Noonan to McCain: Tell Us What You Believe In

Journal pundit criticizes candidate for lack of guiding philosophy
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 3:30 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks to reporters after speaking at a town hall meeting in Springfield, Pa., Friday, March 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Peggy Noonan takes the measure of John McCain in today's Wall Street Journal and wonders "what does he stand for, really?" A friend of the senator's speculates on his "complacency" now that he's secured the nomination, and Noonan goes off: "You have to want the presidency or the people won't give it to you. You have to fight for it."

McCain “often shows passion, but he rarely speaks of meaning,” Noonan argues. Even his strong position on Iraq derives from its similarity to Vietnam, "and this is not philosophy, it's autobiography.” And that's not a good trade-off. “Philosophy isn't imposed from above, it bubbles up from the ground, from life," Noonan contends. "And its expression is missing with Mr. McCain."