Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008 Presidential Race: The Conservative Conundrum

Although we're several months out from the General Election, there is a great divide amongst conservative voters who are traditionally solid for Republicans. The presumptive party nominee, John McCain, seems to be out to alienate these conservatives at every turn with his track record of support for decidedly un-conservative legislation (McCain-Feingold being the biggest), as well as things like fetal stem-cell research, and so-called "Global Warming". Not to mention his currying favor with leftists of all stripes (like LaRaza). Influential conservative leaders like Dr. James Dobson are so far refusing to endorse McCain, and McCain is refusing to meet with them to try and sway their thinking.

These disgruntled conservatives are more and more willing to either not vote, or vote for third-party candidates that are more in line with their conservative views. These conservatives are a major voting bloc, and presumably ones that a serious Presidential contender would not want to lose in what promises to be a close race in the fall. Yet this does not seem to concern McCain.

So the question for these conservatives becomes one of taking their votes away from McCain by voting for a third party, voting for the Democrat nominee, or not voting at all. Or voting for McCain and hoping a better candidate comes along in 2012.

My own decision making is coming down to this question: which of these three bad candidates will do the least amount of damage over the next four years?

I must say that I am extremely resentful at having to vote this way. I want a candidate I can be for, that I can support without any hesitation, and that I can be passionate about as I discuss the issues in the election. I haven't had that since 1984. I thought I had it at the time in 2000, but events have proved that not to be the case. And now I have a candidate that is even worse than George W. Bush in 2004.

After that election I swore to myself that I wouldn't be put into that position again - having to vote for a candidate that I so disliked and disagreed with on most points, just because the alternative was to vote for a slimy, traitorous, disgusting, crooked, dimwit like John Kerry.

Well here I am four years later and I am in the same quandry. The Democrats give me evil from the pit of hell regardless of who wins their nomination, while the Republicans offer me "evil lite" - one that is only slightly more to the right than the Democrat. A vote for a Libertarian, or a Constitution Party candidate can be viewed as a wasted vote, even though their positions are much closer to my own views than those of McCain, because they have no chance of winning anything.

So as I said, I have to decide which candidate will do the least harm to the issues I care about: the Constitution, the economy, and abortion.

The Constitutional issues for me distill down to a couple of points: Judicial nominees, and the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd guards all the other rights recognized by the Constitution, and gives free citizens of the Republic the final safeguards over their own liberties and a counter to those who would try to take them away. You can't have any of the others without the 2nd. If McCain will follow through on his statements to appoint Strict Constructionalist justices (like Scalia and Alito) to the court, I will feel like I got my votes worth with him. As it turns out, this is the exact
reason I voted for GWB in 2004, and he has gotten to appoint 2 justices who have turned out to be pretty good choices (although Harriet Myers just made me want to, well, spit).

The same situation presents itself now as it did in 2004: whoever is elected will likely appoint 2 justices to the Supreme Court, and that decision will affect the landscape of the Republic for decades to come. I can't in good conscience cast any vote that will put either Clinton or Obama into a position to make those choices.

Of course, if the Republicans so fumble the race this year that they end up losing more seats in Congress and getting 2/3rd majorities in both houses, this will become a moot point, as the Democrats will never allow a Scalia or Alito through the nomination process, and McCain will have to appoint a moderate at the very least. The special elections that have been held this year in normally safe Republican districts have all turned out disastrously for them, and I have no confidence in their ability to change their direction, because their leadership is spineless and weak.

It doesn't look good for a party that 8 years ago held control of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. They have squandered it all and have very little to show for it.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Home Educators and 2nd Amendment Activists: More in common than meets the eye.

Attending the INCH Conference this past weekend - the Michigan State Homeschool Conference. Friday night is always the night where the politicians show up for a few minutes to connect with us and share a few remarks.

This year, we heard from:
  • Chief Justice Clifford Taylor of the Michigan Supreme Court
  • State Senator Wayne Kuipers, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, among others.
  • State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who wants to run against U.S. Senator Carl Lenin, err, Levin this fall. Jack is getting his nominating petitions signed so he can get on the ballot.
Home Educators in Michigan have had 12 years or so of relative peace from the encroachments of the educrats and their lackeys in the legislature, because we have enjoyed Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. The 2006 shift from Republican to Democrat control of the House has changed this, and now all sorts of Legislative harassment is beginning in that chamber. One that has us most up in arms is HB 5912, which for the first time will implement a registration requirement for Home Educators in Michigan. Each child will have to be registered with the local government school, ostensibly so they can make sure that some parent isn't only claiming to home school when they really aren't. Or so claims Joan Bauer, the bill's sponsor. They don't want to restrict what Home Educators are doing - of course not. We just want to prevent abuse of the system. That's all.

Firearm people will instantly recognize this rhetoric! It is the same "logic" the gun-banners use when they want to implement gun registration schemes.
We don't want to take your guns away - heavens no! We just want to make sure that the criminals don't get them. Yeah, that's right. Criminals. Oh, and crazy folks like those Iraq war soldiers who come home and get PTSD and want to kill people. But you hunters - nahh, we don't want your guns."
What they are really saying is that they want to control you, and when they think they can get away with it, to come and take your guns away. And if you think I am some wild-eyed, smelly, snaggletoothed backwoodsman who likes conspiracy theories and believes in UFO's, I say to you: look at Great Britain. And then look at Australia. It's already happened. It's not some fantasy.

So why would firearms people want to have anything to do with homeschoolers? Aren't they just a bunch of religious nutjobs? Aren't they socially retarded misfits who are bringing up children who are unable to function in the "real" world? In a word - NO.

Home Educators see the same government encroachments and abuses of power that you do. They see their rights being trampled the same as yours are. The want Liberty and limited government just like you do.

If these two groups ever got together and acted on their common interests, congresscritters and legislators of all stripes would sit up and take notice, because these two groups can guarantee election wins! They are very vocal, and very active, and for the most part put their money where their mouth is. And their time too.

So think about it folks - take it from one who is a member of both groups: We can accomplish a lot together.