The following videos present what I’ll call the “Colin Powell wing of the Republican Party,” members of the party who see the party as having lost the ability to lead, to inspire, and to think past their narrow range of issues to the obvious and dangerously hypocritical crossroads they have led the country.
I’m one of those members. I’m a Republican for Obama. And if you’re one of the vast numbers of still un-sure individuals, most of which I’m betting lean to the right more often than not, then you’ll want to continue reading, and watch these videos. They might not sway you one way or the other, but they’ll help put a few things in perspective.
Mind you, I’m an unapologetic centrist, not because I can’t make up my mind, but because I can; Not because I believe that if you have two extremes to an argument then the center must necessarily be the right answer, but because I know that whenever you are too extreme in any direction you become blinded to issues in the distance, a sort of issue myopia; Because I believe that people will get the government they deserve, one way or another, I believe it is my duty to keep watch for those times when the pendulums of power and opinion have swung dangerously far in one direction, and to do what I can to bring things back towards the center. Too often, that has earned me the title of both “liberal” from fellow conservatives, and “libertarian” from fellow liberals. I’ll gladly call myself both, but you may also want add “responsible socialist” to that pile of names. After all, I do support a system of universal health care, once voted for Nader, and don’t believe all socialism nor all government interference is bad. Just a large part of it.
I am still a registered Republican, mostly because I tend to be more in line with their traditional economic views of fiscal responsibility with the lowest possible burden on the individual. Yet in the past few years this became impossible to justify, since the party–both parties, in fact, have been so willing to mortgage my future and that of my unborn children for the wastes of today, such as unnecessary wars, and the socializing of corporate risk while ensuring the privatization of reward. It is this last one which has threatened to turn the free enterprise system into the privileged enterprise system, where you only have the right to fail if you’re not rich enough. (Also, in Florida you can only be an “R”, “D”, or “I”, and I wish to be able to vote in primaries. But I still want the ability to vote in primaries, and I’d rather vote in Republican primaries.)
I’ve made it no secret that I am supporting Barack Obama as President. My reasons are many, but I think the views can be well expressed (without getting into too many particulars) by the following videos. The first I found in a story from the Huffington Post, and the second is the now (in)famous endorsement from Colin Powell, which is by far the most eloquent, well thought out endorsement I have ever heard. If you haven’t heard it, and if you’re on the fence, take about 12 minutes to listen to it. I think you’ll appreciate what you hear, irrespective of whether you agree with it or not.
As Powell points out, the question isn’t whether McCain or Obama make for good Presidents: they both are fine men capable of doing the job. But the question is who would make the best President that we need now. And that’s Obama.
And if you’re wondering why I’m not voting for McCain, here are a few of the reasons:
- Sara Palin: This woman is in no way, shape or form ready or capable of being President. Should something happen to McCain (and almost a third of all Vice Presidents have taken the Presidential office, the last being Lyndon Johnson), Gov. Palin would need to step in. I believe this selection showed a lack of judgment, though I also suspect her selection had more to do with party pressure than anything else. Joe Biden is no prize himself, but he’s certainly ready to do the job. And let us not forget that when you vote for the President you’re also casting a vote for the Vice President.
- Health Care Plan: McCain health care plan calls for a $5000 tax credit to be used towards medical expenses. The problem is that this still doesn’t do anything address the real problems. Half of all bankruptcies happen because of medical issues, and more than half of those happen to people WITH health insurance. How? Because healthcare companies are allowed to deny coverage under the guise of “pre-existing condition”. And if you’re shopping around for insurance and have a pre-existing condition such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, idiopathic gastroparesis, autonomic or peripheral neuropathy, a history of cancer, or any of the plethora of conditions which aren’t really preventable, then you’re not very likely to find insurance for even one person for under $5000 per year. (When you take into consideration deductibles then this number becomes laughable.) Obama’s plan, while not what I want–total universal health care like they have in France, Germany, Denmark, etc.–is a step in the right direction.
- Tax Plan: I love–LOVE–the idea of everyone paying less in taxes, even the very rich. But over the past eight years the vast number of tax breaks have gone to the upper 5%, and especially the upper 1%. With a continuing war to pay for and a $10-trillion dollar national deficit being added to by half-trillion dollar budget deficits, I don’t believe now is the time to continue that set of policies, as McCain advocates. I say let the tax cuts expire. We can bring them back when the government shows some fiscal responsibility, when we’re no longer in a trillion dollar quagmire over in the middle east (or anywhere else, for that matter), and when the deficit clock is 13-digits long instead of 14. Let us not forget that the last time we had a budget surplus, the last time the debt clock actually went down instead of up, was during the Bill Clinton administration.
There are many more points, but those are three big ones I’m sure most reading this can relate with. but don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses. There are things which have made me very unhappy about Obama:
- He voted for the telecom immunity from civil lawsuits because of their involvement in giving information to the government without a subpoena.
- He voted for the $700-billion bail out of wall street moguls who had made bad investing decisions. (I can only hope this money is being invested wisely, and that the tax payers of the US will actually make instead of lose money on these deals. The government now, after all, is the world’s largest insurer, mortgage holder, and one of the world’s biggest banking entities.)
- He advocated the idea of giving illegal aliens drivers licenses.
However, there is no such thing as a 100% agreement with all of anyone’s position, particularly with someone whose main function is so dependent upon compromise. With that in mind, and after taking into consideration that under the current system no third party candidate without billions in personal funding, no matter how well qualified, would be able to break through the two-party duopoly, I have to give my support for a candidate that is not only somewhat likely to be elected, but who has the ability and support to begin moving the nation in a direction for improvement.