Thoughts About the Presidential Race, or
Thereís a Reason We Feed War Prisoners but Execute Spies

By John Ross

Copyright 2008 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given.

My email box keeps getting filled with queries about what I think of the current Presidential race, and why. It's a depressing question, but one I should answer. Before I do, a little background about how I think and what I believe is in order.

First, although I am not a member, my political philosophy is most closely aligned with the platform of the Libertarian Party. I am not a member of the party because I believe that by forming a third party, the Libertarians have removed themselves from the political playing field and become an ineffectual debating society. I wish every Libertarian candidate would realize this and campaign for election in either of the two main parties. This, of course, would be a lot more work, but it could achieve real long-term gains for America, which the current third-party debating society never will.

Second, I like to believe that I think long-term, at least more so than most people, and that I have a fairly good view of the big picture. Specifically, I am always thinking about the possible unintended consequences of the events that many people think we want to come to pass.

Third and last, I believe the greatest President America has had since the era of the Founding Fathers was Ronald Reagan. Period. In my opinion, no one else comes close. Reagan's philosophy of personal freedom and free-market optimism more closely mirrored my own beliefs than did the philosophies of any other American Presidents in the last 200 years. America needs another Reagan. We're not going to get one this election. So we need to start thinking of the longer term. One question I have often asked myself is "Would we have ever gotten Ronald Reagan if we hadn't had Jimmy Carter?" I don't know the answer to this, but I think it's quite possible the answer is "No."

I'm no political pundit, but I well remember 1972. Then, as now, students and other young people were mesmerized by a Democratic presidential candidate who captured their imagination with promises of populist change. It seemed as if every school locker I saw that sported a campaign sticker stumped for George McGovern. I was too young to vote, but I already had a firm grasp of economics, and the fact that McGovern didn't understand his own economic plan was evident to me, so I didn't share the enthusiasm my classmates had for the "Prairie Populist."

When it came down to nut-cutting time in November of 1972, McGovern carried only Massachusetts. Like Al Gore in 2000, he didn't even carry his own state. Nixon won in a wipeout. Most Americans weren't going to hand the keys to the Oval Office to a man with cheerful promises of "change," crackpot economic plans, and little else.

2008 may not be 1972, but I see similarities. We have a Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, that has energized the youth vote like no other, and the press had been lobbing him softballs for months. That may or may not change, but it doesn't matter. What is going to change is that when it comes down to nut-cutting time in November, average Americans arenít going to want to hand him the keys to the Oval office any more than they wanted to with George McGovern.

Why not? For a number of reasons: First, Obama's statements and his actual (two-year) voting record as a Senator betray his love for left-wing, big-government solutions that have failed miserably time and again. We ignore that (for now) because as since he's a black person (mulatto, actually), it's what we expect. We're also temporarily ignoring it because he's well spoken, he talks a lot about change, and we're irritated with W. Second, Obama comes across (correctly) as a privileged snob, with little in the way of credentials. That's going to become increasingly evident as the general campaign heats up. A young white left-wing two-term Senator from the Ivy League would NEVER have gotten anywhere near this far, and everyone knows it. Last of all is what I call the O.J. Factor.

Over a decade ago, St. Louis-based columnist Bill McClellan accurately pointed out what bothered mainstream White America about the O.J. verdict. It was not the fact that a largely black jury reached a verdict of Not Guilty in the murder of two whites. This has happened many times in our history when the races were reversed. McClellan was referring to what he called "the absolutely breathtaking reaction" of what seemed to be America's entire black population when the verdict was announced. Across the country, Black America was positively jubilant. This reaction set black/white race relations back quite a bit by making whites believe that blacks really donít want a "level playing field," they want continuous and unending preferential treatment.

A similar phenomenon may well happen with this Jeremiah Wright guy. I'll ask something others might be hesitant to voice out loud, but I'm utterly convinced they're thinking it: Why are so many blacks in America so eager to be represented by race-baiting preachers such as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Jeremiah Wright? These race-baiting preachers wield enormous political clout in the black community. The white equivalent would be if the nutjob pusgut Fred Phelps ran some megachurch in Chicago with tens of thousands of white members, and no white political wannabe could get a start in Illinois politics without Fred Phelps' blessing and endorsement. That idea is ludicrous, of course, but we accept it as a given with the black community.

Doesn't all this say something very negative about the black voters who embrace these kinds of pastors? And now one of these blacks who considers Wright his "mentor" and sat in his church for 20 years listening to Wright spew his bile wants to be President? I think mainstream voters in November are going to walk into the voting booth and say "Uh, no thanks." It's not Obama's having one black parent that's the problem, it's his close association with people I want nowhere near any policymaking decisions. If Alan Keyes (who had two black parents) were the nominee, I'd vote for him in a heartbeat. It's Obama's far-left, politics-of-division and Big Government ideology that I can't stomach, not the fact that he had a black father.

I think Obama will suffer a McGovern-like rout come November. And that brings me to my main point: I think John McCain is going to be a disaster for America. I think it's possible Hillary Clinton could beat McCain, and if she did, we'd have four years of gridlock in Congress as the Republicans girded to do battle and oppose any loony statist policies like Hillarycare. We might not even get many proposals like that, as Hillary's Senatorial record (which she built entirely without Bill) shows her to be a moderate.

But with McCain in the Oval Office, we're likely to get Republicans in both houses to go along with unconstitutional nanny-state proposals that they would never accept under Hillary. Hillary could've been a 21st century Jimmy Carter, setting the stage for another Ronald Reagan to come along and unleash the tremendously powerful economic engine of individual initiative and free-market capitalism.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if that old adage proves true of John McCain, under a McCain Presidency, America is going to become more of a Nanny State, not less. We (at least most of the time) try to treat enemy soldiers captured on the battlefield with respect and fairness, and we feed and house them until the war is over. They are our known opponents and are treated as such. They represent a known level of danger. Spies and traitors in our midst, however, are much more of a threat than the most competent of enemy generals, and that is why spies and traitors get much more severe treatment.

For this reason, I find myself in the odd position of wishing Hillary had told Bill to buzz off and had won a few more states, so I could vote for her in the general election. I'm that terrified of what Republicans might sign off on under a John McCain Presidency.

John Ross 5/8/2008

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