By Luke Lantroop*
Iâ€™m a conservative. I make no bones about it. So itâ€™s not surprising that I find the deification of Barack Obama by the left and even many so-called â€œmoderatesâ€ to be one of the most revolting things Iâ€™ve ever seen in politics. With his vague, vacuous slogans of â€œhope,â€ and â€œchange,â€ Obama has been accorded the status of political messiah, the instant cure for all our national ills, despite the incredible difficulty of demonstrating that he has ever accomplished anything to bring real positive change to this country in his entire political career. In fact Obama seems to have come out of nowhere, instantaneously thrown into the national spotlight, reason enough to give Americans pause as to the true nature of his meteoric rise. But the Obama movement seems to have little or nothing to do with what its leader has done, or even what he will do, instead focusing on his apparent personal characteristics and a sense of faith that he will know the best thing to do as president. Those supporting Obama in the belief that he will bring our troops home and cease meddling in the affairs of foreign nations would do well to note that he has taken the same belligerent stance against Russia as that of John McCain. Also, in my opinion, purely â€œhumanitarianâ€ military missions would be highly likely under an Obama administration.
Americans were offered the hope of real change in the candidacy of anti-war Congressman Ron Paul, who, unlike Obama, was and is consistent in his opposition to foreign adventurism, and is completely independent of special and corporate interests. On economic and domestic issues as well, Dr. Paul stood for real change, going to the root of our problems, rather than continuing and extending the same failed liberal policies of the past half-century, as Obama will. But then, since Ron Paul advocates such out-dated and unpopular ideas as fiscal restraint and limited, Constitutional government, his campaign was bound not to go over well with the kind of people who buy into the unbounded delusion of Obamania.
However, if rampant Obamania is one of the most disgusting characteristics of this election year, the way in which the Republican party and so-called conservative movement has rallied to the candidacy of John McCain with such desperate enthusiasm is one of the most pathetic. When McCain achieved the Republican nomination, many conservatives swore they would never vote for him. They argued, quite correctly, that he was not conservative at all, being nearly indistinguishable on social issues from the average Democrat in Congress. However, gradually, the sheep begrudgingly returned to the fold, and McCainâ€™s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate solidified, and may I say, electrified the conservative base of the Republican Party. I too was surprised and pleased at this choice. However, it soon became apparent that those things I found most appealing about the Alaskan Governor would be played down or even covered up. While I still respect her social and fiscal conservative instincts, it seems Sarah Palin will be a blank slate for McCain and his neoconservative advisors, especially with regards to foreign policy. One particularly appalling example of this is her glib discussion of the possibility of war with a â€œresurgent Russia.â€
As the campaign has worn on, hysterical conservatives have taken to portraying McCain as the only thing that stands between us and all-out socialism. However, McCain supported Washingtonâ€™s tax-payer funded bail-out of Wall Street, which is as good an example of socialism as any. Besides, McCain shows little interest in seriously cutting down on Washington bureaucracy, as he could by eliminating multiple cabinet departments or doing away with the travesty of social security. And of course he strongly supports the biggest government program of all, our interventionist foreign policy. But then thatâ€™s what justifies McCain as a conservative in the minds of Republicans; heâ€™s â€œstrong on national defense and the war on terror,â€ which apparently means an unwillingness to negotiate with Iran and a willingness to occupy Iraq for another hundred years. Most mainstream Republicans and conservatives are still unable to come to grips with the fact that trying to â€œpromote democracyâ€ by force is a useless and fundamentally unconservative endeavor, that interventionism plays into the hands of the terrorists, and that the U.S. is fiscally and logistically unable to maintain its current military commitments around the globe.
Once again, the campaign of Ron Paul offered the chance for a candidate who was strongly pro-life, as well as a true believer in free enterprise and limited government, as well as an opportunity for the Republican party and conservatism to be identified once again with prudential foreign policy rather than open-ended war. However, since Dr. Paul doesnâ€™t subscribe to mindless, chest-thumping jingoism, he has been rejected by the Republican Party.
With the financial meltdown, and the failure of the main candidates to seriously address such imperative issues as border security, monetary policy, and the abuse of civil liberties through such things as the Patriot Act and the passage of the REAL I.D., Ron Paul could have easily mounted a well-funded , high-profile independent campaign which would have secured the support of the Libertarian and Constitution parties and drawn votes from both the socially and fiscally conservative right and the anti-war left. Instead, he chose to secure his Congressional seat and continue working within the Republican Party. Only time will tell whether this was the best thing to do, but Dr. Paulâ€™s choice not to run, as well as his failure to decisively pass the mantle on to a single third-party candidate has left his supporters without a clear course of action. Certainly many will grit their teeth and vote for one of the main candidates, others will scatter their votes among various third parties. I have chosen the latter course.
While as a conservative I believe a McCain presidency would be preferable over that of Obama, if only marginally, none of the arguments I have heard has convinced me to cast my vote for McCain/Palin. While I abhor Obamaâ€™s pro-abortion stance, we have seen that even with a Republican president, a Republican congress, and a â€œconservativeâ€ Supreme Court, nothing serious has been done to overturn Roe v. Wade, and McCain is even less likely than Bush to pursue this. Panicked evangelicals assure us we must â€œstop Obama,â€ apparently because our whole nation will immediately go down the tubes if he wins. My response to this is that if the election of a single candidate would destroy this nation, we were too far gone in the first place. Also, I just donâ€™t think my conscience would have been clear if I had voted for a candidate who supports the flawed foreign policy of interventionism that is bleeding this country while Americanâ€™s die for a cause that cannot be won. If McCain somehow wins, four years later he will be the face of â€œconservatism,â€ just as George W. Bush is now. His election would also further justify the liberalization of the Republican Party by proving that non-conservative Republicans can win. The Republican party tends to be much more conservative when the President is a Democrat, even when it comes to military intervention, as the Republican resistance to Clintonâ€™s involvement in Bosnia shows.
I also have a kind of perverse curiosity to see just what Obama would do as president to justify the outrageous hype his campaign has generated. There is always the hope that, after four years, Americans would see through the Obama farce, and by that time have a real choice to vote for a truly conservative candidate, hopefully one who advocates a prudent, humble foreign policy like the kind George W. Bush spoke of when he first ran for president.
At any rate, I have cast my vote by writing in Dr. Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate for president. He is a man of wisdom and integrity. Ron Paul has endorsed him, though somewhat belatedly. He favors a foreign policy that puts American security and interests first, and opposes the massive bureaucratic welfare/warfare state. He strongly supports the Constitution and individual liberty, and opposes the perversion of it that allows millions of unborn children to be murdered every year. He also has vowed to stop the illegal invasion of our southern border. In all of these things, he stands opposed to the two main candidates. Of course he has no chance of becoming president, but I feel that to cast a vote in support of either wing of our essentially one-party system rather than voting my principles would be the only truly wasted vote. As a wise professor told me in my first year of college, â€œIâ€™m not responsible for who becomes president, Iâ€™m only responsible for my vote.â€ I feel good about mine. What about you?
P.S. I apologize the rambling nature of this overlong piece, but I just wanted to get my thoughts out there, in case anyone cares.
*Luke Lantroop is one of my (Red Phillips) virtual Facebook friends. Good essay Luke. If you are not on Facebook you should consider it. It is good for paleo networking.