Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Why I Can't Vote For McCain
I can't vote for him, but that doesn't mean I don't respect him. I do. I respect his service and I respect his principles. I believe that he would do what he thought was right and necessary as president, no matter the depth of the opposition. As for his temperament, if it is too testy for some people's tastes, let me say that a man who has been through what he has been through must sometimes pause uncomprehendingly as people make mountains out of molehills and lie, cheat, misrepresent their opponents, and in general behave like two year-olds with a bad case of colic. There's a reason why he is impatient. He has a right to be impatient. We should all probably be less patient with much of what passes for politics nowadays.
The reason why I will not vote for McCain under any circumstances is that he is an officer, and he will always be one. He knows how to be an officer and defend the Constitution, but he does not understand how to be an officer and uphold it. He cannot play his proper constitutional role as president. The acid proof is the McCain-Feingold Act, and all his defense of it.
The McCain-Feingold Act deprives the people of their ability to organize financially and make their voices heard precisely when it is most necessary - during campaigns. The McCain-Feingold Act makes it literally impossible for you and a group of your neighbors to collect some money and run an ad criticizing a candidate during election times without coming under the scrutiny of federal regulators, and that, in effect, takes the amateurs and ordinary people OUT of the political discourse. The McCain-Feingold Act is a complete abrogration of the meaning and import of the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.The fact that the Supreme Court largely upheld it in 2004 is proof that the Supreme Court needed new blood badly, and the latest decision, which whittled away at the 2004 decision, did not go far enough. But it went far enough to earn McCain's fury, and I will never, under any circumstances, vote to put McCain in the position of nominating Supreme Court justices. NEVER. I will vote for Obama rather than McCain. If it's between Hillary and McCain I may go third party or I may vote for Hillary.
McCain has taken an oath as a Senator to uphold the Constitution, and then he has become its unwitting, unknowing and unintentional enemy. It's important to understand why.
McCain is an officer - he proved his loyalty during years of torture. McCain would never knowingly subvert the country's political institutions. McCain's loyalty to the country, as he understands it, is a matter that goes nearly past human understanding. It's a loyalty that he held in the face of torture, and he held to it in silence and ignominy, without any cheering crowd. It's a loyalty that runs so deep that it cannot be eradicated from his character. Character has been defined as what you do when no one else is watching, and by that definition, McCain has a better character than anyone else in public life today.
But McCain is an officer, and he remained an officer under years of torture, and he unconsciously understands the US Congress as an officer corps. This tragic misunderstanding of the political structures of our nation is the key to why he behaves as he does. Officers must be honest with each other, and officers must command. In order to command, they must rely on each other. This understanding and relationship must be defended against everything, because even if the current goal of command is mistaken, the chain of command must hold in order to get the best outcome for their men. McCain wouldn't be subverted by years of torture because he understood that to say what they wanted could become an weapon used against thousands and hundreds of thousands of his fellow military men, and he would not become that weapon. If anyone tried to instill democratic principles in the Armed Forces, what we'd get out of it would be a bunch of dead soldiers.
McCain believes that the chatter of democracy is a corrupter of the trust and mutual responsibility that representatives and senators ought to hold and execute with each other. Therefore, he is very sincerely dedicated to trying to eradicate the worst features of that chatter. He doesn't understand that this cannot be done without eradicating the best features of it. This is the last man on earth who ought to be picking Supreme Court nominees.
The political construct which the Armed Forces are sworn to defend is very different. Every once in a while in human history an institution will emerge that has true potential to improve the prospects of the human race. English Common Law is one such, and the US Constitution is another. The purpose of the US Constitution is to prevent a top-down, officer-like political structure from emerging, in order to ensure that commands radiate up from the population rather than down from an elite. McCain does not understand that. He's a man who deserves the respect, honor and praise of his countrymen, but to put him in the presidency would be a tragic error.
But if McCain perceives Congress as an officer corps, what does Hillary perceive it as?
She is a very Nixonian character. I won't vote for her either.
Viola, he does deserve our respect, thanks and admiration. A person may be truly good, truly brave, truly public-spirited to the limit of their individual understanding, and still a disaster in public life. McCain will be that person if he becomes president.
The one who ran in 2000 as a Maverick and straight talker and who called the Fallwell's of the world "agents of intolerance" or the McCain who crawled on his belly to these people for support?
The McCain who voted against the Bush tax cuts as too weighted for the rich and fiscally irresponsible or the current version who promises to make the cuts permanent and ,for good measure, cut corporate taxes?
Presumably ,if McCain gets the nomination, he will move to the center for the general election but how would he govern? We have one President who ran as a moderate and then governed from the far-right we don't need another.
I supported the 2000 McCain. The 2008 McCain wants to be President too desparately.
Sergeant - my father's daughter is not dumb enough to argue with a Sergeant.
Teri - fine, just so long as you recognize that in his world, you will always be an enlisted puke with an opinion not worthy of consideration.
We're not considering McCain for the senate. He's not going to be crafting legislation. We are hiring someone to run the country. We shouldn't be like the liberals who believe that you must think like them before you deserve consideration. We are going to have to vote for whatever candidates we have and I hope that we are truly considering what their qualifications are.
And, a bit of history, back in the 1968 campaign, the lefties said that they wouldn't vote for Humphrey as he wasn't liberal enough. It would be better to have Nixon win, since he was the more "evil" one. Every financial blog I read bitches about Nixon taking us off the international gold standard in 1971. Would Humphrey have done that? I guess we won't know. (I've revised my opinion of Nixon these days too. I want a bumper sticker that says "No one died when Nixon lied either." ;0)
McCain has been completely adamant about this issue. He's filed really extreme amicus curiae briefs, the last of which claimed that one really couldn't even mention a legislator's name in an issue ad during the campaign blackout period. If he is nominating Supreme Court judges, he won't be nominating judges who agree with the Constitution.
I'm not going to do it. I keep trying to convince myself that I am, but I won't. I won't, in the end, because too many people have died for that Constitution, and overseas absolutely incredible numbers of people have died because they didn't have something like it.
General Zog, on this blog I proposed that a few weeks ago. If McCain is in fact the nominee, I guess I will seek to do it. Citizen's groups all over the country have been hit with this thing. Politicians by their nature are arrogant, but McCain-Feingold is amazingly over the top.
I won't vote for McCain, and I am at this point praying that Obama wins the Dem nomination, because although I think he's dead wrong about a lot of things, I don't think he's as dangerous as McCain to the Constitution. I'd prefer to vote third party, but if it's close, I'd vote for Obama to keep McCain out. I might even vote for her Yuckiness the Unethical Princess.
I would only change my mind if McCain would repudiate his stance, and he won't, because he really believes it's the right thing to do.
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