02 November 2008

Obama or McCain?

My general attitude toward government is that it is, in most cases, part of the problem not the solution. In 2004 I voted for Bush. I did it because I was ill-informed on his policy positions and I saw the Republican party as the party of fiscal restraint. I had just taken 2 economics courses and everything in the world seemed to start making sense.

Bush betrayed me. His administration has led to huge deficits in non-military spending. He has led a horrendously planned and executed war in Iraq. The signs and decisions were already in place in 2004, I just hadn't taken the time to find out the facts. But still, I felt betrayed that the Republican brand had led me so far astray with respect to Bush.

In 2006, I voted for Jim Webb, a Democrat, for Senator of Virginia. To punish the Republicans for misleading me 2 years prior? Yes, a little. But more so because if government is part of the problem, then a divided government can do less harm than one that is run by a supermajority party (see years 2002-2006).

So this brings me to the 2008 Presidential election. However, unlike 2006, my residual feelings of betrayal and my less government philosophy are pulling me in opposite directions this time. A vote for Obama would give me the psychological satisfaction of voting against the Republicans. However, now that the Democrats have and will likely expand upon a large Congressional majority, I am nudged toward McCain to avoid disasterous over expansion of government that is likely to ensue (since McCain can veto all that wasteful spending legislation).

So, since my single vote does not count in any practical way, I plan to vote on principle. It seems the "golden years" of prosperity came during the last Democratic presidency and a Republican congress, so I'll vote that way this election. Obama for President, and Republicans for Congress (i.e., Jim Gilmore for Senate).

What if my vote were desicive, would I vote differently? Perhaps. But even then, I am very socially tolerant and I don't think I could bring myself to vote another George Bush a heartbeat from the presidency (in the guise of Sarah Palin).

In the end Obama will win, I'm guessing he'll probably pick-up around 320 electoral votes, and the Democrats will pick up a decent majority in Congress. In the next four years we'll see a continued large deficit as spending is slightly increased but as taxes are also slightly increased. The Republicans will concede that they've lost their touch with mainstream American and get back to their roots of small government and individual responsibility. And by 2012, we'll have a Democratic president and a Republican Congress, our standing in the world will be much improved, and we'll be moving back toward a more free-trade, less protectionist economy that Obama and the Democrats will likely usher in in the next few years. I guess that is more of a hope than a prediction.


chris said...

Sounds about right. I still like Warner though, so I have to vote for him over Gilmore.

I think it will be interesting to see if the GOP actually tries to reform itself and reject the likes of Sarah Palin, or stays in denial for one more election and only pursues the evangelical and "country" vote, and sticks with big-deficit govt and neocon foreign policy. Seems to me that they *have* to reject much of what Bush has done if they want to win the presidency. Else Obama will just point and say "look, they tried these things 4 years ago. Remember how those 8 years were?" just like he's doing now.

I still don't know if that kind of conversion of a party is possible in 4 years. I actually think it is not. I don't think most of the party *wants* to change yet. Then again, the GOP has always seemed the more politically savvy party. Rove is pretty slick.

chris said...

Paul Krugman thinks the GOP will get more hard-line before it gets more mainstream again: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/03/opinion/03krugman.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&ref=todayspaper&adxnnlx=1225736004-kQnoBJPxBLJ1MNykElNGkw