McCain: What We're Fighting For
The presidential election occurs at a pivotal moment. Our nation is fighting two wars abroad, suffers from the greatest global financial crisis since the Great Depression, and is facing a painful recession. I believe in the greatness of America. I believe in our capacity to prosper, and to be safer and remain a beacon of light on the global stage. But we cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. We have to act immediately. We have to fight for it.
The institutions that we counted on -- Wall Street banks, our elected leaders in Washington -- failed us. We must reverse the corruption and arrogance that have overtaken these institutions, and we must place our trust in the hands of those who have never let us down, especially the American family and small businesses.
We need to grow our small businesses, not tax them. I will fight the Democrats' plans to redistribute the fruit of America's labor and turn our economy into a full-fledged disaster. I will cut taxes on families, seniors, savers and businesses. We need to double the child deduction, cut the capital gains tax, and keep jobs in America with a lower business tax.
I will make government finally live on a budget and enforce that discipline by the power of veto. I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money. I will impose a short-term spending freeze and rid the government of waste, duplication and fraud. And I will chart a different course than the administration and Barack Obama and not spend your money just to bail out Wall Street bankers and brokers. I have a plan to protect the value of homes and get them rising again by refinancing mortgages so your neighbor won't default and further drag down the value of your house.
I will end three decades of failed energy policies; stop sending $700 billion to countries that oppose American values and finance our enemies; and drill for oil and natural gas. We must strengthen incentives for all energy alternatives -- nuclear, clean coal, wind, solar and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will lower the cost of energy, and create millions of new jobs.
I will not impose 'one size fits all' health care on families and small businesses through expensive mandates and fines. I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice, reform the insurance market to be fair, and allow you to keep the same health plan if you change jobs or choose to stay home.
One in five jobs in the U.S. depends on trade and I will fight the threat to those jobs from Democrat plans for isolationism. I won't make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I'll make sure we help workers who've lost a job that won't come back find a new one that won't go away.
Senator Obama wants to raise taxes and restrict trade. The last time America did that in a bad economy it led to the Great Depression.
While most Americans are rightly concerned with the economic crisis, a world of pressing national security challenges also awaits the next president.
The gains our troops have made in the past 18 months in Iraq could be lost if we pull our troops out prematurely and regardless of the conditions on the ground. We have also dealt devastating blows to al Qaeda, especially in Iraq, but terrorists have found sanctuary on the Pakistan frontier among those trying to topple governments in both Kabul and Islamabad.
Afghanistan is reaching a crisis point, just as Iraq did in 2006. As an early supporter of the surge strategy in Iraq, I know that turning around this situation will require more than just increased troop levels. We also need a new, comprehensive strategy, one that integrates civil and military efforts and engages with various Afghan tribes.
Other major threats loom on the horizon: the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs; aggressive Russian behavior toward its neighbors; Venezuelan adventurism; genocide in Darfur; and global warming. And those are only the dangers that we know of. Just as few expected the Russians to invade Georgia, we remain unaware of precisely where our next crisis will erupt, or when. The only certainty is that, as Joe Biden guaranteed, the tests facing the next president will be more severe if he is seen as weak in national security leadership.
I have devoted my life to safeguarding America. Former Secretary of State George Shultz compares diplomacy to tending a garden -- if you want to see relationships flourish, you have to tend them. I have done that, by traveling the world and establishing ties with everyone from dissidents to heads of state. There is great need for American leadership in the world, and I understand that only by exercising that leadership with grace and wisdom can we be successful in safeguarding our interests.
When I am president, I will not offer up unconditional summit meetings with dangerous dictators, nor will I foreclose diplomatic tools that serve our interests. I will respect our trade agreements with our allies, not unilaterally renounce them. I will close the Guantanamo Bay prison and ban torture. I will expand our armed forces and transform our civil and military agencies to win the struggle against violent Islamic extremism.
I believe that America is an exceptional country, one that demands exceptional leadership. After the difficulties of the last eight years, Americans are hungry for change and they deserve it. My career has been dedicated to the security and prosperity of America and that of every nation that seeks to live in freedom. It's time to get our country, and our world, back on track.