Friday, January 04, 2008

John McCain for President

I actually had no idea that primaries had started until I say the results from Iowa this afternoon. And the year isn’t even a week old! I need to call the county clerk in the middle of the night tonight to figure out how to vote in this year’s primary next month- if, indeed, primaries allow absentee voting. I honestly don’t know.

The way I see it, an effective president needs to be able to do two things. First, he needs to have a strong enough vision to remember what he is trying to do amongst the turmoil of Washington. Secondly, he needs the political problem solving skills to accomplish those goals.

While I was back in the US, I watched a few of the debates. And came away with a couple of observations. Of the various candidates, only McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee seemed to exhibit both of these factors. Romney seemed to be wheely and dealy enough to come to agreements, but he seemed very aimless in a John Kerry sort of way, and the fruitcake brigade did not demonstrate the pragmatism to actually accomplish anything.

As an aside, I would like to point out that Ron Paul happens to be my favorite flavor of fruitcake. He’s fun to listen to, and I’m glad he is in congress. But he would be a terrible president, as he exhibits none of the skills needed to successfully pass an agenda.

So. McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee. Of the three, I think that McCain would send the country in the direction closest to the one in which I would like it to go. To be brief, Giuliani is a bit Jackbooty, and Huckabee’s a bit too preachy. As far as I know, McCain is the only candidate in any party- mainstream or fringe, who is both anti-surrender and anti-torture.

I also think that he would be the most effective of the three candidates at getting things done. He has a long track record of successfully making progress on important but unusual causes, such as normalization of relations with Vietnam and political corruption. And he is the only candidate with significant foreign policy experience.

As an expatriate, this is important. It seems hard to believe that when I first left America, most expats were republicans, and not ashamed of it. Things now aren’t quite as bad as they were in 2002-2003, when a Sydney barber fucked up my haircut the week before my wedding after I told him I was American, but I still get the feeling that people think we eat babies and destroy nations for kicks and giggles. I’m sick of apologizing of my nation- not to mention my political party- just because our president doesn’t understand the concept of adjusting to reality.

I admit that as am not as enthusiastic about McCain as I was in 2000. His campaign has been a bit of a mess. But then, we’ve had 16 years of Campaigners-in-Chief. So how about a president with a foreign policy track record instead of a teflon tongue?

4 comments:

BrianR said...

"Of the various candidates, only McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee seemed to exhibit both of these factors."

Really? Wow.

McCain: perhaps
Guiliani: no way
Huckabee: you've got to be kidding

The Republican elite are really scrambling with Huckabee's Iowa win ... he is pretty much a socially-conservative democrat. They don't like him (except they won't say that out loud). It will be fun to watch them implode (hopefully).

It will also be fun to watch the Clintons scramble too...they probably go on vacations with the Bush's. America has been duped into thinking they are diametrically opposed. Eff the Clintons.

Watching the Republicans talk about gays, evolution, and such makes me ill. It's bad enough if they actually believe it...it's even worse if they are pandering to voters.

I'm sick of people that despise the concept of government running mine. It's not about big vs. small gov't ... it's about EFFECTIVE gov't. We have a big government...I want it to work. Worrying about two dudes kissing and teaching kids that humans and dinosaurs existed together are not high on my list of ways to make gov't effective.

Chris said...

The US has some major problems at home. We have a population that can't talk "across the aisle"--to a Democrat, a Republican's beliefs are likely to be insane, and just as much vice-versa. We have a constitutional crisis, with the Executive branch claiming new abilities and immunities such as signing statements and the VP being immune to Congressional inquiry. We have a war that has no easy answers, and a population that will likely demand an easy answer. We have a number of crony appointments, some incompetent, some ideologically extreme, including long-term positions like judges.

Which candidate can provide the leadership and statesmanship to get the American people and the American government back to a less reactive, better balanced, more thoughtful, more intelligent approach?

Is there any way that someone identified as Republican can do it? Conversely, is there any way that someone identified as Democrat can do it?

(If the answer to both of those is No, then we're in real trouble; I don't see a third-party or independent candidate winning in the next election.)

It might be nice if whoever got elected declared post-election that they were splitting from their party, like that senator did a few years ago. I'm not sure that any inside-the-box solution can bring us back to a government that's sufficiently cooperative and non-ideological to run this diverse and complex country.

BrianR said...

Clearly, the American people (for the most part) don't want the powerful elite anymore (Bushes, Clintons) ... the rise of populism (Huckabee, Paul, Edwards, and maybe a bit of Obama) happens every time around (e.g., Nader, Perot, etc.) but it seems to be even stronger this time.

This scares the powerful elite big time. They will do what they can to win...buy, steal, rig, scare, start wars, etc.

The cynic in me says true populists don't have a chance even if that's what the people want. They don't have enough power.

If I had to choose one out of the Republicans, I guess McCain would be it. It was really sad to see him kneel at the altar of Bush over the past 8 years given how Bush smeared him in 2000 to win the nomination. But, he had to tow the line...what a sad state of affairs.

LeftForGood said...

"It seems hard to believe that when I first left America, most expats were republicans, and not ashamed of it."

It's hard to believe because it isn't true. In 13 years out of the USA, I've never met an expat Republican - or at least one who had the guts to admit it. It probably depends a lot on where you live. Afterall, Australia is more or less an appendage of the USA which, judging from the number of flies, is just as about as full of sh*t.

I've just read the 4 Jan editorial in Science and it is sickening, but far from surprising, to learn that all the Republican candidates are pandering to the religious idiots. If this constitutes having a "strong vision", then the world (and the USA) can well do without any of them.