Much as Barack Obama claims to have fretted over his (in reality non-influential) decision to oppose the Iraq war at the Saddleback forum last week, I too am now plumbing my conscience to discover who I might vote for in November. If no answer in that category is forthcoming, maybe at least I’ll find out what’s clogging the drain.
Our votes don’t count, not that much, but it’s fun to feel like you’re participating in something though, especially when you’re someone like me (who doesn’t follow sports).
I’m essentially a social liberal with certain fiscally libertarian inclinations. Regarding the issues I care about, Obama and McCain are really only offering differences to each other in degrees. Who you vote for is really only a question of how far in the same direction do you want to go.
In spite of the branding given to him by his opponents, Barack Obama is, in fact (as Joe Biden says), an essentially pragmatic politician. Whether or not he used William Ayers’s dreadlocks to climb to power in Chicago is an entirely different question. Obama has expressed a willingness to compromise on drilling, and his views on Iraq essentially boiled down to the same 'conditions on the ground' position McCain was offering, just liberaled up a little bit to appeal to his base. A key component to Obama's platform, if you look carefully enough, is consensus building. Obama’s so called ‘radical associations’ are in reality only a string of practical alliances he used to climb his way through Illinois politics and into the national spotlight.
Obama’s enthusiastic followers can be rationalized: young kids excited about politics in the same way they were excited about Jack Kerouac the year before, or Indie rock the year before that. They can be excused. What the nomination of Biden tells me--other than the obvious statement that Obama needed to put a little experiential ummph in his ticket--Is that he is not a man that is beyond reproach, because there’s no one that’s beyond the reproach of Joe Biden.
Biden’s partition plan for Iraq was one of the only thoughtful Democratic solutions that was offered. He has all kinds of experience in foreign relations (more than McCain), and is equal to McCain in the realm of bipartisanship. He supported bans on partial birth abortion (for the social conservatives), and regretably fell in line behind the war powers act (for those who advocate a stronger executive branch).
These examples are given to illustrate his ability to consider both sides of an issue mind you, not to necessarily state that he ends up on the right side of it.
More important than his ability to think multidimensionally is the fact that he seems to be a genuine straight-shooter; one who will say what he believes in spite of the apparent consequences.
This election isn’t about stark differences, as much as the candidates would like you to believe. If that was the case, we’d be looking at a Ron Paul versus David McReynolds election, but we aren’t. I'm not electing a person who will be lighting a radical new course for our country. I'm electing someone who will keep the thing running mostly as is, with the possibility of cup holders.
I don’t know which way I’ll go in November. It may end up depending on what I had for dinner the night before. Whatever I decide, Biden will be a fun addition to the festivities: whoever McCain picks better be a scrapper.
John McCain has picked Sarah Palin as a running mate. I think this was a good, appealing choice that boosts his reform credentials and adds some charm to the ticket. Of course, conservatives love Sarah Palin so far, so that's another plus for McCain.
Palin won the Alaskan governorship in '06, and has an approval rating around 80%. Even democrats like her. She's challenged corruption in her own party, and won a p.r. battle against oil companies located in Alaska.
It's also awesome that everyone was so sure it was going to be Romney or Pawlenty, with some outside guesses of Hutchinson or Lieberman. McCain did a good job pulling one over on everyone (which of course is a needed trait in presidential politics).
I think both Obama and McCain have made good choices.