I will be talking about many reasons for rejecting both major-party nominees for the presidency this year. Among them:
Both Barack Obama and John McCain are unqualified and unfit for high office because they do not have a foundational commitment to the U.S. Constitution’s strict limitations on the federal government’s power.
By playing an active role in accepting either of these deeply flawed candidates, we set a new low standard for presidential candidates of the future – choices will actually get worse.
Choosing between two candidates who have, in the final analysis, very little difference between them on the most important issues of the day is no choice at all – and the American people should demand better.
By actively rejecting both candidates, Americans can make their voices heard in a powerful new way in 2008 – by demonstrating a serious demand for more and better political choices in the future.
No matter who wins between these two candidates, presidential policy is sure to be worse than under President Bush, who, in my opinion, represented objective failure in the White House. No American should choose to vote for a candidate who promises to take America in the wrong direction.
These are some of the principles at stake in this election. But I’m not just expounding some theoretical principles with no care about the pragmatic. I actually believe that rejecting McCain and Obama is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, even the most politically expedient thing to do.
Only twice in my lifetime has America experienced the kind of clear political choice for president that I would like to see routinely – that we should expect to see routinely.
The first time that happened was when Ronald Reagan captured the Republican nomination for the presidency and faced incumbent Jimmy Carter. The second time was when Ronald Reagan ran as an incumbent president in 1984.
What was it that set us up for that memorable choice in 1980?
I’ll tell you what it was. It was four years of hapless Jimmy Carter. In 1976, Americans were tired of political corruption and incompetence and took a chance on an unknown governor from Georgia. He seemed like a breath of fresh air. He seemed honest. (At least he kept telling us he was honest.) He promised “change” – without providing too much in the way of specifics.
He got the Democratic Party presidential nomination and challenged unelected President Gerald Ford, who had been appointed vice president and successor by Richard Nixon before he resigned in disgrace. Carter went on to beat Ford.
But the change he promised was not the kind Americans had wanted. Jimmy Carter was a pushover for America’s enemies. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, on a march they expected to make right into the Middle East, Carter’s impotent response was to boycott the Olympics. When Iranian radicals took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, kidnapping U.S. personnel and holding them hostage for 444 days, Carter’s response was his famous “Rose Garden strategy” – he would not leave the White House until the enemy capitulated. Needless to say, the enemy never did give up during Carter’s term of office. Instead they watched an ineptly planned rescue effort go up in flames and praised Allah for their good fortune.
Meanwhile, during those four years of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Americans, for the first time in history, began measuring their distress and suffering. This may seem like satire for those too young to remember these days, but the Carter administration prompted something called “the misery index” to measure Americans’ woes and anxiety.
For his part, Carter blamed the American people for being in a “malaise.” Of course, they were in a malaise. They had to wait for another election to be rid of the bumbling rascal who had fooled them into thinking he had real answers to America’s problems.
I present this history to you to make a point. I believe the best way to get another choice like we had in 1980 is for Americans to have the opportunity, if you want to call it that, of seeing someone very much like Carter back in the White House and working with a House and Senate dominated by his own party.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe four years of Barack Obama will be terrible for America – in the short term. But the suffering we will experience as a result of his governance could prove to be very positive – in the long term. Why? For the same reason the Jimmy Carter years were terrible in the short term and positive in the long term.
Obama’s policies of taxing and spending and clamping down on freedom in health care and other areas will prove massively unpopular when Americans see them fail as these discredited ideas always do. Obama and the Democrats will try to blame past administrations for the problems, just as Jimmy Carter tried to do. They will try to blame the people, just as Jimmy Carter tried to do. But with Democrats running Congress and the White House, it will be easy for Americans to see who is to blame.
I can almost promise you Barack Obama will not be elected to a second term. He will, in all likelihood, just like Jimmy Carter, pave the way for a real Republican president in 2012 – if indeed there is one in the wings.
On the other hand, let’s pretend John McCain wins the presidency in 2008. In all likelihood, there will still be a Democrat-dominated Congress. While U.S. policies under McCain and a Democrat Congress will be nearly equally disastrous, it will be the Republican president who bears the brunt of the blame in 2012. Guess what we’ll get then? We’ll get Barack Obama anyway. Or, perhaps, Hillary Clinton.
In effect, by electing McCain, we are only delaying the inevitable day of reckoning. McCain won’t change a thing. His election will only delay what almost certainly must come.
Politics is a cyclical business.
People forget the lessons of the past.
They need to relearn things that may appear obvious to some of us.
America has lurched toward socialism, again, as it was moving in the 1970s. There are only two things that will reverse that in the short term:
Seeing it at work – with no one else to blame when it fails – as we did between 1976 and 1980;
Having an opportunity to elect a visionary leader in the future who will help get America back on track, as Ronald Reagan did from 1981 through 1988.
I don’t know if there is a Ronald Reagan in the wings. I don’t see him if he is there. But I hope you can see my point. If we are going to do better in the future, we must have higher standards for our politicians. Real standards can never be enforced when we routinely vote for the lesser of two evils.
Some will undoubtedly ask if I am suggesting a Barack Obama presidency will actually be better for America than a John McCain presidency. The shocking answer to that question is “yes.” I do believe America will be better off with Barack Obama in the White House for the next four years rather than John McCain. Please understand I am not advocating voting for him. I could never do that. I could not affirmatively participate in that kind of evil. But I point this out simply to illustrate that voting for what appears to be the lesser of two evils can actually be detrimental to the health of the country.
That’s why I believe the best thing Americans can do when they go to the polls this November is to vote for “None of the Above.”