I'm about as middle-of-the-road as it's possible to get, probably because I'm a pragmatist. I understand, for example, that politicians make promises in order to get elected. I also know that presidents don't write laws governing taxes, immigration, or education. Congress does. A president can cajole, urge, plead, and lead, but in the end he/she can only sign or veto legislation created by Congress.
So when I ponder presidential candidates, their policies matter less to me than do their character and integrity. And that's why I'm not voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin.
I could rattle off a long list of examples, but I'll stick to one: Sarah Palin. As near as I can tell, McCain didn't pick Palin (he wanted Joe Lieberman). Instead, his advisers foisted Palin on him. I gather the rationale was something like this: A female v-p would appeal to disgruntled Clinton supporters. A female v-p choice would signal "change" and thus undercut Obama's main message. Even better, Palin had run for governor as an "outsider" maverick who was opposed to corruption. She was young.
At no time, however, did McCain or his advisers think about who would best serve the nation. I gather that the question was not "Who is best qualified to sit in the White House if something happens to McCain?" but "Who is the most politically expedient"?
Yes, presidential candidates must use expedience as a criteria, but smart ones don't use it as the only criteria. In this case, however, his campaign chose his running mate for self-serving, cynical, selfish reasons.
But I also wouldn't vote for McCain because -- Sarah Palin might end up running the country. And I don't believe that she is interested in anything except what's good for Sarah Palin. Moreover, the idea of her sitting down to negotiate with, say, the president of Iraq or Russia or France -- well, the idea is too frightening to contemplate.
Put another way, McCain's choice of running mate speaks volumes about his character and integrity -- and it doesn't say anything good. But it also tells us about how McCain might behave if elected. Many of McCain's long-time friends say they don't "recognize" the John McCain who is now running for president. That he's become a nasty caricature of his former self. Political observers on both sides say that McCain is not "comfortable" with his campaign's negative tone.
Okay. Fine. But if he doesn't like it, then why is it happening? Who is in charge of the McCain campaign? John McCain or a well-paid political operative? And if it's the latter, then what does that tell us about who will be in charge of a McCain (or Palin) White House? John McCain (or Palin) or a well-paid political operative?
I don't know,and I don't want to find out the hard way.