First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
What Really Matters As We Vote
Sometimes it seems like this election is one big pillow fight. The air is now so full of floating feathers that it's hard to see the furniture, and the media isn't helping, as they blow the fluff around.
But there are solid issues in this election, and how we vote will have lasting effect on our future.
1. National Defense
Without ensuring safety for America and its allies, nothing else a president does matters at all. And on this subject, Obama has promised us that his regime will be even more disastrous than Clinton's was.
We have been at war with radical Islam since the Iran hostage crisis during the Carter presidency. Reagan's and Clinton's spineless inaction and GHW Bush's failure to follow up the Gulf War with support for Iraqis who tried to oust Saddam encouraged our enemies to be even bolder.
But the attacks on 9/11 came when we finally had a president with the kind of resolve and courage that Washington, Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt brought to the monumental struggles they led us through.
Bush made mistakes, but he never lost resolve and he never backed down. Bush had been a governor and not much of a soldier when he took office as president; McCain will be the best-prepared president we've had since Eisenhower to lead us in a dangerous world.
Why, if you thought Bush was inept, would you install as Commander-in-Chief a man whose ignorance of world affairs and military strategy make Bush look like a genius?
It's not just that McCain instantly understood what Russia's invasion of Georgia meant, while Obama naively thought that we should turn to the UN Security Council -- on which Russia has a veto.
It's not just that Obama's idea of facing the threat of a nuclear Iran is "aggressive diplomacy" and more "threats of economic sanctions with direct diplomacy opening up channels of communication so we can avoid provocation" -- as if Iran needed any more provocation than our existence, or the existence of Israel, to start a nuclear war.
Both the Democrats and the press have been ignoring the Iraq War during the run-up to the election, as it became clear that the American people recognized what they wanted to deny: the success of the surge and the probability of victory in Iraq.
As recently as July 14th, however, Obama was saying: "I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president ... the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true." We have no reason to think that he has changed his mind. The New York Times
You may think that Obama and the Democratic leaders of Congress will now continue Bush's successful war policy to a successful conclusion. You may think the war is a "done deal." But you would be wrong.
A continuation of Bush's policies would be a humiliation for Obama, Reid, and Pelosi, all of whom continued to call the surge a failure long after rational people knew it was a success. It will be their first order of business to fulfil their constant promise: To begin withdrawal immediately.
Who would be insane enough to deliberately lose a war that we've already won?
It has happened before. Creighton Abrams' Vietnam War strategy ("clear and hold," as opposed to Westmoreland's "search and destroy") was as successful as the same strategy has been in Iraq. (That's what the surge was, not just numbers, but a change in tactics.)
We had an armistice in Vietnam. It held for two years. Until the newly elected Democratic Congress of the class of '74 needlessly broke our word to South Vietnam and cut them off from all military aid and resupply.
Who was surprised that North Vietnam -- still fully supplied by the USSR -- then invaded the South? With no hope of aid or even replenishment, the South Vietnamese army bowed to the inevitable.
If you doubt that Obama as president, with the Democrats in strong control of both houses of Congress, would have even a speck more honor, you are fooling yourself. Since there is no way now that they can claim credit for success in Iraq, it is vitally important to all three of them that Iraq be remembered as Bush's failure.
The only way that can happen is if Obama, Reid, and Pelosi begin the immediate withdrawal they have never ceased to advocate. Our enemies will see this, correctly, as the fulfilment of Osama bin Laden's prophecy that America would bow to Al Qaeda.
Indeed, the fact that it will come after Al Qaeda's military failure will be interpreted as proof that God is bringing them victory. Al Qaeda's recruitment, now at a low point, will soar. We will face far more threats around the world -- as those Iraqis who have bet their lives on our word go down in flames.
On top of this, Obama is already planning to finance his massive increases in social spending by canceling the weapons programs that will be essential if we are to retain the ability to protect the world peace that makes possible our system of global free trade. He calls them "fancy new weapons."
John McCain calls them "protecting our children," and McCain is right. Not every weapons program is good. But having no new weapons is insane.
2. The Economy
Even now, the leftist media is claiming that the cause of our economic crisis is the "climate of deregulation" initiated by Republicans.
This is a fantasy -- to put it charitably. Republican deregulation had its ups and downs, and there were companies that couldn't face the new level of competition and failed. Jobs moved abroad and it took time for people and industries to adapt to the changes. There are plenty of things to hate about Republican economic policies.
But there was no crisis threatening the international credit system.
The current worldwide financial "slump" has many contributing factors, but only one trigger: The Democratic Party's insistence that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide support for loans that could not be repaid.
The Bush administration called more than once for the regulations that would have eliminated this disastrous trigger. John McCain signed on as a cosponsor of a bill that would have prevented it. Meanwhile, Obama was the second-highest recipient of contributions from the corrupt and/or incompetent executives who were riding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac down to ruin.
(See John Steele Gordon's full explanation at Commentary Magazine
If Obama and the Democrats have their way, we will reward them for their relentless stupidity about the way credit works by putting them in charge of the economy.
Meanwhile, the party that foresaw the problem and, with a few crucial exceptions, tried to prevent it is going to be punished by being turned out of office.
Add to this the fact that when the media compares Obama's "tax cuts" with McCain's plan, they always seem to leave out the fact that Obama will begin by letting the Bush tax cuts lapse. They want you to think this is not a tax increase. In fact, they call McCain a liar when he says Obama will raise taxes.
But if you're not paying a tax today, and the decisions of Obama and the Democrats in Congress cause your taxes to rise, that's a tax increase. When you factor that in with Obama's supposed "cuts," working people will be paying a lot more.
Now comes the clincher: Obama is a true believer in "income redistribution." He thinks that the rights granted by the Constitution and the courts are only "negative" rights -- what the government is forbidden to do. He wants to mandate what "what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf" -- and that is "redistributive change."
As a guest on a radio call-in show in 2001, Obama laid out his economic goals very clearly. What he said to Joe the Plumber was not a "misstatement" -- it was a rare moment of honesty. Obama wants to take money from the people who work for it and give it to those who don't.
(This was only one year before his famous speech opposing the war in Iraq; what he was saying then still counts.)
He doesn't want equal opportunity. He wants equal results, regardless of your work, your preparation, or the value of what you produce. Check it out in the article by Bill Whittle.
McCain is no expert on the economy. But he's proven that he knows how to listen to the people who do understand it. And he thinks that wealth is created by people who work and think and learn and save. Share with the needy? Sure. But prosperity comes from leaving as much money as possible in the productive economy -- not from removing the rewards of achievement.
John McCain is what he seems to be. When he changes his mind or his policies, he admits it. He believes that America is an influence for good in the world. He doesn't follow the party line -- Republicans may hate some of the things he's done, but nobody has ever been able to claim he did them for any reason but his own conscience.
Obama is still a cipher. Despite the huge crowds of worshipers and the near-mystical adulation he gets from the media, he still has huge holes in his biography.
And he keeps telling us flat-out lies about his own life. For instance, when did he first meet unrepentant domestic terrorist Ayers? The answer keeps changing, as new facts emerge.
Obama can't admit a mistake. Even when he says appallingly stupid things on national television -- like the idea of sitting down without preconditions to talk with Hamas, Hizbollah, and our Iranian enemies -- he claims that somehow he is being misquoted or taken out of context.
Obama is an elitist who looks at ordinary Americans with contempt. It's "bitterness" over decades-old economic changes that make us turn to religion and guns. That's what he said in private -- in public, of course, he pretends he wants to bring us together.
But this is obviously untrue. He has never shown the slightest willingness to compromise in any way. Instead, he says whatever will get him power; but if he gets that power, there is not a hint that he will actually show any respect at all for the desires and hopes and needs of those who disagree with him.
Americans like to vote for moderates. McCain is that man -- someone who is willing to compromise in order to solve our problems in a way that can meet the needs of people on all sides of the issues.
Obama is an extremist -- the most radical Leftist ever nominated by a majojr party. Unfortunately, our media is in the hands of editors who want him to win, even if it means hiding Obama's extremism and deceptiveness from the public. Take it from Michael Malone, a reporter himself.
4. The Company He Keeps
We know all the people John McCain would bring into office with him. Judges who don't make up new laws to make sweeping changes in American society. Generals who actually think that winning wars is better than losing them. Advisers whose belief in American values and traditions is unquestioned.
We also know the people Barack Obama would bring into office. They would be elitists like him, who know what's good for us and therefore feel justified in deceiving us about their intentions.
He will appoint elitist judges who don't care what's written in the laws and Constitution, but will instead make new laws to remake our society as they think it should be.
And his advisers? The trouble here is that he keeps denying the advisers that have already shaped his view of the world.
Bill Ayers seems to have ghost-written at least part of Obama's "autobiography," and Obama seems to have been in harmony with Ayers' view of America right up to the point where it became politically dangerous to admit it.
Make sure you check out Jack Cashill's probing -- and to me, as a writer and editor, completely convincing -- examination of Obama's "autobiography": Did Bill Ayers Write Obama’s “Dreams”? and Obama didn't write 'Dreams from My Father'
Obama is a patriot. He wants to make America a better place. In his ignorance of history, geopolitics, and the economy, he thinks that he can do it by unilaterally declaring peace, disbanding much of our military capability, raising our taxes and sharing the money with nontaxpayers.
Since he and his friends know much better than we do what's good for us, he doesn't have to tell us the truth about anything. America is full of moderate voters. So he pretends he's a moderate, and only now and then do his real beliefs sneak out where they can be seen.
Unfortunately, his resume is a strange one: He keeps getting elected to jobs where he does, essentially, nothing except run for the next one. As president, that wouldn't be an option -- there's no "next job." Who knows how he'd govern?
But we can guess. The media are already wrapped around his finger. But heaven help anyone who dares to question him -- he'll get the Joe the Plumber treatment, or be blacklisted like Barbara West and WFTV, who dared to ask him the kind of question that McCain faces all the time.
Add to that the fact that Democrats in Congress are already planning to shut down conservative talk radio, the only part of the broadcast media they don't control. They call this the "fairness doctrine."
And they want to take away the secret ballot from workers who might not want to join a union. They call this the "Employee Free Choice Act."
And they name these anti-freedom measures using 1984-style Newspeak, because lying works so much better for them than telling the truth about what they're doing.
Obama's America is the land of the New Puritans. You know them -- they're the people who are haunted by the fear that somewhere, someone might be having an unapproved-of thought. Obama is their hero. His election, along with a Democratic Party Congress, means they get to rule America.
McCain has helped pay the cost of freedom with suffering and the loss of years of his life. In his America, a Republican in Congress doesn't have to vote with his party -- he can vote his conscience or compromise with opponents to reach a better result.
In McCain's America, you can get mad sometimes. You can innocently talk and joke without looking over your shoulder for fear someone will take it wrong and get you fired.
In McCain's America, you can join the military with confidence that if you are called upon to risk your life, it will be in a good cause, and your commander-in-chief will do his best to make sure your sacrifice is not wasted.
In McCain's America, you get to keep most of your money, even if by some fluke you happen to earn a lot of it.
In McCain's America, you can expect the courts to uphold the law. You can expect that your kids will not be propagandized to despise or ignore your family's religious beliefs.
In McCain's America, you can have confidence that you know the guy in the Oval Office, and he actually pays attention to what you believe in and care about.
Hope and Action
The radical Left wants you to believe the election is already over. Obama has won, so you might as well stay home.
Don't believe them. Hold on to some hope.
Make sure you vote. Make sure everyone who cares about the same things as you also votes. Call them. Twice. Give them rides. Thank them after they voted.
Even if you're in a state that is regarded as a foregone conclusion. Utah. Massachusetts. Your vote still matters.
Because even if Obama wins, your vote can still show just how much support he doesn't have. Remember the election of 2000, and how debilitating it is to a president not to have a plurality of the votes cast.
If McCain wins, let it be by a majority of the popular vote, and not just of the electoral. And if Obama wins, let it be by the slimmest of majorities -- or without a popular majority at all.
And keep in mind, when voting for senators, that they decide on the treaties we sign and the judges we appoint.
Give President McCain a Congress that can work with him to create the America we want to live in.
P.S. Most of the URLs I link to are conservative sites. I would much rather have sent you to impartial mainstream media sites.
There aren't many of those, so I have to take the facts where I can get them.
All these sites are crystal clear about where the facts leave off and the opinions begin. And they give you a pretty good idea of what you would have seen on ABC, CBS, or NBC if they weren't house organs of the New Puritans.
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