Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Republican Party


Presidential Candidate: John McCain
Vice-Presidential Candidate: Sarah Palin
Party Founded: 1854
# of registered voters: 55 million

Yar, maties. It be time for the final post of me breakdown of the candidates on Colorado's 2008 Presidential ballot. In the pirate garb, fighting for the Republican Party, it be John McCain, war hero, career politician, and former cap'n of the "Straight Talk" schooner. There's no debating John McCain's credentials as an honest, trustworthy American who honestly believes he's doing the right thing for the country. His valor has been proven in the line of duty and his service to his country has extended from the time he returned home a war hero.

John McCain has broken from the Republican Party ranks on numerous occasions, but recently - for many reasons - he's seemed a bit more reluctant to stray too far from home. His work in the past, such as the McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform Act (2002; which is why each advert during the election includes the statement, "I'm ____________, and I approved this message), is considered to be an example of legitimate bi-partisan work, helping to work "across the lines" within the Senate. Other examples of his bi-partisan work include work with Joe Lieberman on the 9/11 Commission and Fritz Hollings on the Aviation and Transportation Security Act. According to a Gallop poll, McCain's "favorable" rating from 1999 - 2008 has remained largely above 50%, recently rising above 60%.

In another recent series of polls, Americans gave John McCain the nod - should he be elected President - on issues such as national security, the wars, immigration, crime and values. He is a moderate Republican, and while he voted with the President - and other Republicans - 90% of the time, his party was obviously concerned with securing the "far right," and chose Sarah Palin as his VP candidate.

McCain is generally more of a state's rights supporter, believing many issues should not be regulated by the Federal Government. This stance applies to issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion. He is for stem-cell research, believing it's going to happen either way, so it might as well be regulated. He has broken with Republican ranks on many issues related to the environment.

But John McCain has stuck with the GOP on a number of topics, such as his affirmation of the Patriot Act, his support of the wars in Afgan and Iraq, and his general financial and economic policies. He famously admitted that he "doesn't know as much about the economy" as he should. Even if this is true, I didn't need to hear it, not right now, anyway. He should try and fake it if he must, because The Economist's recent poll of economists felt strongly that Mr Obama's economic plan was stronger than Mr McCain's - and it wasn't even close.

When it comes down to it, most people will vote for the wrong reasons. They'll vote for the candidate they believe is "doing God's work (they're both 'Christians')," or the one who's not black, or the one who speaks the best. They'll vote about a candidate's stance on an issue that's never going to change, or their party affiliation, or they'll cast a vote most popular with their friends, who aren't guaranteed to make an educated vote, either.

I guess you need to figure out what's most important to you, personally. Read through Obama's and McCain's platforms, look into the qualifications of their second-in-line, and see which you think will help lead our country toward a more prosperous economy and sustainable future on a world stage. See where they come out on education, crime, the wars and anything and everything else you believe is important for our country's future. And heed the advice of well-qualified experts in said fields. Your friends - while influential in your day-to-day life - may not be qualified economists (the same can be said for your family). And if they are, they may not be the best person to talk with about values, foreign policy, or immigration. There's simply too much information for anyone who doesn't spend their entire life analyzing all of the issues.

It's easy to become passionate about the election. The adverts would have you believe the fate of your life hangs in the balance. But lets be honest. Life will go on. The election - and your support for or dislike of any given candidate - shouldn't come between you and friends and family. Often times, we don't make good decisions when we're too close to any issue, or too emotional. Respect other people's opinions, actually look at each side of an issue you find important, and make a qualified decision. Remember, just because someone you know votes for Obama doesn't make them stupid, and just because you vote for McCain doesn't mean you're incapable of thinking for yourself. Don't perpetuate stereotypes, don't vote emotional, and do your best to make a grown-up decision. Voting without researching the issues is as deplorable as not voting at all.

Please come back tomorrow and cast your vote - keeping in mind that we're pretending to be in a fantasy world where we live with a multi-party system - and vote for the candidate who'd be elected if only your vote would be counted. Don't worry, I won't judge.

JM is and will be 72 in January.

links:
War Hero Website
Republican Party Website

1 comment:

brick pollitt said...

I have to agree with you on issue based voting. The problem is the issues can be so divisive. A "pro-life" might also be a vote for a lot of bloodshed, just as a "pro-choice" vote might be a vote for an extension of certain governmental powers and thus a vote against many choices. When it comes down to it we have to make a dangerous leap beyond policy and trust in the character of a leader. Much of that character is communicated through policy, but a great deal can be seen in a candidates interaction with the public, and in his general demeanor. This is where McCain really failed me. His rhetoric said "change" but his conduct said differently. I detailed one such incident in a post at http://goldenscarab.org/ . McCain has sold himself as a maverick and a hero. While I don't discount his past heroism and in fact find it very impressive, that McCain didn't show up much this past year, and especially these past weeks when I think he was sorely needed.