How McCain can stay in the news

Star Parker

3/10/2008 12:00:04 AM - Star Parker

One down, one to go. We now know that John McCain will be the Republican candidate for the presidency.

We also know he'll run against a liberal yet to be determined.

According to Karl Rove, the dragged-out affair in the Democratic Party will hurt McCain.

As the Clinton-Obama saga goes on, debating important topics like who will tax and regulate us the most, who will punish big corporations the most, how to change, after the fact, the realities of the Florida and Michigan primaries, and who is being unfairly dissed by the media, the Republican candidate will sit like an orphan on Page Two.

But it doesn't have to be this way.

Here are a few ideas for McCain to keep himself front-page news.

First, he should call Mike Huckabee and invite him to be his running mate.

The move will shore up the large evangelical base and give positive content to a campaign defined primarily by fighting terrorism.

And Huckabee has proven himself to be a natural with the press. He'll play his guitar, take reporters squirrel-hunting, talk about creationism -- and they'll love every minute of it.

It's also probably true that Huckabee spent less on his entire campaign, in which he picked up seven states and 270 delegates, than Hillary Rodham Clinton spends on a weekend with advisers discussing what persona she'll assume for the coming week.

Keep in mind that a recent Pew Foundation survey on religion in America reported that 26 percent of Americans are evangelicals. Most of them would be happy to see Huckabee on the ticket. And they will regularly pray for the good health of President McCain. So no worries that VP Huckabee would unexpectedly wind up in the Oval Office.

Which leads to my second idea.

McCain was quite eloquent in his remarks in Texas the other night when he accepted the Republican Party nomination for president.

I was pleased when he talked about "faith in the values and principles that have made us great" and that "I intend to make my stand on those principles."

Many Americans need to be reminded, or perhaps learn for the first time, exactly what those "values and principles" are that have made our country great. We certainly need to hear from McCain what he thinks they are.

The Republican candidate dedicating time for discussion about "values and principles" would be therapeutic for the country. And by the time he's done, McCain might start believing them himself.

McCain and running mate Huckabee could hold national "values and principles" town halls nationwide while Clinton and Barack Obama debate mandatory universal health insurance.

Bill Cosby was a big hit traveling to inner cities around the country and talking about personal responsibility.

Hopefully, the talk will be about faith, family, reverence for life and private property, responsibilities that go with rights, what our Constitution actually says and how all these factors uniquely enable the world's most prosperous and powerful nation.

It is these "values and principles" that, after all, distinguish not just right from wrong in our country today, but also right from left.

In a recent Gallup poll, Democrats, independents and Republicans were asked to list what is most important to them in a presidential candidate: leadership skills/vision, position on issues or experience. Most important to Republicans was issues. Leadership skills/vision was more important to Democrats than issues by 50 percent.

Republicans are from Mars, Democrats are from Venus. For Republicans, what's most important is what you say, and then how you say it. For Democrats, it's the reverse by a large margin. Facts are far less important than feeling good.

We're hearing a lot about the enthusiasm of our youth for Obama. But according to a recent survey of 17-year-olds done by scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, whereas 97 percent could associate the "I have a dream speech" with the Rev. Martin Luther King, only 82 percent knew that President Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, 67 percent knew that protections of freedom of speech and religion are in the Bill of Rights and 43 percent knew that the Civil War occurred between 1850 and 1900.

The McCain/Huckabee "values and principles" tour can keep the Republican candidate in the news and prepare the groundwork for the general election, in which Americans will decide about a future based on faith, tradition and facts or wishful thinking and perhaps eloquently stated fiction.