One Conservative’s Reasons to Vote For John McCain

A casual reader here will not be surprised to learn that “Frank’s Case Book” is supporting Senator John McCain for President. The principle applied here is to endorse the most Conservative candidate with a reasonable chance of winning. John McCain is not a Conservative champion in the Republican Party. He is about the least Conservative person that could secure the nomination of the Republican Party, and he manged to do that in a crowded field where Conservatives split their vote.  Nonetheless, the fact that he is far to the Right of Senator Barack Obama is a more an indication of how far Left Obama is than how Conservative McCain is.

There are some  ideologically pure Conservatives who suggest that perhaps it would be better to loose this election cycle and work for the nomination of a more Conservative nominee next time. If McCain wins and is successful enough to earn a second term, the worry is that the Republican Party would be shifted to the Left (probably ending up in the Center-Right) of the political spectrum. Such a strategy is too clever by half. A Ronald Reagan presidency is a once-in-a-lifetime stroke of good fortune. In a democracy is almost always necessary to compromise. We do not wish to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Economies have cycles, and in four years it is very likely, no matter who wins the election, that the economy will look better than it does now. At the very least it will not be as volatile and stress-inducing as the current situation. The housing market and stock markets will recover providing a sense of wealth.  This will almost insure a second term for the 2008 presidential winner. A President Obama would be in an even better position four years from now than McCain, given that the main stream press wants him to succeed and will focus on any positive results. President Clinton won re-election in 1996 with an unemployment rate about what it is today but with an optimism that carried him to a second term. Optimistic prospects are more important than absolute results.

To give you an idea about the role of the media in feelings on economic well-being we can refer to the misery index (the inflation rate plus the unemployment rate). The value during the Bush Administration if half that of the misery rate during the Carter years and very close to the the rate during the Clinton years. Yet consumer confidence is at an historical low.

If one believes in moving the economy toward a Socialist/European model, with the government controlling more and more of our lives, then by all means vote for Barack Obama. He is your man, with a record that is one of the most if not the most Liberal in the Senate.

However, I suspect that the country is truly Center-Right. Senator Obama speaks about heartland values and focuses on his inspiring biography. However, his true positions are sufficiently opaque or simply unexamined by the press that people can project on to him whatever qualities they are seeking.

What else but such a projection and willing blindness can explain the endorsement of Obama by General Colin Powell. Powell supported a George W. Bush who is further Right than John McCain. Unless Colin Powell was never really the moderate or Conservative-moderate we supposed, his Obama endorsement can only be explained by an attachment to undeniably hopeful the countenance of Obama, not his policy positions. Although people should be able to like and admire a president, it ought to be more fundamentally about principle than about personality. Unless you believe that McCain is unqualified to be president, anyone to the right-of-center voter should support for him. Powell must be basing his decision on something other than policy positions if he is endorsing someone as far to the Left as Obama.

The following are least eight reasons Conservatives (and perhaps others) should support McCain over Obama:

  1. McCain is moderately Conservative, while Obama is very Liberal.
  2. The next president would like appoint two more Supreme Court justices who would continue the Liberal jurisprudence of undemocratically creating laws to grant Liberals victories they could not win legislatively. For example, if Senator Kerry had won in 2004, Liberal justices would have been appointed in lieu of John Roberts and Sam Alito. The Second Amendment would have been so narrowly interpreted that gun ownership would not have been protected. Recall that the Second Amendment right to gun ownership was affirmed with only a 5-4 margin.
  3. Clinton was successful because he skillfully triangulated between Liberals and Conservatives in Congress. Obama might do this, but he has shown no propensity to do so, voting almost in lock step the House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Harry Reid. Unlike, McCain, Obama has never paid a political price for standing up to his party so it is unjustifiable leap of faith to believe that he will in the future. Believing that Obama will prove to rule moderately is the triumph of hope over evidence.
  4. The country is about to collide against the fiscal challenges of the retiring baby-boom generation. With Obama’s medical insurance approach, it is likely that the entitlement burden will be increased rather than decreased over the next four years. The only solution is high rates of economic growth. If Obama moves us more toward a European economic model, we will likely experience their significantly slower rates of growth.
  5. Although Obama has re-iterated his support for Israel, acquaintances and allies have suggested a strong tilt away from Israel. Has Obama ever stood up against his Party to demonstrate a commitment to Israel? He does not seem to surround himself with those sympathetic to Israel and the company we keep is one indication of who we are. Without a long enough political record, we must unfortunately relay on such indirect proxy information to try to understand Obama. Such information, such as it is, is not encouraging with regards to Israel.
  6. We have no history on which to make a certain assessment of  Obama’s true convictions on free trade. During the Democratic primaries Obama was competing with Senator Hillary Clinton on who could be the most populist in that regard. He even suggested a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Erecting trade barriers is one of the policies that converted a market downturn in 1929 to the Great Depression — an historical example we ought to avoid. Are we to believe what Obama told us, or the behind the scenes assurances to Canada and Mexico undermining Obama’s campaign statements. This issue is one more example of how we possess no executive and little legislative history with which to make an informed judgment about Obama’s beliefs and priorities as opposed to his campaign rhetoric.
  7. Although Obama certain does not have any affection for the neglect of children who survive abortions, he has shown a troubling willingness, probably born of political opportunism, to accommodate pro-choice (in this case fairly labeled pro-abortion) groups by voting against requirements to provide appropriate medical treatment for live children of ineffective abortions. It was not a “profile in courage” moment for Barack Obama. The most charitable interpretation is that he bent his knee at the alter of political expediency.
  8.  Much has been made of Barack Obama’s “spread the wealth” comment. In an apparent moment of revelatory honesty, Obama revealed an ideology of wealth redistribution according to a Liberal idea of justice. If his response to the query by “Joe the Plumber” had been that as a society we have a responsibility to provide for people who do not have the capacity to care for themselves, Obama would have expressed a thought consistent with American generosity. Instead, the “spread the wealth” comment suggested an intrusive government distributing what people have earned at its own discretion. Surely, there was little deference to or even respect for private property rights.

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