tigers remarkable comeback to win the World Series. This bold decision effectively negated the supposed Cardinals strength with one of their own. Score one for the underdog.

b. In the infamous "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire, Africa in 1974, virtually no boxing aficionados gave former Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali any chance of defeating the current champ George Foreman. Foreman was younger, bigger and stronger than Ali and had the edge leading into the fight. However, the crafty Ali employed his infamous "Rope-A-Dope" strategy against his younger, bigger and stronger opponent. A bobbing Ali leaned against the rubbery ropes and stretched back as far as he could. Foreman's thundering right hands harmlessly glanced off of Ali's forearms or wildly missed altogether. The results are etched in history as Ali's controversial strategy effectively negated his opponents strength and rendered him futile, frustrated and out of gas by the time the eighth round rolled around. The result was vintage Ali who put together a powerful flurry of unanswered punches to knock out his insurmountable opponent.

c. And just recently, the New York Giants employed a blitzing strategy against Tom Brady and the undefeated New England Patriots to end the Pats record-breaking undefeated run. The Giants unleashed their underdog defense to put constant pressure on the seemingly untouchable Brady to render the miraculous upset. Once again, a seemingly inferior opponent did not run when faced with overwhelming strength but countered their opponents' strength with some of their own.

Each of these sports analogies have one thing in common with the McCain decision. The '68 Tigers, Muhammad Ali and the New York Giants attacked their opponents perceived strength head-on and defeated their insurmountable opponent. After enjoying a surge of his own following his Palin decision, John McCain has recently been trailing his Democratic opponent on the heals of the recent economic crisis. McCain has been perceived as weak on the economy even by his own admission on the campaign trail. Now, by striking while the iron is hot, McCain has once again taken the leadership position away from his Democratic opponent with bold, decisive leadership.

The next 24 hours will prove critical to the current financial crisis. McCain has gambled his entire campaign on the fact that his decision to return to Washington to work with Congressional leaders to solve the current financial crisis will effectively remove the perceived strength of his Democratic opponent. McCain has 24 hours to work in a bi-partisan fashion to hammer out a compromise bill that solves the current impasse. He can then ride in on his white horse to Oxford and tell the world he has solved the financial crisis with bold, decisive leadership. Meanwhile, his opponent looks indecisive, ineffective and un-Presidential with his decision not to join John McCain in Washington.

Conventional wisdom says "no way" John McCain is a no-show on Friday night at the first Presidential debate. However, John McCain has staked his entire campaign on his decision to put America first over his own personal political pursuit. Stay tuned for more developments but my hunch is the Maverick John McCain will once again prevail with bold, decisive leadership for America.

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