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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why I am voting against John McCain

The nature of our political system most often leads me to vote against someone, rather than for someone. In other words, I generally find the quality of the two major candidates to be so low, that I just try to elect the least bad candidate. This year's presidential election is perhaps a bit different. It is normal in the fact that we have an incredibly horrifying Republican candidate. So, here are my reasons for voting against McCain:

  1. Privilege. John McCain is the son of an admiral who was the son of an admiral. Despite poor academic performance, nepotism got him into the Naval Academy. He then proceeded to nearly get kicked out and was saved only by his family connections. He ultimately graduated 884th out of 889 in his class. Normally, such a poor performance in the Naval Academy would get you posted as XO to the nastiest Marine Corps company that could be found. John McCain got a glory posting, becoming a fighter pilot. Once he was a pilot, he had at least two incidents whose consequences would normally get you banned from flying if not kicked out of the service entirely. His last name kept that from happening. After his time as a POW, McCain went on to marry an heiress young enough to be his daughter. The only private sector job he has ever had was with his father-in-law, a rich beer distributor who was also a convicted felon. To put it simply, McCain is not where he is because of his own virtue or hard work. His position is predicated mostly on the parentage of both him and his wife. Being born to successful parents does not disqualify one. However, McCain has never displayed that he was indeed worthy of the societal position he inherited. In fact, he has, throughout his life, shown that he takes that position for granted. I cannot vote for a man who attains his position through privilege, and by his actions, shows that he is unworthy of such position. He's been an average Senator at best. He's been very good at getting good press, though.
  2. Intelligence. John McCain has displayed very little of it. Issues of even moderate complexity befuddle him. He seems to honestly believe that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the cause of the current financial crisis. His plan to purchase mortgages at face value is pure idiocy. His response to the Georgia-Russia conflict showed a complete lack of understanding or curiosity about what was actually happening. His belief that he can continually belittle Russia and still have cordial relations with its leaders is another idiocy. To put it simply, the man just does not have the necessary horsepower between the ears to be president.
  3. Judgment. His choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate showed terrible judgment. Only the most cursory vetting was done. The choice seems to have been based on pure impulse and id. A simple Google search would have picked up her ethics problems and complete lack of substance. Similarly, his behavior during the Georgia-Russia conflict was provocative and unproductive. Much of the blame for the conflict should rightfully be placed on the Georgian president, but McCain has acted as if the man is a modern day Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton combined. The final example I will list is his behavior when Congress was negotiating the financial bailout. He suspended his campaign in a great show and then gummed up a process that was close to agreement. It's already well-established that he does not even understand the issues in play. A person with good judgment would have taken a secondary role with the understanding that leadership often occurs out of sight.
  4. Temperament. John McCain has consistently shown that he is of inconsistent temperament who is quick to anger. No one will ever describe him as graceful. In fact, it's been made abundantly clear, that when the pressure is on, he loses his cool. His suspension of his campaign to go to Washington is a great example. So, the pressure is on for the presidential candidates to show some leadership. What does McCain do? He acts like a drama queen, parachutes into Washington and then makes things worse. He made it abundantly clear that he was going to claim credit for anything that was passed. That's not leadership. Another example is his behavior in the first debate. McCain would not look at Obama. His body language made it clear that he was uncomfortable in Obama's presence. His performance was erratic. There are lots of words to describe him that night and the nicest one is "rattled." If he's rattled by Obama at a debate, how's he going to behave with Putin or Hu in negotiations over sensitive issues? Furthermore, the man is terribly inconsistent. Now he would veto spending bills he actually voted for. He can't even stick to a line of attack on Obama. Even without discussing his anger issues, the man is temperamentally unsuited for any position with executive responsibilities.
  5. Character. The man is an admitted adulterer who married a woman young enough to be his daughter before the ink on his divorce was even dry. He has called his wife a "cunt" in front of reporters. He told a horrible joke about Chelsea Clinton in front of reporters and fundraisers when Chelsea Clinton was still a teenager in the White House. (Here it is: Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.) In his campaign, he has aired ads that contain absolute lies about Obama (sex education for kindergarteners? not even close to the truth.) To put is simply, if you judge the man by his actions and not the image he has cultivated, he is a man who few of us would tolerate.
  6. We cannot afford him. We've had eight years of an underachieving, unintelligent member of a prominent family in the White House. We now have record deficits, two wars that are not going well, what looks like the deepest recession in several generations, infrastructure in desperate need of care and a society where too many people have abandoned the basic value of civility. If McCain were the latest genius from a brilliant family, that would be one thing. Instead, he's a person of mediocre talent who has gotten by on pure nepotism. The White House needs to be earned.
  7. I'm tired of unnecessary wars. We have one right now in Iraq. I don't want another one in Iran and I certainly do not want one right next to Russia. McCain seems to almost relish the idea of goading Russia and Iran into a shooting war.
  8. Maverick. The idea of a "maverick" running things is just stupid. In a deliberative body without executive responsibilities, a few mavericks are useful. They help guard against groupthink. In an executive position, though, you want the smart, thoughtful guy. Anyway, calling John McCain a maverick is giving him too much credit.
These are all reasons to vote against McCain irrespective of who his opponent is. I often joke that elections are about picking the tallest midget. In John McCain, we have an angry dwarf.

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