Eventually we all become that which we despise.
Just a few hours to go and I still haven’t made up my mind I should not be surprised to find myself in this position. In the past I could rely on one party or the other to field a candidate that was immediately recognizable as a disaster in the making. As our national pathologies have deepened, the ability of the parties to field candidates that can even feign competence has disappeared. Still, I don’t know if it will be worse living in a country led by studied socialist Barack Obama or accidental socialist John McCain.
Not your average undecided voter.
I usually make fun of the undecided voters interviewed after each debate. Let’s face it, these folks are generally poorly informed, mentally limited, and just waiting for something they want to hear. They have no knowledge of the past actions and voting records of the candidates and rely on the debates and news coverage to form an opinion. Conversely, I’m undecided because I know too much about these guys and they scare the hell out of me. No matter what they say, their past actions demonstrate little regard for the US Constitution or my liberty. No amount of pandering is going to convince me differently.
Still, I think more voters should stay undecided longer. If large numbers of voters withhold their support, politicians might stop pandering and address problems. The fact that the two major parties can count on forty percent of the voters means that they will retreat to the same old worn out attacks. Without this support politicians would be forced to confront the status quo that is supported by both parties.
My normal process fails me
Being an apostate conservative (if you don’t trust the US government with the US economy, why would you trust it to run the rest of the world) and an apostate libertarian (we need a government to protect private property and provide a reasonable expectation of justice), I usually vote against candidates instead of for them. For most presidential elections I have an easy decision to make. I figure out which major party candidate is the biggest disaster and vote against them if the opposing major party candidate has a chance of winning my state. If not, I vote for the minor party candidate that has the best record on protecting liberty and respecting the Constitution.
This is an imperfect system but it has some logic to it. My basic belief is that anyone that actively seeks the power of public office by definition is interested in doing things with that power. More often than not these things will restrict my freedom and spend my money. The longer someone is in office the better they are at getting their boondoggles signed into law. These past atrocities count against long serving politicians in my system. That is until this year when Senator Obama has managed to blow the curve in his short political career.
Two candidates, one result
At this point, Senator Obama has convinced me that he believes in wealth redistribution, excessive regulation, foreign intervention, and profligate spending. Senator McCain advocates similar policies to a much lesser degree but delivered with an explosive temper. Both men are advocates of the state over the individual with limited respect for the Constitution. Senator Obama believes the Constitution is an imperfect document and needs to be interpreted with empathy for the oppressed. Senator McCain sees the Constitution through his judgment, whatever that may be. So the major parties provided us one candidate that has given great thought to circumventing the Constitution and one that is oblivious to doing so.
It seems obvious that the studied Senator Obama is the greater danger. The problem is that Senator McCain seems destine to repeat the mistakes of Republican presidents with Democratic Congresses. Republicans never get credit for cooperating with harebrained liberal ideas but they get the blame when those policies inevitably fail. If there is a lesson to be learned from the last two decades, it is we are far better off with divided government that has Republicans in the legislature and a Democratic president. This adversarial relationship protects the tax payers as long as the legislative branch is aggressive in blocking the executive from acting extra-constitutionally. When the roles are reversed, history has shown that Republican presidents tend to abandon their base and sign bills that deliver popular programs with no funding source.
No matter who wins this election, the American people are going to pay a tremendous price in wealth and freedom. Should I vote for the confessed liberal or the accidental liberal? Maybe it is best to recognize that we are all disenfranchised by the two party monopoly on power and refuse to give legitimacy to the process by participating.