Monday, October 20, 2008

Partisan politics

Let me start this post by stating that I have been a registered Republican since I was 18 years old. And I have never voted for a non-Republican candidate in any major election, ever. Until now. Will voting for Barack Obama make me a pariah within my own party? Probably. But enough is enough. When you become blindly loyal to a party to the point where you can't even recognize its most obvious faults, that's when you become part of the problem.

Take for instance those Republicans who argue that George W. Bush has been a good president. Huh? What about the bullshit war he led us into under false pretenses resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent people? As I write this post the current American death toll in Iraq stands at 4,186. And what about the numerous failed domestic programs initiated by the Bush administration? No Child Left Behind, The Economic Growth & Tax Reconciliation Act, Social Security Reform, and The Patriot Act immediately come to mind. And what about the Bush administration's blatant disregard for the environment? In Texas Chainsaw Management (2007) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. argues that "The verdict on George W. Bush as the nation's environmental steward has already been written in stone. No president has mounted a more sustained and deliberate assault on the nation's environment. No president has acted with more solicitude toward polluting industries. Assaulting the environment across a broad front, the Bush administration has promoted and implemented more than 400 measures that eviscerate 30 years of environmental policy." And what about FEMA's botched respone to Hurricane Katrina under Bush’s reign? Talk about the mother of all cluster fxxks. And what about the near doubling of our national debt during Bush’s tenure as president? When Bush took office in 2000 the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion, it currently stands at over $10.3 trillion. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years, serving under six Presidents and who describes himself as "a lifelong Libertarian Republican", writes in his book The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, that Bush and the congressional Republicans "swapped principle for power". "Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences". And Mr. Greenspan is certainly not alone in his criticism of the Bush presidency. On April 15, 2008, the results of an informal poll of 109 historians (conducted by George Mason University's History News Network) found that 98.2% of the respondents considered Bush's Presidency a failure. Sixty-one percent of the historians said that Bush was the worst President in United States history. Many independent sources also give him this title. Still wanna argue that Bush was a good president?

Or how about those Republicans who argue that Sarah Palin was a good choice for Vice President? What? Aside from the fact that her voice sounds like a shovel scraping against a rock, she is without a doubt the most unqualified vice presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Clearly the GOP picked her as a political stunt to manufacture excitement and demonstrate that McCain too is a candidate representative of change. But once the excitement of her RNC speech waned and people took an objective look at Sarah Palin's career body of work, it became painstakingly clear that she was a monumentally bad choice for vice president. If you don't agree with me you're probably illiterate so it's pointless to continue trying to convince you with this post.

And how about those Republicans who agree that Bush was a bad president, but argue that McCain is completely different than Bush in his political agendas and beliefs. Really? McCain believes that the Iraq invasion was "just and noble" and says he's prepared to stay in Iraq for 100 years if the casualties are low enough. He also said he believes that setting a timetable for withdrawal would be a "white flag of surrender". Sounds eerily similar to when Bush said "We need to stay the course". McCain's economic policies are also largely a continuation of Bush's. He wants to make permanent the Bush tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich (I happen to be rich by government standards - and no thanks you can keep your thousand dollar rebate check). Even though some of the largest tax cuts in history have failed to stop this recession from coming, McCain seems to think that even more tax cuts will get us out of it. McCain also shares a similar view to Bush on healthcare. He believes that any efforts to allow everyone the opportunity to afford medical care would be "socializing" it, and that all we need in healthcare is more competition. This didn't work under the Bush administration and it won't work under McCain (there are currently 48 million Americans without health insurance). Other controversial issues that McCain and Bush agree on include: No on gay marriage, Yes on Don't Ask Don't Tell in the military, No on renewing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and Yes on overturning Roe v. Wade. Granted there are other issues that they don't agree on, but on the major stuff (the war, the economy, and healthcare) McCain and Bush are pretty much the same candidate. You can call yourself a Maverick all you want, but saying it doesn't make it so.

If you're still not convinced and insist on holding the party line consider the following: a) If McCain dies during his presidency (which is a real possibility considering his age and health history) Sarah Palin will be president and America will be the laughing stock of the free world, and b) The rest of the World currently hates America and wants to do us harm. If McCain is elected (which the World will essentially view as a re-election of Dubya) they will continue to hate us and continue to try and do us harm. On the other hand if Obama is elected it will send a message to the World that we are serious about change, and their hostility towards us will decline.

Contrary to what you're probably thinking I still consider myself a Republican, largely because of my conservative financial beliefs. And if Obama is elected President it will most certainly have a negative impact on my personal financial situation. That being said sometimes you have to put the greater good in front of your own personal interests. When I go to the polls on November 4, I will go not to vote for a party, or even for a candidate, but for the person I believe gives America the best chance to be great again.

In closing I really don't care if you disagree with everything I've just said above. When you go to the polls on November 4 (and I hope you do), vote for whoever you want. Just please be responsible, get informed, and know who and what you're voting for.

1 comment:

Liquid Innovations said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your thoughts on being informed. Walking lock-step with your party is really no good for anyone.

I can see why you have had a falling out with the Republican party. The part that is less clear is how that leads you to the alternative of Obama. The most liberal in voting of all senators. Clearly socialistic in his proposals for our country. Probably the most inexperienced of any presidential candidate we have had with no executive level experience whatsoever.

Going with Obama, you will have been a part of selecting the winner to be sure, but at what cost? Choosing against the republican party is fine, but there are more than two parties for whom you can cast your vote. None of the alternatives will win, but it is a matter of principle. When we are looking down the barrel of a gun called socialism I don't think change just for the sake of change will be a good thing for you personally or the greater good. History makes that clear. It's like the welfare system just on a larger scale meaning even bigger government.

Anyway, just thought I would add my two cents. I enjoy your blog. Funny how politically heavy it has gotten for someone who had no intention for it to be that way.

Marc Garrett