The Magazine

McCain Versus the Juggernaut

We stand with him.

Nov 3, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 08 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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We would hope that Obama might be more responsible with respect to Iraq as president than he was as senator, now that the surge he opposed and derided has worked. But hope is all anyone can do. And in dealing with other foreign threats, he'd more than likely follow his natural inclination--reflexively liberal, post-nationalist, timid to a fault.

If Obama wins, we wish him well. But for now, we can only echo the words of the 30-year-old Abraham Lincoln. On December 26, 1839, responding to the confident prediction of one of his political opponents "that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van Buren at the next Presidential election" and that Lincoln's opposition to the Van Buren forces was therefore bound to be in vain, Lincoln responded:

Address that argument to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. .  .  . The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. .  .  . Let none falter, who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if after all, we shall fail, be it so.

As it happens, the Whig ticket Lincoln supported won that 1840 election. So might, against the odds, the party of Lincoln win this year.

--William Kristol