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.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
In reviewing the platform set forth by the Constitution Party, I realize it reflects exactly what the name of the party implies: a purely constitutional form of government as established by our founding fathers.
Here are some key excerpts that make this party appealing to me, a more complete list can be found here:
Sanctity of Life
The Preamble of the Constitution states a purpose of the Constitution to be to:
"secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".
We declare the unalienable right of Life to be secured by our Constitution "to ourselves and our Posterity". Our posterity includes children born and future generations yet unborn. Any legalization of the termination of innocent life of the born or unborn is a direct violation of our unalienable right to life.
The Congress of these United States has become an overpaid, overstaffed, self-serving institution. It confiscates taxpayer funds to finance exorbitant and unconstitutionally determined salaries, pensions, and perks. Most members of Congress have become more accountable to the Washington establishment than to the people in their home districts. Both houses of Congress are all too often unresponsive and irresponsible, arrogantly placing themselves above the very laws they enact, and beyond the control of the citizens they have sworn to represent and serve.
We seek to abolish Congressional pensions.
It is time for the American people to renew effective supervision of their public servants, to restore right standards and to take back the government. Congress must once again be accountable to the people and obedient to the Constitution, repealing all laws that delegate legislative powers to regulatory agencies, bureaucracies, private organizations, the Federal Reserve Board, international agencies, the President, and the judiciary.
We call for the maintenance of a strong, state-of-the-art military on land, sea, in the air, and in space. We urge the executive and legislative branches to continue to provide for the modernization of our armed forces, in keeping with advancing technologies and a constantly changing world situation. We call for the deployment of a fully-operational strategic defense system as soon as possible.
We believe that all defense expenditures should be directly related to the protection of our nation, and that every item of expenditure must be carefully reviewed to eliminate foreign aid, waste, fraud, theft, inefficiency, and excess profits from all defense contracts and military expenditures.
Because control over education is now being relegated to departments other than the Department of Education, we clarify that no federal agency, department, board, or other entity may exercise jurisdiction over any aspect of children's upbringing. Education, training, and discipline of children are properly placed in the domain of their parents.
We support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private or religious. We oppose all legislation from any level of government that would interfere with or restrict that liberty. We support equitable tax relief for families whose children do not attend government schools.
So that parents need not defy the law by refusing to send their children to schools of which they disapprove, compulsory attendance laws should be repealed.
To encourage free and fair elections, all candidates must be treated equally. We call for an end to designated "Major Party" status that gives an unfair advantage to some candidates by providing ballot access and taxpayer dollars, while requiring others for the same office to gather petition signatures or meet other, more stringent criteria.
We call for a repeal of all federal campaign finance laws (i.e. McCain-Feingold) due to their violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
We stand against so-called "sexual orientation" and "hate crime" statutes that attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior and to stifle public resistance to its expression. We oppose government funding of "partner" benefits for unmarried individuals. Finally, we oppose any legal recognition of homosexual unions.
We recognize that parents have the fundamental right and responsibility to nurture, educate, and discipline their children. We oppose the assumption of any of these responsibilities by any governmental agency without the express delegation of the parents or legal due process. We affirm the value of the father and the mother in the home, and we oppose efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples.
We emphasize that when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them. In such circumstances, the peaceful citizen's protection against the criminal would be seriously jeopardized.
We call for the repeal of all federal firearms legislation, beginning with Federal Firearms Act of 1968.
We call for the rescinding of all executive orders, the prohibition of any future executive orders, and the prohibition of treaty ratification which would in any way limit the right to keep and bear arms.
We affirm the integrity of the international borders of these United States and the Constitutional authority and duty of the federal government to guard and to protect those borders, including the regulation of the numbers and of the qualifications of immigrants into the country.
We oppose the provision of welfare subsidies and other taxpayer-supported benefits to illegal aliens, and reject the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship on children born to illegal alien parents while in this country.
We oppose any extension of amnesty to illegal aliens. We call for the use of U.S. troops to protect the states against invasion.
Our Constitution grants no authority to the federal government either to grant or deny the religious expressions of the people in any place. Both the First and Tenth Amendments forbid such tyranny.
We call upon all branches of government to cease their attacks on the religious liberties of the people and the states, regardless of the forum in which these liberties are exercised.
The federal government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state education, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, and health care, ad infinitum.
We call upon the states to reclaim their legitimate role in federal affairs and legislation (See Amendment 10 United States Constitution) and thus cause the federal government to divest itself of operations not authorized by the Constitution and extract the federal government from such enterprises, whether or not they compete with private enterprise.
Charity, and provision of welfare to those in need, is not a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government. Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of these United States be obligated, under penalty of law through forced taxation, to assume the cost of providing welfare for other citizens. Neither should taxpayers be indentured to subsidize welfare for persons who enter these United States illegally.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I am officially nearing exhaustion in hearing about this election. Don't get me wrong, I believe politics is important as it impacts Americans in a very real way. I remember when I was 18 I was eager to register and exercise my new right to vote and did so as soon as I was able. That year was when George Bush 41 was running for re-election against Bill Clinton. I rode my bike to my polling place and cast my 1st vote ever for none other than Ross Perot. I think I mainly made that choice based on the opinions of people close to me as I really had no idea what was going on in politics at that time.
My interest in politics didn't really peak until much later. Before I really started paying close attention to the issues and understanding where I stood in my political views, I was a registered Democrat (because my family are all Democrats) and I would base most of my political debate on popular talking points or whatever the MSM had to offer on the issues. I have always enjoyed a good exchange, call it a debate or an argument, I have always been "game" to get into it.
Once I really began to look more objectively at the issues, and also around the time when I became a Christian, it became obvious to me that I was better represented by the Republican Party. I was very zealous, if still not terribly well-informed, and went after those claiming to be Democrats with enthusiasm, thinking they must be fools for ascribing to a party that promotes such ignorant and irrational policies. For a good while I clung to the Republican Party and my conservative views with veracity. It defined me in a way, calling myself "Conservative" and the feeling that I had made the "right choice".
Another shift has happened since then. In the last few years as I have watched a Republican controlled Congress and Executive branch in action, in the few issues that are most important to me, there has been either no progress or backwards progress and, more and more, the Republican Party has represented my personal worldview in word only. My confidence in the GOP has eroded over the past few years as the line between Republican and Democrat have become more blurry. My disillusionment peaked in 2006, as I was utterly frustrated at the inability of either party to speak for me, and I voted for all 3rd party candidates in that election. I had broken away from the party line and chose each candidate based on their record and how closely their views matched my own. It was the 1st time I had refused to play "the game" of politics and voted my conscience, and I am glad I did it.
The conscience can be a terrible thing, especially when it is violated. This is something I learned in a very vivid way after voting to oust California Governor Grey Davis and replaced him with the utter disaster that is running California into the ground as we speak. I chose what was politically expedient over what I believed was right, and I have regretted it ever since. Every time the "Governator" does something idiotic I shake my head at him, and then at myself for helping make it possible.
The next time I cast my vote was in the recent primaries, in preparation for the 2008 General Election happening in just a few weeks. After reviewing the candidates, I cast my vote for Ron Paul on the Republican ticket. Men like Ron Paul, Alan Keyes and Chuck Baldwin are laughed at and disrespected by BOTH parties for having the "audacity" to even show up to run for office. These are men who intentionally go against the status quo because they hold personal principles and character above "winning". Alan Keyes was publicly disrespected by pretty much every other Republican candidate during the primaries, which hastened my disillusionment as I watched men of my party openly disrespecting a good and decent man who did not act in fear, but spoke from the heart about how far he believed this country has strayed from her roots. The Ron Paul's and Alan Keyes' of this country are Christians 1st and patriots 2nd. I think politicians may play a distant 3rd if I had to guess; but it is clear they have priorities like my own so as a matter of conscience I am obligated to support them, even if they cannot win. They represent the principles of a Constitutional form of government that we have long strayed from, and that I believe we need to return to.
This all may come off as a little idealistic to many, but what better way to be when choosing the person who will very soon be running the free world, and at such times as we find ourselves in now? Shouldn't we ask for excellence in the person who makes decisions and has influence that will profoundly affect our lives? The Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannity's of the world have dished out the "lesser of 2 evils" time after time, and where has that gotten us? It has led the GOP to put up a man like John McCain who, in the primaries, was scoffed at and ridiculed for the same maverick tendencies for which he is now being embraced and held out as the best the party has to offer? Despicable. I refuse to play the game this time around and further sear my conscience by voting for such a man whose only appeal, apparently, is that he is NOT Barrack Obama. I refuse to vote "against Obama" by voting for John McCain, as this is the same backwards logic conservatives ridiculed John Kerry supporters for when they vowed, "No more W" in 2004.
I am endorsing Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party in the General Election. Chuck is a family man and Christian pastor who was supporting Ron Paul before Ron left the race. The Constitution Party is right on all of the issues that are important to me: abortion, immigration, liberty, marriage, the right to bear arms, small government and every other issue that I believe we should not compromise in protecting.
Call it a "wasted vote" if you like, but I believe there is no such thing as long as the person casting their vote can do so with a clear conscience.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
I am confused by John McCain's behavior regarding this whole economic bailout fiasco. The $700 billion dollar package failed, and well it should have as it would have been a huge step towards socializing our financial system. America has prospered partly because we have a free market economy and I believe too much over sight by the government would undermine that. The financial companies took a gamble by making junk loans, partly because the Fed forced them via an affirmative action like policy which required a certain number of mid to low-income recipients on their books, and I think also due in part to the housing market bubble making them a bit too aggressive.
However we got here, whether you want to put all the blame on one institution, party, individual, etc, we need to do what is right going forward. To me, "right" is letting the market self-correct. This has already started to happen: one of the warnings we had a couple weeks ago was that banks would start to falter, and that would mean the beginning of "the end". Well, the first part of the scenario has indeed happened, as evidenced by Washington Mutual (speaking of junk loans) failing. How did the market react? J.P. Morgan Chase stepped in and purchased them, which should have zero impact to the customers (like me) of WAMU. All WAMU assets are now secured by Chase Bank and the FDIC, so all is well. So the market has so far adjusted for this, and I believe it will continue to do so as companies in trouble continue to get bought out by companies with the capital to do so. Consumers so far seem less affected by all of this activity in terms of their confidence in the market. Whether this is due to complacency or just blind trust in the market is debatable, I suppose.
I also believe John McCain trusts the free market, which is why I am befuddled by his statements of late that the bailout is the way to go. He put his campaign on "pause" and vowed to go to DC and do his part as Republican leadership to get a deal done. Good start, and the polls showed that Americans, the same ones who 2 to 1 are against shouldering the burden of failed financial institutions who used bad business practices, agreed and supported him. He then claimed "victory" before the actual vote tool place and looked inept as it did not pass as expected.
Legislators are now working on bailout II, and plan to vote again Thursday. Now is McCain's opportunity to side with the American people and conservative principles and work to pass the Republican's answer to this, which would mean loans and insurance to hurting companies that would bolster consumer confidence and still keep responsibility where it belongs. John McCain should be familiar with the notion of standing and fighting according to principle, given his military background and reputation as a "maverick".
I believe the alternative to this is to agree with the Democrats and Obama, which is basically to disagree with the American people, which could be the beginning of "the end" for the McCain campaign for President.