Off the Fence for Obama

Like everyone else with half a brain in this country, I’ve been looking at the Presidential candidates and trying to decide whom I should vote for in November.

I’ve started with the premise, among others, that Iraq is off the table as an issue.  There is an agreement in place with the Iraqi government on how we will withdraw our forces over time, and while the initial decision to go to Iraq was a spectacularly bad judgement, neither of the present candidates was specifically responsible for it.

The Democrats are running Barack Obama, a wonderful orator with big plans for how the government will help us.  He grants that these plans will cost money, and proposes to pay for them by eliminating tax loopholes for businesses, and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.  His approach to foreign policy emphasizes the use of diplomacy over military force.

The Republicans are running John McCain, a former Navy pilot and prisoner of war who has the vibe of being a ‘maverick.’  On the other hand, his actual votes in the Senate track very closely the Bush administration’s desires.  He wants to keep the tax cuts and considers the world a dangerous place, where the use of force is a real consideration.

Part of me really wants to vote for McCain.  I believe that he has better judgement than Bush, I don’t like taxes (who does?), and I’m genuinely skeptical of big government plans to help people, because I’ve seen them backfire.

On the other hand, a government, like a household or a company, has to take in enough money to maintain itself and do the things it does.  And maintaining a strong military and being prepared to use it aren’t cheap.  Moreover, I don’t buy into the thought that lowering tax rates will stimulate economic activity to the point where the government will take in more money than if it had left taxes alone: if taxes were oppressively high, as they were a generation ago, it might be true, but not now.

In the second quarter of 2008, the US economy grew by 2.1%, so that we can officially say that we’re not in a recession, but shed over 500,000 jobs. Who wins and who loses when that happens?

And what good does it do to make ourselves safe from terrorists if most of us end up worse off in terms of our daily standard of living, in a country that is becoming no longer the land of opportunity?

McCain will do nothing to stop this.  Obama will at least try.

For this reason, despite my misgivings, I’ve decided to vote for Barack Obama in the next election.

But God help us, either way….

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