Friday, March 07, 2008

Clinton, McCain, or Obama - who's the official candidate of CogentPassion?

A friend of mine asked me who I'm endorsing for President. I answered that I haven't endorsed anybody yet, and that even if I supported someone, I'm definitely not important enough to call it an endorsement.


I supported McCain in 2000, and I think in retrospect, we probably would have been better off with him (or, virtually anybody else!) I really didn't like at the time how the party lined up behind Bush. If you recall, there really wasn't much of a Republican primary, as Bush Jr. leveraged family and party connections to lock up the nomination without any serious debate. I wonder if McCain would have selected Jeb Bush as VP. Would have been a good combination.

I think my interest in McCain at the time was driven not by any particular McCain stance, but rather I thought he would make a good leader, which is still true. But, in the meantime, I've studied McCain a bunch since then, and I'm underwhelmed - not in a Rush Limbaugh/Ann Coulter "he's not a REAL Republican" sort of way. Instead, I'm really turned off by his expansive government/anti-Libertarian views. He hasn't met a problem that wouldn't be solved with more government or otherwise extend government management at the expense of market solutions or civil liberties. I think he'd continue many of Bush's policies, and looking forward, I see him extending government authority in the emerging environment and energy policy areas. (I'm OK with his approach to health care. I may be the only person in biotech that thinks legalizing drug reimportation and biogenerics might be a good idea.)

Oh, and I'm frightened by his professed lack of understanding of economic issues.

But, there's at least one scenario where I'd pull the lever for McCain: an election vs Hillary Clinton.

If I dislike McCain's views due to their heavy reliance on the government, I absolutely HATE the policies espoused by Hil. She really lost me in '93-'94 with her first attempt at health care reform. I'm not upset that she led the effort, or anything like that, but rather that her solution was a power-grab by the government. She's learned to use new terms, but her and her policy haven't changed. Consider her anti-free trade rhetoric, and her bottomless bag of government pablum (like the $5,000 baby bonds idea).

I'm also completely turned off by her distorted campaign rhetoric. 35 years of experience? Are those dog years? (Did you realize, btw, that Obama has more years of elective office than Hillary. Interesting that Obama doesn't really engage Clinton on the issue of experience.)

And, to be honest, I'd really like the Clintons to just go away. They embody a polarizing, cutthroat, unconstructive attitude, and I believe, held back America during the Clinton presidency. (Yes, many have fond memories of the Clinton presidency, but I find it very hard to identify any big and successful Clinton-driven initiatives or advances. The economy generally went well, and as a result government finances were good, but I'm not in the camp that says that whoever is in the White House has a big effect on the economy. The boom of the late '90's was driven by tech spending and increasing globalization, not because of any Clinton wizardry. Don't believe me? Read this great article @ US News.)

Which brings me to my current infatuation with Obama. He's a breath of fresh air, a new attitude, new voice, and a fresh start after 20 years of Bush-Clinton.

I'm a believer, and voted for him in the Virginia primary.

I really, really, really don't agree with many of his policies, but I believe that he'd get a bit more centrist once in office, and I think that he'd have a good, balanced conversation before enacting any of his most dramatic policy plans. (Unlike Clinton, who in her haste to enact her policies would look to steamroll opposition, eventually leading yet again to a polarized polity.)

However, it should be noted that there really aren't many policy differences between Clinton and Obama There is, though a tremendous difference in how each candidate would act on a daily basis. Clinton is first and foremost a manager, while Obama is a leader, and I'll take a leader over a manager for President. (Here's a bit more on the Clinton/Obama manager/leader differences.)

I haven't figured out with certainty what I'd do in a McCain/Obama clash. My current expectation would be to vote for Obama, but this could change pending further exposure to Obama, or if McCain selects a VP that gets me excited. (My favorite, and the guy that I've been touting as a Presidential candidate for several years is Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina. I've been a fan of his since his time in Congress as one of the "Contract With America" Congressmen.

In the end, my real preference would be to forgo choosing a candidate and instead vote for a result: gridlock resulting from one party holding Congress, and the other in the Oval Office. This result would limit the growth of the size of government, and defuse either party proposing wide-ranging and very wrong solutions for health care, energy, and the environment.

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With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
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Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous