Thursday, October 23, 2008

And My Vote Goes To...

This has been a weird election for me. During the primaries I picked both McCain and Obama as my preferred candidates for each party figuring that we'd see more substantive and less negative campaigns than we've seen in a long while. In fact I contributed to both of their primary campaigns to help bear this scenario to fruition. Eventually I was rewarded with exactly that scenario. Having followed this race closely since it started, read the policies, hear the speeches, and watched two out of three of the debates I have made a concrete decision about who I am voting for on Nov. 4.

Barack Obama never really had a chance of getting my vote this election. Not that I wouldn't vote for him. But after seeing what happened to America when one party was allowed total control of the government I have no faith that the other will show any more prudence, honesty, or restraint than its predecessor. If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely then why vote in a manner that sets your government up to fail you? As for Obama himself I respect his intelligence, his thoughtfulness, and his composure and if the GOP controlled either the House or the Senate I'd vote for him.

That brings me to McCain...

I've been a fan of McCain's since 2000 and have been formerly of the belief that had he won the presidency then we would avoided many of the bad decisions and executive excesses that we've seen over the past eight years. To be fair I've been hard on McCain this election season. That's largely because as the race has progressed he's become more and more of a disappointment to me. The John McCain we've been seeing lately isn't the McCain of 2000. In fact he's not even the McCain we saw in the primaries. I was content to vote for him just one the principle of divided government originally but when he started softening his anti-torture stance to placate the might makes right underbelly of the base I started having serious doubts. In fact I wrote his campaign and told them I wasn't giving them a dime in the general election if McCain was backing away from his previous stance on torture.

After that I was resigned to voting for him. After all of my states electoral votes would be going to him anyway. The more the race drug on the less McCain's campaign seem to embody the principles that McCain had stood for in the past. And then came Palin aka The Deal Breaker. She was obviously a gamble to garner the support of the base and in my minds eye grossly unqualified to step in should McCain be taken out by a partisan pretzel.

That leaves only one man left on the Texas ballot for me to vote for...

Bob Barr. I had no love for the man while he was in office. However having seen numerous interviews with him, watched videos of his lectures, and having seen how hard he has had to battle for ballot access I am certain that he is not the same person he was then. Not that he's a total convert to Libertarianism either. If you read his platform its full of words like minimize, reduce, and cut rather than abolish. Its more of a call for Burkean conservatism. A conservatism based on fiscal and military restraint, free market economics, individual liberty, and minimal governmental intrusion into the lives of those governed.

In other words everything the GOP used to stand for.

So I'm going to use my vote to send a message to Republican leadership. In fact after I vote I plan on printing this post and mailing it to GOP HQ. I doubt anyone will read it but isn't it the thought that counts? And maybe, just maybe, once the returns are in Barr will have gathered just enough votes to make the national leadership have to consider moving back towards its roots.

Besides I still get to keep my perfect (although largely accidental) divided government voting record intact this way without sacrificing any principles. That's a win win for me.