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2008 Presidential Thread

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  1. 1. Who are you voting for in 2008?

    • McCain
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    • Obama
      13
    • Barr
      3
    • Other
      6
    • Not voting
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The question then is who to vote for. If you vote for Obama given the preceding rationale, you are giving him a mandate, and absolving socialism of blame (after all, you have sanctioned it).

A vote for a candidate is not a moral sanction of that candidate. It is only a preference among the choices available. A vote can be for Obama, yes, but also against McCain. If, in your judgement, a president Obama will be overall less harmful for the country than a president McCain, then you are acting morally: voting your self interest.

Voting at all is a moral sanction of the voting system, though not of the government being chosen. I not only did not vote, I wasn't registered to vote until I was sure elections in Mexico were legitimate. Prior to that all elections were rigged in a variety of ways. Registering to vote and, worse, casting a single ballot under such a system is an endorsment of the system. I pondered registering for the 94 election, but dind't. Afterwards I was convinced the system was mostly honest and that the people declared winners had in fact won. then I refistered to vote and have voted since.

And yet I've voted against two other parties rather than for a party (I always vote for the National Action Party, which is the lesser evil). I had higher hopes for it and I've been disappointed, but the alternatives were much worse. I do consider voting for the PRI (the former ruling party) in some races depending on the candidates. The other major party, the PRD, is to the left of Obama. I've never voted for them. There are a bunch of small parties that get peopel elected to Congress sometimes, usually running in coalition with one of the amjor three parties. Of these there's only one I'd vote for, and thus far I haven't had the ocassion.

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A vote for a candidate is not a moral sanction of that candidate. It is only a preference among the choices available. A vote can be for Obama, yes, but also against McCain. If, in your judgement, a president Obama will be overall less harmful for the country than a president McCain, then you are acting morally: voting your self interest.

I have to disagree on two counts with what you say here.

First, I believe that voting "for" a candidate implies that you desire him to attain the office he seeks. Regardless of the rationale used to reach that decision, it is a sanction, that is an approval, of that candidate. The "moral" qualifier is superfluous. Your intent may not be such, but the result is indistinguishable from an explicit moral sanction.

Second, I don't believe that in an election you can claim to be acting morally because you vote in your self interest. A vote for a socialist is a vote to sanction the expected actions of that candidate, and if that means the redistribution from the wealthy to yourself, that may be in your self-interest (though misguided), but it certainly is not moral.

The only moral choice is to vote for the candidate that supports objectively moral ideals. (Unfortunately, he ain't running this year)

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I have to disagree on two counts with what you say here.

First, I believe that voting "for" a candidate implies that you desire him to attain the office he seeks.

No, you may want to rpevent the otehr candidate from attaining that office.

Regardless of the rationale used to reach that decision, it is a sanction, that is an approval, of that candidate.

Again, no. You're offered a limmited number of choices. One will be selected regardless of whether you vote or not. If possible, you should vote for the lesser evil (against the greater evil). the problem is identifying which is which. But there's no sanction.

Look at it this way. If you campaign for Obama by using his campaign's talking points, then you are morally sanctioning him. If, on the other hand, you campaign for Obama saying he's the lesser evil, you are selecting the alternative that hurts you the least.

The only moral choice is to vote for the candidate that supports objectively moral ideals. (Unfortunately, he ain't running this year)

He ain't ran for the past few hundred years...

So, if he doesn't run, the moral alternative would be not to vote, right? Is it? What's in your best interest?

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First, I believe that voting "for" a candidate implies that you desire him to attain the office he seeks.
I will be voting for McCain, though I have no particular desire to see a McCain presidency. I guess I am just going to look at it as a protest vote of sorts--a protest vote against an Obama presidency.
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Given all that, I believe the answer is to write in a candidate. That will send a message that none of the candidates is worthwhile. To whom does it send a message? To whomever might be willing to mount a viable third party challenge based on the principles of individual rights. But who to write in??? Ron Paul? Myself?

John Galt?

I have a question. Is writing "abstain" invalidating my vote any? Should I be writing in a proper name instead, such as you had suggested?

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I have been a McCain/Palin cheerleader for the past month or so, but I am gradually coming back to the conclusion that McCain and Obama offer the same basic principles. The primary difference between them is that Obama knows that he is a socialist, but McCain thinks that he is a capitalist. As many (but the not Feds) have learned from the current economic crisis, decisions have immediate and long term consequences, often in direct opposition to each other (for instance, CRA initially helped the lower echelon earners purchase homes, but now has made home-ownership further out of reach than ever before).

The choice between Obama and McCain has near term consequences, such as, if Obama/Dems win, nationalized health care, higher taxation, higher incentivization of unemployment, an activist SCOTUS unconcerned with original intent, and probably some pretty draconian infringement of first amendment rights (if his campaign is any indicator, and it is). If McCain wins we will still see continued unprecedented gov't intervention in the markets, more welfare for the growing unemployed rolls, and a general lack of philosophical basis for governing.

Short term, a McCain presidency is IMO the lesser of the two evils. But long term, it is likely that McCain's compromising embrace of a mixed economy will lead us further down the slippery road to socialism, while Obama's naked socialism will quickly erode what's left of our economic vitality. If McCain is at the helm in 2012, his failures will be blamed on the remnants of his capitalist ideals, and more people will fall in line with the socialist mindset, especially if they are dependent on gov't at that point. If Obama reigns, and fails, as he must, there will be a clearer picture of what is really wrong in the mix of capitalism and socialism, and we may have enough of a capitalist nature left to climb our way out of the pit. Obama may then end up being the better option.

The question then is who to vote for. If you vote for Obama given the preceding rationale, you are giving him a mandate, and absolving socialism of blame (after all, you have sanctioned it). If you abstain, it can be taken as either a hatred for both candidates, or as an inability to choose your favorite. These are two diametrically opposed conclusions, so if you're trying to make a statement, don't abstain. If you vote for an alternative candidate your support could be confused with actual support for the likes of Nadir, Babar, McKinney or Keyes (didn't he already lose to Obama?).

Given all that, I believe the answer is to write in a candidate. That will send a message that none of the candidates is worthwhile. To whom does it send a message? To whomever might be willing to mount a viable third party challenge based on the principles of individual rights. But who to write in??? Ron Paul? Myself?

John Galt?

After much thought, I am coming around to the same conclusion - that an Obama presidency may be strategically better, though tactically disastrous.

This year's scenario reminds one of the situation in 1976:

  • The Republican party politically in a shambles due to Watergate (The Iraq War)
  • Very bad economic situation (stagflation/credit crisis)
  • A new, fresh face ascends to the White House (Carter/Obama)
  • Democrats are in their ascendancy in Congress
  • The "new guy" overplays his hand and alienates himself from his party in Congress
  • The economic disaster deepens
  • Democrats are held responsible
  • Reagan sweeps into office, bringing in a new, more personal-responsibility-driven rhetoric
  • Reagan cut/simplifies taxes
  • ~20 yrs of relative prosperity ensue (unfortunately, much of the credit is assigned to Clinton)

I can't bring myself to vote for him, but it may just work out to be a transitional thing.

I am an optimist, mostly. :)

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I have been a McCain/Palin cheerleader for the past month or so, but I am gradually coming back to the conclusion that McCain and Obama offer the same basic principles. The primary difference between them is that Obama knows that he is a socialist, but McCain thinks that he is a capitalist. As many (but the not Feds) have learned from the current economic crisis, decisions have immediate and long term consequences, often in direct opposition to each other (for instance, CRA initially helped the lower echelon earners purchase homes, but now has made home-ownership further out of reach than ever before).

Not to sound like a broken record here, but my thinking is similar to yours. I knew from the outset that McCain is an unprincipled pragmatist who was likely to continue to expand government, just at a slower rate than Obama. However, with this current economic crisis, it may be better to let Obama work his magic and have the American people see and feel the results of more socialism. Of course that's going to be a painful lesson for all of us. I'll still vote for McCain though, mostly out of hope that a McCain presidency with a Democrat House and Senate would mean gridlock in Washington. As it looks now, we're going to have a clean sweep for the Democrats and they'll have the horespower to do virtually anything they want for at least the next two years.

As I watched the debate last night, I couldn't help but think that Obama strikes me as a very weak fellow. He's almost out of the same mold as a Jimmy Carter or perhaps a Mike Dukakis. Imagining Obama sitting across the bargaining table from a guy like ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin makes me shudder.

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McBama doesn't concern me - I'm writing in Thomas Jefferson for President.

Local elections are more important to me - for instance, I'm voting for the challenger to the House seat in my District here in FL.

I emailed him the day after the House first voted on the bailout package, asking him how he would have voted. WIth no prompting, he said he'd have voted against it because the government can't fix the problem they created, and that taxpayers shouldn't be forced to foot the bill for badly-run companies. He's got my vote.

Also, an amendment that will give the state more discriminatory power over homosexuals is on the ballot, so that's getting a Nay vote from me.

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The left has moved on now to smearing and vetting him, insisting that he has no license and no plumbers make $250k a year. They are being openly elitist, and don't want to admit that many small business' easily do $250k of business' in a year.

They want to discredit the man in an atttempt to invalidate the point he made.

The point would not be any less (or more) valid if he was making 250K and wanted to keep his money but the fact that he does not - that he is one of the little guys saying: Wait a minute ... this is not the kind of "help" I want to grow my business. Wealth redistribution...punishing success ... is NOT America. - was that much more effective.

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They want to discredit the man in an attempt to invalidate the point he made.
It is also an attempt to change the focus. The real issue here is not Joe the plumber or what he believes, but how Obama answered his question. Obama was caught in a moment of candor when he said he wanted to "spread the wealth." Americans seem to have accepted the idea that the rich should pay more to fund what they see as the proper role of government. What most Americans don't accept is the idea of taking money from one person to cut a check to another. Direct wealth redistribution is not something that Americans want or agree with--at least not yet. To hide this flub, Obama and his friends in the media are smearing Joe the plumber. This is a major gaff, and should be the only focus of the McCain campaign for the remaining 3 weeks. By accidentally revealing his true intentions, Obama has handed the keys to the White House to McCain. What remains to be seen is whether or not McCain can find the lock.
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To imply that McCain wont himself 'spread the wealth' because he simply does not state as such, does not mean he won't do so. The difference between McCain and Obama here is that, at least Obama is clear about what he likes (althought I think it is more appropriate to quote him fully, as opposed to that single line...for the sake of context and objectivity), while McCain thinks he is a conservative maverick who proposes much of the same.

Curiously, Obama appears to want to stop spending taxpayer dollars on a country that so far appears resistant to the ideals of freedom of liberty, and focus on the very war on terror that needs to be waged. McCain, to the contrary, appears to hold the belief that taking money from taxpayers should instead go to Iraq for the simple reason that he needs to 'leave with honor". The fact that he's supporting the government stepping in and buying bad mortgages and assets is beyond the pale.

Which is worse? The self-defined socialist or the socialist-in-denial? Neither. They're equaly evil.

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To imply that McCain wont himself 'spread the wealth' because he simply does not state as such, does not mean he won't do so. The difference between McCain and Obama here is that, at least Obama is clear about what he likes (althought I think it is more appropriate to quote him fully, as opposed to that single line...for the sake of context and objectivity), while McCain thinks he is a conservative maverick who proposes much of the same.

What the hell? How is it that you attack the candidate that criticizes socialism and then go on and complement the guy who openly promotes Marxist ideas!?

at least Obama is clear about what he likes

So what? What’s that make him an honest thief?

I am astounded that so many Objectivist have been critical of McCain’s attack of the “spread the wealth” remark. I know he himself has socialized ideas but in an election that has amounted to a pile a manure a critical remark about socialism should be meet with applause and encouragement, not with sarcastic jeers and increased criticism.

At least McCain has enough sense to recognize that socialism is not a virtue but something to be critical of.

Edited by Rearden_Steel
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I think it is a mistake to equate them. McCain is a statist but Obama is a Marxist thug.

I think there is a danger here. McCain is rabid pragmatist. He is not a moderate "statist" in principle. He appears to be generally all over the map. But his danger and his true weakness is that he is willing to sell just about any principle out if he thinks it's expedient to the range of the moment. It's how he came by his record as a "maverick." Basically he'll dispense with ANY principle if he deems it necessary.

It is worth reading Tara Smith's "The Menace of Pragmatism" in the most recent TOS. I think it is a mistake to somehow make McCain out to be moderate in any way. In some ways he is far more dangerous than Obama.

Executives do not make the legislation and as an enabler (that is someone who simply will refrain to use the veto), McCain and Obama are both equal enablers of a decidedly socialist majority in Congress.

Obama's principles are clear and I can fight those head on. He will have to hide his principles if he wants to maintain any of his "hopeful" demeanor. Evil simply need be named on principle to fight it. McCain will lull people into complacency and then surprise them. It is one thing to act as a foil from the peripheries of your party, but leadership is not about being the foil. It is about having principles, not selling them out.

I'm not suggesting that McCain is worse, simply that those would make them to be of different levels of worse should take the time to understand the mechanisms of pragmatism. Couple that with the right's deep ties to religion and I think it is decidedly unclear who one should choose.

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