Why I’m voting for McCain

In answer to Ivan Wolfe’s post below, in which he says he is an undecided voter and asks for reasons to support McCain, I propose the following.

Now keep in mind that I was a Mitt Romney supporter during the primaries, and I feel strongly that Republicans would be in much better shape right now with Mitt than with McCain. Also keep in mind I am not a big fan of McCain’s by any stretch.

But despite my reservations about McCain, there are still strong reasons to vote for him.

Before I start, a note to the angry left (or other angry people). This post is not for you. Please go click somewhere else. This post is aimed at people who have not really made up their mind about McCain and are searching for reasons to support him. If you already love Obama and are definitely going to vote for him no matter what, you will not like this post. Do yourself a favor and help your blood pressure by going to read Huffington Post, the Nation, the Daily Kos or Moveon.org. Really. Why get all worked up by the opinions of a blog that is read by a few hundred Mormons? And, if you still want to read this post, please note that comments that are insulting of me or other commenters — or overly contentious or mean-spirited — will get deleted so fast it will make your head spin.

Alright, on to McCain.

Reason 1 — lesser of two evils. Obama, if he is elected will be the farthest left president in American history. We know very little about how he would govern, except that he has no real legislative accomplishments in his short career, and all of his statements have indicated he would govern from the left. The far left. McCain, based on his legislative history and all of his instincts, will be a true centrist. Personally, I’m not much of a fan of centrists, but they’re better than extreme leftists.

Reason 2 — The economy. McCain supports lower taxes (Bush’s tax cut), he supports free trade and his health care plan is a winner. He spoke out against the dangers of Fannie and Freddie years ago, while Obama was collecting cash from past leaders of these disgraced institutions. McCain is far from perfect on the economy, but his advisers would help us get through a tough patch. Obama would raise taxes, increase protectionism and turn doctor’s offices into the DMV. The downturn would become a Depression. Enough said.

Reason 3 — energy. Republicans: drill, baby, drill while we continue to develop alternate energy sources. Obama and the Dems: hope that magically wind power and solar power will suddenly become viable through a combination of Al Gore speeches, government regulation and pixie dust. One policy exists in the real world, the other in fairy land. McCain has begun to adopt the real world policy.

Reason 4 — foreign policy. When Russia invaded Georgia, we got a test case for McCain’s foreign policy vs. Obama’s. McCain immediately and forcefully called for Russia to cease the invasion, and Georgians today directly credit McCain with preventing Russia from taking over the entire country. Obama equivocated and then started blaming the Georgians until finally getting it right. Kind of. Folks, we are worried about the economy these days with good reason. But the president’s biggest area of responsibility is foreign policy, where he has tremendous power. This is why Jimmy Carter was such a disaster — he did not understand the power of the presidency to keep the peace through strong words and if necessary action. Iran is one of our biggest enemies today, and people forget it happened on Jimmy Carter’s watch. Russia’s invasion of Afghanistan. Same thing. The Sandinista victory in Nicaragua and near loss of El Salvador. Carter. Russian and Cuban expansion in Africa and elsewhere. Carter.

Obama’s instincts are even worse than Carter’s. Mark my words: if Obama is elected, there will be foreign policy tragedies along the lines of Carter’s on a regular basis. The Georgian crisis showed us exactly how he would respond, or not respond. If I were a Georgian, a Ukrainian or a Pole right now, I would move immediately if Obama is elected. He simply does not know how to deal with tyrants like Putin, and Putin knows it and knows he can get away with anything he wants with Obama in power.

So, who cares about Georgia, or Ukraine or Poland? Well, the problem is that the Russian invasion of Georgia is just the first step. If we do not respond the right way, Russia will be encouraged to take other steps. Remember the 1930s. Please read some history. Eventually, the United States will get dragged in because we did not discourage dictators forcefully enough early on. The problem is relatively small now and can be contained without losing U.S. lives. But if Russia begins eating at Ukrainian and Polish territory and threatening other countries, circumstances will reach a point where we can no longer remain neutral. Then you will care, as your sons and daughters are shipped off to an unnecessary war.

McCain was right on the surge and he has been right on Iraq from the beginning. He is experienced and respected internationally (there is a difference between respect and adulation — of course Obama is adored by many Europeans, but is he respected by them? I think not).

Nobody appreciates peace more than a man who has fought in a war. McCain will do everything possible to maintain peace through strength, which is in the end the best way to contain chaos and carnage.

Reason 5 — Judges. Let me put this simply: there is zero chance of any Supreme Court these days making all abortions illegal in this country. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will mean returning abortion to the individual states to decide. This is the way it is with the death penalty, and it seems to me the perfect compromise. So, now that everybody can calm down about abortion (even if Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion will still be easily available to the vast majority of people who want it, and for others, they can get on a bus to get an abortion if they really want one), can we please note that the Roberts court has been the most respected Supreme Court (as noted by relatively neutral observers) in decades? McCain promises more judges like Roberts and Alito — Obama promises far-left idealogues. Why would anybody but the most extreme leftist want that? And we’re not just talking about the few possible vacancies on the Supreme Court — we’re talking about the hundreds of potential vacancies on federal courts.

Reason 6 — character and associations. Folks, Obama is a blank slate. We know very little about him, and the little we do know if not encouraging. He got his start in politics with a host of questionable characters as mentors (Rev. Wright) and associates (Bill Ayers). At the very least, his judgment is highly suspect. At the worst, he shares the anti-American views of Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers and is hiding it long enough to get into power. Ask yourself this: why does the far left, the left of socialism and liberal fascism, support Obama with no reservations? They certainly didn’t feel that way about any other major Democratic candidate (read The Nation in 1984 when I worked there — they favored Jesse Jackson and saw Mondale as way too conservative and they felt the same about Dukakis, Clinton, Gore and Kerry, but they unreservedly support Obama. Shouldn’t that send up a red flag of warning?).

McCain can be a dufus sometimes, but you have to admit he loves this country and has real character. He is a true hero and acted truly selflessly while a captive in Vietnam. You know exactly how he would govern — he would try to achieve compromise and he would do his best to be honest and forthright. He really has nothing to hide. In terms of character, we know a tremendous amount about McCain, and almost all we know is positive. We know very little about Obama, and what we know if extremely worrisome.

Reason 7 — Sarah Palin. Best VP pick since FDR chose Truman. McCain showed great instincts. Sarah Palin will be a force in the Republican party for decades to come and may even be elected president herself some day. This was McCain’s single most important decision, and he hit a home run. It shows that his cabinet picks will also be smart ones. Meanwhile, Obama chose Mr. Chia Pet (“watch the hair plugs grow”), one of the most change-averse and establishment-loving Senators out there. Excuse me, what does this say about Obama’s integrity, that he is supposedly for “change” and “reform” and he chose the man who is the exact opposite of that? Don’t you think it is an indication that we cannot believe anything else the man says?

Reason 8 — Same-sex marriage. As Latter-day Saints, modern-day prophets have made it clear that this issue must be one of our top priorities. We have been urged to to all we can to support constitutional amendments opposing same-sex marriage. McCain supports these amendments, and Obama opposes them. Seems pretty clear to me.

Respectful, non-contentious comments are welcome.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

94 thoughts on “Why I’m voting for McCain

  1. “Obama, if he is elected will be the farthest left president in American history.”

    This is why I support Obama, though I am pretty sure that he will turnout to be another moderate. I will be disappointed and the right will not notice.

    I appreciate you explanation of your vote. While I do not agree with any of it, that does not matter. Isn’t it great that we can agree to disagree? Thanks.

  2. Nice post Geoff.

    “We have been urged to to all we can to support constitutional amendments opposing same-sex marriage. McCain supports these amendments, and Obama opposes them.”

    Point of clarification. McCain supports some such amendments–but he voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment (as did Obama). However, without going into a lot of detail, it is fair to say that McCain’s stated opposition to same sex marriage is stronger than Obama’s opposition to same sex marriage.

    The only argument you offer that surprises me is the Palin argument. The reasons for my surprise are the usual reasons why many democrats and a few republicans think she was not a good choice.

    I will say, however, that the selection might have been brilliant for this reason–if McCain-Palin win, I think there will be a lot of us who will fervently pray each day for the continued good health and long life of President McCain!

  3. David H, I think the same people who underestimate Palin did the same thing with Reagan. I don’t know how old you are, but during the 1980s everybody on the Left couldn’t get over what a dunce Reagan was. But he sure did connect with ordinary Americans and he won two elections with near landslides.

    I want to tell you a story that may help you understand how Palin connects with ordinary people. I watched the Biden-Palin debate with an extremely outspoken Democratic farmer/rancher from Utah. The guy was very proud that he was the only Democrat for miles around and loved to argue. He started out the debate with comments like, “Palin is being destroyed. She had better get her act together.” And as the debate went on, he became strangely silent. At the end of the debate, he turned to me and said, “wow, she really did a great job. That is some lady. I almost am being convinced to vote Republican.”

    Now, you and the NY Times and the great sophisticates at Saturday Night Live may not see Palin’s appeal, but the tens of thousands who show up for her rallies certainly do. Underestimate her at your peril — it shows lack of insight into how middle American reacts to one of its own.

  4. Let me add a reason:

    Split Government. Having Democrats control both the Executive and the Legislative branch is very undesirable. Electing McCain President would help keep them from going on a bender.

    I think your reason 5 and reason 8 both contribute to the fact that a President McCain would foster a legal environment which is more friendly to the church’s political positions.

    DavidH, McCain has stated that he believes that marriage should be left up to the states which is why he opposed the federal marriage amendment. But he also made clear that he would support it if federal courts ever tried to impose same-sex marriage on states that have rejected it. Obama claims to oppose Same-Sex Marriage but he simultaneously opposes ALL efforts to stop it.

    I second Geoff’s statements about Palin. She rocks.

  5. Aluwid, good point. If you are a moderate and are undecided between McCain and Obama, think about this: the House and Senate will be dominated by the Dems. Do you really want Obama to have near-universal power to get whatever he wants without any checks from the opposition?

  6. Interesting analysis, Geoff.

    I’d have to quibble with some of your characterizations, though. Obama is an extreme leftist, the most left of any president ever?

    I’m really not seeing that. You’re right that there’s not much of a track record. But his talking points seem to be pretty plain-vanilla: energy, health reform, immigration, rolling back Bush tax cuts. (See http://www.barackobama.com/issues/ ).

    Now, granted, one can disagree with the substance of some of those ideas. But really, they’re mainstream Democratic talking points.

    Similarly, he’s suggested that he’d appoint people like Ginsburg and Breyer to the Supreme Court — and again, while opponents like to call them extreme leftists, they’re actually pretty mainstream.

    If it makes you feel better to call these ideas far-left, knock yourself out. But I’ve never thought it made much sense to use definitions of extreme that make half the country extremists.

    Of course, folks do it on both sides. People at DailyKos refer to Bush as the most extreme-right president ever. And I criticize that, too. It’s not helpful to call moderates extreme. Obama is mainstream Dem — nowhere near a real leftists like, Heaven help us, Cynthia McKinney. (Obama’s no even close to less moonbatty but still left-leaning folks, like John Conyers). And McCain is a moderate Repub.

    McCain’s more centrist than Obama, but they’re both much more centrist than extremist.

    Far left is McGovern or McKinney. Obama is no McGovern; and he isn’t even close.

  7. “Folks, Obama is a blank slate. We know very little about him, and the little we do know if not encouraging.”

    I found his books to say a lot about him. I personally find it very encouraging that he is happily married, a devoted dad, and not an adulterer with a trophy wife.

  8. Kaimi, I know that Obama supporters love to call him a moderate, but it just isn’t so.

    Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, more liberal than Socialist Bernie Sanders:

    http://nj.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/

    Kaimi, you may want to read this article to see how far out of the mainstream Obama is:

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/special-preview-br–obama-s-leftism-12961?page=all

    As for Ginsburg, given that you are an ACLU supporter I can understand how you would consider her mainstream. But for most Americans, she is an extremist pursuing a radical agenda.

    She thinks there’s a constitutional right for prostitution and polygamy. She has attacked the Boy the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts as organizations that perpetuate stereotyped sex roles and has proposed abolishing Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and replacing them with a single androgynous Parent’s Day. She has also called for the end of single-sex prisons so prisoners of both sexes can mingle before they are released.

    Source: “Report of Columbia Law School Equal Rights Advocacy Project: The Legal Status of Women under Federal Law,” co-authored by Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Brenda Feigen Fasteau in September 1974.

    Obama promises many more Ginsburgs in our federal court system.

    Naismith, I think it’s great that Obama has managed to keep a happy marriage unlike other Democrats like oh, say, Bill Clinton and John Edwards, but I also think it’s amusing that Democrats love to criticize McCain for his admittedly failed marriage but couldn’t summon up any opprobrium for Clinton’s soiling of the institution of the presidency in front of the entire nation. Could I get you to praise President Bush for his successful marriage to Laura? I thought not. Double standards indeed.

  9. I found his books to say a lot about him. I personally find it very encouraging that he is happily married, a devoted dad, and not an adulterer with a trophy wife.

    I admit I find that attractive about Obama as well.

    The first time I found myself liking McCain was watching the interview with Rothschild’s wife, who had to step down from the DNC platform committee after she decided to endorse McCain.

    I’m still thinking about it all.

  10. Kaimi, for an example of how far-left Senator Obama is, consider the Born-Alive Protection Law. The idea is to protect babies that survive late-term abortions, this is something that not even NARAL opposes. A similar federal law passed in the senate with a unanimous voice vote. But when it came up for a vote in Illinois Obama opposed it, multiple times. When it comes to abortion Obama is way out there.

    Obviously he is trying to act like a moderate now that he’s running for President. But look at the record, look at his history.

  11. Thank you for your arguments, Geoff. I agree with them whole-heartedly. Concerning Palin, I think she is wonderful–a good solid conservative. I am a student, currently, and have heard others say that she is “dumb.” I think that is unfortunate; usually when one says such a thing it is because they are following the bad hype that is wrongly placed on Palin.

  12. Kaimi, while I don’t quite agree with Geoff’s comments on Obama it is clear he’s a liberal. He’s tried since deciding that he wanted to be President to moderate. It’ll be interesting to see if he does that as President. I doubt he will. I think a lot of it is sophistry to get elected. Clinton ran as a moderate but there was good evidence that he was more of a moderate. (Blue Dog Democrat) Of course even as a moderate left Democrat he still tried to implement policies I found disturbing. (And I expect Obama will when elected as well)

    Geoff, whether you agree with them or not but there are a lot of people who think there is a constitutional right to polygamy and prostition. People on both the right and the left. Indeed among libertarians this is a fairly common view. In fact, the polygamy part, used to be a de facto belief among Mormons as I’m sure you know. Indeed you may remember them appealing it to the supreme court. So that seems an odd place to attack Ginsberg.

    BTW – comparing Reagan and Palin?!?!? Blasphemy! They don’t even remotely have the same experience level or communication ability. Palin is more like the likeable charm of George Bush in 2000.

  13. Geoff: While I completely disagree with most of your positions, I can still appreciate this post. You state your support well, explaining your reasons, etc.

    I think the post would be much better if you avoided superlatives (“Obama is always this” or “All of Obama’s positions are that”). I also think you could avoid some of the intentional misrepresentation (“Obama is hoping for fairy dust and magic…”)—if McCain really is better than Obama, then an honest and fair comparison should reveal that.

  14. On to your main post Geoff. (Yeah I’m going backwards this time – starting with the comments)

    (1) really isn’t a reason to vote for McCain – just a reason to vote against Obama. It’s also questionable since the issue isn’t his legislation views (which I largely agree with) but more his temperment as leader. I really, really, really worry about McCain’s temperment and his tendency to (like George Bush) go by his gut. That’s why Obama is the lesser of two evils. As much as I agree with many of your criticisms of Obama.

    (2) Obama actually will lower taxes so you’re being a bit sophist here. The question is who is lowering them more. The main complaint against Obama is doubting whether he would really lower taxes given the social programs he wanted to implement. However the reality is that both are going to use tax breaks to help re-establish the economy. The other issue then is who will have lower spending. The typical answer is why trust a spending liberal. But Clinton cut spending while Bush increased it astronomically. So I don’t think that typical argument holds. Now McCain is a more realistic conservative than Bush or even many of the Republican leadership of the last 10 years in all this. But is he enough of one. The best argument one can make is divided government here. But is it strong enough? I’m not convinced.

    Protectionism is a big worry with Obama and I’ll grant you McCain there. However most economists feel Obama is more trustworthy on the economy. The fact McCain is so statedly ignorant on the economy is scary. Admittedly Obama isn’t strong either. But in a comparison I think most think Obama is better here, minus the protectionism.

    (3) Energy. Obama will give far more funding to alternative energy than McCain. While I fault Obama for not promoting drilling the fact is at this point it’s a moot point. The relevant bills have already passed congress. Shale exploration is a go. The limit right now isn’t allowability it’s the fact the price of oil is so low. The fact you discount large scale solar energy is disappointing. There are several large reactors being built in Nevada right now. We ought be expanding those like crazy along with wave power. Wind power is and will always be more limited but still ought be subsidized more especially now that power storage problems have been worked out.

    (4) Foreign policy is where I’m most scared about McCain. Yes in many areas he spouts the proper policy – often when it wasn’t popular. But he’s hugely mistaken equating the Surge in Iraq with Afghanistan. (Even Petraeus doesn’t do that) He’s made amazingly ignorant statements about both Al Queda and Iran the past six months. But worst of all is his tendency to go by “gut instinct” which reminds me of Bush. Recall that Bush’s problems wasn’t broad policy but his reliance on “gut” to decide or test the details. Remember Chalabi and the exhiles? Tonight McCain joked about Bush’s gut instinct towards Putin. But is McCain’s gut any better?

    While I don’t agree with Obama on many foreign policy strategies after eight years of Bush I just think someone who is more of a critical thinker and deliberative is better than someone I agree with more but who is more of a maverick and loose canon. That looks great in cheesy Hollywood movies but as we’ve found, isn’t so great in a President.

    Saying Obama’s instincts are worse than Carter of course shows how this is a lesser of two evils contests. But who was worse? Carter or Bush? Honestly? It sucks we have to make that decision. But as bad as it would be I’d take Carter over Bush every time.

    (5) Judges. I agree 100% with you here. This is by far the strongest argument for McCain. Obama on judges scares me far more than Clinton on judges. Obama is apt to pick judges that will be far left. (Sorry Kaimi, you’ve got to know this is true) This was why I voted for Bush for re-election. I have come to regret that vote. As much as I do admire Bush’s judicial appointments. (Minus Meyers of course)

    (6) Character. An other lesser of two evils. For sure. I don’t think Ayers is quite the problem you suggest, although it does point to his liberal nature for sure. But then McCain’s actions towards his former wife, the Keating 5, etc. doesn’t exactly inspired. Then there is the afore mentioned “gut instinct” issue plus his infamous temper. What’s worse? What we don’t know about Obama or what we do know about McCain? It’s a tie for me.

    (7) Sarah Palin?!? Really? Wow. I don’t like Biden that much but I thought it was a solid choice to shore up Obama’s foreign policy weaknesses. Palin, who I was initially excited about, has disappointed me greatly. Yes she connects to regular people. So did Bush.

    (8) Realistically the President will have little or nothing to do with Same Sex marriage. It is at best a litmus test.

  15. Your reason #3 is faulty. In listening to the candidates speak, both agree on using all forms of energy to get us energy independent. The only thing they disagree on is where the emphasis ($$) should be placed. McCain’s emphasis is oil first, alternatives second, while Obama’s emphasis is alternatives first, oil second. But they both believe in using oil and they both believe in using alternatives.

  16. Obama has the most liberal voting record in the Senate, more liberal than Socialist Bernie Sanders:

    http://nj.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/

    Kaimi, you may want to read this article to see how far out of the mainstream Obama is:

    https://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/special-preview-br–obama-s-leftism-12961?page=all

    I really don’t see it, Geoff. The articles you link suggest that he’s among the most liberal folks in the Senate. That alone doesn’t establish that he’s an “extreme leftist.”

    The Senate is a relatively centrist body, in general. It doesn’t have much in the way of extremists in either direction. (In contrast, the House of Representatives has members who _are_ relatively extreme, on both sides of the aisle.)

    The articles cited also state that Obama basically voted the Dem party line consistently. Consistently voting the party line of a party that holds the majority of Senate seats doesn’t make a person an extremist, I’d say. It puts them smack dab in the middle of the (Democratic) mainstream.

    Kaimi, while I don’t quite agree with Geoff’s comments on Obama it is clear he’s a liberal.

    Sure. I didn’t say he’s not a liberal; I just think it’s wrong to characterize him as an extreme leftist. Voting party line with the majority party does not make one an extremist; it’s about as mainstream as one can be.

    For comparison purposes, Cynthia McKinney’s platform consists of the following:

    -Repeal of Patriot Act
    -Repeal of Military Commissions Acts
    -Immediate end of Iraq War
    -Federally mandated living wage
    -Repeal NAFTA and Taft-Hartley
    -Federal equal-pay-for-women law
    -Reparations for slavery
    -Nationalizing the Federal Reserve
    -”Full reproductive rights for women — for legal rights and safe access to comprehensive prenatal and postnatal/infant care; family planning services and contraception, including “morning after” medication; and abortion.”
    -Increased (perhaps fully) subsidized college.
    -Cancel Pentagon budget for new weapons.
    -Repeal Bush tax cuts.
    -End War on Drugs
    -Release all political protesters from any jail
    -End felon disenfranchisement
    -End private prisons
    -Massive overhaul of criminal justice system
    -Massive increase in environmental regulation
    -Close all overseas military bases

    And it includes this mission statement:

    Freedom also includes the rights to education, health care, housing, living wages, and freedom from racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, gentrification, and police terror. Therefore, elimination of all health, education, home ownership, and social justice disparities must form the foundation of every plank of any acceptable political and economic platform that seeks to address the real concerns of the peoples of the Americas.

    THAT is an extreme leftist position.

    Obama is a mainstream Dem, and mainstream Dems are not extreme leftists (just like mainstream Repubs are not extreme rightists).

    Heck, Obama hasn’t even supported impeaching Bush — and he has publicly opposed impeachment, see http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2007-06-28-obama-impeachment_N.htm — and that’s one bandwagon that various others (like Kucinich) have jumped on.

  17. I should note, it’s funny to see the conversation unfold on both sides.

    My left-leaning friends send me e-mails saying that McCain is an agent of the extreme right. And they wring their hands about whether Obama is too much of a moderate.

    (For instance, not only has Obama opposed impeachment, he is also opposed to gay marriage. How extreme left can someone be when they oppose same-sex marriage?)

    And my right-leaning friends give the same analysis, with only the names and titles reversed.

  18. Kaimi, give me a break on the gay marriage issue. You and anybody else who has followed the issue closely know that Obama only says he is against gay marriage to pick up votes (because the vast majority of people are still against gay marriage). Let’s see: he is against the gay marriage constitutional amendments on the ballot, he is against the Defense of Marriage Act, and he will appoint judges who are in favor of gay marriage, but somehow he is against gay marriage. Is there any doubt that if Congress passed pro gay marriage legislation that Obama would “reluctantly” sign it saying it is the “will of the people?”

    It’s interesting to note that you did not refute the National Journal article or the article in Commentary in any way but continued with anecdotes and impressions. That’s not much of an argument.

  19. McCain and Palin will still be the best for the country if we will have to preserve the marriage and go forward with the works of God. If Obama will win, however charismatic he is, will definitely lead America to the path long ago foretold by the BOM prophets…degeneration…

    Gays and Lesbians rally around him.
    Maybe decent and family loving people should rally around McCain.

    (by the way Sir Geoff, we were delisted from Box 7 of MA? We were wondering why. Please check it. Thank you!)

  20. Clark, nice, substantive comment. Although I disagree with your conclusions, this comment shows you are really thinking carefully about this issue.

    1)This is simply an argument based on impressions. It’s hard to argue against impressions and guesses. My impression is that McCain’s temperament is better suited to dealing with the problems we’re facing — yours is that Obama is. Well, I guess that’s a judgment call.

    2)Clark, Clinton said in 1992 that he was in favor of a middle class tax cut, and when he got into office one of the first things he did was sign a tax increase on everybody except the poorest of the poor. You and I both know there is no way Obama can pay for all of his programs without raising taxes. Take it to the bank: if you make more than $50k, your taxes are going up in the coming years. Oh, he’ll cite the economic emergency, the vast Bush deficits, etc, etc.

    Hoover raised taxes in 1931, and the result was to prolong and deepen the Depression. This is not the time for higher taxes.

    There are lots of economists who believe lots of things, but the ones I all respect, who actually understand how the economy works, support free-market economics. McCain gets a “B” in their books, but Obama gets a “D.”

    Take a look at this for example:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121728762442091427.html

    Raising taxes on the rich never works. Let me repeat that (Joe Biden impression). Raising taxes on the rich never works. Why? Because the rich are very good at hiding their money. If we raise taxes in the U.S., they will simply move their money elsewhere where tax rates are lower (Ireland, Estonia, Cayman Islands, Panama, etc, etc). At the end of the day, you can’t pay for govt programs by raising taxes on the rich — you have to go after everyday schmoes like you and me. Mark my words: your taxes will go up.

    Let me address the corporate tax rate. Obama never discusses lowering it, and indeed is likely to increase it. We already have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Well, that’s because corporations are BAD. In reality, corporations are simply the vehicles for providing jobs. More corporations will move from the United States — meaning more jobs will move from the United States — to other countries unless we lower the corporate tax rate. Obama will raise it. He does not understand the basics of economics because he is blinded by left-wing ideology.

    Nice to see we agree on protectionism, which will be a disaster for the economy.

    3)Clark, I don’t discount anything, but you aren’t going to be able to fill up the tank in your Honda with solar energy from Nevada. I’m in favor of all energy sources — including drilling, which Obama and the Dems continue to oppose. I think you fundamentally misunderstand the problem here. If Obama wins, and there are 58 Dem senators and a majority in the House, just wait and see what happens with drilling. Oh, drilling may be allowed (so that Republicans don’t get an election issue) but it will be far off shore and in a way that doesn’t really allow any drilling.

    4)On foreign policy, we disagree so deeply here I don’t think there’s much common ground for a discussion. Peace through strength is essential, especially now. Obama’s instincts are all wrong, and Putin/the Iranian mullahs, etc will eat him for lunch. And in the end, weakness makes war much more likely, as I stated above.

    5)Nice to see we agree.

    6)Character. See 1)

    7)Palin. Clark, how do you explain the huge crowds at the Palin events? I really think you are missing something here. Bush never had crowds like that.

    8)Well, presidents can do at least as much about SSM as they can about abortion, and abortion seems to get people on both sides pretty excited. Presidents appoint judges and sign bills and push priorities. With Obama, we will eventually get gay “rights” codified. With McCain there is a chance of holding off a few more years.

  21. “Naismith, I think it’s great that Obama has managed to keep a happy marriage unlike other Democrats like oh, say, Bill Clinton and John Edwards, but I also think it’s amusing that Democrats love to criticize McCain for his admittedly failed marriage but couldn’t summon up any opprobrium for Clinton’s soiling of the institution of the presidency in front of the entire nation. Could I get you to praise President Bush for his successful marriage to Laura? I thought not. Double standards indeed.”

    This isn’t true. I am a fan of Barbara Bush and have said so elsewhere and repeatedly. I thought Clinton should have resigned and have said so elsewhere.

    And let’s not engage in doublespeak. McCain’s was not a “failed marriage” in the sense of both parties trying hard and just not making it. McCain was a flagrant adulterer.

  22. Naismith, I’ll assume you mean Laura Bush (although Barbara Bush is pretty cool too) and give you points for consistency. Glad to see we agree on that cad Clinton.

    If one of your main criteria for voting for a candidate is whether they have remained happily married and avoided adultery throughout their lives, then Obama apparently wins. McCain has admitted to behaving badly during the breakup of his first marriage — there’s no two ways about it.

  23. Charles R, welcome to M*, and I hope you come back often. Don’t be discouraged by all of the students who support Obama and make fun of Palin. By the time they have grown a little, and begun paying taxes, most of them will be more conservative.

  24. Geoff,

    I’m finding Clark’s argument convincing that an Obama win will be better for the Republican Party in the long run. Hopefully this is true.

    I think whoever wins, more than likely Obama, it may very well be a one-term administration. Let’s face it, there’s a lot here for a president, especially one touting drastic change, to inherit. And there are a lot of Republican up-and-comers who could prove worthy opponents in four years as well:

    Palin
    Pawlenty
    Jindal
    Crist
    Graham

    I think McCain has botched this campaign starting with how Palin was mismanaged and now with his lack of strength on the economy.

  25. Geoff,

    I’m not being disingenuous on the gay marriage issue. My gay friends are very leery about Obama. He’s not (unlike, say, Kucinich) in favor of gay marriage. He’s anti-federal amendment. So is Biden. That’s not extreme; it’s mainstream Dem.

    I submitted a lengthy comment addressing other issues last night, but it’s not showing. It may be stuck in Akismet.

  26. I think there is good in both candidates. Along with most politicians, I think there is a lot more bad on BOTH sides.

    My problem is that I can’t stop seeing a vote as an endorsement. Which should I sign my name to? The philandering, unrefined, environmental hacker and his anti-Mormon, fake-woman-power-touting extremist sidekick, or the smooth-talking car salesman and his aging, good-ole-boys crony?

    Frankly, there are no good decisions. Either side sees the good in their side and denigrates the bad in the other. The truth is they are both politicians, they run in the same circles, they don’t REALLY care about anything but their own power and money, they are both dancing on the puppet strings of lobbyists, and neither would make a good president. It’s not like the president himself is really “running the country” anyways, like everyone likes to pretend. That’s the job of Congress and to a lesser extent, the Cabinet. The whole thing is sickening and exhausting.

    I say fire the bunch.

  27. Thanks for this.

    A general comment on this thread and to various comments made so far:

    the point of my request (that Geoff was responding too) is that I already know the bad stuff about the candidates. But I am tired of constantly being told to vote against the other guy. I get it. I have plenty of reasons to vote against McCain and plenty to vote against Obama, but very few reasons to vote for either one.

    With that, I was all set to vote for a third party candidate as a “none of the above” type vote. However, between Clark’s comment on my earlier post and Geoff’s post here, I am starting to see more reasons why I should vote for one or the other. I really haven’t made up my mind, though as an Alaskan, I irrationally find myself leaning toward McCain-Palin (however, see my previous posts for why Palin is also a reason to vote against McCain – she’s such a good governor I’d hate to lose her to D.C.).

    Anyway, food for thought. I’ll make my mind up on election day, and not a day sooner.

  28. Kaimi, sorry about the Akismet. If it’s any consolation, it happens to me pretty often too, and I’m one of the Admins. :) Your comment has been restored.

    Kaimi, whether you see Obama as an extreme leftist depends on your perspective. You are in general left of center, so of course you see Obama as in the mainstream. I am right of center, so I see Obama an an extremist.

    Comparing Obama to McKinney is nonsensical, kind of like comparing McCain to Pat Buchanan, David Duke or Michael Savage. By that standard, McCain is a liberal, which is not an accurate portrayal. You had it right that McCain is closer to the center than Obama is.

    These are perspectives based on personal perceptions. So, how can we have a somewhat objective perspective? Well, voting records are a good way of looking at it. Associations are another. His words (and the words of his wife) are another. The vast group of Socialists and far leftists who support him are another.

    In all of those cases, Obama has proven himself to be a leftist far, far out of the mainstream, certainly the farthest left since McGovern and arguably the farthest left ever.

    Let me put it to you another way: I yearn for the days when Democrats put forward candidates like Al Gore, Clinton, Dukakis and Kerry. At least they were all “center-left” to a certain extent. I am truly, honestly horrified at what we are (probably) about to get as a president.

  29. Seeing Pat Buchanan and David Duke tossed into the same pot makes up for all the tedium of the original post and the comments!

  30. Wow, Mark, the post and comments were so tedious that you made it all the way down to here! When I read things that tedious, I usually give up and go someplace else.

  31. Tim,

    Why do you include Crist and Graham on your list of Republican rising stars? The base hates those guys. If they had been picked as VP there would have been a revolt.

  32. Aluwid, agreed. If there is any consolation to the miserable state of the Republican party these days, I think it is that we are getting a new generation of Republicans who are true fiscal conservatives. Add Cantor, Palin and Romney to the list. Get rid of Crist and Graham.

  33. Very good post even if I disagree with most of it (Palin? Really?). Since others have brought up some good points similar to my own concerning the argument for Obama, I’ll leave you with their comments. I’d like to instead focus on a single aspect that doesn’t seem to be getting any attention here.

    I think we can at least agree that the Bush administration has been, shall we say, less than optimal. :-) In some cases the many problems that have been instigated in this country are not specifically or directly Bush’s fault, but are instead the fault of the GOP platform as a whole.

    I used to vote neither for one party or the other, but instead voted for the person, independent of their affiliation with a platform. I voted Republican about as much, or even more often than Democratic back then. I actually liked Regan (for the most part).

    Unfortunately, today’s Republican platform is nothing like it was 20 or 30 years ago. I won’t go into details to save you from boredom, but suffice to say that the GOP platform has become severely corrupted and has swerved far off base from where they were. I believe that the Republican platform is currently under the same dire corruptive influence that the Democrats were during the time of the Vietnam war: power for power’s sake and the law be damned.

    The Democrats during that time performed egregious acts of power-grabbing and incendiary control of government at the expense of the people of America. Voting them out of power at that time was the best thing that could have happened in that election. But the Republicans now are doing the exact same thing, and in some areas have succeeded in their power-grabbing much better than the Democrats did back then.

    THIS is why I’ve been voting Democratic for the last eight years. Not because I think the Democrats have a lock on all that is good in America. (They don’t – no one platform does.) But because I want the corruption to be controlled. If the situation were reversed, as it was ~30+ years ago, I’d be voting Republican. It doesn’t matter what the platform is when power is being abused.

    It has been pointed out correctly above that a McCain presidency will be a good counter against a Democratic congress. Yes of course it would. But that would also mean that the parts of government that are currently corrupted will remain so. Absolutely no progress will be made to reverse the actions of the GOP these last eight years. We need a clean sweep as had happened to the Democrats back then. The Republicans need to be shown the door so they can lick their wounds and come back after cleaning their house of the corruption that has taken hold of it. And then they can be the real party of change if the Democrats become too power-hungry in the future.

    Right now the government’s pendulum has swung far, far to the extreme right and has stayed there far too long. We need to swing it back to the left a little to at least bring it back to equilibrium. Many think an Obama presidency will swing us to the extreme left. Government doesn’t move that fast. Even if that were true that Obama were such a radical (he’s not), it would take far longer than four years to swing the pendulum all the way over. I just want to see it in the middle for once.

  34. Geoff,

    SNL edited the skit to tone it down. The edit they are admitting to is removing the sub-title “People who should be shot” when the Sandlers are speaking. But they also removed the following key piece of dialogue:

    Sandler: “And thank you Congressman Frank as well as many Republicans for helping block Congressional oversight of our corrupt activities.”

    Congressman Frank: “Not at all!”

    Perhaps they removed it for legal concerns because it referred to the Sandler’s as corrupt, or perhaps they removed it because it dug a little too deep into their home team.

  35. James,

    “Right now the government’s pendulum has swung far, far to the extreme right and has stayed there far too long.”

    What in the world are you talking about? Can you give an example?

    “I believe that the Republican platform is currently under the same dire corruptive influence that the Democrats were during the time of the Vietnam war: power for power’s sake and the law be damned.”

    An example of this would be helpful as well.

  36. I only included them as potential nominees in 2012, not necessarily people who would excite the base. Graham or Crist would basically take McCain’s place in the next round of primaries.

    Romney is going to have trouble staying relevant (see: Steve Forbes) to make it in 2012. And if you discount Crist and Graham for not appealing to conservatives, Romney has his own problems with the base.

  37. Ivan: You know that I’m an Obama supporter and I would like nothing more than to see you vote for him. Well, I’d like one thing more: seeing you vote for someone. If the two big tickets don’t excite you, please consider the third party candidates (but not as “none of the above”!). No matter what happens, your vote in this election will not matter at all except to you. No single vote ever matters. So vote for someone you can support, even if it’s someone who you know will only get 2 votes (yours and his own)!

  38. My problem is that I can’t stop seeing a vote as an endorsement. Which should I sign my name to? The philandering, unrefined, environmental hacker and his anti-Mormon, fake-woman-power-touting extremist sidekick, or the smooth-talking car salesman and his aging, good-ole-boys crony?

    Frankly, there are no good decisions.

    SilverRain, I have to say I agree. We are in a terrible mess at present, compounded by many things, and none of the candidates strike me as sufficient to the day.

  39. Tim,

    I think that Romney’s time has probably past. Unless he spends the next four years throwing money around like crazy and establishing himself as a philanthropist then I can’t see him becoming the nominee much less the President. I like Romney but after watching the primary and the general election I doubt that a wealthy Mormon businessman can be elected President. There needs to be some other angle to it, philanthropy would add that, as would substantial military experience.

  40. Re: Romney. All he has to do to become the next president is take over one US car company and build it into a highly profitable company rivaling Toyota. That’s “all.”

  41. As an expert in healthcare policy and a hospital administrator, I can tell you that McCain’s plan is a small band-aid on a gushing wound. The president of the AHA spoke to my grad school program just hours after meeting with McCain about his health plan and tried to help him fix some of the major issues. McCain responded that healthcare “just isn’t his thing”. I’m afraid nothing will change under McCain. Bush also promised healthcare reform and didn’t deliver. I believe that Obama does understand our current healthcare problems and issues and is passionate about change.

  42. Singleinthecity, any plan that includes more govt involvement — and less consumer choice — will be a disaster. Such is Obama’s plan.

  43. What in the world are you talking about? Can you give an example?

    I’ll try. But I’d like to point out that this is not an attack post. The Democrats are guilty of some nasty things too. Neither side is blameless. But it just so happens that the Republicans are far worse in their abuse right now and need to be curtailed.

    The basic underlying tie between all of the items on the list below is the self-serving nature of cronyism and the “party before nation” mentality that has swept through the GOP.

    - There are many examples of the removal or suspension of ethics rules throughout the government. Abuses are ignored or shuffled away. The issues surrounding Tom DeLay’s investigation showed a great deal of this neutering of justice.
    - The installation of a partisan ethics committee staff. The Republicans refuse to follow House Rule XI in investigating abuse in government. They are ignoring US law.
    - The extreme growth of the military industry to private contractors. Many if not most business transactions between the military and private contractors are done with no-bid contracts. And in many instances, the resultant quality of service has been poor. Money has been poured into these huge companies with no oversight and little control. There are many committees that are being stonewalled by the GOP who are investigating this.
    - Abu Ghraib prison. America doesn’t didn’t torture.
    - The abuse of the Justice Department as a result of partisan politics. A political party’s politics should never be a factor in the Justice Department’s policies.
    - The very long list of corrupt GOP leaders. From Jack Abramoff on down. (Yes the Democrats have some too, but not even close to as many.)
    - And the extreme partisan abuse of power of the Republicans in the Senate and House. They used tactics to suppress dissent. They had systematically blocked the Democrats’ ability to debate or amend bills and had permitted bills to pass with little to no oversight or discussion. In the 108th Congress, House Republicans became the most arrogant, unethical and corrupt majority in modern Congressional history. Currently they are stonewalling and bending or breaking rules against the Democrats almost constantly. The recent failure of the passing of the first bailout bill was the result of extreme partisan politics by the Republicans. There is very little talk across the isle. It is “our way or no way” from the Republicans. That is, at the very least, no way to govern.
    - Extrajudicial spying. There are many legal methods to allow for spying of criminals. They are being bypassed.
    - Katrina

  44. James,

    You complained about problems with the Republican platform itself. I don’t see any example above. I see a lot of complaints about the Bush administration, about Delay and Frist, but not about the Republican party itself.

    Let me respond to a few:

    Abu Ghraib prison has nothing to do with the Republican party. The problems there were an anomaly that have been corrected.

    “Long list of corrupt GOP leaders” – First off, Abramoff was a lobbyist, not a political leader. Second, your claim that the Democrats don’t have close to as many corrupt lawmakers is bogus, consider Rangel, Franks, Dodds, Jefferson, and Pelosi. Even Reid has some controversy regarding land deals.

    “Extrajudicial spying” – The controversy over the last few years has nothing to do with spying on “criminals” as you well know. Our spying laws were horribly out of date and needed revision, even Senator Obama acknowledged that by voting in favor of the new bill.

    “Katrina” – This is Bush’s mess (well his and the incompetent Democratic leaders in Louisiana) and it’s been proven that the lesson was learned. It has nothing to do with the Republican platform.

  45. One other thing:

    Sometimes is it difficult to notice something when you are in the middle of it. Since we are all a part of American culture it is sometimes very hard to notice how a movement or culture is affecting the nation. So I thought it might be appropriate to show how extreme right wing power has grown in Europe. Compare and contrast to what you see going on here:

    The extreme right wing in Europe has grown significantly in the last few decades. There are roles in governments by the extremists of the right wing party in Belgium, France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.

    As a rule the far right in Europe is characterized by extreme nationalism. And they are also xenophobic, homophobic and racist. They are the party who will protect the people from outsiders who threaten the nation’s homogeneity (foreigners and migrants). The extremists reduce democracy to mere numbers of votes, without acknowledging that it depends also on principles such as tolerance, pluralism and debate. There is no pluralism in their worldview and tolerance is frowned upon. They use fear-mongering and hysteria to sell their propaganda. No tolerance is allowed. “You are either for us or against us.” Debate or dissension is not allowed. Those with differing views are removed or not allowed to speak. Policies are secret and not under review. The rule of law is “bent” to allow for abuse of power.

    Please let me be clear that I don’t believe all Republicans are this way. Many centrist or slightly right leaning Republican politicians are very good leaders and statesmen/stateswomen. By this example I’m focusing on those in the GOP who hold an extreme view and unfortunately hold far too much power and have corrupted the platform.

  46. I see a lot of complaints about the Bush administration, about Delay and Frist, but not about the Republican party itself.

    There is a separation between the Bush administration and the Republican party? How? They are the same coin.

    It is the corruption of the Republican party that has caused the level of abuse I’ve illustrated. It doesn’t matter if it was the Bush administration or the Muppets who were the instigators of the abuse. The extreme right wing of the GOP platform has control of the Republican ticket. They are the ones pushing the buttons. And Bush is one of those buttons. As are McCain/Palin.

    And please let me say that I’m not bashing the Republicans as a whole. We actually need the Republicans to counter the extreme left-leaning Democrats. And I actuall agree with some of the more moderate issues put forth by the Republican platform.

    I’m instead arguing against extremism. Any extreme by any party, Republican, Democratic or Independent, is wrong for our country and will cause nothing but harm.

  47. I will vote for McCain if only he can pronounce Washington without an R. I had to turn off the debates the other night when he kept saying “Warshington.”

  48. James,

    Right now the government’s pendulum has swung far, far to the extreme right and has stayed there far too long. We need to swing it back to the left a little to at least bring it back to equilibrium. Many think an Obama presidency will swing us to the extreme left. Government doesn’t move that fast.

    Where in the historical timeline do you put the beginning of the pendulum swinging far right? Because if you place it logically where Bush took over for Clinton, that would mean it took 8 years for it to swing far right. So, 8 years is long enough for it to swing extreme one way, but 8 Obama years couldn’t possibly swing it just as far the other way? You’re not making sense.

    But it just so happens that the Republicans are far worse in their abuse right now and need to be curtailed.

    Really? Who’s wearing the pants in the government these days, the lame duck Republican president or the growing Democratic Congress?

    The extreme right wing of the GOP platform has control of the Republican ticket.

    Dude, if the extreme right wing had control of the ticket, McCain wouldn’t be on it.

  49. BrianJ, your whole “vote FOR somebody” argument is inadequate. When I vote for president I don’t necessarily vote for a guy (I’d say a gal, too, but you sexist Dems threw Hillary under the bus).

    Sometimes people vote to forward a particular ideology. The question is less who I’m for than what I’m for. McCain, in my opinion, isn’t necessarily the best representative of my ideology. But since his worldview is still a closer match to mine, and because he will prop my ideology more than Obama, I’m voting FOR him.

    Can you honestly say that you were FOR Kerry last time? Or just against Bush?

  50. So, 8 years is long enough for it to swing extreme one way, but 8 Obama years couldn’t possibly swing it just as far the other way? You’re not making sense.

    I was assuming a four year Obama presidency. If it were the fact that Obama were swinging the pendulum to the far left, I’d be just as up in arms against that and would vote him out come 2012.

    Really? Who’s wearing the pants in the government these days, the lame duck Republican president or the growing Democratic Congress?

    I will agree that I have seen parts of the GOP ticket begin to crumble recently which makes me very happy. Not that I hate the Republicans, but that I want to see the extremists out of power. Nonetheless, the far right still have many strong ties to what power remains. They still are, as I had mentioned, abusing their power in the senate along strict partisan lines, for example.

    Dude, if the extreme right wing had control of the ticket, McCain wouldn’t be on it.

    I actually used to like McCain. The fact that he at times went against the radical right marching drum definitely made me respect him. Unfortunately he has changed significantly for the worse since gaining the Republican nomination. Not all, but part of that change came about because of his need to pander to the far right to gain the backing he needed. He used to be a maverick, but no more. Most of his talking points and especially the speeches of Palin sound almost identical to the speeches given by Bush during his primaries. The same extremist ideology is there.

    Also, you are right in that I shouldn’t say that the extremists have “control” of the GOP. I should instead have said that they exhibit significant influence over the GOP. But they are by no means a cabal of Illuminati with the strings of power, controlling events like a chess board. I’m not a wing-nut conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination.

    What I meant to say is that the culture of the Republican party has turned to the far right and is heavily influenced by it. But it by no means has complete control over all of its actions or events. Thus we see McCain’s candidacy despite their efforts and their successful attempt to influence him after the fact.

  51. James,

    I’ll echo what Tossman said and add the following:

    “There is a separation between the Bush administration and the Republican party? How? They are the same coin.”

    Have you noticed Bush’s approval ratings? The reason they are so low is because even Republicans aren’t fully satisfied with how he is leading the country. We view him as better than the Democratic alternatives that he ran against, but he is definitely not the party standard bearer from our point of view.

  52. James,

    “The same extremist ideology is there.”

    Can you give examples of this from Palin’s speeches?

  53. Tossman: Inasmuch as the person is representative of an ideology, I don’t think we have a disagreement; I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear in my original comment. I would never advocate voting for an actual person, as though elevation of that person were what mattered to me. (Well, okay, in high school I voted that way for class officers.)

    I voted FOR Kerry (or, to be explicit in light of your comment, I voted FOR the candidate who would best advance the policies I favored). I didn’t vote in the primary; I was registered Republican at the time.

  54. We view him as better than the Democratic alternatives that he ran against, but he is definitely not the party standard bearer from our point of view.

    I’m assuming that is because you are not an radical right standard-bearer. You are more of a centrist or moderately right leaning Republican. THAT group and ideology I have no problem with at all and I even agree with many of your arguments. If the GOP could reverse the partisan nature of it’s culture and go back to the “grand old party” it used to be, I’d be more than happy to vote on the GOP ticket again.

    However, Bush’s extreme partisan practices are still is a part of the GOP power-base. It’s lost a bit of its luster recently, but it is still there. Specifically I’m referring to the “power for power’s sake” mentality that places party before everything else.

    Can you give examples of this from Palin’s speeches?

    To begin, she is using his old tactics of divisiveness and scare tactics to influence people. She claims the extreme view of outlawing abortion even for cases of rape or incest. She is using Matthew Scully who was one of Bush’s main speechwriters. Bush’s claim of being an “everyman” or the guy you could have a beer with is very similar to the “hockey mom” syndrome she is displaying. She is an anti-choice, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-gay right wing extremist. Her religious beliefs are as radical as Bush’s. Palin has signed on to the Bush administration’s economic policies, opposes increasing the minimum wage, and opposes equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. And she is a creationist.

    All of these points, and more show me that she is an extremist and in the same camp as the radical right wing.

  55. Obama and the Dems: hope that magically wind power and solar power will suddenly become viable through a combination of Al Gore speeches, government regulation and pixie dust.

    Geoff, I really expected more from a thoughtful guy like I believe you are. This strawman is downright unfortunate. I expected some solid reasons and didn’t find them.

  56. James,

    Let’s take these one by one. While doing so, keep in mind her huge approval rating in Alaska. Is the state full of extremists?:

    Abortion – She doesn’t hold the most extreme view since she does support them when the woman’s life is in danger but I will grant that her lack of support for abortions in the case of rape/incest is outside the mainstream. Looks like it’s at 16% based on one poll I saw.

    Using Matthew Scully as speechwriter – Ok, and this makes her extreme because…

    She is “anti-choice” – Is Senator Obama pro-death? Either use the movements chosen label – pro-life, or a label that is accurate: anti-abortion-rights. Anti-choice makes no sense, and being pro-life is mainstream.

    She is anti-science – Examples of this please.

    She is anti-environment – Examples would be great, in particular examples that make her position extreme, not just ones that upset those on the left.

    She is anti-gay – Completely inaccurate. If you describe Palin as anti-gay then you describe all social conservatives including Mormons as anti-gay. She is against same-sex marriage and that is a mainstream position.

    Religious Beliefs – She is an evangelical, that is not extreme or radical.

    Bush’s economic policies – What is extreme about this?

    Opposes increasing minimum wage – So do I. So does a huge chunk of America. This isn’t an extreme position.

    Opposes equal pay for equal work – This is a completely bogus charge. She does not oppose equal pay for equal work.

    She is a creationist – Not an extreme position and completely beside the point.

    I’m finding it hard to believe that you ever voted Republican or supported the party. You could have saved all your typing and just said she was extreme because she wasn’t a Democrat.

  57. This strawman is downright unfortunate.

    BHodges- Geoff’s line, though sarcastic, is technically not a strawman. A caricature? Perhaps. But not a strawman. Sorry, my majors are English and Poli Sci. Hard not to point things like that out.

  58. BHodges, I’m guessing you, along with James, are the type of people who should have gone to read Daily Kos instead of this post. As I said way, way up in the beginning, this post is probably not for you. Why raise your blood pressure and stir contention when you could make different choices?

    But just to set the record straight, I do consider myself a pretty thoughtful person. I have thought long and hard about the Dem party and Obama position on energy policy, and I really, really do think it is about wishful thinking and pixie dust. Sorry. I favor a policy based on the realities of today, which is that we have a large country with a lot of oil and natural gas reserves, and we should be drilling just about everywhere. I believe that with all my heart. I believe it is a national security priority as well as an energy priority.

    You’re certainly welcome to disagree, but just a warning: this post is probably not for you, and if things get out of hand the delete button is just inches away.

  59. I’m certainly not trying to stir contention, and my blood pressure certainly isn’t rising. It may be an effect of the problem of online discussion; lack of non-verbal cues, etc.

    As I said in my original post, I was disappointed with your comments because I believe they misrepresented Obama’s position, specifically on energy, and since I believe you are a thoughtful person, I expected a more thoughtful post.

    I regret that “the delete button is just inches away,” as I intend no ill will whatsoever. I apologize for coming across otherwise and will simply duck out of the conversation. Sorry if I caused any problems.

  60. Geoff,

    You are one of the few republicans I know who have told me that they think Palin would be a good president and is a “plus” for the ticket. I have several republican friends (LDS and nonLDS) who have switched their support to “none of the above” because of Palin. All of these friends supported McCain, largely for the reasons you set forth, but all of them told me, after Thursday’s debate, that they cannot in good conscience vote for a McCain-Palin ticket because of Palin. Their reasoning is similar to David Brooks’, who supports McCain but not Palin. And I know a few republicans who are voting for McCain-Palin in spite of Palin, not because of her.

    I suppose we associate with different circles of republican friends, but I thought I would share this anecdotal information from Arizona.

  61. You are one of the few republicans I know who have told me that they think Palin would be a good president and is a “plus” for the ticket.

    You can add me to that list, DavidH. I’m not a Republican, though.

  62. BHodges, now I feel bad. Please accept my apology.

    I agree this is not the best medium for communication. Let me suggest a way that I would have taken better.

    “Geoff B, I don’t agree with your characterization of Obama’s policy. Here’s why:

    A)
    B)
    C)
    etc.”

    I am completely open to debate within the confines of keeping to the purpose of the post, which is to try to provide information for undecideds to make more informed decisions. I welcome more information (see how Clark framed his response — he disagreed with me in many areas but did so in an informed, reasoned way). I’m not open to political diatribes. I don’t want that kind of thread.

    Yeah, I’m guilty of some hyperbole in this post, but mostly I think it’s just my writing style, and sometimes I actually amuse myself while writing these posts and I want to have some fun (I thought the Mr. Chia Pet reference to Biden was pretty darned funny, but hey I’m easily amused).

    DavidH, I don’t know what to tell you. Every Republican I know, literally every single one, and I know hundreds, is completely pumped about the pick of Sarah Palin. Every major conservative voice on talk radio — Rush, Hannity, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved — loves her. There are some notable exceptions — Michael Savage, David Frum and George Will come to mind — but they are in a distinct minority.

    As for Brooks, I’m sorry, I just don’t take him seriously as a conservative writer. He is the most wishy-washy conservative I have ever read, and I have read just about every column he has written in the last two or three years. A true conservative would never last long at the Times (Kristol will be gone soon, mark my words), and Brooks likes his job way, way too much.

    I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. All of my instincts and experience show me that Palin was a great pick, and if by some miracle McCain pulls it out it will be entirely because of her. Palin will be a force in the national Republican party for decades. Mark my words.

  63. DavidH, I just read the Kathleen Parker column you linked, and I actually think it makes my point quite nicely. The elites simply don’t “get” Palin, but Middle America does. Just like Reagan. The column was actually quite complimentary to Palin until the end, when she nonsensically calls on McCain to reign Palin in. Why would he do that? Palin is the best thing McCain has going for him, to be quite frank.

  64. I agree with most of your reasoning, except for a few points:

    Reason #2: McCain’s health care plan is definitely not a winner. (Neither is Obama’s). The main problem I have with McCain’s plan is that it doesn’t adequately deal with the huge problem of preexisting conditions. My son was born with a chronic disease that will likely require costly medical care for the rest of his life. Fortunately, my employer has a good insurance plan. If they decide to drop it because of McCain’s plan, I will not be able to get “affordable” insurance. When my son grows up, he will not be able to get affordable insurance. Is that fair? I’m a free market supporter, but the free market is not always fair and sometimes fairness is important (such as in education). Yes, McCain does allow people like me to be in “high risk” pools, but pooling high risk with other high risk people doesn’t reduce the cost for those people. Another common conservative argument is that a free market system will encourage people to stay healthy, the same way free market car insurance encourages people to drive safely. The problem is, we are not 100% in control of our health. There are some conditions we can prevent, and there are others that we can’t. And the cost is simply too much to look the other way while people go bankrupt or lack the medical care they need for no fault of their own. I have my own ideas on how to improve the system, but this comment is already getting long, so moving on…

    Reason #3: As a republican leaning independent, I am frustrated that the republican “drill, baby, drill” chant, as it dramatically cheapens the discussion on this important issue. Democrats are able to use to to paint republicans as “just wanting to drill out way out of this”, and although that’s not true if you read the entire positions, the chant and the rhetoric does nothing to dispell that myth. The chant might rile up the base, but in my mind it’s one of the 2 big mistakes republicans have made in this campaign.

    (The second big mistake, by the way, was the VP pick. I admire her, but she is clearly not ready to lead the country. I’ll probably vote for McCain and then pray every day he stays in good health–I guess I should be doing that anyway, but my prayer will be especially fervent. Not that he’s going to win anyway…)

  65. Geoff, I thought your 5:19 PM argument (“…we have a large country with a lot of oil and natural gas reserves, and we should be drilling just about everywhere. I believe that with all my heart. I believe it is a national security priority as well as an energy priority”) was far more helpful than your original post. When I read your post, I thought, “Geoff doesn’t really care about energy, he just wants Obama to lose.” When I read your 5:19 PM comment, I realized I was wrong.

  66. There are several other warning flags in Obama’s background: Both his Kenyan father and “Frank” (mentioned in his book) were avowed communists. He credits both of them in forging his political philosophy. He was supported in his application to Harvard Law School by a Saudi Moslem.

    He denigrates people who live between the liberal bastions of the East and West coasts thus: “they cling to their guns and religion”.

    His wife, Michelle, has never been proud of her country, and Father Pfleger and Louis Farakhan’s anti-American rants have never been disavowed by Obama.

  67. By the way, just to be fair to your self-disclosure, Geoff, I am voting for Obama, and am very happy with that decision, and am about 99% sure he’ll take this election. I also regret the attacks given by many folks in these comments as I find them to be largely unfounded. Comments like “His wife, Michelle, has never been proud of her country” are flatly ridiculous and frankly false. Sorry, I know I said I would duck out, but come on, is no one going to call some of these assertions what they really are?

  68. BHodges, we can agree that Obama looks very likely to win at this point.

    Sorry, we cannot agree that it is ridiculous to point out that Michelle has never been proud of her country because she said it herself. Check out the video if you don’t believe it:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,331288,00.html

    However, I will grant that people misspeak all the time. I would hate to be judged by everything I say in public because, based on my past, I am certain to say something stupid about once a day. But I am not a public figure and probably never will be. Michelle Obama, on the other hand, is, and there is real reason to be concerned about her vision of America.

  69. LOL@Fox News.

    She did not say “I have never been proud of my country.” That is flatly false. It doesn’t take into mind context, meaning, or subsequent discussion of the statement she actually made.

    Again, I am not going to argue, it seems you are willing to let weak assertions stand, so I’ll officially duck out with finality now.

  70. BHodges

    How do you argue with a man who points to a blue object and calls it red? Michelle O said what she said. It is as objective of an utterance as can be found anywhere. You can argue what she meant but what she said is beyond debate.

    The Left is like this. Its actually why Biden and Obama look okay in a debate. They can say anything. They can say blue is red without breaking stride. Any honest person is left agape and certainly at a disadvantage.

  71. BHodges, I’m guessing you, along with James, are the type of people who should have gone to read Daily Kos instead of this post.

    I’d also like to extend my apologies if I’ve offended. That was not my intent at all. I really am grateful that this is a somewhat reserved conversation about politics. There are quite a few snide comments, but no vicious attacks; just a difference of opinion. That’s very refreshing.

    I’m finding it hard to believe that you ever voted Republican or supported the party. You could have saved all your typing and just said she was extreme because she wasn’t a Democrat.

    You know, looking back on my post, I think you’re absolutely right. My argument was very weak. In my defense, I was very short on time and had cobbled together a few ideas that were wandering around in my brain, hoping they would make a cohesive whole. They quite definitely didn’t; and my apologies for wasting your time. So if you don’t mind, I’d like to try again now that I have more time to put my thoughts together.

    The original comment by me is that Palin exhibits the same extremist ideology as Bush.

    Let’s first examine the definition of extremist; at least as it pertains to this topic. A reasonable example would be from my post earlier about the growing right wing extremist movements in Europe.

    As a rule the far right in Europe is characterized by extreme nationalism. And they are also xenophobic, homophobic and racist. They are the party who will protect the people from outsiders who threaten the nation’s homogeneity (foreigners and migrants). The extremists reduce democracy to mere numbers of votes, without acknowledging that it depends also on principles such as tolerance, pluralism and debate. There is no pluralism in their worldview and tolerance is frowned upon. They use fear-mongering and hysteria to sell their propaganda. No tolerance is allowed. “You are either for us or against us.” Debate or dissension is not allowed. Those with differing views are removed or not allowed to speak. Policies are secret and not under review. The rule of law is “bent” to allow for abuse of power.

    Racist: Sarah Palin is on record as saying “So Sambo beat the bitch!” once Obama was known to have locked in the nomination. She refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as “Arctic Arabs.”

    Homophobic: She strongly opposed expanding hate crimes laws. She opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples.

    Nationalistic: Sources in the McCain camp, the Republican Party and Washington think tanks say Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause in June 2007. That was when the annual summer cruise organised by the right-of-centre Weekly Standard magazine docked in Juneau, the Alaskan state capital, and the pundits on board took tea with Governor Palin. A former Republican White House official, who now works at the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of Washington neoconservatism, admitted: “She’s bright and she’s a blank page. She’s going places and it’s worth going there with her.” Asked if he sees her as a “project”, the former official said: “Your word, not mine, but I wouldn’t disagree with the sentiment.”

    Intolerant: She is known to have fired a Library Director for refusing to ban books. And of course there is Troopergate. She’s is known by the residents in Alaska to not like different opinions, and she refuses to compromise. When she was mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t hers. Ideas of others around her weren’t evaluated on their merits but on the basis of who proposed them.

    Fear-mongering: She said that Barack Obama “is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.” In a recent event, audience members shouted “treason” and “terrorist” against Obama because of her words against him. Someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of “kill him” followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama’s (non-existent and non-relevant) relationship with radical Bill Ayers. Neither McCain nor Palin have spoken against this verbal abuse but instead seem to be instigating it. Their political ads are now completely based on false or highly misleading fear-mongering and reactionary emotions instead of talking about issues.

    Rule of Law & mismanagement: Her oil-rich town with zero debt on the day she was inaugurated mayor was left saddled with $22 million of debt by the time she became governor. And little if nothing was spent on things such as improving the city’s infrastructure or building a much-needed sewage treatment plant. Palin spent $1 million on an unnecessary new park that the residents did not want. She spent more than $15 million of taxpayer money for a sports complex that she shoved through even though the city did not own clear title to the land. And seven years later, the matter is still in litigation and lawyer fees are said to be close to at least half of the original estimated price of the facility. She also worked hard to get voters approval of a $5.5 million bond proposal for roads that could have been built without borrowing. As Governor, Palin constantly used line-item vetoing of countless projects, which were quickly restored because of public outcry and legislative action. She used city resources when she campaigned for Lt. Governor, and held campaign meetings in City Hall and had campaign literature faxed to her City Hall office. She unlawfully appointed council members in Wasilla, according to a “Frontiersman” editorial. Other Frontiersman articles said that “Palin had ‘Either little understanding or little regard’ for the City’s laws,” and “she failed in a blatant attempt to confuse and circumvent the law in order to pack the city council with candidates favored by her and her supporters on the council.”

    Secrecy: Two weeks after becoming Mayor, Palin instituted a gag order for the City’s top employees. A legal fight is brewing over the secrecy of the personnel board investigation over the firing of the State trooper. Palin ran an administration that put a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes used personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

    Now if you take just one or two of these issues alone and hold them up to the light, there would be no argument for her being a far right wing extremist. I, for example, follow the LDS Church’s stance on homosexuality which is lest strict, but similar to Palin’s opinions on the subject. But when you view the entire record as a whole, and not individual talking points, it gives you a quite different impression. This is why I see Palin as a continuation of Bush’s policies of division, partisanship and “party before everything” ideology.

  72. Geoff,

    You realize the largest buyer of healthcare in the US is government? Medicare, medicaid and the VA make up more than 40% of healthcare spending. Increasing these programs and more government oversight is the only way we are going to decrease the rise in healthcare cost. We need economies of scale–large groups purchasing healthcare to cut down on administrative costs and spread the risk of unhealthy individuals. Under McCain’s plan, the unhealthy uninsured are screwed.

    Have you tried to find a good healthcare plan for a family for under $5000? It’s impossible. Employer sponsored plans average $12,680 a year (Kaiser Info). People will be underinsured, and costs will continue to shift to the consumers. As is the trend today, your co-pays and deductibles will continue to rise as your employer tries to cover the cost of healthcare. Under McCain’s plan, small businesses will drop their coverage for employees and make them buy their own.

    McCain’s healthcare plan is much like his ideas for banking and the economy–let the market work it out. See what happens when we don’t do anything….it’s too risky. I don’t want to have the devestation equal to today’s economic climate happen to healthcare, but I assure you that we are headed that way.

    Please Geoff, tell me what to do with the 47 million uninsured Americans that are clogging my emergency room with preventable and chronic illnesses? How are the chronically uninsured supposed to find insurance under McCain’s plan?

    What is wrong with a more socialized approach to healthcare? Obviously you do not think healthcare is a right? Only for the priviledged?

    Please look at the Lewin Group’s report before writing your response.

  73. I should also point out that I unfortunately only focused on the lower common denominating points, rather than engaging the full discussion, which is bad on my part.

    Cheers and no hard feelings!

  74. “Please Geoff, tell me what to do with the 47 million uninsured Americans that are clogging my emergency room with preventable and chronic illnesses?”

    We should fine them for not having healthcare.

  75. James, your not saying anything new or original that wasn’t stated in the first three days after Palin’s announcement. A lot of what you say is either speculative, or complete bull.

  76. The Sambo line was supposedly overheard by a WAITRESS seving Palin lunch. That you would regurgitate it with this being the primary source is telling.

    re: Gay Marriage. Did you really see a big difference between Palin’a answer and that of Biden’s?

    re: Racism. You do know that her husband Todd is part Yup’ik?

  77. Geoff,

    I agree that Palin is wonderful for energizing the GOP base, and helps in getting the base to the polls and working in the campaign.

    But I no longer think she helps in reaching independent voters, and in fact I think she hurts. The GOP people I know who have switched to undecided are probably not part of the GOP base, and probably more like David Brooks–individuals who either lean GOP, or registered GOP, but without the aversion to the main stream media or to the arguments of the academic “elites” that some, but not all, of the base have.

    Initially I thought that Palin would energize the base without alarming the less committed members of the GOP (and even attract a significant number of independents and even some former Clinton supporters). But I do not see that.

    Apart from her energizing the GOP base (and attracting bigger crowds), in your experience, what other ways do you see the Palin nomination helping the ticket?

  78. James,

    It still seems like you’ve decided she is an extremist and are working backwards to justify it:

    “Racist” – You’re relying on rumors here. If rumors are fair-game can I bring up what Michelle Obama said about “Whitey”? Democrats are trying to portray any legitimate attack on Obama as racist and this seems to be an outgrowth of this.

    “Homophobic” – Nothing you listed has anything to do with homophobia and everything is completely mainstream. You shouldn’t have even included this on your list.

    “Nationalistic” – “right-of-center” != extreme. Interesting that you consider this a problem but you don’t consider the likelihood that Ayers served as a mentor to Obama to be a problem.

    “Intolerant” – “Troopergate” is not a scandal, she fired an at-will employee. The book banning charge is a myth: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/sliming_palin.html

    “Fear-mongering” – Ayers is completely fair game. Obama didn’t see a problem with maintaining a friendship with a domestic terrorist. That is huge news and the story of the election is how unwilling the media is to dig into Obama’s background. Are you aware of the threats being made against McCain and Palin? Do those prove that the Obama campaign is extremist? Or do they just prove that passions rise in political disputes and some people are idiots? What about the threats and verbal abuse against Bush over the past eight years?

    “Rule of Law and Mismanagement” – This seems more like an argument about why you think Palin is a crappy executive, not why you think she is extreme. Either way, she got elected as Governor with her record in Wasilla on full display, and has a high approval rating as Governor. She is getting the things done that people want done.

    “Secrecy” – Regarding the gag order Palin called it a “temporary rule to smooth the way until department heads have a better sense of the administration’s policies.” I have no idea how common this is in city governments.

    “party before everyone” – You do realize that Obama is a party-line Democratic politician don’t you? If you want someone that crosses their party then you should be supporting McCain. Obama will not stand up to Pelosi and Reid, he’ll go along with his party like he’s always done.

  79. Well, it seems this thread has degenerated, as many threads like this do. I hope some undecided/independent voters like Ivan were given some things to think about. Thank you all for keeping things relatively civil until the end.

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