11 July 2008

I may not be enormously giddy about the prospect of voting for a big-government liberal, but reading this makes me at the least admire his fortitude. Very good reading.

24 comments:

Percussivity said...

Oh I have always admired John McCain ('always' reads, 'since I became aware of his story a few years ago') as a 'man'... just not so much (or at all) as a policy maker.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Me as well. There are two consolations, however:

1. He is wedded to the Republicans. This means if he tries to push a liberal agenda, half his party will be split (some loyal to the leader, some loyal to principle) while many of the democrats will purposefully vote against in order to undercut the opposition leader, politically. The net effect is that he would be quite incapable of successfully pushing an agenda, which is good news for everyone. Would not be the same for a liberal democrat, who would have his party behind him in lockstep for any leftist proposal.

2. Supreme Court appointments. McCain might appoint some stinkers, as previous Republicans have (Bush 1 appointed Souter, Ford appointed Stevens), but Obama would leave no doubt!

In the end I am a pragmatic and reluctant supporter. How's this for a campaign slogan:

McCain 2008
Yeah, We Know, Not Great, But Better Than The Other Guy

The Unabashed Blogger said...

He may or may not be here on Thursday to a public event....

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Cool! I'll have to go make some "IRON MY SHIRT" placards for the protest! If you notice a brouhaha in the crowd, followed by an impassioned plea of "don't tase me bro!" you'll know they are hauling me out.

The Angry Coder said...

There is a candidate who has admirable character and good policy- and I'm not reffering to Ron Paul because he is no longer an official candidate. Whether one votes for Repulican or Democrat, they are voting for the same system. It's the same party- the need each other and as long as they are the power brokers there will be no change. The constant ebbing away of individual liberty will continue as long as the Republicats and Democrans run the show. Now I will make an admittedly hyperbolic statement purely for effect: the only votes that will "really" count this year will be those for third party candidates. Let's start the revolution!

http://www.constitutionparty.com/

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Oh you have got to be kidding me...not Ron Paul, not Bob Barr, not even Ralph Nader, but the constitution party? Plumbing the depths of the obscure, with chances of election approaching 1/infinity.

I sympathize, but am a pragmatist. Supreme Court appts are more important right now than the head of state for the next 4 years.

Percussivity said...

The same could be said of the last dozen or more elections... pragmatism has its merits, but I tend to agree with the coder's sentiments. We will ALWAYS be on the verge of a liberal takeover... and thus there will NEVER be a safe time to vote for a third party. The problem for me is that I am conservative and the two viable options for president are not conservative, nor are their parties. Also I believe from a membership standpoint, the CP is the largest party next to the Demublicans. They so far are on the ballot in over half the country.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Well, the Libertarian party has been around much longer, and has more people actually in office than all other 3rd parties combined (including the Constitution Party).

I've a friend who is a staunch libertarian/Ron Paul guy, and he and I have gone round and round on this, and I don't think there's any winning either way. I don't subscribe to the pessimistic outlook that the parties will stay constant for centuries unless people rise up and abandon them in one fell swoop. Historically, parties shift and dissolve with the passage of time and the changing of society. To me, a toothless McCain presidency (that will likely last one term only) with the promise of reasonable SCOTUS appointments is vastly preferable to feeling a warm fuzzy for having stood up to the two party system and refusing to vote for the "lesser of two evils" (which is a ridiculous and misleading phrase), while Obama makes LIFETIME appointments to the Supreme Court of justices that will erode our rights in ways that can't be undone by legislation or executive order.

The Angry Coder said...

First, a history lesson: the modern Republican party arose from the ashes of the fallen Whig party in the middle 1800's. Yes, the Republicans lost the first time they fielded a presidential candidate. But they built momentum and, the second time around, they fielded an obscure loser named Lincoln. The Republicans are precipitously close to the situation the Whigs were at- they are losing their base. Why? Because they have lied!

How have they lied? Just one such lie is how they already have handled Supreme Court justices. They had the opportunity to put staunch conservatives on the Supreme Court bench, but in the name of 'unity' they comprimised and put weaker candidates in instead. The Republicans had the House, the Senate and the White House, with enough of a majority to overcome the minority party and place real conservatives on the bench. But they didn't want to make a fuss, so they sold out.

Even if McSame gets elected, I have no confidence in the party's resolve to place true conservatives on the bench. They sold out when they had the power- what will they do now in their weakened state?

The problem with the Republicans is that they say the "right" thing but they perform contrary to it so they can broker for power. Most people who will be voting Republican this year are basically saying "don't hate the player, hate the game". Well I do hate the game and I'm voting against it. Supporting the lesser of two evils is still supporting evil.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

"Supporting the lesser of two evils is still supporting evil."

Ahhh! I was waiting for that hoary old chestnut to come out! A classic maxim thrown out by every 3rd party advocate.

The idea that the two main parties are "evil" and Ron Paul (or whoever your favored candidate is) is this virtuous beacon of light is naive and simplistic. All government is a pragmatic "necessary evil"...wouldn't it be better if government was entirely unnecessary and irrelevant? Yes, but that places you in the "dreamer" class with Mr. Lennon.

So this oversimplification of "my candidate is good, all others are evil" is ludicrous to me. You are selecting what you find to be the least of a collection of "evils"...a pragmatic decision to sacrifice some liberty (by rejecting anarchy and accepting some government) for a measure of security. For a Libertarian/Constitution party candidate, you sacrifice the least amount of liberty, by going with the weaker potential federal government, something I am highly sympathetic to myself. But it is still an "evil", a necessary establishment of authority required because of man's sin nature. Again, you are selecting what you think to be the least of all possible evils. That is why the cliche about "lesser of two evils still being evil" is nonsense, although a widely pervasive bit of nonsense.

On the judges, of course it is possible that bad justices will be appointed. But are you implying GWB appointed bad justices? As I mentioned, Ford appointed Stevens and GHWB appointed Souter, both a pair of poor justices. Alito and Roberts have done fairly well, and are generally pretty close with the conservative wing (Scalia/Thomas). Heller vs DC, one example, but there have been many more. If Alito and Roberts weren't "conservative" enough for you, I wonder what sort of litmus test you are actually interested in for justices? The last thing I want is a politicized SCOTUS with activism from the bench. I don't care what their views are on abortion, gay marriage, or religion. All I care is that they are intelligent, well-read, and know how to apply the Constitution (without taking endless liberties) and precedent (American precedent I should add).

I thoroughly empathize with your frustration with the leftist drift of the GOP, and I agree with the general "throw the bums out" mentality, but the only realistic choice we have in 2008 is McCain or Obama. You can vote for anyone else that you like, but the American populace won't, and may basking in the appreciative glow of voting on the courage of your convictions sustain you through the long cold winter, because if every libertarian-minded individual voted 3rd party this year, I promise we'd be swearing in Obama. There just aren't enough of us to win against a majority that still prefers big government, on both sides of the political aisle. Thus the hard choice.

Do I like voting for McCain? No, and I wouldn't have liked voting for Giuliani or Huckabee either. But the next four years are very likely to see SCOTUS retirements and that is more important to me than what chump is receiving foreign dignitaries in the White House.

And then there's foreign policy, but most libertarians are not in agreement with me on that.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Has any prayed about this?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

You mean like, "Lord, please hasten your return, so we don't have to see either of these two jokers inaugurated." :D

Percussivity said...

Perhaps the election of Obama would in itself usher in the rapture of the church.... after all we are not appointed to wrath.

The Angry Coder said...

My reference to the 'lesser of two evils' was not a statement of my opinion about either candidate, but a summation of the viewpoint of the masses of frustrated conservatives who will, with great disdain and self loathing, go vote for McCan out of some doomed sense of obligation. This, I understand, is even your sentiment, when you say "Do I like voting for McCain? No...". To presume what and why I would think that statement to be true even according to the context you took it is a bit of a straw-man argument. Especially since those were not my thoughts or arguments at all.

I do believe the American people are ready and willing to change, but most are not informed enought to know there are other choices or to educate themselves with those choices. Sadly the majority of our fellow-citizens approach politics with a drive through approach: "I'll have the Fiscal conservative, but hold the family values." I do think that most people are ready for a change and would embrace a much more (classical) liberal mode of government, if they were aware that that was even an option. I also think it's a hazardous mistake to "play the game" and not vote your conscience. (And I realize fully that your conscience may be full-on saying "Repulican". Groovy, I support you in that and don't look down on anyone for it!)

"Has anyone prayed about this?" Okay, I'll bite, and take that statement to it's logical conclusion. "Yes, I have, and the Lord revealed to me that I should vote for candidate X, therefore that is God's candidate and you should vote for him too". Any questions?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Apologies for jumping all over the lesser of two evils cliche, but it is perpetually invoked by libertarians as a reason why we should vote 3rd party.

Our estimation of the readiness of the American people for laissez faire, minimalist federal government differs, a point on which we can agree to disagree. With something like half of the population paying little to no income taxes, it is no small wonder that so many citizens vote for big govt. They aren't paying for it, what do they care? >:( Behold the angry smiley.

Regarding the conservatives being filled with self-loathing for voting for a lefty RINO, it may be a personality aberration, but I certainly don't, and won't. I'll happily use my vote for what I see as the greater good. There is NO candidate with whom I agree 100%. No CP candidate, no libertarian, no green party, etc. I disagree in areas with McCain, I disagree in areas with Ron Paul, and I have no idea about Baldwin, but from a cursory review of the CP wikipedia article, they look (this is a flash judgement) like a moralist derivation of the libertarians, and I'd certainly disagree with much of what they say, too. I just have to sift through the mire, realize that there is no ideal candidate that will thrill my soul and carry us away to a nirvana on earth, and vote for what will produce the best results. It isn't so binary as we make it sometimes...it isn't R bad, CP good, or D bad, Green good, or vice versa. You could start another party tomorrow, called the Angry Coder Party, and you could make that platform 100.00% identical to your personal beliefs. But no, you sacrifice some of your personal beliefs for electability, by choosing a major 3rd party platform instead of your own. I'm doing essentially the same thing on a slightly larger scale. It isn't fundamentally different, in my view.

BTW: I have all respect for those that vote 3rd party. If you will hate yourself for voting McCain, stay home, this election isn't worth the psychological damage! As for me, voting for a candidate with whom I share some but not all values is nothing new, and nothing out of the ordinary, and won't bother me in the slightest.

The Angry Coder said...

That's a funny assessment of the CP. I suppose I agree but don't see it as a bad thing. A couple of years ago, when I made the decision that I could no longer stand the Repuplican party (I decided to leave before having any alternative) I became pretty excited about most of the ideas of classical libertarians (not to be confused with the Libertarian party). Of course with this came idealogical challenges and comprimises and some of them really irked me. Was I willing to except legal drug use or toleration of all sexual impurities? Then I came across the CP. They are fundamentally libertarian, yet they hold to some moral standard.

To me, the question of 'should government legislate morals' is a fascinating one and a troubling one. At the end of the day, it does legislate morals. The CP, at least, uses the writings of the founding fathers and the Bible to define its moral and philisophical framework, and still have a pretty libertarian philosophy. That, I can live with.

I have come a long way from the days that I believed the US should preempt a war with China to stop them from encroaching our hedgemony in the Pacific rim. Of course that was before the war on terror, also.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Excuse my characterization on the CP...I said it was a flash judgment and it literally was the result of about 15 seconds of skimming the wikipedia article looking for something.

On legislating morality, that is another great argument that I am prone to fall into. To me, all laws are the legislation of morality...that is the establishment of what is good/legal/acceptable, and what is bad/illegal/unacceptable to society. So I have zero qualms about "legislating morality" in that sense. Although for consistency sake, I lean very heavily towards the libertarian model...for example, I'm not in favor of a constitutional marriage amendment, because it strikes me as needless, and a bit of an affront to the states rights of the 10th Amendment. I have no problem with states and local governments banning what-have-you, as long as it is not a protected right in the constitution (thus a restriction extended to the states via the 14th amendment due process clause) but I prefer controversial legislation to be done on a more local level, where it is likely to be more in tune with local culture. Thus Massachussetts can marry Adam and Steve, and Kentucky can legalize owning 105mm howitzers. Everybody happy.

Another thing I am tired of hearing every four years is how IMPORTANT this election year is. "The most important election of our lifetimes", usually uttered by self-obsessed, myopic journalists. Honestly, this year is pretty unimportant in my view...both probable winners would push, to a limited degree of success, a furtherance of big government expansion. But with the war and some really old folk in SCOTUS, it makes it important enough that I'll probably not sit this one out.

Probably.

The Angry Coder said...

Some legislation is more administrative. Levying a tax to have a military or justice system is pretty practical. We have to "provide for the common defense" somehow or else we will be overrun by some adjoining nation. Er, that is, I meant militarily... ummmm, anyways...

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Yeah, but in a loose sense even administrative laws are, at their core, legislating morality, by saying there is a right and a wrong way...the right way is to pay a specific tax that is levied, the wrong way is to not do so. This is mostly a semantic argument, but all legislation to me boils down to morality...some instances easier to see, other instances not so much.

Operating the military is more of an executive task, though. There are some bills that seem to deal more with in-house management (such as funding the military) and those would strike me as being less moral, I grant.

And regarding what you subtly alluded to...we are resolved to repulse the Canadians and drive them back into the tundra. WE DID IT IN 1812 WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

Percussivity said...

OK this is getting ridiculous. It only took me 20 seconds to read the blog entry, but 20 minutes to get through the comments!

The Angry Coder said...

Is 21 comments a record for you blog, Neufeld?

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Over 20 comments, and surprisingly enough not all of them mine! Yes indeed, that would be a record.

Now let's debate something that isn't controversial, like abortion or climate change.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

The Irish and I have so much in common it seems...
An email from Ireland to the brethren in the States...a point to ponder despite your political affiliation:
'We, in Ireland , can't figure out why people are even bothering to hold an election in the United States.
On one side, you have a pants wearing lawyer, married to a lawyer who can't keep his pants on, who just lost a long and heated primary against a lawyer who goes to the wrong church who is married to yet another lawyer who doesn't even like the country her husband wants to run.
Now...On the other side, you have a nice old war hero whose name starts with the appropriate Mc terminology, married to a good looking younger woman who owns a beer distributorship.

What in Lords name are ye lads thinking over there in the colonies??

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

This is where I get doubtful about that quote:

"What in Lords name are ye lads thinking over there in the colonies??"

Colonies?? The only thing any Irishman ever colonised was the bottom of a bottle of Powers! :D