Key issues for voters in this election will be freedom and national security, and here their impressions will be vivid: rogue nations with rapidly developing nuclear capabilities, nuclear-armed nations in volatile regions such as India and Pakistan, traditional nuclear powers such as Russia flexing their muscles and threatening the liberty and stability of those around them, and China building up its military in a way that suggests it wants to beat the United States in more than gold medals.
Here McCain makes his own vivid impression. His record shows that, early on, he understood the ominous intentions of Russia's leaders, made the Iranian mullahs fear him and foresaw the need for a troop surge in Iraq, which, along with his own military service and longtime Armed Services Committee membership, add up to real national security experience.
By contrast, voters struggle with his opponent's virtually nonexistent record on these issues. It comes down to a common sense decision that says: With national security traffic so heavy, this is not the moment to turn the car keys over to a teenage driver. Presidents don't have time for drivers ed.