Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'll Take "Boring"

It's been a while since I've posted something vaguely political- I've been taking a break from writing directly about politics, and I've been spending more time writing about that other topic you don't talk about at parties: religion.

But something from a fellow blogger that has been also lying low has offered a post that has made me decide to come back to poliblogging, if only for a short time.

In that post, Alan Stewart Carl poo-poos the Des Moines Register's endorsement of Hilary Clinton and John McCain. The title of his post makes clear how he feel. Clinton and McCain "lack excitement." On McCain, he has this to say:

The Republicans should at least give us a race interesting enough to end in someone other than McCain. Or Giuliani. Those two have done a heck of a job obfuscating their moderate instincts while crushing their once-formidable integrity under months of transparent pandering. They might still lead national polls (Giuliani) and win establishment approvals (McCain) but I think the Republican Party will end up with someone else.

There are a few things here that bug me about his assessment of McCain. I would agree that McCain has on several occasions pandered on various issues (ie: tax cuts, intelligent design, etc.), but he has also stood his ground on several issues such as climate change and torture. And while he has wavered on immigration, he has not degenerated into the name calling that other candidates have done.

This is what the Register says:
Time after time, McCain has stuck to his beliefs in the face of opposition from other elected leaders and the public. He has criticized crop and ethanol subsidies during two presidential campaigns in Iowa. He bucked his party and president by opposing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. A year ago, in the face of growing criticism, he staunchly supported President Bush's decision to increase troop strength in Iraq.

In this campaign, he continues to support comprehensive immigration reform while watching his poll standings plunge. Some other Republican candidates refuse to acknowledge that climate change is a serious threat caused by human activity. McCain has worked on the issue for seven years and sponsored bills to limit greenhouse-gas emissions.

McCain would enter the White House with deep knowledge of national-security and foreign-policy issues. He knows war, something we believe would make him reluctant to start one. He's also a fierce defender of civil liberties. As a survivor of torture, he has stood resolutely against it. He pledges to start rebuilding America's image abroad by closing the Guantanamo prison and beginning judicial proceedings for detainees.

Is McCain perfect? No. I don't agree with his stands on gay marriage and have condemned him for it. But just as my gay liberal friends are not one-issue voters, neither am I. I want someone who also cares about the environment and is a national security hawk without going sacrificing civil liberties or damaging our image abroad. Out of all the GOP candidates, McCain stands out.

As for the Dems, well if I have to have a Democrat for President, I would rather have Clinton over Obama. It's not that Obama isn't a good politician, he is probably one of the best rhetoriticians out there. But you have to do more than move the people with words, you have to do it with action and I worry that he doesn't have the experience to really be President...yet.

Finally, the final words of Alan's post are some what troubling in my view:

I hope some excitement comes out of this insanely long election season. I have no horse as of yet, so I’m hoping some drama illuminates these carefully guarded candidates. Even if that doesn’t help me come to a decision, it’ll at least be more entertaining than the kind of election The Des Moines Register recommends.

Alan uses the words, "excitement" and "entertaining" in the last paragraph. Okay, the candidates aren't going to set the world on fire, but last I checked, I was voting for President of the United States, not the best singer on an episode of "American Idol." I am not as interested in wanting an "exciting" candidate as much as I do, a pragmatic and experienced candidate. I think it is a common feeling among centrists that we want some one that is bigger-than-life. I supported Ralph Nader in 2000 in the belief that he would shake up the system. I went with Howard Dean four years later for the same reason. Both were exciting, but in the end, they couldn't govern their way out of a paper bag.

In 2008, I am not looking for hero. I am not looking for someone that will entertain me. I want someone that will look at global warming, or work on health care, or immigration reform. McCain isn't exciting, but I think he can do that.

1 comment:

jfordyce said...

I agree, McCain might not be flashy and he has pandered a bit more this time (obviously a result of his experiences in 2000) but he's a very skilled and trustworthy politician. I believe he would make a strong president, and we definitely need one this time. I endorsed McCain on my site (

On the Democrat side, the most qualified is Bill Richardson, but he doesn't stand a snowball's chance. Rudy G is my second choice among Republicans, but there's a real drop-off after that. If someone like Mitt Romney gets it, I might have to switch sides this time.