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Operation Stolen Thunder

On a wild "Will she?/Won’t she?" day that seemed to belong to the Democrats, and more specifically to Barack Obama, whom the Associated Press reported had clinched the Democratic nomination on the basis of an undisclosed number of superdelegate endorsements, Sen. John McCain tried to remind everyone that he, too, is running for president. Speaking in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner, La., McCain sought to convince Americans that he would be a president who could deliver the change they seem to so desperately crave.

McCain began by praising Sen. Hillary Clinton and acknowledging what everyone was talking about, that Obama, if he hadn’t already, would soon clinch the nomination.

Sen. Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received. As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend. Pundits and party elders have declared that Sen. Obama will be my opponent.

The senator from Arizona went on to give an address that sought to turn Obama’s theme, "Change We Can Believe In," against him. Flanked by a green background patterned with the slogan "A Leader We Can Believe In" McCain frequently revisited the phrase throughout the speech.

This is, indeed, a change election. No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically. But, the choice is between the right change and the wrong change; between going forward and going backward.

McCain laid out what appeared to be a rather sweeping litany of changes that would need to be made in the coming years.

The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy — health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services.

It will be interesting to see how far McCain runs with the message of change during this campaign. It’s obviously focus-group approved, and many of the reforms he listed have long been in the sights of conservatives, such as tax reform, government spending and the military. Still, many of the changes McCain outlined will require a somewhat activist government, namely moving toward energy independence and taking action to combat climate change. It will be interesting to see how conservatives react to this strategy. Will it bring them in, or drive them away?

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