Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Political Epiphany

I watched the most recent Presidential debate and contrary to the reaction of many others, I am happy that I did so. My satisfaction is hardly derived from entertainment or insight (at least insight directly from the candidates themselves) that I reaped from viewing. From the candidates indirectly, however, I learned a valuable to lesson…

…how liberating one feels to begin to break bonds from organized associations.

That notion requires clarification. And clarity will be most easily achieved by referencing the one example that most motivated the recognition of this notion.

Politically, I first to began to associate myself with the Republican Party no later than immediately after joining the military. Interestingly, however, my real passion for Republican doctrines was cemented during my first year in college when I was exposed to economical theory and the free-market principles of experts such as Milton Friedman.

Since that time, I have fell victim to the trap that one can be so easily snared when dealing with party politics. I began to follow my party’s rhetoric blindly which, roughly, brings me to my general political ideology up until the last debate. And, then, with seemingly minimal effort, Senator John McCain, whom I have met and respect dearly, caused a sudden recognition of my own folly.

I was planning on voting for McCain because he was the Republican candidate. Now, however, I will vote for him only because the policies that Senator Obama recommends somehow scare me worse than Senator McCain’s. And that is really saying something, because it is Senator McCain’s plans as President that distance him so far from the conservative base.

So, instead of being bound by cookie-cutter party ideology, I will now and forever live by my own standards of good governance.

This was caused by several McCain policy endorsements, a couple of which I will briefly discuss.

During the debate, Senator McCain continually propagated his plan for economic recovery that included the purchasing of falsely-valued mortgages by government; these mortgages would then be resold to the original holder at their current (real) value. While I am cognizant of the plight that many of these mortgage owners face, I am only marginally sympathetic. I wonder to myself at what point people began to believe that it was wise to purchase homes so financially beyond their means. It is easy to pass the blame to those that, for a period, gained the most from this vast amount of exorbitantly priced homes sold (the sellers), but some (err… much) of the blame has to be placed on the individuals that borrowed so recklessly in the first place.

The U.S. economy, without too much government interference, is going to require a period of “tough love” to straighten itself out. However, I believe that it will correct itself and in doing so, and by encountering the consequences that citizens themselves sowed, the U.S. economy will be stronger and wiser for having gone through the trials brought on by excessive gluttony.

But the Arizona Senator’s plan is nothing like this. He wants to rescue the “victims” of this crisis. And, while I can hardly fault the moral obligation that he feels, I can fault his policies for being contrary to every free-market conservative principle in which I have been exposed. If this is what the Republicans are currently selling, than I am not buying it.

Finally, there is the topic of my single largest pet-peeve in regards to the “new” McCain: his lack of fortitude on the issue of market deregulation.

It is currently the vogue opinion to blame the financial crisis on the deregulation of financial markets. Senator McCain himself, throughout the debate, was targeted negatively as a proponent of deregulation.

To which, I only ask: when did promoting a free-market economy become a bad thing?

Apparently, to Senator McCain, it has become just that because he responds to each of these accusations sheepishly. A candidate with my ideology would stand strong when exposed to deregulation being referred to negatively. I would suspect that an individual whom truly bought into their conservative principles, which I do, would respond to such criticism by pointing out that any market requiring DEregulation was never free in the first place. Why not counter such criticism by questioning how effectively a truly free market could be?

That question, of course, is rhetorical. Such a response from Senator McCain would be akin to him surrendering the election to Senator Obama, because everyone “knows” that deregulation has led to the financial mess in which America currently finds itself. To be a proponent of such policies would be like being a proponent of the agitator that caused the current financial meltdown. Never mind that we hardly know where the economy would stand right now had it ever truly and originally been liberated to the point some of us would have liked and would still like.

By following my advice and aggressively standing firm on the conservative values in which the Republican Party was formed, would be doom for Senator McCain’s Presidential bid, but - should I hold myself as an example - it would go a long way in reassuring grassroot Republicans that our Party has not abandoned us.

But, it has.

And, in my case, this is not unfortunate because it has revealed to me the liberation of never again voting on someone else’s terms. While I despise the Democratic Party’s platform, there is much to dislike about the G.O.P.’s as well. Why restrict myself to such limiting and inadequate standards?

1 comment:

Tom said...

Nice post - and I have to agree on the failure of the GOP platform. I think when that pork bill passed on the Transportation initiative, I knew then that the GOP had surrendered.

I wonder, though, on the "deregulation" issue if we shouldn't consider the failure as caused by more intense "regulation" - that being Clinton's ratcheting up of the CRA rules which forced banks to make bad loans so they could get more of the loan money. In a truly capitalistic endeavor, those rules would be considered encroaching on the free market, therefore excess regulation. So - what got "deregulated"?