Kathryn Lopez

With Obama you get a naivete about foreign policy. You get a radical on abortion who has opposed the most reasonable pullbacks on the Supreme Court's inappropriate lawmaking, at a time when a chunk of Americans are for restrictions on the issue. You get someone who will pull troops out of Iraq "immediately," with no mind paid to the consequences to our allies in the region and our own security.

The only way to beat superficial, feel-good talk about hope and change is for McCain to have the daring to offer a substantive, substantial contrast. He needs to continue to speak out about the consequences of surrendering in Iraq.

But he also needs to talk about the job he is running for. While a president who wears well is a great thing, the chief role of that office is not to make you have a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. The president protects and defends the Constitution. He is commander in chief of the armed forces. He is not an entertainer. On the night of the so-called Potomac primary, McCain demonstrated an appropriate humility on the road to the White House at a time of war: "I do not seek the presidency on the presumption that I am blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save my country in its hour of need.

I seek the presidency with the humility of a man who cannot forget that my country saved me. I am running to serve America, and to champion the ideas I believe will help us do what every American generation has managed to do: to make in our time, and from our challenges, a stronger country and a better world."

I have reservations about McCain, but he is responsible on this war on terror and appreciates the significance of the office of commander in chief. He understands that talking about "hope" and "change" isn't the same thing as leadership; it's a gimmick. And we've already expended too much blood and treasure in a war that was not of our choosing to put our trust in gimmicks.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.