Monday, January 21, 2008

Why I Should Vote For McCain

For about a month and a half now, I have been considering voting for McCain. Saying that sounds so completely foreign to me, that I have spent this time trying to both find reasons not to vote for McCain and reasons to vote for one of the other candidates. CRChair has both asked why he should vote for Huckabee and stated why he won't be voting for McCain. Here is my logic for why I should vote for McCain.

First, let's start with the field of candidates:

Rudy Giuliani - His decidedly pro-abortion stance and liberal views has knocked him out as a candidate in my mind.

Mitt Romney - I just don't trust him. He reminds me too much of Kerry. He'd probably do a great job if he would pick a side and stick to his guns, but I can't vote for him without knowing who he is.

Ron Paul - He has many online supporters and I'll probably be blasted for this, but he's crazy. When I hear his ideas, I think, "That would have been great information to have when we were making the wrong decision." Getting us back to the gold standard just won't work without a complete upheaval and revaluing of things. Personally, I don't want my house value to drop just so we can get back on a gold standard.

Alan Keyes - With less visibility than Duncan Hunter or Tom Tancredo, Keyes may be the only person who seriously thinks he's running... and even he may not think that. Besides, he's already lost to Obama once. Going up against Clinton would be even worse.

Fred Thompson - I like Fred Thompson. He's one of my top three picks. Unfortunately, he's rumored to be leaving the race. Even if he doesn't, he's not running like he wants to be president. Clinton would chew him up in the general election. I'd like to see him make a strong run or even be the VP on the ticket, but I don't see it as a winning ticket.

Mike Huckabee - He's a second of my top three picks. He's got support, especially among religious conservatives. Unfortunately, while he's socially conservative, he's fiscally liberal. Huckabee would be like having four or eight more years of GWB, but with less foreign policy experience than GWB currently has. I feel like I voted for the social conservative and got duped the first time GWB ran, so I'm hesitant to vote for the same thing again. I do like the idea of not having an income tax, but a national sales tax promotes saving, not spending. I don't know if our economy could handle less spending.

John McCain - That leaves John McCain. I hate to vote for someone because they're the last one left. After all, he could just be the last one I looked at and be worse than the other candidates.

First, I'll answer Matt's points.

Age: Yes, McCain is the oldest candidate, but then, so was Reagan when he ran. People are living longer and McCain will be younger than when Reagan left office. That being said, age isn't really that important. Health is. If McCain is healthy enough to be president for one term, then age shouldn't be a factor. After all, President Harrison died of pneumonia shortly after taking office. None of us are guaranteed life, that is why we have measures set up to take over the office if the president should fall sick or die.

Immigration: Yes, McCain has been soft on immigration, but he also realizes that we need to fix the problem of illegal immigration by securing our borders before we start kicking people out. Otherwise, we'll just have to kick them out again and again.

Fiscal Responsibility: This is actually one of the reasons I am voting for McCain. He is against pork spending and realizes that we need to be good stewards of our money. Yes, he did vote against the tax cuts, but that was because we needed to cut spending. Cutting spending means that someone is upset about not getting as much federal money. Tax cuts resonate well with constituents. McCain wanted to make sure that spending was cut rather than furthering the national debt and knew that without a tax cut, spending wouldn't be cut.

Pro-Life: Yet another reason that I am voting for McCain. The National Right To Life PAC has up a PDF with the candidates views here, but the do not appear to fully quote McCain. While McCain is OK with stem cell research on existing lines and in cases of in-vitro fertilization, he is not OK with creating new stem-cell lines. Would I like him to be against all stem cell research? Yes. Personally, I haven't seen evidence of neonatal stem cell research taking off. The advances seem to be in adult stem cell research. That being said, McCain does make the point "I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It's a tough issue. I support federal funding." I have an easier time agreeing with babies that will be discarded. I, admittedly, have a hard time agreeing with purposefully destroying babies that are in a frozen state. I'd much rather see them used for couples that desperately want to have a baby, can't, but would be willing to carry another's baby from their in-vitro attempt. You can see McCain's voting record and his National Right To Life report card.

McCain-Feingold: I agree with McCain that political votes should not be bought. Having contribution limits is one way to do this. The other part of the bill, the part that limits free speech is the bigger issue in my mind. This part should be overturned by the courts.

The McCain Surprise: McCain is a maverick, but he's a maverick that sticks to his guns. If we realize what it is we're voting for, I don't think there will be too many surprises. He also has a lifetime conservative rating of 83% from The American Conservative Union. In comparison, Fred Thompson has an 86% rating.

Is McCain a perfect candidate? Absolutely not. As I stated above, McCain-Feingold, while good intentioned, should not have passed as it restricts free speech. I'd like to see McCain not only be anti-abortion, but also be anti-stem cell research. I don't agree with him on his views on the environment.

I do think that he will vote conservatively when it comes to abortion and I do think he will help rein in the federal budget, which will in turn help cut taxes and bring about a turn in the economy. I also think he can win. He won conservative South Carolina. Rasmussen Reports gives him an over 50% chance of becoming the Republican nominee. At the end of December, they had him beating Clinton 49% to 43% (Google cache).

What worries me about McCain? First and foremost, in the past McCain has not been known as being the friend of the conservative. Why am I leaning towards McCain? What am I missing? Second, I fear that he will choose Joseph Lieberman as his running mate. Lieberman is more liberal than McCain which would trouble me. Hopefully McCain will choose a more conservative running mate who has the heart of the evangelical voters... perhaps a McCain-Huckabee ticket? This would bring in the evangelical voters while giving Huckabee the foreign policy experience he would need to make a run for president following McCain.

Will I vote for McCain? As far as I can tell, I think I should. He appears to fit my views more than the other candidates and he has a chance to win. That being said, why should I vote for your candidate instead?

28 comments:

Nomad said...

Honestly, I don't trust McCain. He is an honorable man, so I do not think he'd lie to us. But I do think he'd be willing to do a dramatic turn-around on a major issue in order to gain votes elsewhere. For instance, announcing that he had agreed to veto any attempt at a ConstitutionalAmmendmenton abortion in order to get the alliance of Ted Kennedy on a new Campaign Finance Reform bill.

I don't feel that I really know what his bedrock, uncompromising principles are. I do feel that he knows them, but that he wouldn't necessarily tell us for fear of showing too much of hi hand.

Ward said...

Nomad, how does that compare with the rest of the field though? That is exactly how I feel about Romney and Rudy too. Even more so with Romney...He just strikes me as Kerry with a semi-conservative label every time I see him.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I don't get why you all don't trust Romney. He's the only one who has been consistent on issues (every point you said you liked about McCain is an issue Romney has a similar stance on, and Romney didn't do a complete flip-flop on Immigration and tax cuts! Why is Romney the flip flopper?! Oh, I forgot, abortion... in my estimation, giving a reason, saying you believed in abortion, but then changed your mind is much better than denying that you changed your mind, which McCain did).

Check Romney out. Your reason against him is "he's to slick" and "I don't know enough about him". So go find out!

"Nick" said...

Personally I like Romney. I don't see the Kerry resemblance (Kerry was incompenent and looked it) and I don't think Romney is unprincipled at all.

Romney has only changed his mind on one issue; abortion. And he points to a "pivot point" where he changed. McCain and Huckabee have changed drastically on immigration, but don't admit it is a change.

Romney is a decent man, with universally high marks for being courteous to all. People who work for him say he is driven by a sense of duty, not political ambition (for what it's worth. It strikes me as true, seeing how he argues, he stays measured). He has principles and sticks to them (you mentioned you would like him to stick to a position, he definitely has).

Romney is also easily the most qualified, having run large businesses (a big plus now), turned the olympics around in Utah, and governed Massachusetts, where he turned the state around by cutting taxes and stimulating the economy. He also found a more or less conservative way to make health care more affordable without adding spending or taxes.

So... at this point I support him. I could vote for most of the candidates in a general election, but I don't think I could vote in a primary or support McCain or Huckabee. McCain has to many problems (you pointed most of them out... mostly issues that Romney has a position you would like interestingly). Huckabee seems to "baptist preacher" and is way to populist and even liberal for my tastes.

Nomad said...

Ward, I honestly don't see Rudy as a flip-flopper or untrustworthy at all. He has been consistent in pretty much all the dealings I saw as Mayor of New York. His failings were generally him being TOO inflexible and loyal (i.e. Bernie Kerick). And I think Fred Thompson (yes, I know, he's leaving the race) has been consistent in every area I have been able to ferret out.

Anonymous, Romney has the problem of being the one who is most clearly a natural and career politician. He is slick and polished, and more than anyone else appears ready to change his views on a dime to further his ambitions. You may be right that in reality his views on most things have been constant. But let's be honest, the abortion flip-flop is a big one (though Reagan and Bush 1 both went thru the same kind of "conversion" to be fair) and there have been other changes in his approach to immigration, for example.

I am increasingly sad that the only guy running who everyone can respect and agree with intellectually, Thompson, appears to be on his last legs. I still wonder if we are not going to see a brokered or compromise convention with a surprise nominee. It seems like the best hope to hold together the GOP coalition.

CRCHAIR said...

When thinking about John McCain I ask you to consider two questions. 1. Who will McCain try to impress while in office? 2. What kind of judges will he appoint? We all know that McCain will try to impress moderates and liberals if he is the President. Heck, that is who he has been trying to appeal to for the last 10 years. For better or for worse, he doesn’t seek the approval of conservatives. As to judges, We assume he will select judges like Alito and Roberts, but let us not forget that those two judges are no fans of McCain-Feingold and McCain is unlikely to nominate judges who would consider voting against his main legislative legacy. So how can we be sure he will nominate judges that we would be fond of?
I really think that those of you who are disillusioned with President Bush because of his turning his back on traditional conservatives on certain issues (immigration, fiscal responsibility, etc.) are turning to the wrong man in John McCain. With McCain, you do get what you see, but that isn’t always a good thing.

quizwedge said...

Good discussion. I honestly don't see a Pro-Life constitutional amendment being passed in this next presidency no matter who is elected. I think many of the candidates have taken a much easier step in calling for a repeal of Roe v. Wade. As for who would McCain try to impress? Part of me thinks it'll just be himself. I think he'll work well with Democrats to get things done. I won't always like what he chooses (e.g. not drilling in ANWAR), but his choices are typically well reasoned (e.g. not voting for the tax cuts because he saw that we had to cut spending and taxes).

Nomad said...

The Abortion Amendment was merely intended as a generic example. Pick your own favorite Conservative cause. I could easily see John McCain vetoing a bill on same-sex marriage in order to have Democrats vote yes on the McCain Federal Funding of Elections Act of 2010. There is lots of room for gamesmanship bypassing any GOP votes in Congress.

Ward said...

Nomad,

I wasn't suggesting that Rudy was a flip-flopper, but instead that we don't really know what we would get with him. He's had one position of prominence, Mayor. That is not, in my mind, nearly enough to tell me how he would react on a larger level. At least a Senator or Governor has some history to judge him or her based off of on a larger scale. Simply put, I have no idea how Rudy will govern anything larger than a city. His programs, principles, etc are all based on the local level, and not the national.

Ward said...

Anon,

I understand what you're saying, but Romney's issues go much deeper for me. The primary one being that he is a Mormon. While there is much being made of how close to Christianity Mormonism is, it is nothing like Christianity in it's doctrine. Regardless of what some people might say about us electing a political leader and not a spiritual one, I wonder how many of those same people would so easily vote for a Harre Chrishna? Their doctrines and views are just as far removed from Orthodox Christianity as Mormonism is.

I can't support a candidate who believes things like the idea that there is celestial marriage and procreation of new worlds after this life or that Satan is to be lauded for opening our eyes to the truth. And that is just touching the very tip of the downright un-Christian doctrines that Mormons teach.

"Nick" said...

Ward,

I understand where you are coming from, but I think you are wrong.

Religion shouldn't be the thing you judge a president by. Yes, if he were say, Muslim, you might have an issue (I would too) but that is because the religion teaches that the civil sphere is to be under the authority of the spiritual leaders (like in Iran).

Mormonism is not like that, it is like orthodox Trinitarian Christianity in that it believes in freedom of religion and thought. It is also very similar to orthodox Christianity in it's views on morality. It believes that enforcing morality in government is limited to things that harm the social body (murder, theft etc.) and that things that harm the individual and the soul are left to the church or family.

I don't care how the various doctrines of Mormons or Baptists or Presbyterians or even Hare Krishna compare. It is how those doctrines relate to the civil government that matters, and in that Mormonism is not really any different than orthodox Trinitarian Christianity.

I would also point out that it isn't even what the religion says, but what the candidate says about how he practices his religion. Romney has made it very clear that he views the civil government to be separate from the spiritual (read his speech, it is really quite good) and that he believes in freedom of thought and expression.

From what he has said, compared to what Huckabee has said, I trust Romney to keep the government out of the church more than Huckabee, and I am of Huckabee's religion!

CRCHAIR said...

Being the mayor of New York City is not like being the Mayor of Wilmington, DE. It is has a larger budget than most countries. Rudy did transform New York to be a safer and more conservative morally. He did away with the XRated Shows in buildings in Times Square and other places in New York City.

I'm not sure people who didn't live in the New York City Metropolitan Area can understand what Rudy brings to the table. If he wasn't Pro-Choice he would be far and away the leader in the Republican race, and I would definitely vote for him under those circumstances.

CRCHAIR said...

One other thought on electability. I don't think any of us know right now who has the best chances of winning in a general election. RIght now it looks like John McCain. A month ago the polls said Mike Huckabee. 6 months ago the polls said Rudy Guliani. I think any Republican nominee can win. The question is, who do you want to win?

Ward said...

Nick,

I simply believe that you are flat-out wrong. Mormonism is as different from Orthodox Christianity as Islam is in some very important ways. I would actually be more inclined to vote for a moderate Muslim than I would be a devout Mormon.

Crchair,

I get that Rudy led a big city. That's still very different from having to work with the other party in ways that other politicians have to. I just don't see where being a mayor has given us the chance to see how he will actually govern. Sure, he did a good job with NY city. That still tells me nothing about how he would be as President.

shadowmom1 said...

George W Bush tried to work with the Dems, but they took his advances and gave nothing back.

CRCHAIR said...

Ward- I disagree with you on the Mormon issue, I think your opinion on it is the same thing many evangelicals would say about Catholics. (and did when John Kennedy ran for President.) They consider Catholicismm to have become a perversion of Christianity the same way Mormonism is.

I could and may vote for Romney. He seems to be a good moral man.

Ward said...

No, with all due respect, my view of Mormonism is nothing like what Evangelicals wrongly believe about Catholics. Catholic doctrine can, for the most part, be backed up by Scripture. What cannot be can be backed up by the text that we accept, can be by the Apocrypha, which was considered canon for the entire church for 1600 years. Protestants removed it from canon due to some of the corruption that came as a result of it, but it is not heretical at all.

Mormon doctrine comes largely from the Book of Mormon which has (Before it's been changed several times to cover over the questionable issues) advocated the idea that blacks are sub-human, that Mormons will rise from the Apocalypse as the new world leaders, that Christ did not really die on the cross, that Satan and Christ were brothers and that Satan was actually the really 'good' one, etc.

Evangelicals who argue that Catholicism is not Christian do so out of ignorance. I argue, as every Orthodox Christian scholar does, that Mormonism is a cult with little to do with true Christianity. And that is not based on opinion but is based on the facts.

CRCHAIR said...

Two things. 1. I did not phrase my response as well as I should have. I do not think Mormonism is another form of Christianity to be equal in merit to Catholicism. Mormonism should be considered heretical to most of "Orthodox Christianity". I apologize for how my post sounded.

2. I think we evangelical Christians should be careful when we say what Mormons believe. One of Ward's points "They believe Jesus and Satan are brothers." was floated by Mike Huckabee and flatly denied by Mitt Romney and Mormon religious leaders. We need to be very careful as there is a lot of misinformation out there right now being put out by people with political and not religious motivations.

Ward said...

But just becuase it's been denied by Romney doesn't make it fact. The fact that it is an easy to discover bit of their theology though, does make it fact. It was floated by Huckabee becuase it's the truth.

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=4a10ef960417b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

The second question expressly states that they are, in Mormon theology, brothes. That site is hardly an anti-mormon site either, lol. But even that is a cleaned up version from what you would have read 15 years ago. How about this:

"First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavesn, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret...I am gong to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined that God was God from all eternity...God himself; the father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did...You have to learn how to be Gods yourself." Those are the words of Joseph Smith from Times and Seasons.

I could go on and on but ultimately, it's up to each of us to read up. Personally, I take the word of scholars and my professors over Mitt, but that's just me. To me, Mormonism is an evil cult, quite possibly one of the worst that exists specifically becuase it does its best to fool its own adherents as much as anyone else.

In the end, as a Christian voter, I cannot support Romney. Others can, and that is their choice. But I will not have anyone argue that he is any closer to Christianity than any other religion out there.

Nomad said...

So, Ward, are you a McCain or a Huckabee supporter at this point, then?

CRCHAIR said...

Ward. Thanks for the research on this subject. I appreciate your work.

I'm not sure if you've swayed me against voting for a Mormon, but you've shown more interest finding out what Mormons truly believe than anyone in the media who is bringing up Romney's Mormonism as a reason not to vote for him.

Ward said...

Nomad,

I'm definitely not a McCain supporter. He has been far too willing to badmouth his own "people" for a media nod. Maybe, as others have suggested, he really is just bitter about what happened in 2000. But I also think that much of the anti-McCain feelings among conservatives has just gotten silly so I'm playing Devil's Advocate a little to balance things.

Huckabee has a lot of pluses for me. However, his economic agenda is the same as Bush's. And that bothers me. Before Bush, I would have been a definite supporter of Huckabee. After Bush, I'm stuck thinking he might be a good candidate but I worry about where we will be concerning the size of government after a Huckabee presidency. This is especially true concerning the use of the military to nation build.

Really, even though I have my doubts about what he might do as President, Rudy is still a possibility for me. He has said that he will appoint strict constitutionalist judges and you can't really ask for more than that. I just have my doubts about how far I trust him, especially with some of his past scandals.

Ward said...

crchair,

No problem. Three classes on cults have helped me get well acquainted with the various beliefs of each.

And again, I wouldn't say that you CAN'T vote for Romney because of his faith. I just believe it's important that we understand that there are considerable differences between Mormons and Christians and those differences will inform some areas of a Presidency. I think that the 'big' things for conservatives would be well served by Romney. But I think many of the 'smaller' issues that get less press would end up alienating Christian Conservatives, but probably not the rest of the party that much.

But make no mistake, if Romney is the Republican candidate, there is still a good chance that I would vote for him. Even with his Mormonism, he's still so much better than Hillary or Edwards. Obama is the only one who could remotely hope to get my vote over Romney, and even that is questionable right now. So I might rail against him, but that's only within the confines of the conservative movement

quizwedge said...

Ward and Nomad... both of you have come out against McCain and Romney. Assuming that Nomad is right and that it will be a battle between Romney and McCain, which is the more tolerable candidate for the Republican primary in your eyes?

CRCHAIR said...

I have pretty much narrowed it down to Mitt or Rudy. I had said that I couldn't vote for a Pro-Choice candidate in the primary, but with the way this race has gone things have changed. There is something about both McCain and Huckabee that I don't want to vote for them as President.

quizwedge said...

McCain's position on judges: http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Multimedia/Player.aspx?GUID=B4E7E5A4-F7F1-4DAA-971D-F6F53A2B2B21

Looks like he's for strict constitutionalists. Mentions Roberts and Alito by name.

Nomad said...

At the moment, in CT, I will probably vote in the primary for a write-in candidate. Probably Fred Thompson, but maybe not. But this is mostly because my vote will have NO impact on outcome due to the demographic makeup of the state.

If I had to choose between Romney and McCain, I would lean towards Romney. But not hard. If Huckabee were still in the race, he'd probably get my vote for his clear Pro-Life stance.

Ward said...

Wedge,

For as much as I've just railed against Romney, I think he is probably still the better candidate over McCain.

As a side note, I think this is the most comments we've ever had here at the blog =)