Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For Whom Should I Vote?

This is not as simple a question as it seems. As a self-professed libertarian you would think that a vote for Bob Barr would be automatic. Alas, I do not believe he is as much a libertarian as he is a social conservative. He fails time and again to address legalization of drugs, only going so far as to state the obvious point that the War on Drugs is a waste of money and an over-reach of government power. And he sports a long enough history of supporting conservative positions on gay marriage, abortion, etc that he looks more like a Constitution Party candidate than a Libertarian one.

And I simply do not trust his “conversion” to Libertarianism.

Now I could vote for him to support the Libertarian Party, but between the fact that he hardly mentions the Party and the idea that they should be punished for selecting him, I don’t think I can pull that lever.

McCain/Palin. Let’s first dispense with the problems that I have with the Republican Party. Once upon a time the Republicans were the party of small government and personal responsibility. Of course, all that has changed over recent decades and now the Republicans are as big government as you can get. In some ways even worse than the Democrats since rather than having their spending backed by taxes, they are content to borrow and spend and pass that burden on to future generations. Completely irresponsible.

And they have not been interested in personal responsibility in a very long time. Now the party of public – and largely biblical – morality, the Republican brand is the party most responsible for the War on (some) Drugs, assaults on free speech and assembly, and obstruction to scientific and medical advancement and treatment due to an anti-science bias.

But McCain could, theoretically, be the “maverick” that he self proclaims and buck the wicked ways of his GOP cohorts. But his record says nothing of the kind. Instead we have a fellow that embodies the worst instincts of both parties with the possible exception of his stance on taxes. (Though like George Bush Senior, I suspect he will have to in any event). And he is disinterested in economics. Given the horrific state of our financial system I think that that dog don’t hunt.

McCain’s age and temperament are issues. He’s an angry old coot who is not in the best of health. And regardless of who his VP will be, a potential dead man walking does little to inspire confidence. Even were he in the best of shape, his general attitude and his biases would do little to help this country regain respect on the world stage. Not voting for McCain, frankly, feels like not voting for the next war.

Palin is a joke. I don’t even need to enumerate all of her shortcomings. But I will not vote for a ticket in which a very unready VP – and a religious fanatic to boot – will be a heartbeat away from taking over while the headliner is a geriatric.

Obama/Biden. I’ll give Obama this: he’s clearly very intelligent and educated and he would do much to restore some of our foreign relationships by being the opposite of Bush (in intelligence, charisma, color, party, etc etc.) But I am not entirely certain that he has the experience needed to be President at the present time of domestic and international crises. Had he been the candidate in 1992 when the US was dominant and exiting recession, then sure, why not? Even in 1996. But the present moment does not seem to suit.

And I worry that his instincts may be that government is the solution to problems (it usually is not) and with a Democratically-controlled Congress we could be facing years of new ham-fisted regulation. If I thought that the Republicans would be able and willing to slow the slide towards ever-larger government then I might not be so troubled in pulling the Obama lever. But I don’t think the Republicans will be able and I doubt that they would be willing even if they were.

Biden represents the broken system. He is not change, he is more of the same. Hopefully he would restore the Vice Presidency to its previous status of unseen back-bench. But after Cheney, all bets are off. He could do real damage with real power.

New Mexico does not have a means to do a write-in and even if it were available, Ron Paul’s endorsement of the Constitution Party effectively removed my one write-in candidate.

I do not like the idea of voting for the lesser of the two evils since that means endorsing evil. But I want the Republicans out.

It hurts my head.

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