Missed Opportunity: Don’t Waste Your Vote!

Part 2

In Part 1 on this subject, I discussed why John McCain is on his “Farewell Tour” of the US rather than out campaigning: he doesn’t clearly stand for ANYTHING. If you have come this far, then maybe you are asking yourself what can be done less than two weeks from the election.

I asked myself that same thing, but before I go into the answer, I will give some background. You see, I am a man without a party. Hanging on the wall in my office is a picture of Ronald Reagan. In my wallet is an ACLU card showing that I have been a member since 2001. In the back of my trusted Moleskin notebook is a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence which I carry with me to every meeting I have. This combination of items is a shock to most people the first time they hear it and confuses some. As I see it, my political views are very simple: I want the government out of my wallet and out of my bedroom. Unfortunately, the Democrats and Republicans don’t match up with EITHER of those things much less both.

Trust the governement to decide non-objective law
Trust the government to decide non-objective law

The Republican Party was allegedly the party that stood for controlling and shrinking the government. Eight years of spending like drunken sailors shreds any notion of that being true. The Democrats on the other hand have had plenty of opportunities to stand up against things like illegal warrantless wiretaps or a railroaded “Patriot” Act and have stood idly by while pretending the Fourth Amendment didn’t exist; so much for the Liberals defending rights.

So since the Democrats or the Republicans don’t have a scrap of similarity to what I hold as values, I will look elsewhere. I am an Objectivist and cannot say that I am a Libertarian, however if I take a look at the Libertarian platform and plans, they dovetail nicely with my convictions regardless of how they got there. The plan can be summed up as “Smaller Government, Lower Taxes, More Freedom”. It hits me like a breath of fresh air.

The argument that I hear a lot on this subject is that people are afraid of wasting their vote on a third party. In 2000 I voted for Bush and ended up staying up for two days without sleeping glued to the TV trying to find out who won. When it was decided, I felt like I was going to vomit. You see, no matter who I voted for we were in for an awful Presidency. I call it the election hangover. In 2004, I listened to Kerry’s promises of endless handouts and spending and then choose John Edwards as his running mate. I knew Edwards as not only a frightening social engineer but an awful human being. It was clear there was no way I could vote for them. Instead I voted for a fellow named Michael Badnarik whose views very closely matched my own. The next morning, I knew that I had stood up for what I believed in rather than accepting my two awful choices. No election hangover. Most people are willing to accept values that are not their own in a candidate with the justification that it was the best of two evils. I am finished with that. I will vote for what I believe in and not give a tacit endorsement to this system that guarantees that you will only be able to choose between two bads handpicked by the lowest common denominator in the country.

The good news is that your option isn’t anything that requires you to accept my position on voting. Instead, I am telling you not to waste your vote. Before you think that is a contradiction, recognize that there is not one reasonable poll suggesting that McCain has a chance to win. A vote for him does not tell the Republican Party anything about why they lost or what they should do in the future. It is wasted plain and simple.

On the other hand, a vote for Bob Barr sends a consistent message: the party has lost its way, but the path is well marked for how to get back on it. If a principled person wants to have his or her voice heard in both political parties, they should vote for Bob Barr. A vote for Barr will be counted as a protest against the Bush/McCain’s (or even Obama’s) big spending policies.

I mentioned in the first half on this subject that both McCain (+$92B) and Obama (+$292B) are planning on massive expansions in spending. Bob Barr’s plan calls for a $200 Billion CUT in spending from present levels. His answers on individual rights and property rights are very clear – keep the government out. Tell your party what direction to go rather than stumble around for the next four year to end up with another patsy.

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A Missed Opportunity for the Republican Party

Part 1

In a few weeks, the election will be over and the Republican Party will ask itself where it went so wrong that caused them to be beaten so badly. McCain is a war hero, loads of experience and fairly clean for a politician. What is not to like? I can save some time and clear things up for them. McCain failed to clearly stand for anything.

Maybe We Should Subsidize Fertilizer
Maybe We Should Subsidize Fertilizer

Obama seems to be a good man overall. He is compelling, dynamic and strikes me as someone who believes in what he is saying. The problem is not whether he is a nice man though. At issue is whether he will do a good job with the country. His prescription for how to best fix things: follow one of largest expansions of government spending in the history of the country with an even larger one. If you think that is a good thing or that productive people have a responsibility to work for those who are not productive you can stop reading here.

When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Benjamin Franklin July 4th, 1776

In any interview with McCain and in any opportunity to spell out his plans, the answer to any question that comes up invariably involves spending more money. According to the National Taxpayers Union John McCain will increase annual federal spending by $92 billion and Barack Obama will add $293 billion. If the race is to be decided by whoever promises the most to the public, McCain is getting beaten badly. At the same time, it is very difficult to put on a serious face about being fiscally conservative when you are saying that you want to increase the budget deficit by 20% your first year in office.

The question is, if McCain is not trying to buy the vote with his fancy promises of fairytale government healthcare (still socialized healthcare, but not AS socialized as Obama’s doesn’t sound that nice), increased privatization of foolish real estate speculating or a myriad of other attempts to take from those who are productive and give to those who are not, then what IS he trying to appeal to voters on?

The answer to why McCain got slaughtered in this election is not that he is old, boring, choose a running mate that talks to her invisible friends or even that he is following an awful president from his own party. The answer is that he does not stand for ANYTHING. There may have been a time when John McCain spoke his peace and stood up for what he thought was right even if it was against the advice of his political handlers. That time is long gone.

McCain’s platform is now a mush of compromises intended to appeal to the most people possible. The result is a plan where any underlying guiding principles or philosophy that he may have once possessed has been obliterated. Trying to appeal to the “average” American who shoves fast food in their face by day and rots their brain at night with American Idol and the like on TV is not the answer to fixing what is wrong with this country. These people will continue to fester and decay and their vote is not what is going to chart a successful course for the country (although it may lead to government subsidized McDonalds in 2012 paid for with more debt and the sweat of the few remaining productive people of this country).

The Republicans have missed an opportunity to define themselves for future generations. Instead of being a party that stood for letting honest men earn and keep the product of their efforts, they grasp onto scaled down versions of the same social engineering experiments the Democrats are proposing. It is as if they are conceding things like “Capitalism doesn’t work”/ “The Free Market Failed” etc. but don’t want to address it as aggressively as the Democrats. Instead of defending the principles that built the country, the Republican’s have given tacit endorsement to having the role of the government be that of a Nanny.

Rather than debate whether the government should be growing at all, the only permissible conversation is how MUCH the government should grow. When you don’t stand for the free market (healthcare, banking etc.), when you don’t stand for personal responsibility (socialize losses from foolish real estate investments), when you don’t stand up for free speech (warrant less wiretaps) and you have no plans to reduce our foreign presence (permanent troops in over 130 countries), what DO you stand for?

Up next: What can we do about it BEFORE the election?