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Deciding How To Vote in November

I was subjected to scenes of Barack and Hillary playing nice with each other on stage at a rally in Unity, New Hampshire.  It was a bit over the top.

I don’t know what the real content (if any) of their speeches consisted of, and the newscasts simply showed snippets of each of them saying cute and insipidly stupid things about each other (Obama: “She Rocks!  She Rocks!  That’s what I’m talking about”).

At the same time, CBS covered Clinton supporters at the rally who are dead set against voting for Obama, and writing in Clinton.  Like that’s gonna work.

It’s intriguing that so many people are proclaiming they will not vote for one of the major candidates this fall.  I’ve be watching some bloggers and talk show hosts who are taking the idealistic path of saying “No way will I ever vote for McCain!”.  I can totally understand the need to think through and work out one’s priorities and convictions.  And of course, this kind of thoughtful discourse is a tad better than those who want to vote for Obama because they like his looks or mannerisms.  But the more I hear people say they are rejecting McCain because he doesn’t represent their perfect set of values, the more I wonder whether these people a) understand politics (especially our brand of two-party politics), and b) know of someone other than themselves that would fit the bill.

[1]Granted, if there was a real chance that Fred Thompson could run on the third party ticket and win the election (and I mean a real chance), I’d get in line for that.  But the fact is that, especially with the incredible splintering we are experiencing in each party right now, there is practically zero chance that a third party candidate would win… there would be too many and such candidates would simply take votes out of the pool of votes that would normally go to one of the core parties.

The biggest confusion I think many suffer from is the belief that the Presidency really matters so much in terms of having the perfect person (with regard to policy) that someone like McCain would actually represent a negative impact on our country’s success.  Someone like McCain is not going to create dramatic domestic change on his own.  He is unlikely to create chaos, or dramatically oppose Congress in areas such as the Economy, Energy, Health Care.  His presence may influence to some degree a Democratically controlled Congress in a way that would be slightly more favorable to Conservatives, though without being a dramatic voice for Conservatives.

McCain’s presence in the White House will, however, certainly provide strong support for a more conservative Congress, whether created in this cycle or in two years.  Regardless of his statements regarding domestic drilling, for instance, it is extremely unlikely that he would veto a domestic drilling bill, especially if the People make it clear that they want it.

An Obama administration would be devastating.  A Democratic Congress would be empowered to move for more and more sweeping change, including socialized Medicine, higher taxes, growing restraints on freedom, including new reviews of gun control once some Supreme Court appointments are made.  It’s interesting that even when we’ve been in a position to have the court review Roe v Wade, the court has avoided bringing any cases up on abortion rights.  But once the court is solidly activist and liberal, watch out… hide your guns, your faith and your thoughts.

Obama and a Republican Congress would be somewhat more controlled.  And yet, Supreme Court appointments and foreign relations are still big risk areas.  And dismantling our defense infrastructure, especially our nuclear arsenal, and jumping ship on our allies (backing out of Iraq, of example) appear to be the centerpieces of Obama’s campaign.  We might as well all start learning Farsi and Russian now to stay ahead of the game.

Bottom line is, everyone needs to vote their conscience.  But one’s conscience should go beyond your personal values compared to the candidates, and rather, look at our personal values compared to the events and circumstances that may occur as a result of our voting.  Obviously, we can’t predict everything, but I’m not going to avoid voting for a candidate that’s been divorced simply because I think divorce is bad.  Now, if the candidate promotes a vision of an America where murder is acceptable, where shipping the lowest 10% of income earners to Australia is the model for increasing America’s wealth, where legalizing unmonitored sales of cocaine is the ideal solution for solving our drug problems, that candidate will be vehemently opposed by me.  As a Christian, I hear many who share my faith placing expectations on the candidate to share the convictions of their faith.  While we (as followers of Christ) have a responsibility to speak out the truth, placing this kind of expectation on our leaders is not only impractical, it is inconsistent with our celebration of the Founders, many of whom were Deists… I would still vote for George Washington, even if he doesn’t believe God is actively involved in the affairs of the world.

We must continue to have effective dialog on issues, candidates, etc.  Throughout this campaign period, we continue to have opportunities to influence the debate and sway party officials, candidates, and voters… we should not abandon that opportunity (and for some us, a responsibility).

The support here at The Conservative Reader will, barring some major issue, be for the Republican candidate for President.  More importantly, we want to ensure there is appropriate focus and dialog on Congressional seats, both House and Senate, because the core of where our country is going will be reflected in those chambers more powerfully than in the house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Building a grassroots groundswell to take back the legislative arm of government should be Priority 1.

That said, this is a place for discussion.  Voice your opinion here.  We want to learn from each other.  Everything described here is worthless if we don’t engage with each other and our representatives.  Not engaging is what leads to the the wanton abuses we’ve seen in both parties, and if we allow them to continue, shame on us.