So the title is making fun of myself for doing this at all, but I thought that I would put in one last plug about the upcoming election. Rather than get bogged down in increasingly boring and legalistic paragraphs, I thought I would just try to keep it super simple. Hence the Q&A format. I selected some questions I have most frequently encountered in my blog reading or conversations with others.
Q: Who should I vote for?
A: John McCain
OK, that was a joke intended to prepare you for my personal perspective. Join me by the fire, won't you?
Q: I am against abortion, but why should my vote be influenced by my pro-life stance when it doesn't seem as if the President has much to say about abortion anyway? I mean, here we are after 8 years with Bush and abortion law has not changed a bit!
A: The President appoints the judges who will determine whether abortion violates the Constitution and whether any attempt to place restrictions on abortion (like parental notification for minors, parental consent, partial birth or late term) are constitutional. The next Pres will appoint probably 2 justices to the SCt. Who is appointed will change everything.
Obama himself is so radically pro-abortion that he voted against, and delivered an ardent speech against, legislation in Illinois seeking to grant legal recognition and protection to babies born ALIVE after their mothers attempted to abort them.
Do you want a judge who will read the Constitution as protecting unborn life they way Obama reads it? The extent to which abortion law can change depends heavily on the judges reigning on the federal bench.
Q: I may be pro-life, but I still think that there should be exceptions. I don't want judges taking away the right to choose.
A: Fortunately, the beauty of the democratic system is that people can craft legislation through their elected representatives. This legislation can draw rather arbitrary lines around what people feel comfortable with allowing and what they don't. They need not, as with legal rules, be followed through their logical conclusion. If the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was not a constitutional right, that does not mean that abortion would now be illegal. It means that states would be able to create their own abortion law. How likely is it that California, Massachusetts, Vermont etc would outlaw abortion? In Utah, people would probably ban it in all but extreme life-of-the-mother or rape cases. It is not reasonable to fear the dungeon abortion scenario.
Q: I thought you said your answers would be quick and simple. How do you explain your over-abundance in the paragraphs above?
A: A poor filter. I will try to do better but am too lazy to go back and cut.
Q: I want to get out of Iraq right now! Why are we even there?
A: First of all, even Obama does not want to get out of Iraq right now. We are there because we had credible intelligence, believed by almost every reliable intelligence-gathering source in the world, to the effect that Iraq was developing WMDs. Based on this intelligence the (Democrat appointee) head of the CIA provided, Bush proposed invading. Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, and John Kerry and most other representatives, lib or conservative, voted to engage. They did so because they were afraid that a nuclear weapon in Sadam's hands was a major national security threat.
Q: But not Obama!
A: Right, because he was not a U.S. Senator then (2002).
Q: What about the fact that I Have More Foreign Policy Experience Than Sarah Palin? Plus, everyone who went to Yale and Harvard says she is dumb, and so does the press!
A: Sarah Palin has more executive experience than Obama, and she is only running as VP. But further, it is important to evaluate whether she represents the morals and philosophy you believe in. Also, to steal from a very clever article on the subject, Sarah Palin may not know as much about the world as Biden, but at least most of what she knows is true. Click here to read more about Biden's fantasy world and the difference in how the media has treated these two VP nominees. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122325448093406451.html
Q: We need healthcare reform. Isn't Obama's plan a great one?
A: 40 Acres and a Mule. First of all, Obama has not defined how he would pay for socialized medicine. He wants to create a government-run healthcare center. The problem here is that doing this would be tremendously expensive, both to provide and to administer. Where is that money going to come from?
Also, the government would determine what the benefits would be and what the rates would be. Abortion could be a covered benefit (allowing, for the first time, federal funds to be used for abortion). McCain would provide the same care by providing a tax credit, but doing so through the private sector. Essentially, under McCain's plan, the government would give the individual money to find insurance for himself.
Q: Obama is going to cut taxes on 95% of Americans, and those of us who earn under $43,000 are actually going to be getting a check in the mail! Sounds good to me!
A: There are 3 answers. First, Obama's claims are misleading. It isn't really correct to identify what he proposes as a tax cut on 95% since 40% of already don't pay taxes at all anyway. People who don't pay taxes will be getting a tax credit. This is not a tax break, it is a welfare payment.
Still sounds good, doesn't it? It does to Idealistic Me, too--I would like to give lots of money to everyone. But this plan is taking money from the job-creators and mailing it to people who don't even pay in the first place. (Q: But companies are bad and exploit me!) Tax hikes on them drive them overseas which then leads to joblessness here and increased prices for goods. Also, companies important to our energy or medical industries slow or halt their exploration and development etc.
The second objection can be summed up with the "40 Acres and a Mule" again. The short answer is Budget Deficits. We cannot continue to spend half a trillion dollars more than we take in without severe long term economic consequences. The real problem is that we have been running tremendous budget deficits, and what has happened from these deficits is the Frannie and Freddie fiasco. We can no longer continue to spend more than we take in. Obama's plan leads to even more budget deficits.
The third objection is that what he lowers in the form of income tax, he raises on other taxes that contribute to people's real incomes. Under his plan, everyone will be paying social security taxes on your total salary. Factor in the increases on capital gains taxes, which taxes everyone who has money invested (everyone).
Q: Obama is "going to save the world" with his new environmental policy that will get us off foreign oil!
A: Obama is so beholden to environmental groups that his policy is going to be extravagently expensive.
In one example, he is in favor of burning food (corn) to create fuel, while people around the world are starving. Want to know why milk is expensive these days? Cows eat corn, which is now more expensive because of this ridiculous measure.
Obama wants to cut coal and nuclear energy in favor of wind and solar power. The cost of creating energy through wind power is twice what it is through coal and over twice than for nuclear. Unfortunately, the wind isnt blowing everywhere consistently in throughout our country. So long as you dont mind seeing your electric bills double, it should be a good plan.
The principle of getting off foreign oil is sound and important, but there are more economically advisable strategies that need to be emloyed during the transition period. For example, we do need to drill in Alaska. While we should use solar and wind where economically efeasible, we also need to use clean coal and nuclear energy.
Ok, so our chat was over-long, but I sure got toasty by this fire.
There are many policies on the table in this election, but at the end of the day, I just have one thought: economic downturns and upswings come and go; environmental strategies will surface and disappear; healthcare and taxes change and change again.
But the legacies that flow from who is appointed to the federal bench, particularly the SCt, will rule our social policy down into the lifetimes of our grandchildren. These legacies will come in the form of our current social policy debates on basic moral values like abortion and same sex marriage. Do you want judges, unaccountable to any of us, deciding those for you and your children and grandchildren, for generations? Judges appointed by someone like Obama, who has such a radical view of abortion rights that he that he doesnt think babies born alive after a botched abortion attempt deserve legal protection, and who is in favor of same sex marriage?
It is not just about preserving the rights I think are important, but about preserving the right to be part of the democratic process that decides our laws. Judicial activism in the courts is taking that away. Abortion and marriage should be decided by you and me, through our legislature, not by judges who want to impose their social views upon the minority in the form of "constitutional rights."
I also fear for our national security. I wish that simply talking to foreign leaders who hate this country could keep us safe, but I do not believe that to be the case. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan provided two cases studies in how the Soviet menace responded to wishy-washy diplomacy v. a strong military threat headed by a man who was not afraid to back down. But we didn't talk very much about that important subject in our chat, did we? I suppose I will ahve to suffice it to say that John McCain favored military strategies (ie the surge) that undeniably worked, while Obama had to eat his words on the subject. He has wandered from one edge of opposition to our involvement in Iraq to basically copying McCain's stance when it was just too embarrassing to be proven so wrong. My only hope is that he is pragmatic enough to continue in that vein.
Goodnight, America, all five or six of you who have read this far. Forgive my excesses, particularly since I freely admit them. :)