Saturday, September 6, 2008

Random Political Musings

I just can’t stay away from politics. I have had a lot of thoughts rumbling around my head in the last few weeks so here goes:

I will probably vote Republican. I’m sure of it, unless something really, really wild happens between now and the election. The reason I will vote McCain-Palin is that I think national security is the number one issue and I think John McCain is best equipped to handle it. I am afraid the Democrats way under-estimate the terrorist threat. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in a politics-of-fear philosophy, but we have to be realistic. And the reality is they are not going away. The other reason I will vote Republican is that I still believe in as small a government as we can get away with. The Dems still seem to lean toward the big government approach. I am sure they have their reasons but I can’t buy it.

That said, the Republicans must tell me more about how they are going to deal with the economy and health care. John McCain says he is not going to raise taxes and, while I appreciate that, how does he propose to get things stable without it (remember “Read my lips – no new taxes?”)? Obama says to expect a modest tax increase on the wealthy. Frankly, I appreciate that he is being up front about it.

As for health care, the system is broken. I do not know what to do to fix it but one of these people running for president needs to come up with something. How did we get to a system where the insurance companies dictate treatment? And how is it that (some) doctors assume that, because of their lofty education, they are entitled to be millionaires? Is there not some middle ground somewhere? I was having dinner with a surgeon recently and he was lamenting the threat of universal health care. I asked him point-blank, just for the sake of conversation, why he would be so opposed and he said “Because I wouldn’t make as much money.” Sorry, Doc, that doesn’t do it for me.

I like Sarah Palin. I admire her strength, her poise and her grit. It looks like she has done a good job in Alaska, standing up to bullies and special interests, including those in her own party. But is she ready to be president? Can she rise to the occasion? I hope so. This is too important for on-the-job training.

Come to think of it, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter had both been governors before ascending to the presidency. I don’t recall them having a lot of foreign policy experience. Not that they are good examples.

I don’t think anyone can deny that Sarah Palin has been treated unfairly by the media and certain Democratic underlings since McCain announced her as his running mate. It is really comical when you think about it. Feminist organizations like NOW advocate a wide variety of equal rights for women and so do I. But you know it is driving them crazy that a conservative woman is possibly headed for the nation’s second highest office. Have you heard any of the NOW members coming to her defense? The silence you hear is deafening. That’s because they want equal rights for women and they want women in positions of leadership, but not Sarah Palin-type women. In other words, if you’re pro-choice and Democrat, they’re on your side. Anything else, well, you’re on your own.

Can Sarah Palin handle the job of the vice presidency with a family of five children and soon-to-be one grandchild? Hello, are we asking the right questions here? Ever read Proverbs 31? That woman was a wife, a mother, a businesswoman and a servant to the poor, for starters. I don’t know if she did it all at one time. I bet she had a really supportive husband and some good employees but don’t try to tell me she was a fulltime stay-at-home mom. Solomon saw fit to include her in the Book of Proverbs. Can Sarah Palin handle the job of vice-presidency given her current station in life? Please. God created each of us – men and women – with unique gifts and characteristics. If Sarah Palin believes this is her time, even on the heels of having a down syndrome baby and learning that her teenage daughter is pregnant, all I can say is you go girl, and may your husband and children rise up and call you blessed.

I like Barack Obama. I think he is a good guy and I think, much like Bill Clinton, if I were to meet him, we could be friends. I was impressed with his remarks at the Saddleback Civil Forum and I believe he is a committed man of faith. I think he is a good husband and dad and that he truly wants to make a difference, do good things and unite the country. He and I have a fundamental difference of opinion in that he sees the government as the vehicle for doing good and fixing things. I see it as the vehicle for enabling the people to do good and fix things. Too many times, through oppressive laws and taxes, the government stands in our way. But I like Barack Obama and I am praying for him during this election.

Speaking of the Saddleback Forum, I thought it was great. The moderator, Rick Warren, a Southern Baptist who formed his congregation from scratch as an alternative for those who had become disillusioned with church, and who subsequently authored the insanely popular “A Purpose Driven Life,” is not an evangelical cut in the mold of Falwell, Robertson or Dobson. In an appearance on Larry King Live following the forum, he confirmed that he comes down squarely in the middle, which frustrates both the right and the left. He counts both Obama and McCain as friends. Though he is pro-life, he is also equally if not more passionate about social issues such as justice for the oppressed, AIDS and the environment. He is part of a new breed of evangelical that is taking into account the totality of the Gospel message and finding more there than being anti-abortion and pro-family – much more.

As one who has been a part of the evangelical fold for most of my adult life (though I am becoming more and more uncomfortable with the label), I could not be more delighted with Warren’s entry into the faith and politics discussion. I was furious after the September 11 attacks when both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said that America had, in essence, gotten what it deserved after years of moral decay. I was equally angered just a few weeks ago when James Dobson picked apart a speech Obama had made some two years earlier, calling into question his faith and his “fruitcake interpretation” of the Scriptures. Falwell never spoke for me and neither do Robertson or Dobson. I have often found their comments to be more divisive than helpful. We owe a debt of gratitude to those like Rick Warren who are bringing about civility not only among Christians, but all those who long for a more civil discussion and analysis of the political process. Something makes me think he took seriously the passage where Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”


P.S. There are those who might think I have a romantic or unrealistic approach to this. I have read other blogs where the writers are much more critical of the candidates than I, and in many instances, rightfully so. Those folks are probably a lot smarter and informed. I'll give them credit and take into account their opinions. These are just my thoughts to date for what they are worth.


quid said...


I loved your post and much of what you express could come from the mouth of all of us torn on what to do and who to vote for in this election.

I've got a post today that speaks to some of the questions you pose, and also comes out with my own decision.

As always, the things that you point out in your rational way of dealing with current issues, have given me a lot of pause for thought.



Redlefty said...

Good thoughts; thanks for sharing. I'll listen to anybody who can talk politics without getting angry!

Kelly said...

As always, Bob, you very eloquently stated your thoughts. And... once again, you echo many of my own.

Thanks for sharing all this.

Hal Johnson said...

As a guy who's still undecided on the election, I admire your reasoning, Bob.

From foreign policy standpoint, I'm a bit more comfortable with McCain, perhaps because I'm ex-military.

I think Obama would have an upper hand with domestic leadership, and would bring a sense of hope to those who feel marginalized.

Oh well. If either guy wins and then screws up, I can make up some t-shirts that say, "Don't blame me, I voted for Ron Paul."

Bob said...

And I could be right there with you, Hal, but for now, the McCain-Palin ticket will get my vote.

Sure appreciate your comments though.

We will see where this latest twist with the economy takes us and how it affects the election. I believe that is what gives Obama the advantage -- that all of this happened on George Dubya's watch . . . although there's a Democratic congress that has to take some responsibility.