Friday, August 01, 2008

The superior candidate

I've spent several posts detailing what is wrong with Barack Obama as a candidate. But a recent comment from an anonymous poster has made me realize that I should spend some time showing why you should vote for McCain and contrast the two candidates. After all, it's possible to have problems and still be the lesser of two evils. That's not the case here. These statements are in the comments, but I'm bringing them front and center here because they're worth saying and expanding.

"Anonymous" writes,
I'm an Obama supporter. I think that he did mean race. I don't understand why he said that.

He's still the best candidate, for one simple reason. (There's more than one, of course, but this is the key one for me): Taxes. He doesn't believe that we should cut taxes on the rich even more; instead, he says we should raise them. Know who agrees? Warren Buffett.
Unless you're solely concerned with what's coming out of your own pocket, political discussion of taxes is really a discussion of the economy. The candidate proffers his tax plan as a way to "fix" whatever is perceived to be wrong with the economy. So look at that: Clinton raised taxes; Bush cut taxes. Both inherited a poor economy and presided over periods of prosperity that declined late in their second terms. If you look at it historically, the President has very little control over the economy, though he does get the credit or blame for its performance.

You don't have to believe me. Here are some references, deliberately mixing liberal and conservative references: Math Mistakes. Steve Kanga's Liberal FAQ has a fine write-up. The Seattle Times. Daniel Gross in Slate. Seeking Alpha. US News & World Report. Or Google all you want. The consensus is clear. That "one reason" of Anonymous' is trivial indeed. You might as well elect a President based on his professed ability to control the weather.

However, the President has enormous influence over foreign relations and the country's security. I feel that the matter of taxes (as inconsequential as they ultimately are in the larger picture) does not overbalance the damage that Obama's character flaws can cause the country. As I've made clear in previous posts, I believe Obama's judgement leaves much to be desired. Clearly his hubris gets in the way of his message.

When I first heard Obama speak I felt that I would not mind if he became President, even though I support the other party. However, that first speech was the sum total of what we knew about the man. But in retrospect, what I was impressed with was a well-crafted and well-delivered speech, Not necessarily the man delivering it. As for the man himself... the more he speaks, the more he leaks... information about himself and the kind of man he is, and believes himself to be. And the picture is becoming less and less flattering with each revelation. His problems stem not from what his opponents say about him, but from the statements coming from his own mouth. And those are the kinds of problems that don't go away.

On the other hand, McCain's character was tested in a Vietnamese concentration camp. When offered early release, he declined because the Vietnamese would not first release the prisoners that were taken before him. He chose his own continued imprisonment over that of his comrades. He endured torture and two years of solitary confinement. The word "hero" is not applied to John McCain lightly; he was and is a genuine American hero.

This is important because we are now in a period of war. War is not an intellectual exercise for McCain: he understands it from the perspective of one who lived the very worst it... of one who would crave death over continued torture. He has made personal sacrifices and hard choices that the Barack Obama has never allowed himself to face. He knows personally what the decisions of the Commander-in-Chief mean to the troops on the ground. And he knows the realities of the situation. Contrary to the fluffy fictions of the left, he understands that a continued presence does not mean a prolonged war. Folks, we still maintain a presence in Japan and Germany, but no one on Earth is stupid enough to suggest that World War II is still ongoing. So why are so many Democrats stupid enough to make that argument regarding a continued presence in Iraq?

Representing the state of Arizona, McCain has the superior perspective on the issue of illegal immigration. He literally does, as he once stated, "know more than anyone in the room" about the subject. Unsurprisingly, his common-sense approach to border security will work.

In his energy policy, McCain knows what everyone in the energy industry knows... that there is a significant speculative component to oil prices. And that can be addressed by taking concrete, realistic steps toward energy independence. And that can only be achieved by including increased domestic oil production in the mix. This is in addition to electric and flex-fuel cars, reforming the transportation infrastructure, developing alternative sources of energy, increasing energy efficiency, and building clean and safe nuclear plants. In contrast, Obama naively believes that energy independence can be achieved without significantly expanding domestic production, including offshore drilling. Sadly, this country is not powered on dreams and wishes. We cannot pretend that Obama has a comprehensive energy policy when he deliberately excludes the most effective options from it.

I could continue point-by-point, but it's not necessary. You can read McCain's policies and see that they are, each of them, realistic and achievable. (Obama, on the other hand, measures the beginning of the reversal of global warming from the date of his own nomination. And yes. I know it was rhetoric. But such blatantly silly rhetoric begs exposition. A man who wants to discuss "the issues" would do well to start doing so.)

I will make special mention of one aspect of McCain's economic policy: Taxes (as it's quite important to "Anonymous"). Since, as we've seen, it's well-established that the President has only limited impact on the economic cycle, it's illogical to self-impose taxes that will make no significant difference to the economy or to the government budget. If logic has any role in your decision-making, then vote for the candidate that will keep your taxes low. That would be John McCain. And to the extent that the President does influence the economy, he does so by encouraging the conditions for employment. Poor people do not employ others. Neither do rich people, if the money that would have been used to pay them has been taxed away.

McCain is not an ideologue. His positions do not always align with that of the Republican Right. Often enough that Rush Limbaugh is on the record opposing him, I think unreasonably. Limbaugh's is the single most influential endorsement on the Right, and McCain will not put up a false front to gain it. It is important for people in the Center and on the Left to know: McCain can, has, and will work to the benefit of the country, not a Party. It also means that you're doing yourself a disservice if you oppose him simply because he's a Republican. If you want to know where he stands, look at his voting record, read his policies. They're not hidden. They're not secret.

There is a strong possibility that Obama will learn from this experience and become a better candidate in the future. But as for the present contest, I would emphatically stress that he is not the best candidate. John McCain's inarguable strength of character, his lifetime of public service, 25 years of legislative experience, his realistic and commonsense policies, and his proven track record of holding his convictions above his party affiliation make him the superior candidate for President.

1 comment:

  1. BTW, if you're still thinking of voting for Obama based on his economic plan, you may want to read what Investors Business Daily says about Obama's economic policies. They've got an entire series on it, entitled, The Audacity of Socialism.