Friday, February 29, 2008

This year, I am apparently a Republican

Well, now that the Democrats are taking part in their favourite sport (verbally abusing other Democrats), I find myself leaning towards Republican Senator John McCain, who is bound to be the Republican nomination for President, even though Mike ("Don't Believe In Evolution & The World Is Only 6000yrs Old") Huckabee and Ron ("I'm Fun, But Mad") Paul are still convinced they can snatch victory from the jaws of insignificance.
McCain is a great man, and a great senator. Of the 37 measures he presented on the Senate floor in 2007, all have been meaningful measures - covering mainly military matters, but also a welcome number of environmental protection motions for this home state of Arizona. Compared to Obama and Clinton, who seem to have the senate equivalent of tourettes (each has proposed over 100 motions, most sadly non-binding and vacuous), McCain appears to be the better politician and also more conscientious of what he proposes.
Rather than spreading himself too thin with proposals that are mere window-dressing or pandering to special interests (Obama wants to create a Rosa Parks commemoration stamp, for example - woot! So much for eschewing racial politics), McCain has decided to do what he can achieve, and what is sensible, without pandering to anyone. Sure, his environmental measures are Arizona based, but he is the Arizona senator, so of course he needs to look after his state - that's why he was sent to Washington in the first place.
Not only that, I think McCain would make a better president than either Clinton or Obama. I'm concerned about who he might choose for his VP candidate, but ultimately, I think he'd make an excellent president. It's a pity he's running against two historically significant candidates, and also that he's running as the candidate for the same party as George W Bush, who has managed to disappoint just about everyone in the US (not to mention much of the rest of the world). It's quite possible that many people will vote for a Democrat because they are just fed up of Republican rule, despite the fact that McCain is an unusual Republican (i.e. a moderate).
Even the "dirt" on McCain is harmless. The New York Times is running the story (again) about his ties to lobbyists - it first surfaced in 2000, when he was running against GWB for the Republican nomination. Turns out, a lobbyist from Paxson Communications asked McCain to act on long-delayed bid for a local Pittsburgh TV station that was before the FCC for a decision. Rather than be a poodle for the lobbyist, McCain agreed to ask the FCC to speed up their deliberation, but refused to argue for or against the purchase - indeed, he bluntly admitted asking the FCC to speed up, and admitted that campaign contributions he received through Paxson contacts would "absolutely" look corrupt to the average voter. But, because he didn't push the FCC to vote in favour of Paxson's client, I can't see how it could be argued that he did anything wrong. This is not really a scandal. In the post-Jack Abramoff world of lobbying, not to mention the slew of other Republican money (and sex) scandals that emerged in 2007, McCain's actions look tame in the extreme.
We shall see what happens, I guess. McCain is the only Republican I've ever wanted to vote for (at least, Republicans from my admittedly short lifetime thus far), and if I was a US citizen I have no doubt that I would pull the lever for McCain.

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