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Friday, October 10, 2008

Whether or not to vote for McCain: Part VIII
Mike Rappaport

As readers of this blog will know, I have been tentatively arguing that it would be better for the nation and the republican party if Obama were to win.  Therefore, I would not vote for McCain but instead write in a name.  (Voting for Obama is out of the question.)  I won't repeat the argument here.

But I should now let readers know that I may be changing my mind on the matter.  I am considering voting for McCain.  It is not that I believe I was wrong.  (Heaven forbid!)  Rather, it is that circumstances have changed. 

With the financial crisis we are facing, an Obama Presidency combined with a strongly Democratic Congress would be much worse than the situation we were previously facing.  Thus, it makes more sense to avoid it, even if it means electing McCain and all the damage that will do.

To put the point differently, before the financial crisis, there was a realistic chance that electing Obama and a Democratic Congress would be Jimmy Carter in 1976 or Bill Clinton in 1992 -- presidencies that soon led to Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich.  But with the financial crisis, there is a much greater chance that electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932.  Obama could use the emergency to transform the country in a very bad way.  And, given the crisis and Obama's political skills, it is quite possible that the country would reelect him, even if he does badly -- which, after all, is what happened when FDR was reelected during the New Deal in 1936.  (In 1936, the unemployment rate was still 17 percent.)

I haven't made up my mind yet.  After all, McCain really is awful.  But that is the way I am leaning. 

Update: Ilya Somin seems to be having similar thoughts, although Ilya appears to have been planning to vote for McCain all along.

Further Update: Ilya describes my position as previously believing that an Obama victory was the lesser of two evils.  I suppose that is accurate enough for the purposes of his post.  But for readers of this blog, let me sketch out my old position a little more.  I believed over the next 4 years an Obama victory would be worse for the nation.  But 4 years from now, an Obama victory would have some benefits: it would make the nation more likely to recognize the mistakes of Democrat big government and would be more likely to lead the Republican party back to its Reaganite roots.  In the long run, the nation would be better off if McCain lost.  Now, unfortunately, things appear to have changed.

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

My thoughts are identical, and so I will not repeat what you are not repeating. However.
I have seen a great commonality among American soldiers who were survivors of the Japanese POW camps. They have had all the vinegar stolen out of them. Not the courage to be sure; but they are simply not combative at all.
I have for some weeks come to wonder if it was not more than McCains body that was broken in Hanoi.
I'm sure McCain is naturally very pugnacious, competitive, and combative. These qualities, which if in fact they remain only in a more superficial form, mask a terrible need to 'reach across the aisle' and make accomodations to people who cannot be accomodated. Inotherwords, he has hostage syndrome, and is wholly inadequate to defend America against the Left.
A Spanish philosopher saw it this way four centuries ago: The greater evil finds access more easily when we open the door to the lesser evil.

Posted by: james wilson | Oct 10, 2008 8:41:49 PM

I am glad that you have come to see that the cost of a Democratic party landslide may be potentially very devastating to America. I just wish that you would take that insight one step further, and see that the only way to prevent such a disaster is to encourage all Americans who have any doubts about McCain or Republicans to put those doubts aside and vote Republican in November.

Posted by: Aaron Durst | Oct 11, 2008 8:57:12 AM

Consider that the media climate has changed, too, which ties into your invocation of 1932. The mortgage collapse is, rightly, an indictment of government intrusion -- but who's telling that story? Following that, how likely is it that an electoral majority would "recognize the mistakes of Democrat big government"? Painfully not likely, though we'd love to see it repudiated.

Old media, fully committed to demagoguery, has a much larger controlling interest of the national conversation than most of us believed. New media is barely holding the line.

In this environment, Republicans are more apt to act like Democrats than reform. Losses in 2006 only strengthened Democrats. Which begs the question: do we really need a reprise of 1993 and 1994 to move the GOP back to Reaganism? McCain, if he wins, will play both ends against the middle -- a politically neutral White House would be just as useful leverage as Clinton's.

Posted by: Cover Me, Porkins | Oct 11, 2008 2:40:35 PM