Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why I support John McCain

It's looking like our choices at this point are McCain or Obama. It might be possible for Huckabee to prevent a McCain nomination on the first vote at the convention, but it's pretty unlikely. Even if he could I wouldn't support him in that effort. I don't like McCain, but he's the best we're going to get this cycle.

Huckabee may claim he's the most conservative candidate, but I find that claim extremely hard to accept. He's done several things that should make conservatives squirm in their seats, but what really bothers me is that I think he really believes that the Federal government is the perfect instrument for carrying out God's grace throughout the country. That's the one thing that ties his campaign together. He's for benefits to illegal immigrants because they're God's people too. He's for "working with" healthcare companies to make sure they provide what he thinks is good preventative medicine (which in Washington Speak usually means something between arm twisting and holding a gun to their head), because it's the right thing to do. About the only thing he really has going for him is the FairTax, which I think still needs some work before it's ready for prime time (Roth IRAs being my biggest complaint about it). All that being said, he has pretty much no hope of actually getting the nomination so this paragraph was a waste of your time.

The real issue is simply whether or not McCain is better than Obama (or Hillary, should she win). I stated in my previous post that there isn't enough difference between them for him to win the general. I'm still afraid that may be true, but it doesn't mean there isn't enough difference to compel me to support McCain.

He can win the war. McCain has been supporting the surge longer than pretty much anybody else. He is probably better qualified than any candidate, including all the ones that have dropped out, to wage war. He hasn't really shared a long term strategy with us, but the alternative offered by the Democrats is going to Al Qaeda and offering to sit down and sing Cumbya (or whatever the appropriate Islamic alternative is). Additionally, as Mark Steyn stated this morning, he's unpredictable, vindictive, and mean enough that he's got to bother Iran and North Korea as well. My main problem with Ron Paul was his position on the war (which ironically is almost certainly where he derived most of his popularity). We've gained and then abandoned allies in Vietnam, Cambodia, Rowanda, Somalia, and Iraq (particularly the Shia in southern Iraq, but those in Iraqi Kurdistan as well). There's only so many times you can build up a force to help you and then leave them to death and torture at the hands of the enemy before potential allies and enemies both make the rational decision that you're feckless as a friend and ineffective as an enemy and chose the correct side of any fight. Additionally, if we follow Obama's policy of pulling out this promises to be much for a Vietnam than a Somalia or the previous Iraq. Bin Laden may have taken comfort in the fact that the US was a paper tiger following our pullout of Somalia when things got tough, but it didn't bring hope to nearly as many enemies as our complete abandonment of our long term allies in Vietnam just as they were getting strong enough to survive on their own. However retreat in Iraq is sold, it will be bought as proof positive that the US can be defeated by a determined adversary.

The next President will get almost certainly get 2, and maybe as many as 4, appointments to the Supreme Court. We're on the verge of having enough seats on SCotUS to actually start making decisions that in some way resemble the Constitution. To abandon that to Obama as Scalia gets ready to retire could be disastrous.

Not as big of a reason, but still a substantial one is simple politics. When the going gets tough McCain seems to side with Democrats about as often as he sides with Republicans, but at least he's willing to come out swinging against earmarks, for instance. If Clinton is elected the political side might be a wash. She's a very divisive candidate and backlash against her might end up helping conservative. If Obama is elected, though, it would be an absolute disaster for conservative politics. He's campaigned as bringing change to Washington and heralding a new era of bipartisan politics. Don't expect the fact that his actual policies are to the left of Ted Kennedy to change the message that he seeks bipartisanship when they fail. It will be entirely because Republicans are once again being divisive sore losers, just as they were when they shut the government down under Clinton and just as they were when they prevented the Democrats from having any say under Bush. Obama will still be a great uniter, he just won't get anywhere because those selfish, stingy Republicans won't pass his totally reasonable 500 billion dollar expansion of healthcare, and think of the children...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Dad

Most of you are probably aware of this, but my Dad passed from this world on February 3, 2008. I'll start this with a link to an article on If you read the article, please read the comments as well. They, more than the article itself, really tell the story of who my dad was. His trade has fallen so far from one where people did hard work to find out information of value to the public to one where people read information they got from a press release or a police blotter calculated to increase ratings and sell advertisements. My dad cared deeply about everything he did, including his work, and he did hard work chasing down sources and finding new information to publish. I'm sure there are people like that left in the business, but I don't often see them.

There was much I wish I could have done with my dad, but most of it his living longer wouldn't have changed. I know he would have loved to go backpacking or mountain biking with me. We used to go on hikes, but he hasn't been doing that for a while. Much of my love of the outdoors I got from my father, but his health has not for a long time permitted him to really enjoy it. He read Backpacker Magazine up to maybe 3 years ago, but I can barely remember a time when he could hike on unimproved trails, even without a pack.

I can't imagine the loss of the ability merely to hike in the outdoors, but he suffered the loss of so much more. Near the end he frequently couldn't carry on a substantial conversation without becoming overtaxed, yet through that all he rarely complained (except for getting stuck in a hospital). For years he has been on constant pain medication, but I never heard him mention it.

Though I didn't truly give my life to Christ until college, much of my knowledge of theology and the Bible comes from my father. He was deeply committed to the church and to service, often stepping in to do the duty of elders or deacons even when he was not himself active in service. He was twice elected as an elder in the Presbyterian Church and very active in his Sunday school class.

I'll miss him and I wish I could have enjoyed his company more, most of all I wish I had told him more often how much I love him and appreciate his love for me. After so many years of missing out on some of the great pleasures of this world, now he gets a chance to enjoy God's presence and His creation in a measure that I have barely dreamed of. I miss him, but I wouldn't wish him back.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Why I don't support John McCain

With my state voting in 4 days, I'm going to go ahead and endorse Romney. I actually like Ron Paul, but I can't imagine once again abandoning our allies even if a war is undeclared.

This post, though, isn't as much about why I'm for Romney as why I'm against McCain. My biggest problem with McCain is that I never get the feeling like he makes decisions based on rational thought, which I find extremely dangerous. If you've been reading this blog long enough you know that I really admire the framers. One of the things I like so much about the Constitution is that this country was not set up as a democracy. Aristotle rightly maligned democracy (literally something like "rule by the poor", a deme was a group of non-aristocrats in ancient Greece) as a form of government where the lazy majority steals from the productive and hard working minority to meet their needs and wants. The founders agreed and set up a government where the majority could vote, but they had to elect representatives who hopefully would have the interests of the state instead of just the majority at heart as they ruled.

McCain seems to do whatever feels right without really studying it. A fantastic example of this is his statement that he would support Roberts but not Alito. I know he has denied this, but there have been quite a few people who have come out and said they were in that meeting and heard him say it, so I don't believe him. The guys at PowerLine make the fantastic point that you certainly wouldn't come to the conclusion that Alito was more conservative than Roberts based on the evidence. You come to that conclusion by buying the media narrative. That, and the fact that he spouts his mouth off and makes good copy, is why the media likes him so much.

But as bad as that is (and I think it's pretty awful), it's not the real reason I don't like McCain. The real reason is that I don't think he can win. I've been watching the Democrat campaign for a while and I think Obama might be a formidable candidate, but only McCain could lose to Hillary. I'm aware that every poll shows McCain as the only one with a favorable matchup in the general, but I don't buy it. I'm also aware of what Dick Morris says and I don't buy that either.

The polls are based on what the public sees now about the two candidates. The media has always loved McCain, but I don't think most of them really care who gets the Democrat nomination. When it comes to the general, though, I have no question about who the New York Times will endorse (except that I'm not sure who will have the D beside their name yet). The story now might be that McCain is a war hero and has the best chance to win the general, but when he's actually up against Obama or Hillary it will be that this election is about some unspecified change (as both Democrats argue their campaign is for) and McCain is a great man who has served his country for a long, long time but he's part of the establishment and would just be for more of the same old stuff. Plus, what's the real difference between McCain and the Democrats. He's for higher taxes, looser border restrictions, restrictions on development to keep climate control in line, against drilling in ANWR, against coercive interrogation, has stated he would not repeal Roe v. Wade, is for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research...

He might differ on federal health care (though economics isn't his thing and he hasn't taken a concrete position as far as I know) and he certainly differs in having supported the surge from very, very early. Do we really want to stake the campaign on early support for the surge against optimism, youth, media support, and the promise of amorphous change?