Like most conservatives, I don't agree with each and every position taken by either McCain or Giuliani. Of course, I can't remember any presidential nominee whose positions I've agreed with 100 percent. Yet, I could vote enthusiastically for either man for much the same reason I voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980, the first time I cast a vote for a Republican nominee.
Then, as now, America faced an ominous foreign threat in the Soviet Union. After Jimmy Carter's disastrous four years in office, U.S. military supremacy was in jeopardy, and communists had made further inroads in Asia, Latin America and Africa, not to mention the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
We're in an even more precarious position now, facing a fanatical enemy that doesn't yet have nuclear weapons but could conceivably gain access to them with growing instability in Pakistan and the dangerous nuclear potential of Iran and North Korea. But Iowa Republicans, at least according to the polls, just don't seem to get it.
Giuliani barely outpolls Ron Paul in averages for polls taken in Iowa in the 10-day period before Christmas, according to RealClearPolitics.com, while McCain is in third place, though gaining some lost ground in recent weeks.
New Hampshire voters seem to have more sense, with McCain in a close second place to Romney in the RCP poll averages. McCain looks poised for a surprise victory in New Hampshire, which could be a much-needed boost to the Republican who shows the best chance of beating either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the general election. McCain easily beats Clinton in recent polling match-ups and ties Obama in the RCP averages. Giuliani also beats Clinton in at least two recent polls, but none of the other Republicans comes close.
The stakes are simply too high for voters in Iowa and New Hampshire to ignore what happened this week in Pakistan. Let's hope they choose the right man, for all our sakes.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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