In the months preceding this presidential election, I have one quite a bit of thinking aloud here concerning my choice. For the last two presidential cycles, I have voted for the Libertarian Party's candidate. Last year about this time, I was still considering that option. Last week, I explained why I cannot vote for Bush, Kerry, or the Libertarian candidate, Badnarik.
So that left me with the prospect of a write-in vote. Libertarians (case insensitive) are out, because they almost uniformly advocate a quasi-isolationist foreign policy (the LP's position statement doesn't even mention national security) which I cannot support. I honestly haven't even considered any Democrats, because I can't think of one that comes anywhere close to my policy views. As for Republicans, I knew they would be few and far between.
Three months ago I had a conversation with my son's godfather. We toyed with the idea of who might replace Bush on the GOP ticket if he had to drop out for some reason. One of two possibilities we came up with was John McCain. Now I realize that he is someone I could support with a positive vote, rather than voting against some other candidate.
Why McCain? First off, he's a reliably small-government conservative. He fights corporate welfare and pork-barrel spending as a matter of principle, and generally believes in market-based solutions. In one instance, he combined these two ideals with his proposal to fund a national school choice initiative using funds saved by cutting gas, oil, sugar, and ethanol subsidies.
McCain also is beyond reproach on the one issue at the top of America's issue list: national security. No one could question his commitment to his country or his qualifications to be our commander in chief. If our enemies think Bush is tough, imagine what they would think of a President McCain.
Finally in the plus column, McCain is a leader who would have broad-based support among the electorate, a very useful quality in a President if he is to truly make a difference. Like California's new governor, he could use that support to change the way things are done in Washington.
McCain is not perfect. He's praised the President for imposing steel tariffs, so his free trade credentials are a bit suspect. He's also notoriously weak on free speech, given his support for ever more stringent restrictions on political fundraising activities. But the threat of any real harm to freedom of speech is probably behind us. Even if more restrictive laws passed, they'd probably cross the lines already drawn clearly by the courts. His lack of commitment to free speech is a matter of principle, but would have little practical effect. So I have no qualms about endorsing Sen. McCain for President in 2004.
As I was researching the Senator, I found that I am not the first to embrace McCain for this election cycle:
He's strong on defense and is a war veteran. McCain is a fiscal conservative and has been amongst the first to criticize the GOP for spending money like a drunken sailor.
Of course, that was long before the primaries had begun. Now that Bush is, and has been, the official nominee of his party, there's no way John McCain could become President. Right?
And if enough people write in John McCain tomorrow, instead of voting for the lesser evil, it just might happen.
(And some people think McCain could run next time.)Posted by wasylik at November 1, 2004 04:57 PM | TrackBack