Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If Only We’d Voted Democrat in 1972, We’d All Know How to Speak Russian

Everyone would like to have a presidential candidate we can always agree with. In the end, however, when two clear choices emerge, the responsible thing to do is to fight hard for the candidate you believe will best serve, govern and protect this nation.

I’m not going to seek to point out the virtues of John McCain, of which there are many. I won’t bother stating that McCain is more conservative than Presidents Ford, Nixon and even Dwight D. Eisenhower and that even in this year’s Republican primaries he was one of the more conservative candidates, though all this is true as well. The reason it is imperative to support John McCain is because he supports sound national security, social and economic policy and his opponent is clueless in all of the above.

One did not need to be a Nixon fan to campaign actively against McGovern. One simply had to realize that there was no greater threat to the security and wellbeing of this nation than the election of George McGovern, a prodigy of Henry Wallace. McCain is no Nixon. He’s far more conservative and has far more integrity. I’m simply using the Nixon-McGovern example to illustrate that even those who believe the worst of John McCain should understand the importance of not sitting this election out. But while McCain is no Nixon, Barack Obama is George McGovern or worse, and America can ill afford a McGovern presidency.

Believe the absolute worst of John McCain if you will (one would be wrong to do so, as examining his entire record would show, but even if McCain’s biggest detractors were 100% right), we still have an obligation to make sure that Barack Obama is not elected president and the only way to do so is to strongly, energetically and enthusiastically get behind John McCain. For those who think the worst of him, had Reagan somehow lost the 1980 nomination, would you have then sat back and given tacit support to four more years of Carter? Well Carter may be better than Barack.

In our short history as a nation we’ve had 42 presidents. Many have served excellently, some have done so miserably and others have fallen in the middle. None have been perfect. And while there are times to avoid supporting your party’s nominee in the hopes of gaining one who is more philosophically aligned with conservatism in the future, insecure and hard economic times, times when leadership is most needed, are not the right occasions to play Russian roulette with the wellbeing of the nation. Based on this I would strongly urge all conservatives and everyone else who believes that John McCain is better equipped than Barack Obama to deal with issues of vital importance to national security, to our social fabric and to the economy, to get behind McCain and to do so with a passion.

Some commentators have cited the example of 1976 as a reason to sit this season out. According to their reasoning, the election of Jimmy Carter is what paved the way for the election of Ronald Reagan and by electing Barack Obama we will have a stronger Republican Party and some kind of super candidate next time around, though even they admit that this is a stretch that boils down to mere wishful thinking.

The truth is that such logic is much worse than a stretch. Aside from the fact that it spawns the question of why we don’t simply nominate Jimmy Carter all over again if his presidency in and of itself is the cause of such great long term results, it also fails to take into account the dynamics of America in 1976 through 1980 that allowed America to escape the Carter Presidency without extensive permanent damage (save the rise of the Ayatollahs in Iran).

In 1976 we were at peace. Economic policy had already been set by weak and liberal Republican administrations that had at least paid attention to the crisis and had listened to experts with the intention of solving the crisis. Carter didn’t seek to upset the applecart. The economy stalled further and fell to new lows while Carter and his cabinet stood by virtually helpless and without vision, but the decline was gradual due to the pre-Carter policies already in place.

In foreign affairs, Carter’s criticism of the Shah of Iran helped fuel the rise of the Ayatollahs, but other than that the Carter years were times of relative peace and security in which America could maintain itself, if it had to, without a set foreign and military policy. Our greatest threat came from the Soviets and our resistance to them had been worked on for decades. By 1976 we had attained level of military power that could not be undone by four years of Jimmy Carter.

But what if Carter or the Carteresque Sen. McGovern had been elected in 1972 instead of 1976, when the Communist threat to America was more pronounced? What if one of these two had been elected at the beginning of the economic crisis of the 1970s, before economic policy had been set and before the underlying economic issues causing the recession had been fully determined? How would America have fared under a Carter presidency then?

No one would suggest that John McCain is Richard Nixon. Nixon was corrupt and extremely liberal. John McCain, despite what some may say of him, is neither and all one has to do is look at his entire record to find as much. But regardless, if we had sat back in 1972 in favor of a better nominee the next time round, the damage would have been done and it would have been extensive, if not permanent.

The Soviet Union would have taken a far greater foothold in South America, threatening us close to home. Our military, already hard pressed at the time, would have fallen to a point where the Soviets could have halted their buildup while still gaining the upper hand. This would have also allowed them to expand their economy while ours crumbled under Carter’s incompetence. While they wouldn’t have been able to take over America, they would have become the world’s only superpower and the fall of Communism would not have come about through America, as it did, though possibly through internal resistance and with the help of Britain.

If Carter had been elected in 1972, Republicans would have nominated anyone to beat him in 1976 and would have most likely played it safe, nominating the most moderate candidate, not wishing to make waves in an otherwise easy election. The Reagan presidency may never have happened as people turned to anyone but Carter. In such scenarios parties try to play it safe and no safe candidate, once in office, would have been able to undo the amount of damage a 1972 Carter would have already done. So all in all, we should be very glad that McGovern wasn’t elected in 1972. The only time he’d be worse would be in 2008.

The above scenario leaves out the damage a Carter or a McGovern would have done to the courts. Similarly, one can ask themselves whether they favor a court packed with McCain nominees or with Obama ones. It’s an important question, especially given possibility of numerous retirements from the Supreme Court.

This year and these times are not similar to the tranquil times of the late 1970s, when America was able to survive under Carter. An inexperienced laissez faire candidate is no more what this country needs than the Russian worker needed Lenin to “save” them from their problems.

Barack Obama wouldn’t bring us starvation and tyranny, but he would embolden the enemy and is no trusted economic steward to say the least. We cannot entrust our economy, our security or our family values, the foundation of any nation, to a candidate who is so inept and inexperienced in all of these areas and who offers no sound solutions for any. We have a responsibility to get behind John McCain.

And a message to those who are concerned with John McCain on specific issues: We can loudly oppose those policies we do not favor and work to shape conservatism from within. In the long run we’ll do far better than if we have to defend our lack of support for our nominee and our tacit approval of Barack Obama.

In these times we do not have the luxury of sitting back and waiting this one out. It is the duty of every American and of all who care for America to do everything possible to support the candidate best positioned to lead on matters of security, the economy and social values. Some elections are too important to sit out and watch what happens, but few are as important as this year’s is.

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