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On the precipice of political punditry

Posted by Chance on September 17, 2008

I’ve been somewhat hesitant to comment on the current political election, simply because there are so many things that I do not like about political punditry. Typically it is about spin, damage control, and scoring points against the opposition. They take their usual sides on the latest news in the election with predictable responses. Nevertheless, it is the stuff going on, and it’s the stuff I want to talk about; I will just try to be as fair and even-handed as possible.

The Conventions (yes, I’m a few weeks late, but here it goes)

I only heard bits and pieces of the DNC. I thought Michelle Obama did well in her speech, tying in Barack the man and Barack the leader.

Concerning Barack Obama’s speech, he has great delivery, but I don’t feel like he offers anything new. His ideas pretty much amount to more government spending and trying to do the impossible. I know my opinion may be no surprise from a conservative, but if a liberal wants to point out how his ideas differ from the general Democratic party, I’d be willing to hear them.

Concerning the RNC, to me, the highlight was McCain’s speech. The first two nights of the convention were what I feared, which was a focus on keeping America safe. While that is no doubt important, the general American populace seems to be concerned about the economy. I was more satisfied when McCain addressed these issues. I don’t know if he did so convincingly, but at least he touched on them. I think Palin did a good job pointing out the lack of experience for Obama. They spent too much time exploiting McCain’s POW experience. Also, low taxes are not enough to sway swing voters leaning to the left. We all know Republicans like low taxes and they provide a benefit to the individual, but explain how low taxes and smaller government benefit the country as a whole. As far as average voter knows, low taxes have no benefit beyond the individual taxpayer.

On Unity and Getting Things Done:

I don’t understand why being “United” is such a big deal. Unity is a nice ideal, but the reality is that Americans hold drastically different values from each other. With respect to the general populace, I don’t see the concrete benefits. I suppose being a unifier is important if we want a leader who “gets things done.” But as a limited government conservative, I am actually happier when government does less. Why is government passing more rules for our daily lives and spending more of our money a good thing? And besides, I get the impression that McCain has gone across the aisle more than Obama anyway, but that may not be true.

Palin:
I like Palin, and I think McCain’s choice was brilliant from a political campaign perspective, and in general. To combat Obama’s celebrity, McCain picked someone who is a rising star in her own right (well, she is now anyway).

McCain:
Concerning McCain in general, he has a record of agreeing with Bush, but I believe him to be a much more competent person. I was not excited about McCain during the primaries, but I like him more and more. I hold fewer reservations about McCain than many fellow conservatives. My complaints against McCain are more of a libertarian nature (his Campaign Finance Reform Act, wanting government to get involved in alternative fuels), as oppose to conservative.

Why I will ultimately vote they way I will:
When it comes down to myself, I vote based on issues, the reason I have aligned myself much more with the Republican Party than the Democratic. I am pro-life, anti-gun control, pro-free market, etc… Obama’s stance on the abortion issue is nothing short of frightening. (Sorry, using Roe vs. Wade to argue against BAIPA does no favors to Roe vs. Wade. You are telling me to support abortion rights even though with them you can’t distinguish from baby already born to baby in womb) So yeah, people can talk about the experience a leader has or does not have, and they can talk about how I can financial benefit, but for me, it has always been about the issues. The disturbing thing about the Colorado local elections (and the major election to some extent), is that it focuses so squarely on how much I pay at the pump, which I feel is a self-centered way at looking at the elections. Yes, gas prices can be indicative of a larger problem, and I’m fine with people looking at those issues, but many people look at it much more in a black-box fashion. Gas prices are high, I’ll vote for whoever lowers them. The offices at stake are so much more important than that.

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4 Responses to “On the precipice of political punditry”

  1. Dan Trabue said

    but the reality is that Americans hold drastically different values from each other.

    Do you think? Really?

    We all want peace.

    We all don’t want to see innocent people harmed.

    We all want clean air.

    We all want clean water.

    We nearly all want to work an honest job in return for a living wage.

    We want our taxes to be as low as possible and yet we expect certain things to get done at a governmental level because it is too expensive or impossible to do them at the individual or local level.

    We nearly all want low crime levels, racial harmony, societal harmony.

    We nearly all don’t want to hear rap or country music played so loud next door that it hurts our ears.

    That we disagree on how to accomplish these things does not make us that different, seems to me. Just human.

  2. Chance said

    Let’s say you are right, and that deep down, Americans all want the same thing. Isn’t politics all about the means anyway? I suppose pointing out our commonalities has some abstract benefits, but my point is that our means are so different, does it really matter on the practical level?

    If we are looking for someone who is more moderate and can unite both groups, it seems like McCain is closer to the center than Obama. Would you disagree?

  3. Dan Trabue said

    Yeah, I would disagree.

    And I DO think it is important because the temptation is to paint the “Others” as fascists, or commies, as monsters who only want to wreak evil. If all sides involved would keep in mind that for the most part, we’re desiring good ideals and just differ on the means, we’d be less likely to call those we disagree with “traitors,” question their Christianity (for those who are Christian) or their humanity.

    That kind of stuff is killing us, seems to me.

  4. Chance said

    I would agree that not demonizing others is important. I just tend to look more at how closely the candidates align with certain issues; and I just don’t want to see “he’s a uniter” as an answer to every question. What inspired this was a conversation with a news guy (I forget who) with Bill Richardson. Here’s a paraphrase:

    News guy: McCain has gone across party lines on certain issues. Can you list some examples of where Obama has done so.

    Richardson: Well, he’s a uniter.

    I can see where being a uniter is valuable in some sense, but it can also be used as a rhetorical device.

    Here’s my question. Does a president promote unity by going across the aisle at times? Or is it something apart from his political approach, that is, in his speeches, or, well, that’s all I can think of at the moment. I guess that’s my question. How does a President go about promoting unity? I’m not asking rhetorically to stump you or point out someone’s faults, I’m really curious.

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