Friday, October 10, 2008
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.