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Even for a rightie, a McCain vote still isn’t certain

SCV Voices

Posted: November 1, 2008 1:50 p.m.
Updated: January 3, 2009 5:00 a.m.
As did William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater, I reject rote, unthinking party loyalty. I reject the censure of my individualism, sagacity and liberty.

Thus, as I reach for Pandora’s hellish box, let certain right-ward partisans tell it, I cannot guarantee my vote for a McCain presidency. As right-ward as John McCain has flung himself in order to become our 44th president, I remain undecided.

Chief in hardening that resistance has been the unveiling and unraveling of Sarah Palin. I cannot find, of my own exertion, nor have I been clued in, as to any distinguishing or even relevant substantive factors that would persuade a candidate in arguably the most consequential presidential election since 1968 to unveil Sarah Palin as his running-mate; or said differently, as second-in-line to the most powerful office in the world.

Bare of any significant legislation of national relevance during her tenure as Alaska’s governor, John McCain has had to clothe Mrs. Palin in the hollow boast of energy expert, “America’s most popular governor,” maverick, and other non-essential, ethereal “qualifications.”

But with every interview and sound bite, that veneer of readiness unravels into a seemingly “mentally aloof” disappointment. Should I settle, for the sake of party loyalty and do-unto-them-before-they-do-unto-me politics, for the judgment that promises better things to come after such a critical collapse?

With that, my Democratic friends stand astonished at my reluctance to cross party lines and vote Obama. They seem to fail to understand that my conservatism subsists not upon men’s failures or triumphs but upon ideas and evidence.

And Barack Obama is, on various fronts, a dangerous contradiction of my conservatism.

Economically, his agenda is irrational and even repulsive at points. Fundamentally, the Obama economic policy is a magician’s greatest act: double foreign aid, fund an end to poverty (e.g. faith-based initiatives), fund energy independence, fund an auto industry resurgence, craft universal health care, reduce taxes for 95 percent of Americans, and so on, all out of the budget surplus that the United States does not have!
Without a vast budget surplus awaiting depletion, there is no humanly possible way for Barack Obama to make good on his endless economic assurances without unprecedented deficit spending that will spawn hyperinflation and a devalued dollar.

Amidst that fundamental irrationality lies the repulsive idea of a windfall profits tax as a method of closing the gap between Sen. Obama’s spending ambitions and our treasury’s lack.

Condescending to tell a business or industry in a free-market society that it can earn profits up to only so much before government assumes any excess smacks of unconstitutional federal manipulation and authority.

And understanding, as Goldwater said, that government is the representation of power in the hands of some to regulate the lives of many, I do not want to cede government that dominion.

Beyond economics and free-market principles, I balk at his lack of legislative and executive experience. At a time when complexity, nuance, and intricacy are intimately involved in presidential decisions, as nearly never before, experience breeds wisdom and a steady hand that would both be assets.

With McCain, the reckless pragmatism demonstrated in picking Sarah Palin and “mending fences” with the Rev. Falwell and now cleaving to the Christian Right reveals a single-minded drive for the presidency bordering on lust.

Summarily, John McCain’s conservatism seems too convenient, his judgment overtly political, and his temperament questionable.

For Barack Obama, his philosophy and ideas are the antithesis of my conservatism and run counter to constitutional intent.

If a political campaign is truly akin to a job interview, then fostering unity, restraint, a steady inner confidence and efficiency may well win the day.

Even as I write this column, I wonder if Buckley was more right than I initially realized.

Andre Hollings is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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