John McCain grew up the spoiled and rebellious son of famous Navy Admirals. He kind of floundered until he was shot down in Vietnam and endured five years of torture. At one point (early on), he was told by his captors that he could be released, but since there were men who had been prisoner longer than he had been, McCain said no. From that point on, his character seemed to solidify into something real, and he translated that into a life of political leadership that has spanned almost three decades. He began office as a conservative, but has tracked gradually to the Left, especially in recent years.
John McCain has earned his 'maverick' reputation by sticking his finger in the eye of his own Republican party on numerous issues. While he does have a lifetime conservative leaning, he has been a very mixed bag in recent years. Especially on issues like illegal immigration, global warming, and campaign finance reform, his position has been exactly opposite the GOP base. He says he has no problem reaching out across the aisle to get things done in the spirit of bipartisanship, but I would say that at times he leaps over the aisle, sits down, and has a picnic with them, too. I was vehemently against John McCain through the primary process, and I still don't like the idea of President McCain, but he does have several redeeming qualities that help make him barely palatable for me.
I have every confidence that he will adequately prosecute the War on Terror in a way that gives us the best chance at protecting American lives and property, and without that security, life as we know it will change dramatically. He has a history of reigning in the size of government (though there are departures here and there, like the recent bailout bill), which I think we can all agree needs to happen even more now. He generally seems to view America as a great place, full of opportunity for those who would reach out and grasp it, and I like that. He has pledged to appoint Supreme Court judges like Roberts and Alito, which I believe is critical to protecting the Constitution from liberal judicial activism from the bench. He has a history of supporting pro-life and traditional values.
His best move in this campaign was the selection of Sarah Palin. She has single-handedly energized the Republican base for several reasons. She is a true conservative who took on corruption in her own party (and won), she has a history of cutting government, she has walked the pro-life talk, and she is a gun-toting, religious, hockey mom whose husband is a sportsman and union guy. She has electrified the base, and is now drawing crowds of tens of thousands wherever she goes because she resonates real-ness to people. One example – her campaign bus stopped at a Wal-Mart in Ohio the other day so she could buy diapers. Contrast that with Obama, who demanded arugula while in Iowa, and the Kerry-Edwards debacle of eating at Wendy's in 2004, and it's a night-and-day difference in being able to relate with normal Americans. Anyway, of the four people on the ticket this November, I believe Palin actually has the best executive experience since she was an actual Governor – all of the others were Senators, whose job consists of building consensus and playing nice. She, on the other hand, has had to make decisions and live with them. I'm not sure she's quite up to Presidential foreign policy quite yet, but under the steady guidance of McCain (who is), I believe she'll be the complete package in 2012.
The thing that excites me most about the McCain-Palin ticket is the hope of the future. Not only would Palin be a historic choice as the first woman VP — and make no mistake, the fact that the first female VP is a Republican would drive the feminist Left absolutely nuts — but she would be uniquely positioned to become the first woman President in just a few years. While I don't like McCain, I am encouraged that there will be a voice of true conservatism in the White House and bending McCain's ear on the issues where he departs from conservative philosophy. How much success she would have persuading him is anyone's guess, but at least we know our position will be heard.
My summary of McCain: though I'll have to fight him on several big issues, he's good on most of the issues that really, really count, and he picked a damn good VP.
In my opinion, Obama would be the absolute worst possible person to be President of the United States because his policies are disastrous on just about every front. He is the most radical Leftist to get this close to the Presidency in decades, if not ever.
He would negotiate openly with terrorists and terrorist states, weakening America's position and leverage. That is the position that Jimmy Carter took which led to the Iranian hostage crisis in the 1970s. He would withdraw from Iraq regardless of the situation on the ground. Unbelievably, he has attempted to take credit for the very surge he opposed back in 2007 that has all but wrapped up success in Iraq. He would adopt the same tactics on terrorism that Bill Clinton used, treating it as a law enforcement problem rather than a military problem. Thus, he would not take action until after the attack is over (i.e. after people have been killed and property has been destroyed). The obvious thing to point out: we were attacked repeatedly during Clinton's administration, and only once during Bush's.
Economically speaking, Obama says he will cut taxes on 95% of Americans, but that's a lie. Not only is the 95% figure literally not possible (40% or so don't pay any taxes at all!), but he is also proposing to repeal Bush's tax cuts (which affect everyone) and increase taxes on literally everything else. He is also proposing massive new spending programs which won't be paid for without new taxes. He is also promising to raise taxes on small businesses, which make up something like 70% of the American economy. The net effect will be a huge increase in taxes on everyone in the country. History and basic economics prove — unequivocally, without doubt — that an increase in taxation slows the economy and reduces growth. That, in turn, will prevent jobs from being created, and prevent higher wages for the jobs which already exist.
The Left can't get its agenda pushed into law through voter support at the ballot box, so they have, over the years, resorted to creating law from the bench. As such, Obama is promising to nominate judges like Ginsburg and Breyers to the Supreme Court and other federal courts. They see the Constitution as a living, evolving document which should be interpreted on the basis of what society thinks today. These are the kinds of judges who, for example, overrule millions of voters to strike down a marriage amendment that passed overwhelmingly (this has happened in states all across the country). These are the kinds of judges who think it's okay for the government to take by force a private individual's land for the purposes of obtaining higher tax revenues. These are the kinds of judges who found a 'right' to an abortion somewhere in the Constitution (though no one can find the actual words), and somehow missed the 2nd Amendment, which explicitly guarantees an individual the right to own guns. These are all issues which affect your daily life, and judges dictate the legality of such issues.
Another giant problem is that he has consistently taken an indefensible position on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (here, here), voting against a bill that would have provided medical care for babies born during botched abortions. His position is that the bill would have infringed upon Roe v. Wade, but the bill came back a second time with language specifically saying it would not infringe upon Roe v. Wade, and he still opposed it. Add to that his support for taxpayer funded abortions on demand at all times during the pregnancy (even late-term), and you have someone who has zero respect for unborn life.
Obama's associations also raise some very serious questions. He has chosen to associate with terrorists, racists, socialists, and felons, using them to further his own political career and financial status. He has demonstrated a pattern of behavior of close association with the furthest Left fringes of society who hate America and all it stands for, which begs the obvious question: does his world view agree with theirs? It's a question that needs to be answered before election day.
He is also naive and inexperienced. He has no accomplishments to speak of, unless you consider the Global Poverty Act, which is essentially a tax on being an American citizen that would send almost $1 trillion straight out of the country, or implementing sex ed for kindergartners in Illinois.
I do not believe Barack Obama is inherently evil, nor do I think he wants to destroy America. I believe that he genuinely thinks that an all-powerful federal government (led by him, of course) is the solution for all of society's ills, and that he truly sees economic parity as a moral obligation even if it means the government literally steals from the wealthy and gives to the poor. His consistent position on taxation is that it is a patriotic duty, and that it's a fairness thing rather than something to..oh, I don't know…provide national security or anything else actually stated in the Constitution. I also believe that Obama is dangerously naive and inexperienced, so obsessed with his own power and glory that he is willing to do anything and say anything to anyone to win this election. He does not bother with things like laws, truth, or integrity, and his relationships are apparently only valuable to him until they become politically toxic, at which time he throws them under the bus. How's that for character under pressure? I don't believe he wants to destroy America, but I do believe he wants to re-make it into his vision of socialist utopia in which the State is God, and he runs the State.
Months ago I had written of the choice we face on November 4th: barf bag or mop? Do you choose the barf bag and support John McCain, or do you risk the overflowing toilet that will be a Barack Obama presidency, thus requiring a mop? In my opinion, McCain isn't a particularly great choice for President, but he is solid on the issues that matter the most. On the other hand, Barack Obama is tremendously bad on every front imaginable. While it may suck to have a lesser-of-two-evils choice, that is the reality of this election. I think about it this way: would I rather elect a guy that I agree with 51% of the time, or a guy I agree with 1% of the time? It's a no-brainer.
We don't live in a theoretical world, so it makes no sense to sit out the election on principle. One of these two guys will become President, so the choice is not “A – McCain / B – Obama / C – Neither”, it's “A – McCain / B – Obama”. Period. And make no mistake: for a Right-leaner to sit out this election is to vote for Barack Obama. With the rampant voter fraud being perpetrated by ACORN on behalf of Barack Obama, there is no question that McCain is already at a severe disadvantage.
Even if there were no fraudulent votes involved, we all have a stake in the direction of this country, and should therefore take the responsibility to get informed about the candidates and where they stand on the issues that matter most to us, and vote our conscience.
One final note. Perhaps just as important as the Presidential race is the Congressional situation. Right now, Democrats hold a slim majority in both houses of Congress, but they are licking their chops to increase that majority. If they get a majority big enough to override a Presidential veto (60 in the Senate, 290 in the House), we will likely experience an unprecedented expansion of the federal government. We can look to history to show us what happens when a veto-proof majority reigns, and it isn't pretty.
In the 1930s we saw FDR's New Deal, which was intended to provide jobs and economic recovery for during the Great Depression. Some of the programs were eventually shut down, but many still exist today, including Social Security and Fannie Mae. The government took aim at business and began a sweeping tide of reforms and regulations that gained federal control over many previously-private areas. The end result was a much bigger government bureaucracy, and we all know how well that functioned. For all the fanfare of the policies that were introduced in the New Deal, the country didn't recover from the Depression until we joined World War II, which forced a hyper-active phase in American manufacturing and production. Unfortunately, government didn't get any smaller.
In the 1960s we saw Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, an effort to eradicate poverty and racial injustice. Noble goals, to be sure, but the results were anything but positive. Programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and federal funding of education were begun, thus providing services for those in need, but fundamentally alterning the mindset of Americans from one of individual responsibility to one of dependence on government. While civil rights are most certainly a positive development, the so-called War on Poverty has accomplished exactly zilch (relatively comparing the number of poverty to the rest of the country) despite literally trillions of dollars being spent on it since the mid-60s, and we all know the state of our educational system. Today, those massive and bloated entitlement programs are by far the biggest chunk of the federal budget now, and the end result is the bent toward socialism that we're dealing with right now because too many people think government is the answer.
If the radical Leftist Democrats now running the Congress get their wish for a supermajority, they will be able to push through (or prevent) any legislation they want. You can expect to see massive new taxation and regulation (especially on things like global warming and energy production), the stifling of opposing viewpoints (they've already talked about reinstating the so-called Fairness Doctrine), and an unprecedented new intrusion onto your private life. They will legislate restrictions on what can be said by whom and institute all manner of penalties and punishments for perceived transgressions. In short, it may not matter much who our next President is if the Democrats control Congress so completely. If Obama wins and the Democrats get a supermajority…God help us.
How do you know if your Congressperson and Senators are any good? Check their records on the issues you care about most. I have links on this page for the Senate and House websites, both of which link to records of votes cast. You can also look here, at Rinohunters. “RINO” stands for “Republican In Name Only” – basically, someone who campaigns like a Rep but votes like a Dem. This website is designed to show how our elected leaders stand on issues like right to life, gun rights, the economy, illegal immigration, and the Reagan Coalition rating. It blends all these together into a combined score, and you can drill down into the details to find out why they got the ratings they got (the website rates both Reps and Dems). It's a terrific resource, so use it to help you identify the good ones from the bad ones!
So, there is my completely biased opinion on the candidates. Take it for what it's worth. At the end of the day it is my opinion, and you need to form your own. But, I hope that my thoughts have given you some useful insights, or at least some things to think about. Thanks for reading!
There's my two cents.