Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why I am Not voting for John McCain Part I:

Why I am Not voting for John McCain:
Part I:
By Larry Bernard

I am first going to put a caveat out there I like to call the John Kerry-Katherine Harris clause. While I hate to say this but if Hillary proves to be as Harris and Kerry were completely out of her mind and a danger to the public good I may swallow my statement and vote against Hillary and by process of elimination electing McCain. But I first want to spell out why I am not going to vote for John McCain

I ) Your party should earn your vote, not be entitled to your vote. and the Moral Hazard problem is key to why your party doesn't have an entitlement to your vote

Moral hazard is the prospect that a party insulated from risk may behave differently from the way it would behave if it were fully exposed to the risk. Moral hazard arises because an individual or institution does not bear the full consequences of its actions, and therefore has a tendency to act less carefully than it otherwise would, leaving another party to bear some responsibility for the consequences of those actions. For example, an individual with insurance against automobile theft may be less vigilant about locking his car, because the negative consequences of automobile theft are (partially) borne by the insurance company.

When we live in a country where our national political system makes incumbents basically protected from the consequences of their actions (a few exceptions exist but it is the rule) The Moral Hazard should be an important principle we keep in mind when we vote. Is this party/Candidate giving me something to vote for or something to vote against. And if the case is the latter it should only be done in the most extreme of cases. FDR transformed the electorate by saying to African American voters (primarily in the south) "What has the republican party done for you lately."

The answer lead to a calcification of Democrat voting in the south which lead to some of the worst of the Jim Crowe years. If we vote for a party just because we will not get our interests met at best, or at worse we can be like those who suffered during segregation empowering those who oppress us. And as the Republicans in the 20s and 30s expected the Party of Lincoln to maintain those votes they did nothing to keep them and so they deserved to lose. And if we keep voting for bad outcomes we will keep getting bad results.

II ) Trust:
When you vote for a Political figure they may have a record, they may have campaign promises but we live in a Representative Republic and by handing them your small power of citizenship your saying "I trust you to, for the most part, get done what I want done in Washington/Your state capital here." Most candidates do this by establishing an Identity.In this Presidential Primary of the candidates left over Mike Huckabee established himself as "The Hip Pastor". Huck plays the base and is concerned with the kind of issues the hip young pastor at your church would be into. Mitt has (to varying degrees of success) tried to sell himself as "Turnaround CEO Mitt." Hillary Clinton established a brand and Identity for herself that just is "Hillary" and Obama has established himself as the hope of a new Generation. But none of these is as bought into as "Maverick" John McCain.

mav·er·ick (mvr-k, mvrk)
n.
1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.
2. One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.
adj. Being independent in thought and action or exhibiting such independence: maverick politicians; a maverick decision

But has John McCain went against the popular culture and its beliefs or has he went against the popular culture of the Republican party and its beliefs. One shows courage because it presents potential risk, whereas the other gets you political attention. Furthermore as an incumbent republican senator the weight of the party establishment would back him just as much as it would back Lincoln Chafee and Arlen Specter. And Democrats would be disinclined to run against him because he breaks with the Republican party to support their issues. So in being Maverick John McCain until today has put forward no risk and thus he is not being independent but he is being a follower of social norms dictated by popular culture. The closest he has come to rocking the boat is in his support for the Iraq war, but he has also talked about us torturing and brutalizing people (something which the evidence on is weak or lacking) and made it part of a central critique of attacking the Bush management of the War in Iraq and the Department of Defense. So even when he broke from his going with popular opinion he did so in a way that popular opinion could support him. When people have been concerned about violent video games, John McCain was there. When people have been concerned about Steroids in Sports John McCain was there. if John McCain could get himself a piece of popular discontent he does, and he does in a way that shows a lack of political principle or guiding Ideology. So John McCain isn't what he says he is and Isn't what people think of him as.

III ) Lack of political courage.
During the run up on the McCain-Kennedy amnesty package John McCain and his proxies made derogatory comments to those who disagreed with his bill. His proxies (including proxies for the president) went so far as to call those who disagree with the John McCain Bigots and promote fear of Hispanics voting for Democrats over Republicans if we don't do this. Their are good reasons, and noble reasons to oppose the plan Senator McCain championed. but the fact Senator McCain went forward with this shows a lack of political courage that has happened throughout his career. When Soldiers and sailors needed help with Agent Orange John McCain did not take the courage of fighting for them as a member of Congress fresh out of the DoD until he knew it would pass. When running in 2000 their was a controversy over Bob Jones University, the position of political courage in that race was taken by Alan Keyes who told them their positions restricting Inter racial dating was immoral and unchristian. John McCain could have made that speech but he didn't. After losing the 2000 election and seeing his key staffers not getting Bush White house jobs according to many Democrat sources John McCain considered Jumping parties. John McCain was even talked to about joining the Democratic party ticket in 2004. John McCain stood up for the Vietnamese government against the State Department (with John Kerry) enabling them to get a free trade agreement when they were abusive of human rights. He called people Frauds and con artists for advocating that POW's still remained in Vietnam without any evidence of such wrongdoing. When people disagree with him he either shrugs from political courage or makes derogatory comments about them. John McCain has used Bob Dole's war experience to insulate Bob Dole's criticism of attacks on him from the kind of scrutiny and debate they deserve.

I want to spell out first and foremost that these reasons are non-ideological. While I don't believe John McCain fits the mold of American political Conservatism even if John McCain fit that mold and Ideology we would still have problems.He is still promoting ignoring the Moral Hazard of identifying in party over beliefs. He still isn't trustworthy because he relies on a false identity as some one who rocks the boat when he has a political career of going with the flow. Its about character and Character matters a whole lot to me now when I look at who I select for President. I could go into other aspects of his general character that while they don't fit into this rubric they are none the less concerning. John McCain rails against those who are unduly influenced by money in politics yet if you ask the Senator to name names he cannot name one. If you look at the Senators legislative pursuits and you will find a wish list from his own major donors. He married a wife which helped him further his political career and left his sick wife who stood by him during the worst of the worst.

When we look at these character flaws however we will see them manifest in his policy and his ideological breaks from the republican party

43 comments:

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You write very well.

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