In his February 9 nationally syndicated column, CNBC host Lawrence Kudlow wrote: "[Sen. John] McCain [R-AZ] is no flip-flopper. ... Think of his duty-honor-loyalty persona, to borrow from my friend Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal." Strassel wrote in her Wall Street Journal column on February 1 that McCain is "no flip-flopper, and his duty-honor-loyalty persona would stand in stark contrast to both Clintons." Strassel also wrote: "Like or dislike Mr. McCain's views, Americans know what they are." However, the Wall Street Journal editorial board, of which Strassel is and was at the time a member, published an editorial on February 18, 2006 -- headlined "McCain's Tax Reversal" -- noting that after voting against President Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, McCain voted in 2006 to make some of them permanent. Moreover, the Wall Street Journal editorial suggested McCain's "reversal" was politically motivated, writing: "Our guess is that Mr. McCain may also be looking ahead to the 2008 GOP Presidential primaries, which won't be kind to candidates who've voted for tax increases."
From Kudlow's February 9 column:
A short while back, I heard former Bush chief of staff Andy Card give an engaging talk at an Awakening conference in Sea Island Georgia. Card asked: What's the most important character trait for a successful president? And he answered: The courage to be lonely. In other words, the guts to make tough decisions. Not poll-driven, politically driven, or selfish decisions, but decisions made on the basis of what is right and what is wrong and what is best for America.
McCain is no flip-flopper. Just think about his stance against ethanol subsidies in Iowa and federal hurricane insurance in Florida. (And Florida's Gov. Crist still supported him!) Think of his duty-honor-loyalty persona, to borrow from my friend Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal. Duty-honor-loyalty is part of the American military code of conduct. In this most important sense, McCain is a profoundly conservative man. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.
And don't forget his resiliency, consistency, and backbone. Here was a man moving around the country, without money and resources. He remained resolute on winning in Iraq, on the surge, and on the need to prevail abroad if we are to remain safe at home. Democrats were talking defeat. Republicans were hardly talking at all. But McCain soldiered on. Armed with courage, strength, and character, he kept his eyes on the prize. This may be the greatest political comeback in presidential history.