Thursday, October 16, 2008

Political Question

This isn't a political blog, but I've got a question on which I'm looking to get some opinions to help me understand something I cannot currently comprehend.

I’ve got a serious question that I want to ask, really because I just can’t wrap my mind around the opposite viewpoint to the one I’ve come to -- something I am usually good at -- and I’m curious as to all of your thoughts to help me understand this other side.

I watched the Presidential debate last night (October 15, 2008). Let me preface my question with the fact that I will not be voting for either party candidate, but rather for the Green Party, whose platform is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. Here’s my question:

How can anybody actually think that voting for McCain is a good idea?

After watching Obama and McCain go at it last night, I just cannot fathom anybody coming to a conscious decision to vote for McCain. Here are my reasons. First off, watching them last night, I don’t trust McCain’s judgment under pressure -- and as President he’d be under a lot of pressure! He just seems angry and snippy, two traits that make for poor decision-making. He interrupted Obama regularly during the debate, which says to me that he’s impatient and isn’t giving due consideration to others. If you watched Obama in the split-screen, he looked directly at McCain as he answered, actually paying attention. McCain generally stared off into space, making mocking faces and fidgeting because he was so impatient to retort. And while both candidates distort the other’s platform -- that's a common tactic -- McCain seemed to take it to an unreal level, particularly with Obama’s tax plan which McCain just doesn’t seem to be able to get right.

Getting off the candidates’ personalities and mindsets, let’s look at issues.

McCain's focus on deregulation is disturbing. I’ve been a regulator for the last 6 years (not a Federal regulator, but my job is to regulate financial markets), and deregulation simply doesn’t work. The whole culture of the financial world is money-based, and the markets just do NOT regulate themselves. Strong regulation is required; I’ve seen first-hand what happens when there is insufficient regulation.

In terms of energy policy, McCain is just wrong. I am personally opposed to any additional offshore drilling. However, as a national policy, I can understand performing due diligence in studying the potential for future energy to be gained by such drilling, and if that is necessary because other means of energy production will be insufficient, then we’ll have to pursue it, in tandem with reigning in our consumption. However, McCain keeps saying that we need to drill offshore NOW, and that such is necessary to bring down gas prices today. Well, additional offshore drilling simply will not have any effect for approximately 10 years. So again, I think it’s something that needs to be explored, but McCain seems to really think it’s a solution, and I think it is patently obvious that it is not. Palin’s response in the VP debate when Biden said that McCain’s focus is, “Drill, drill, drill,” that “The chant is actually, ‘Drill, baby, drill!’” shows their misplaced focus. I think both candidates are right, though, that we need to pursue further nuclear options to wean us off oil.

One further thing I don’t understand is that McCain was very hypocritical in his statements on electing judges. He said at one point (in another segment of the debate) that he’s a Federalist -- someone who favors greater regional autonomy for the States, rather than a strong centralized government (a very Republican view). But then in the section on judges, he said he wanted to overturn Roe vs. Wade, which is the first step toward a federal law outlawing all abortions (possibly with danger-to-the-mother exceptions), which is the goal he has favored in the past. So how is that possibly a Federalist viewpoint? Though I do give McCain credit for voting NO on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, which is consistent with a Federalist viewpoint (leave that up to the individual states to tackle).

After the debate, channel 5 interviewed Mitt Romney, who said that he felt McCain did a great job and had Obama speechless at times. I could only sit there dumbfounded, wondering if he and I watched the same debate. I saw Obama easily handling himself under McCain’s assault, and I saw McCain appearing frustrated and impatient trying to counter Obama. I saw Obama answering the questions much more directly than McCain, though he too definitely skirted some issues like we see with every candidate. I saw Obama acting like a leader, someone I might actually trust being the face of our country, someone with the mental facility to consider the complexity of all the issues when advised by his advisors; whereas McCain was tense and impatient and disagreeable, and he appeared to struggle when forced to consider the mutual impact of complex topics like the economy and energy and military policies -- definitely not somebody I would ever follow as a leader.

So I’m curious -- for those of you who plan on voting for McCain, how do you come to that decision?