Well it is time for me to give my thoughts on the Presidential Race. As you know, I have been an avid supporter of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. As you might also know, a couple of days ago Ron Paul gave a speech arguing that the public should not support either Republican John McCain nor Democrat Barack Obama. He is right (well…sort of). Conservatives, like myself, have been, at best, lukewarm about the candidacy of Senator McCain. Few, if any of us honestly believe that he is a conservative. Instead he embraces many big government solutions, which are unacceptable philosophically or constitutionally. When endorsing John McCain RPV Chairman Jeff Frederick called him a maverick. Well, guess what, Mr. Chairman? I don’t want a maverick, I don’t want a liberal, and I don’t want a moderate! I want a constitutional conservative. A number of local conservatives have recently thrown their support to McCain as a result of his choice for vice-president, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. For example, at our local city/county GOP gathering, the county chairman stated that although he knew that many of us did not care for McCain, we should vote for him in 2008 so that we can vote for Palin in 2012 or 2016. It is a sad reflection that more people are excited about Palin than McCain. I have never voted for a presidential candidate based solely upon his vice presidential choice. From what I’ve learned thus far, although I think Palin would be an acceptable conservative, John McCain is not. Also, McCain is running for president, Palin is not. The vice presidency is worth very little. Therefore, as a principled conservative, I must reject the McCain/Palin ticket. I highly recommend listening to Jack Hunter’s commentary on the subject of McCain/Palin found here.
But Joshua, you might say, John McCain is a conservative. He is solidly pro-life and is against pork barrel spending. Although both are conservative stances, those viewpoints alone do not make him a conservative. Need proof? Consider his position on illegal immigration and his support for amnesty. How about his support for big government solutions in “solving” global warming? Then there is the whole McCain/Feingold issue. Do you honestly believe that this bill does not violate the 1st Amendment? Remember that McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts and supports the death tax. He also advocates a very interventionist foreign policy. It amazes me greatly that so many so called conservatives derided Bill Clinton’s efforts to be the world policeman and nation builder but so readily embraced the exact same policies under our current Republican administration. You should expect more war and nation building under a McCain presidency. Oh goody! For these reasons and others, one can see that McCain does have conservative tendencies, but is far from a conservative.
When it comes to comparing John McCain to Obama, some conservatives argue that we should vote for John McCain because he is the lesser of two evils. If you buy this line, you must accept the fatal flaw in this line of thinking, which is that voting for McCain is still evil, just not as much. I’ll choose no evil, thank you very much. Others say that we should vote for Obama in order to teach the GOP the lesson that they cannot nominate non-conservatives and hope to win. Although I don’t want liberal Republicans, I cannot support liberal Democrats either. Liberal under either party is still liberal. Another option is to stay home and not vote, but I believe that to not vote is a failure of one’s civic duty. What’s a conservative to do?
As for myself, I plan to vote for a third party candidate. Naysayers will claim that voting third party is throwing your vote away, but it is far better to support a cause with which you agree even though it will almost certainly lose than to support a winning cause you despise. No doubt some fellow Republicans will brand me a traitor, but principles are far more important than party. After all, without principles what is the point of the party? My line of thinking is far closer to the stated goals of the Republican Party than Senator McCain’s. Besides, with two prior exceptions, I have always voted Republican. These two variations occurred when Republican candidates betrayed or forgot about their conservative constituents, the 2002 Senate Race (Warner) and the 2004 Presidential race (Bush). In both cases I did not so much vote for another candidate, but rather against the Republican one. I should mention that I did not vote for either of the two Democrats (Warner or Kerry), as I felt they were not worthy of my vote. Maybe one day I’ll find a conservative Democrat running against a liberal Republican. Like they have in some states, if they offered a “none of the above” option, it would get my support.
If you saw the interview yesterday, Ron Paul mentioned that Americans should vote for a candidate who supports four key principles. These principles are ending interventionism and militarism in foreign policy, restoring privacy in part through getting rid of the Patriot Act, eliminating the national debt, and abolishing the Federal Reserve. Therefore, he could realistically encourage voters to vote for Bob Barr (Libertarian), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution), Cynthia McKinney (Green), or Ralph Nader (Independent). Ron Paul is only partially right here. Although they all apparently endorse these principles, I could not in good conscious support either McKinney or Nader. Until and unless these two embrace the ideals of the 10th Amendment and a limited federal government, they are as unacceptable as McCain and Obama. Instead, they support proposals like reparations and national health insurance. Therefore, the true choice for conservatives is between Barr and Baldwin.
I wish that I could support the Republican ticket this year, I really do. To stand in opposition puts me at odds with a number of friends and associates. You see those McCain signs that say “country first”, but it misses the greater issue. Without putting principles first, neither country nor party holds nearly the same worth. I am a conservative first and also a Republican as long as they hold the same values that I cherish. Let us hope that the party nominates a solid conservative in 2012. When they do, I’ll be the first to sing the praises. Until that day, we must not allow ourselves to be taken for granted any longer.