Sunday, March 09, 2008

Not a Republican, but Impressed by McCain

I was impressed with John McCain on 60 Minutes earlier this evening. I really like McCain's willingness to take an unpopular position on Iraq. I don't really know what to do about Iraq, but Hillary Clinton's "plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration," strikes me as populist policy making at it worst. Look, I didn't support going to war with Iraq and I don't like the human lives that have been lost or billions that have been wasted on the war. But we can't undo the war, so the question is what is the best course of action now? We have to balance the following requirements:
  • Responsibility for starting the war and at least some level of debt to the Iraqi people for the upheaval that war has caused them
  • Protecting American troop's lives
  • Keeping the Middle East stable enough not to collapse into a regional war
  • Preventing Iraq from becoming an terrorist state funded by oil revenue
  • Keeping oil flowing freely
  • Stopping the bleeding of military spending
Given how much of a mess Iraq is today, I really can't see how starting to pull troops out in March of 2009 is going to accomplish any more than 2 of these 6 objectives. I'm tired of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama manufacturing positions based on what they think people want to hear rather than what they believe in. How does pulling troops out of Iraq help promote stability in the Middle East? How does a chaotic Iraq, potentially governed by Al Queda, reduce terrorism? Don't get me wrong, the war in Iraq has probably done more to increase anti-American terrorism than anything else in the last 50 years. But whats done is done. The questions is "how can we improve the situation from the position we are already in today."

Democracy is about giving the people what they want. But democratic leaders with integrity will find a way to communicate why they are making unpopular decisions and I don't see any signs of Obama or Hillary doing this.

I also like McCain's commitment to campaign finance reform. Ultimately, campaign finance reform is the single most important political issue. Campaign finance distorts the political process towards special interests like wealthy and/or organized groups like oil companies, defense contractors, unions and senior citizens. The United States loses when any special interest (including unions and senior citizens) distorts the political process.

Lastly, I like McCain's willingness to address the Republican party's terrible record on government spending under the Bush administration. This is another example of McCain's willingness to stand up for what he believes in despite potential political consequences.

Reasons against voting for McCain are:
  • I strongly dislike the Republican Party
  • Barack Obama's message is inspiring some people, which is a good thing even though I personally find it to be quite shallow
  • Electing Barack Obama would send a great message Internationally and domestically about how tolerant the United States really is and what kind of opportunity exists for all citizens
  • Electing a Democrat (i.e. regime change) would send a message about how the Bush Administration's actions are not acceptable
  • McCain's environmental stance does not seem strong enough
I'm not sure where I will end up, but I am leaning towards McCain for now. I am formulating my vote on a handful of issues essentially in this order:
  1. Conservative economics (low spending & low taxes)
  2. Protecting the environment and making tough choices about climate change
  3. [UPDATE:]Liberal foreign policy ...not the same as liberal in the domestic sense follow the link for more info (can't believe I forgot this in the original post!)
  4. Liberal social policies (free personal choices, tolerant immigration policy, preserving separation of church & state)
  5. Perceived personal integrity... but this is a very slippery slope so I don't put much stock in it

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2 Comments:

At March 10, 2008 5:05 AM, OpenID rhhfla said...

I am a republican but have not voted for their presidential candidate in 12 years. However, I prefer McCain to Obama. My reasoning is at http://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com/sophisticated_finance/2008/03/meeting-with-ba.html

 
At September 05, 2008 6:36 PM, Anonymous Julien said...

Hi I am french, I have to say that i have been really impressed by Palin and Mc Cain especially during her speech at the Republican convention.

But to be honest I have no idea who is the best to help america¬ę stronger in the world.

Julien

www.julien-andre.com

 

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