I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Can A Conservative Vote In This Election?

This election season is shaping up to be a contest between a political “moderate” and a liberal. I realize that the Democrats are far from deciding their nominee, but there really isn’t any substantive difference on policy between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Senator McCain, the unofficial Republican nominee, is the moderate in the race.

John McCain has built his political career around creating ulcers within the digestive tracts throughout the conservative ranks. He has enjoyed glowing media coverage, which has helped to solidify his “maverick” status in Washington. The important question of this election for Republicans is whether or not conservatives will show up to vote for McCain. Through all of the media hype about conservatives failing to line up behind him, I have come to realize that there is some misconceptions about what conservative believe and what we stand for.

I would like to give a brief overview of what I believe a conservative believes. I am a Christian, husband, father, American, conservative, and lastly a Republican. Those titles help define my beliefs. As a Christian I believe in the sanctity of innocent human life. Therefore, I am pro-life. I believe that life begins at conception and that life should be protected. I believe that little baby is a human life. If you ask any woman who is happily pregnant, she will not refer to the life growing inside of her as a fetus. To her it is her child, a baby. For me, my stand on abortion comes more from my Christian faith, and less so from my conservative viewpoint.

As a conservative, I believe that the government takes way too much money from our wallets in taxes. I don’t fall into the class envy trap that so many politicians are pushing these days. The political rhetoric on taxes has become a rich versus the rest of us rant. The “evil” rich are making too much money and not paying enough in taxes. What percentage of their income should the “evil” rich pay in taxes? Is 30% enough? What about 50%? Why not return to the days of more than 70%? Sadly many in our country would rather complain that the rich are too rich, than to actually sit down and figure out how they themselves might be able to make a better life for themselves. The class envy crowd love to point out that billionaire Warren Buffet has complained that his secretary, who makes $60,000 a year, pays more in income taxes than he does. I can’t help but ask 2 questions. Why doesn’t Mr. Buffet pay his secretary more so that she may be able find the tax loopholes that he exploits? If he truly believes that he should pay more in taxes, then why doesn’t he write a check to the Treasury Department? They will be more than happy to accept his money.

I also believe that the government has grown beyond a reasonable size. It has become the mentality of the general population that the government should take care of us from cradle to grave. This may not be a very popular idea right now, but the government should not be in the business of forgiving mortgages. The housing crisis, while painful, is completely necessary to correct a market that was completely out of control. If the politicians follow through on freezing foreclosures and forgiving mortgages, the housing market will take much longer to get back on its feet. It may make for great headlines, but is terrible economic policy. Once they start meddling with mortgages of those who are in danger of foreclosure, how long before they come and forgive my debt? Why should I be punished for proper financial planning?

I believe that the government has no role in meting out healthcare, or any of the other myriads of programs and services that the politicians propose. Senator Clinton is the godmother of universal healthcare but yet her campaign deemed it necessary to not pay the healthcare premiums for her campaign staff. Is this part of the Clinton healthcare plan? I thought “free” healthcare was a human right. I simply cannot understand how any thinking individual could want the federal government to take over our healthcare. They spend billions each year on our children’s education, but yet in most major cities less than half of those children graduate from high school. The same government who ran the Katrina response is going to run our healthcare system. How am I supposed to believe that they will be more efficient and provide higher quality care than the private sector?

I believe in a strong military that is ready to take on any and all threats, but also to see those conflicts through to the end. If we pack up and leave before there is a lasting peace in Iraq, it will just be a few short years before we find ourselves back over there again. Does anyone remember the debate leading up to the initial invasion for Desert Storm? Many opponents claimed that if the elder Bush had finished the job in the early 90’s, that we wouldn’t be in this mess. Isn’t amazing how those same people are now demanding that we leave Iraq before the peace has been achieved?

I have been called a Nazi, Hitler, fascist, moron, child polluter, member of the Reich wing, neocon, and numerous other names for espousing my beliefs. As if I will suddenly change my view on an issue because I was called a name. I believe that conservatives and liberals share some of the same objectives when it comes to caring for the poor and needy. Both groups agree that they need help, but where we differ is the means of providing that help. Conservatives believe that the private sector is the best way to meet their needs. Liberals generally believe that the government is the sole source to help.

As the general election heats up this summer and fall, conservatives will have to make the decision if McCain is worthy of their vote. Personally, there are many issues that the senator and I don’t agree on, but there are still others on which we do agree. When I weigh Senator McCain against either Obama or Clinton, I come to the conclusion that he is far closer to my beliefs that either of them. In politics, there is no perfect candidate with which you will agree with 100% of the time. This election season is no different; it is just a bit tougher choice.

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