Monday, October 13, 2008


Ever since I became politically conscious (~15 years old on the speech and debate and mock congress teams), I've been a self-described libertarian, realist, free market Republican. Ideologically, it is extremely appealing. Everyone looks out for his or herself, is self-sufficient, rises to his/her level of incompetence, and allows everyone else the same freedom. It's an extremely empowering ideology. All of your success is due to your hard work. Any failure is due to you not wanting to work harder. Having been born and raised in the Southwest, with all of its cowboy independence, it was a natural fit. I voted Republican down the line (with the exception of Bill Clinton in '96 - who was I to turn away from peace and prosperity?).

Last week, I voted for Barack Obama for President (early voting, as I'll be out of state on Election Day).

Up until a month ago, I was going to vote for John McCain. I voted for Senator McCain in the 2000 Republican primary (and how I wish he had been President the past eight years. And for full disclosure, I did not vote for him in the Republican primary this year. I voted for Ron Paul.). However, events over the past four weeks have convinced me that I cannot vote for him again.

First and foremost was his selection of Governor Palin. I wasn't immediately opposed to her because I knew nothing about her. I took a wait and see approach. Well, I've waited and I've seen. In my opinion, she lacks the intellect, the judgment, and the temperament to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. I won't YouTube you to death, as I'm sure you've seen the interviews and debate (no press conferences though??), but I expect more from my leaders, especially after the past eight years.

McCain's political selection of her reflects poorly on his own judgment. Yes, it made sense politically. He did need to fire up his social conservative base, a base extremely wary of some of his more liberal tendencies (see campaign finance reform and immigration), but his selection of her as his running mate demonstrated that he was not putting 'Country First'. McCain selects Lieberman or Romney and I might not be writing this.

Which brings me to reason number two. The Republican social conservative base. I refuse to be affiliated with a group of people that hates/despises/thinks I am bound for eternal damnation and is pretty vocal about it due to my religion. The Republican base despises The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I used to ignore it. I will not ignore it any longer.

Reason number three: The Republicans are no longer the party of small government. The romantic allure of Barry Goldwater's Republicanism no longer exists. In today's globalized environment of multi-national corporations and interdependent economies and governments, and as evidenced by the global financial meltdown now occurring, I'm not sure a small government approach is even possible.

Over the past thirty years, Republican administrations have increased the size of government in real dollars and as a percentage of spending year on year more than Democratic administrations have. We have a party that says government has a role to play and then spends pragmatically (relatively speaking) and another party that says government should get out of the way and then does the opposite and drives spending (the size of government) up.

If I don't have my romantic and possibly infeasible option any longer, I'll go with the pragmatic. Senator Obama is no messiah. He will not change our current situation with a wave or clap of his hands. However, I believe Senator Obama has the intellect, the judgment, and the temperament to do what is best for our country. My instincts tell me that he will put pragmatism over dogmatism. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Only time will tell, but for now, this could be the end of my own personal history (see Francis Fukuyama). Ideology from both the left and right has demonstrated that what ideology is really good at is getting in the way of doing what is right.


liz said...

thanks for writing thing. i enjoy hearing about your thoughts in a subject you have passion for.

it's such a personal decision few feel comfortable discussing (who they will/ did vote for) and I appreciate it. It sounds like you have done your homework and thought a lot about what you think is important for this role.

I love you. And not just for your brains, either.

John said...

I'm shocked. I thought you were McCain/Palin all the way. ;)

At best Obama has the possibility of being a transcendent political figure. At worst McCain has the possibility of over-reacting to any given situation or not making it to 2010 alive. And if you listen to what they say, Obama just may be the more financially conservative candidate.

I can't say I'm satisfied with our choices, but I'd vote for either candidate with more excitement than the 2004 candidates.

Denise said...

Well said, Mike. Your thoughts written here are nearly identical to the thoughts Daniel and I expressed to eachother during a conversation this weekend. Like you, the choice of Sarah Palin and the ensuing embarrassments from that were literally the final straws for us. Now, if we write in Ron Paul -- who historically votes with the Constitution, it's almost like throwing the vote away. Ahhh, the downfall of the GOP has been a painful thing to watch.

Bubba the Hutt said...

I too have voted along Republican lines, mostly because lately the Democrats keep putting up unelectable candidates. I agree the Republican party is not what it used to be, the only reason I haven't pulled my membership is because I still want to have some kind of say-so in the Primaries. If AZ allowed me to vote in the Primaries even though I'm not a member of the party I'd do that in a heartbeat.

Palin also worries me. Would I like to go camping with their family? You bet. Do I love the fact that she can nail a wolf at a full sprint from a low flying aircraft with a .270? Absolutely. Do I believe in a lot of the same things she does, yes and no. But just because we share some beliefs doesn't mean I'm going to jump in bed with you.

I see where you're coming from with the Big O, but I can't vote for him. I'd rather "waste" my vote on an independent than vote for either of them. Then again I doubt that will matter in AZ anyways.

John said...

MN is open primary state so I have been a registered independent since moving from AZ.

I am not scared to vote for a Democrat or Obama. Clinton was more conservative than Bush in many ways. Traditional Republicans just don't want to accept it. Obama's plans once executed are more fiscally conservative than Bush as well.

Bubba the Hutt said...

Didn't like Bush either, but caved into the Republican pressure of voting party lines. A vote for an independent is a vote against the two party system.

PassTheChips said...

I'll be your write-in candidate. Just don't vote for Nader. Please. He really annoyed me last week on Bill Maher.

Sheri said...

Can you be my political advisor?

Karen Lambson said...

What policy of Barack Obama's do you most agree with that would make you want to vote for him?

I can't think of one. Does the Democratic party like Mormons any more than the Republican party?

My husband's small business may not survive if Obama is elected because he usually grosses over $250,000 a year.

Besides being an intellectual elitist what else does Obama have to offer?

PassTheChips said...

Hello Karen and welcome.

I can name more than one (fiscal responsibility, anti-preventive war, health care as a right, lower taxes for the middle class, preserving traditional marriage, etc).

If you cannot find a single issue that you agree on with Obama, then I'm afraid you disagree with McCain on a host of issues as well. If you still believe that you do not agree with Obama on a single issue, I challenge you to read his blueprint for change ( and to tell me why you disagree with him on each and every issue. I'm not being cute. I seriously want to understand how your statement could be true.

Harry Reid.

I'd be interested in seeing your husband's projected revenues and costs under McCain for the next four years and your husband's projected revenues and costs for the next four years under Obama.

I wasn't aware that being smart and educated was a disqualification for public office. I find comfort in knowing that my leaders actually know what they are talking about.

PassTheChips said...

Sheri, only if I could take on the title of Grand Vizier (cool hat included).

Anonymous said...

B.O. loses on:


Family values.

Public affiliations (negative and down right scandalous!)

Hitting the hold button on economics... President's do not fix these matters. Yes, they are a driving force of what is needed, but lets face it... B.O. and McCain have a bigger hand in this disaster than the American People. Congress will affect the change needed or not needed... never a commander and chief.


To me this election is not about anything other than character.

Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.
- Theodore Roosevelt

I need to feel confident that when terror looks our President in the eye... he will not back down. If our current way of life deteriorates to the point where sweeping change is needed... my money is on McCain. For that matter anyone including Hillary would serve a higher level of character than Obama.

I am really tired of hearing Obama saying all the right things and presenting this wonderful picture. Wake up America and look down at what your drinking... it is not water.

IMHO - a four weeks is .0001 of the time I would give McCain to show me he is not worthy of office.

Palin - I will agree with. There are worse selections out there, but she was not the strongest. She is by far the best looking and in America that certainly matters. Nobody will argue with me on that... beauty is a cornerstone of being American.

Is the race over? Yes.

Will my vote be wasted in a state that could turn the tide against B.O.? Absolutely.

Will I change my party affiliation? Negative.

Was I asked to? Negative.

I did not know the Republican party was biased on religion... you may need to defend that one. If that turns out to be true, then that could seriously risk any political party.

I happen to agree strongly that abortion is not a solution to anything. It is not up to you and I to decide the outcome of the Lord's plan. A woman needs to goto another country to exercise that aspect of her choice. Rape and incest are simply not statistically valid reasons to keep that option open. If America has been on a spending spree for 2 decades... one could argue other "sprees" were happening concurrently.

I do not know... it is 3 am... I'm tired of B.O. almost as much as I am physically.... if he is elected then I will suffer for the next four years until he is soundly defeated.

I have never publicly demonstrated about anything... I would certainly consider it with this trend.

Hempstead NY = Sound beating... take that mofo's!

PassTheChips said...

Infidelity and the Keating 5. Neither are reasons I'm not voting for McCain, but if you're using family values and character as the top two reasons for your choice, then those must be looked at.

Abortion. Wow. WOW!! You're saying that a woman getting raped and/or pregnant from that rape is part of the Lord's plan. You and I believe in a very different god. And to minimize pregnancy from rape by saying it is statistically insignificant? Please tell me that this is part of the sarcastic part of your comment. And yes, I believe that abortion is an acceptable choice for a woman who is pregnant from rape and/or incest.

If you don't know that the largest piece of the Republican coalition consists of evangelicals (about 1/3), then you haven't been paying attention. Why do you think McCain had to go and make nice with Bush in 2004, Falwell in 2006, CPAC this past spring, and then choose Palin? He had to pander to the evangelical base, without whose support, he had a slimmer chance than he has now. A base that despises my faith.

Other "sprees"?

Anonymous said...

Abortion is not an acceptable means to an end. In my belief, there is no middle ground. We are aligned properly my friend, yet the distinction for allowing abortion to exist is not something we can properly examine here. I'd welcome the opportunity, if it came to be, where we could discuss it further in a more personal setting. Please do not mix up my words, or the lack of the proper ones, for the emotional and mental torture that was involved... nor did we speak of my view regarding punishment for this type of crime... it too is also decisive. If I offended anyone, please accept my apology.

Now, I usually keep my opinions to myself. There is usually no need to outwardly express them, but B.O. symbolizes a total lack of character. You cannot support a defense of B.O. on that front. Having said that, character is a core attribute to the Presidency... so for me the matter is decided.

Moving on from there to the greater attributes of the Republican party... look at its roots. Right - wrong - or indifferent - political alliance should have nothing to do with religion (abortion). If it is a character flaw for a politician to cater to one aspect of religion over another, then I concede that point entirely as wrong. It should not be done nor tolerated. It may be discussed in those circles and the politicians morals (personally view on abortion) should not be apart of there execution in office. As I stated in previous posts... Abortion is not a matter for the Executive branch. Let's leave that one for Congress.

I am not pleased nor do I agree with the GOP's stance with regard to LDS. I maintain my open view and educate myself through my closest friends and my own exploration to know just how wrong that is. Acceptance is the only policy on the table... anything short of that is not an option. I'll beat the same drum twice. A politician cannot execute an office for the people from the mindset of a few or his own personal moral restrictions. There must be a certain degree of indifference or they should not be in office. I'm not commenting as to how much... but that is for the American people to conclude on their own.

PassTheChips said...

No offense taken and no apology necessary.

What are these character flaws you keep alluding to? I can't defend (or not) when I don't know what I'm defending.

And because you keep bringing up character, how can you say with a straight face that a man who cheats on his wife (first wife), was involved intimately with the S&L crisis (Keating 5), and has a notoriously hot temper (I'd prefer someone cool as a cucumber as my Commander in Chief) has great character?

Anonymous said...


Time on the job.
- Senator Obama is a relative newbie to this level of politics. I cannot trust someone with little or no established creditability supporting values I hold to be important.

Buying the White House.

- A campaign should not be purchased, chorographer, and presented to win the hearts and minds of American's. This is not the NY Yankee's. Review Obama's election funds spending. There is a marketing machine operating on level with nothing the American people have seen before at a time where some are begging for it and others cannot see past.

Ayers or Mansour.
- Dead in the water.

He has never served.
- Nor have I, but I cannot support a C&C in a time of war without it. (We are at war and losing is not an end game to save money.) Yes - make no mistake. An untimely withdrawal of Iraq means we lost. Finish the fight. Kou de gras - Obama wants to downsize our Armed Forces... what the freak?!?!?

Michelle Obama.
- I can't go there without long term damage to my own credibility. We do not need a first lady that will result to her tactics. Nancy set too high a standard for me. Barbara maintained and slightly diminished it and Hillary certainly brought it to a new low. I've been happy with Mrs. Bush. I've also been pretty clueless of her accomplishments, which for me is almost as important.

I will stop at this point... since I do not think it matters to go deeper than the top of my head thoughts. Character cannot be supported - abandon this issue. Everyone certainly has... it is easy to ignore. I call a unique ability to focus. As far as a cool cucumber view, I cannot say I disagree. I would rather characterize it as Obama will not know how to react. He will refer regardless of what he says to those around him or the woman that shares his bed for clues. I can sleep at night - soundly - know that my C&C may be hot or passionate, but most importantly, I know McCain has been there. An equal but painful response will always be executed.

PassTheChips said...

Now we're having fun.

Time on the job - experience, not character. And I hear you on the experience argument. It's one reason I'm not voting for McCain (his lack of experience and understanding of the most important issue facing us today. The economy.)

Buying the White House - politics, not character. Office is always bought and if Obama wins, his office will have been bought by the people. Look at the numbers provided by the FEC. 47% of Obama's donors donated less than $200 and all of Obama's campaign money is from individuals, who are limited in donating the maximum amount of $2300. Only 26% of McCain's donors donated less than $200 and 11% of McCain's money is coming from the Republican National Committee, meaning individuals can give as much money as they want to the committee and then the committee can give it to the candidate. McCain can thank himself (McCain-Feingold) for that one.

Ayers or Mansour - I find this more interesting than bothersome. As much play as this has been getting on television, radio, and print, most Americans seem to agree. And Jeremiah Wright. I mostly agree with him.

He has never served - Military service is definitely not a prerequisite. Understanding the military is. I believe he understands the military and geopolitical strategy. Also, look at McCain's spending proposals. He is also planning on reducing spending on Defense. Reduced Defense spending is a requirement in the welfare state we now live in and which both candidates support.

Michelle Obama - you're right, she should stay in the kitchen. Barefoot and pregnant. Educated, independent women. Shiver.

War is definitely an extension of politics, but it should not be the first and or only response. It should only be executed when absolutely called for. Iraq was not called for. However and unfortunately, we're there. I don't believe that Obama is going to risk U.S. interests at this point by pulling out precipitously, but pullout eventually (not 100 years eventually) he must.

Anonymous said...

I give up. You are a democrate. P.S. It changes nothing. I do, officially, withdraw my availability of being your SofS. It with a heavy heart I make that statement. Even if you came back to the path, I could not support a flip flopper.

P.S.S. We really need a third party in this country. I am sure we would both find our own paths to that happy middle ground.

P.S.S.S. Now that our difference in politics is been documented. I look forward to more banter with a smile. I'm not the type to roll my eyes and throw my arms in the air claiming all is lost with you. Besides... that wonderful woman standing behind you with those kids would never allow you to stray too far to the left. This changes nothing. Nova would still be fully eligible for Zane. Educated (hopefully) older smarter woman!! ;)

Bubba the Hutt said...

What's your formula for choosing a Presidential candidate? We all weigh certain aspects of the candidates as a means of coming to a decision of who to vote for.

I tend to be:
50% policy (which is then broken down into sub-groups like: economy, war, foreign policy, health care, etc).
25% experience
15% character (yeah, I know that's kind of high, but what can I say, I have high expectations of my Pres)
10% religion (I include abortion and gay marriage in this category, this number would be a lot lower if I put abortion in the "policy" section)

The point is we all hold certain aspects in higher regard than others. It's not wrong that I feel that X is more important than Y when you think the opposite.

Everyone's entitled to their wrong opinion.

PassTheChips said...

It comes down to trust for me. Do I trust he or she will make the right policy decisions (regardless of whatever the stated position is.)? I develop my trust or distrust based upon the three things I keep mentioning on this site: intellect, judgment, and temperament.

However, trust is not something we can easily debate, hence we create our fun talking about policy and character.

And anonymous, you can still be my Secretary of Defense if you let me be your Treasury Secretary (or appoint me to the Supreme Court - it's up to you).

Anonymous said...

Did I ever mention... all you need to do is get behind Bubba and go to the hole?

Well, I did that last night and it felt good. Real good.

So here I am to do this once again.

My decision criteria:

50% is character (no surprise coming here.) To me, this is something someone spends a lifetime creating and maintaining. An ill advised statement or action should ruin a lifetime of experiences. Depending on the office you are going after, Ford Credit or Secretary of Defense (no chance I would/could ever run so I am very sorry about the court appointment chance and there is zero chance of you getting the Treasury bid... in my book you are VP material bud), character for me is a pure assessment of their fitness for office.

40% policy – I refer to bubba's definition with his suggested inclusions.

10% Wild card – for me we are in a time of war. We need a President that understands that and will make the right call on North Korea, Iraq, and of course Venezuela.

PassTheChips said...

Dick Cheney VP or Dan Quayle VP?

Bubba the Hutt said...

Depends on how you spell "potato", but since I already spelled it that kinda ruins the whole experiment.