Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama

October 15th, 2008

Well, I’m not, but Christoper Buckley is.

I sympathize with his initial reasoning, that McCain, despite a history of stable, unwavering beliefs, has run an inconsistent and ill-conceived campaign. This is true; McCain’s instincts have clearly been to run a dignified, issues-focused, center-right campaign, but his advisors have pushed him toward the social right. On some things he wins, on some things his advisors win, and the result has been the mess of a campaign we see.

His first Vice President candidate choice makes this quite clear. McCain wanted Lieberman to be his running mate, but because of fears that social conservatives would revolt against a ticket they already had serious misgivings with, his advisors pushed him to abandon Lieberman and choose a social conservative. That is the central reason Palin is now his running mate.

Buckley assumes this is a change in John McCain, that he is now somehow different. I don’t think so, but I can’t blame him for thinking that.

But the next two parts of his syllogism are misguided hopes. Buckley then argues that Obama has a clear and steady temperament. Finally, he hopes that because Obama has a stable temperament, Obama will realize that governing from the left (which, if his platform is passed, he will be) is unworkable and bad for the country. Basically, Buckley is hoping that what he sees as Obama’s intellect and coolness will suddenly change his positions on a number of issues.

I don’t think that is the case. While Obama certainly exudes confidence, and this may even be indicative of a substantive temperament, Obama believes what he believes, and whether you agree with him or not, his beliefs are leftist.1 Perhaps after being elected Obama’s plans will be non-starters in Congress, but that is the only thing that can be hoped. It is folly to elect a man in hope he will radically change his beliefs and positions after assuming the presidency.

  1. Please note here that “leftist” is not used in a derogatory sense, but rather descriptive. Obama’s positions and rhetoric on a number of issues, but primarily on taxes and the economy, make this rather clear. Obama believes government has a significant and perhaps primary role in creating change in society. []