Saturday, October 18, 2008

For some who read this, the phrase, "None of the Above" may bring back memories of the 1985 Richard Pryor movie, "Brewster's Millions" (okay, just me then?). Of course, I am actually talking about the upcoming election and my intent to vote 3rd party. As I don't expect a 3rd party candidate to actually prevail over either of the 2 major party candidates, "None of the Above" is appropriate.

What insanity is this? You might ask. Aren't you effectively wasting a vote by not voting for a candidate who has a real chance of winning? I also understand that, to some, this may seem like a protest vote only made to make a statement, and not in good conscience. I made the point before that it is impossible to "waste a vote" as long as your vote is cast based on your understanding of the issues and your candidate's ability to represent you on those issues, and I will not belabor that here.

The purpose of this article is to further explore the concept of voting 3rd party and my rationale for doing so. I will start by exploring the alternatives:

A Vote for Barack Obama

I would like to be clear that Barack Obama represents possibly the opposite of everything I look for in a candidate for President. He is a family man, and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is doing what he feels is best for his country. His stance on the issues that are important to me (no matter which side he is on at present) do not represent mine at all. He is running his campaign on the premise that Big Government needs to step in to cure the ills of society, because the "unwashed masses" do not have the will or the know-how to do so for themselves. His views generally reflect a basic lack of faith in the American people. Despite his statements that, "We are who we have been looking for", he seems to be more interested in getting "we" to vote for his administration so they can step in and socialize everything. This is tantamount to limiting the liberties of Americans, not protecting it. Barack Obama's worldview flies in the face of the vision of our founding fathers which are described in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. These men saw the damage that absolute government control could do, and sought to limit government instead, leaving the administration to focus on protecting the liberties of it's citizens, nothing more

A Vote for John McCain

While John McCain is a fine individual as well and has served his country admirably during his time in the military and as a Senator, he is not anywhere near conservative enough to be compared with the likes of Ronald Reagan, as much as those in denial and McCain himself would like us to think so. No matter how many times McCain squeezes out the phrase, "My friends" he in no way reminds me of Reagan, and in fact I resent the fact that he thinks anyone would be taken in by it. Reviewing his voting record makes him soft on some key issues as well. The most glaring to me is his historically weak stance on illegal immigration. He has consistently voted for softer borders, and in 2006 supported a bill basically granting amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens. While he has more recently taken a harder line on this issue with tough talk about securing our borders, he still makes statements alluding to his belief that amnesty is fair and the best thing for America. This is significant because this reveals a little about his worldview, which apparently holds less respect for our country's sovereignty as I believe it should. His choice of Sarah Palin for V.P. certainly peaked my interest for a time, but what is exciting about McCain's campaign is Sarah Palin, not John McCain, who is running for the highest office in the United States.

In recent history, like before the primaries, John McCain was far from the favorite in conservative circles and I think many breathed a sigh of relief when his campaign lost it's viability and he seemed done this go around. Those reservations many held about McCain still hold true today. This man has not changed in the last 8 months, so while many may think I am foolish for voting 3rd party, the worst I can be accused of is holding to my principles.

You may have picked up a bitter tone in my description of McCain, and I think the reason for that is, while he may be more Conservative than Obama and arguably the lesser of 2 evils, he is less genuine than Obama. Shocked? Please allow me to explain. With Obama, you get what you ask for, everything is on the table. People who support Obama do so because they hold to the same beliefs that he does, that the government has a responsibility to rescue us from ourselves and act as a "nanny" for Americans. Conservatives will not vote for him because they know exactly where he is coming from and what he intends to do and disagree with him. The problem with McCain is, we really have no idea what to expect from his proposed administration because what he says today is not consistent with what he has done while in the Senate, nor is it consistent with what he was saying before the primaries. Add to that the utter failure of many self-described conservatives in the administration to demonstrate any real level of conservative principle and you can call me fed up.

With all of the talk of party loyalty and the fear of the Republican Party falling out of power, I would like to take some time to explore what a McCain administration would do to conservatism and the Republican Party vs. 4 years of an Obama administration.

Conservatives have endorsed McCain, not because of his record, or because they are confident in his ability to promote conservative views so much as because he has the right label and the only alternative is Obama. If he is elected, McCain, a "maverick" with a reputation for reaching across the aisle, will likely be a very effective President; not because he will have any real influence over what is likely to be a filibuster-proof, overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. On the contrary, he will agree with them more than disagree and tons of legislation designed to support a very liberal agenda will pass. When these policies fail, and they will, McCain and Republicans will catch the blame and 2012 could become very interesting for Hillary or even Obama again, who will be able to talk about how "look where 12 years of a Republican President has gotten you".

An Obama administration will set out to do exactly what we could expect. Ultra-liberal policies the likes we have not seen since the Carter administration. We will all get taxed to death as we sit and watch just how ineffective and disastrous the socialist utopian dream really is. Just like the Carter 4 years ushered in 8 years of Reagan conservatism, these events would likely do the same. Americans will get exactly what they asked for in Obama and I predict they will decide it isn't all it was cut out to be.

So I argue that, while 4 years of McCain would not only be a violation of conscience, it would also hurt the conservative cause more than help, while an Obama administration would force conservative citizens and representatives to wake up and demand proper representation rather than settling for the lesser of 2 evils.


Mr. Grey Ghost said...


Conservatives by and large believe in less govt, less taxes, are pro-military, against abortion & gay marriage & federally funded social welfare programs. McCain is with us on all these issues and I'm 99% sure that if he's given the chance he'll elect conservative judges to the courts. Illegal immigration is just a no-win issue for the GOP right now, it's just not being realistic to say that a better candidate would be stronger there--we saw what happened with Duncan Hunter, he got ousted out of the primaries early. McCain had a strong anti-illegal stance but members within his own party fought him on it. Maybe Obama will end up like Carter, but thinking about how Carter opened the door for 9/11 alone makes it not worth the risk.

Patrick M said...

If it had been Hillary Clinton on the Democrat ticket, this would be much easier. I could justify voting for her over McCain, because there's a good chance she'd run the country like her husband. In other words, by polls and BS rather than the Marxism that The Marxist (Obama) will bring.

You forgot to mention the McCain-Feingold rape of free speech. That's the one I remember during EVERY commercial when we get to the "I approve this message" tag.

If there were a vote for "do-over" I could vote for it in a heartbeat. But as I can't find a third party candidate to really get behind, I've been trying to get to the point where I could justify a McCain vote.

I look at it this way: McCain might use the veto pen and might appoint good judges. I know what The Marxist will do. And we're at the point, due to the impending recession, that we have to start to reverse the trend toward socialism. I'm not sure we'll be in as bad a shape as we will in four years.

I do plan, if McCain wins, to start tearing into him almost immediately. Same for The Marxist. Either way, I get to blast the administration on a weekly basis for the next four years.

So which third party candidate are you leaning towards?

Bullfrog said...

GG: Let me be clear. I am not hanging everything on the single issue of immigration, that is just one of the more obvious examples of how McCain lacks the record on the constitutional governance that is my litmus test for a worthwhile candidate. This is specifically because, as I mentioned, not securing our borders, language, and culture exhibits a basic lack of respect or understanding of what it means to be a sovereign nation.

I guess I am just not as confident as you that once in office, McCain won't do what he has historically done and compromise conservatism to get legislation passed.

Bullfrog said...

patrick: Hillary is definitely more moderate than Obama. The McCain-Feingold issue is another great example of how our legislature ignored the constitution.

I am leaning towards voting for Chuck Baldwin, who is running on the Constitution Party ticket. He basically stepped in when Ron Paul left the race after the primaries (I gave my support to Ron Paul in the primary election). The name of the party explains it all: they believe in a strictly constitutional form of government that our forefathers intended.

Polls show that there is a surge in support for a 3rd party candidate this election season. I will do some research and post about it. It is pretty interesting. The only way people are going to get the kind of candidates we really want is to cast our vote without "holding our noses".

Beth said...

It's refreshing to see someone else who is willing to stand up for principles rather than a party.

(My avatar is from the Constitutional Party's website from 4 years ago, not sure if they still have that logo available. It may be hard to read, but it is Principles [over] Politics.)

Patrick M said...

I can't support Baldwin for the same reason I can't support Bob Barr. To quote from Baldwin's site:

In the first place, our troops are no longer fighting a war, they are an occupation force, which occupies a sovereign country. [emphasis added]

Our troops are many thing, but they are not occupiers. To do so insults them and the reason they fight. Their goal at this time (apart from their initial mission) is to complete their mission to keep the country stable until the Iraqis can take over and then leave.

And while a third party candidate uses this language, I can't fully support him.

Bullfrog said...

patrick: how do you feel about U.S. troops going to war without an act of Congress? I think the issue Ron Paul and Chuck Baldwin have with the war in Iraq is they feel the Constitution was ignored in doing so. If we don't use the constitution as a measure of what is acceptable, then what do we use? The will of the President?

Patrick M said...

how do you feel about U.S. troops going to war without an act of Congress?

The formal declaration of war hasn't been used since WWII. We've fought many a fight since then, from limited engagements to three significant wars (Korea, Vietnam, war on terror). In most large engagements, there was common agreement on the initial phase of it. Even our initial expedition into Iraq was given approval by Congress.

The problem with the Constitution argument is that, while the legislative branch has the power to declare war, the President is commander-in chief of all armed forces, with no delineated limitations to that power. Furthermore, it has the power of precedent in that we've had 60 years of actions, conflicts and undeclared wars. While that trend can and probably should be reversed, it's not a justification for a 180 in foreign policy.

Finally, in this particular war, of which Iraq is simply a theater of operations, who do we specifically declare war on? There lies the real problem in that we're fighting an enemy that has no specific nationality, but is merely a collection of dirty little cells that have to be cut out like a cancer. In prosecuting this war, the President has some latitude when he commits forces, and Saddam's Iraq had been defeated in no time flat. What we're in the process of now is getting out. Had Bush done things right, this wouldn't have been an issue this year.

I'm not going to say that we were absolutely right to go into Iraq. But since we did, we are committed to setting things as right as possible before we leave. And that will happen in the next administration.

At this point, we need to start pulling back a little on our ground operations in much of the world, but we have to balance that with the need to continue hunting an enemy that will keep coming at us for decades to come.

Bullfrog said...

patrick: informative stuff about past wars and how congressional oversight has (or has not) played a part. Thanks!

I agree that we have to persevere in Iraq now that we are there. I get frustrated when people still harp on our reason for going in when we are obviously past that now and need to be successful so as not to leave the Iraqi people in a really bad situation.

Someone who ran during the primaries, and in fact is on the ballot as an Independent is Alan Keyes. He holds to a very Constitutional form of government, but has a perspective on our involvement in world affairs more like yours. If I remember correctly, the Constitution Party rejected him for that reason.

Patrick M said...

Don't get me started on Alan Keyes. I like him, I agree with him, but he's possibly the worst candidate anybody could ever put up for any office. When he showed up at a GOP debate "running" for president this year, I almost puked. Hell, he couldn't even beat The Marxist when the GOP flew him in as a sacrificial lamb.

Sorry. Whenever I get the chance to rip him, I do so. He, like Ron Paul (and I'll spare you that diatribe) are smart people who I have no confidence in their ability to lead themselves out of a wet paper bag, much less the whole country.

The problem the Constitution and Libertarian parties both have is that, in their quest to return us to a limited government, they forget that the role of America in the world has changed enough that we can't return to any level of isolation. And that's where I'm going to have problems with the parties.

Dee said...

I was having a hard time convincing myself to vote for McCain until he picked Palin. She is the new face of the conservative Republican party. I freely admit that I'm voting for Sarah Palin and not McCain.

Bullfrog said...

Dee: took me a while to get back to you as I have been very busy this week, but as it seems alot of conservatives were drawn to the McCain ticket by Palin, or at least now have more to look forward to on November 4th than hold their noses, I assume conservatives think Sarah Palin as VP will do some good for us or her in the following ways:

1. Have some conservative influence on the McCain administration, which will presumably be more moderate.

2. Somehow set Sarah Palin up for a Presidential run in 2012.

#1 doesn't seem likely, as VP has little to do with actual legislation, although I suppose she could have some degree of influence.

#2 If a McCain administration fails to deliver for the next 4 years, wouldn't the American public be that much less likely to vote a Republican in next term?

I still think overall an Obama presidency, athough certainly painful, would be better for conservatism than 4 years of a RINO.

dmarks said...

On McCain and conservatism and immigration. Isn't conservatism supposed to be the ideology of rugged idealism? The vast majority of immigrants (legal and illegal) come to America to work hard and make a better living for themselves. Despite the hatred of those who accuse immigrants of "Stealing" American jobs by being better at them.

I think McCain's "softer" stance on immigration is closer to the conservative ideal of people being able to succeed without being crushed by government.

Bullfrog said...

dmarks: thanks for dropping in. The biggest hole in your logic is that you seem to make no distinction between legal and illegal immigration. I am guessing the folks who spend thousands and wait years to become naturalized would take exception to that. And in fact, this is the crux of the immigration issue for those with conservative principles: that federal law is being broken, and not enforced.

dmarks said...

The "rugged individualism" idea applies to both the legal and illegal.

" I am guessing the folks who spend thousands and wait years to become naturalized would take exception to that."

The system is completely broken if you have to wait years.

"that federal law is being broken, and not enforced."

So are jaywalking laws.

Patrick M said...

Dmarks: I doubt there are federal jaywalking laws. Or state jaywalking laws. Maybe county, probably city.

However, there's another difference. Illegal immigration is a security issue, which can allow some raghead with a suitcase of full of poison to smack down a city. Jaywalking can result in the jaywalker getting turned into roadkill. Two laws, worlds of difference what can happen.

Dave Miller said...

I saw an interesting take on this yesterday. Chris Hedges, yes I know he is an atheist, writes about Nader being the real change candidate.

While I may not agree with Ralphie boy on much, he, along with Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, were and are pushing policies much different from either Obama or McCain.

They are people comfortable with pushing the envelope.

Are they electable, or are any of the lesser party candidates? Of course not.

Because the two major parties have a vested interest in keeping two party rule.

And the majority of us, through our actions, seem to agree.

Until we figure out a way to get some different voices to the big table, I fear we will continue to see a majority of our candidates be people we vote against, as opposed to those whom we choose to vote for.