‘Straight Talk Express’ ready for boarding

Karl Terry, Portales News-Tribune Managing Editor

I’ve been taking great pleasure in the way the presidential race is going.

My enjoyment is partly because my guy John McCain has the nomination sewn up, but also because those around me aren’t happy with the way things are going.

I have a wife, brother and coworker who are all so far right that their dental work automatically tunes their heads into Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other right-wing radio talk hosts. When they walk into a room with a television, by reflex it seems, the channel changes to Fox News.

So, since Mitt Romney and Rudy Guilliani went down in flames in Republican primaries and made their exits from the race they’ve been having a hard time warming up to McCain.

My leanings are conservative on matters of economy and I think McCain, while he might not have been the best choice in that respect, he’s still conservative enough. What sets him apart for me is his strong will and straight talk. Things we need in America in times of a global war against terrorism and a soft economy.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years about Sen. Pete Domenici was that he never told someone just what he knew they wanted to hear like so many other politicians. To me that is a big measure of a candidate’s character and honesty and easily cancels out a lot of policy differences I might have with them.

McCain, with his “Straight Talk Express,” seems to share that same character quality with Pete. He’s not going to sugar coat it for you — he’s going to tell you how it really is and offer some ideas about things we can try. He’ll be straight-forward enough to tell us what the chances of those ideas coming to fruition are and then he’ll go to work to try and make it happen if it’s feasible and desired by his constituency.

My wife’s biggest objection to McCain has been his statements and actions on immigration. He made the mistake of voicing the only practical notion of what to do with illegal immigrants who are already here — eventually offering them some sort of amnesty or a path to citizenship.

I think the single strongest argument for McCain’s nomination is that he was right all along about the “surge” in Iraq. He stuck to his guns while other members of the Republican party broke and ran on the issue and expressed doubts about whether or not it would work, almost from the start. The only steadfast and assured voice on the issue, outside the White House, was Senator McCain.

That one of many things in McCain’s record that tells me he knows what’s going on in terms of the military and foreign affairs and he won’t crumble or send mixed messages to our enemies in this time of global terror. Keeping our citizens safe and terrorists on the run should be our number one expectation for our president.

My good friends and family on the far right who were certain what we needed in a candidate a few weeks earlier now seem to have been left twisting.

My registered Democrat mother who is more conservative than I am isn’t happy either. She’s not excited about the opportunity to elect the first woman president or the first black president. Evidently neither has said anything to cause her to want to vote for them.

I think she’s leaning toward getting on-board the “Straight Talk Express.” I don’t think my wife, brother and coworker have purchased their ticket yet.

Karl Terry is managing editor at the Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at 356-4481, ext. 33 or e-mail: