Patriotism. Not Profit?

One final thought regarding last night’s debate keeps reverberating, and that comes from the repeated assertion from John McCain that he led for patriotism, not for profit. No one can doubt that this is true, and no one can doubt John McCain’s patriotism and sacrifice for this country. He has also, in the Senate, been a leader on national issues far more than others like John Kerry, for instance; he takes very public stands on issues and drives major legislation. Regardless of what people think of those positions, he has never let an overwhelming desire to safeguard his political career guide his decisions, and Iraq may be the best example for conservatives.
However, this line — and McCain’s dismissive attitude towards the business class in last night’s debates as a collection of managers — signals a massively tin ear, especially among Republicans. Leading for patriotism is a wonderful motive. However, he got that opportunity because a lot of Americans who work hard for profits generate enough taxes to pay for the military and for the government that McCain has helped govern for a quarter-century. The people McCain wants to lead as President often lead for profit, and won’t appreciate the aspersion this phrase that McCain uses in every appearance casts on their own motives.
We seem to have come a long way from “The business of America is business,” and in some ways, that’s not altogether bad. The engine of America still remains its free market and respect for private property, which funds and fuels all of the other efforts our nation produces. While military service and public office are high callings, it isn’t necessary to denigrate the people leading in the business community to make that point.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin reminds us that Reagan knew better than to demonize and denigrate free-market leaders.

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