Thursday, August 07, 2008

Obama or McCain?

Try as I might, I just can't get a good grasp on this election. My gut told me Bush was going to win in 2000 and in 2004, particularly in 2004, when Bush was straightforward about Iraq and Kerry couldn't stake out a cohesive position between anti-war and Bush. But truth be told, Iraq doesn't seem to matter much this election. Nor does it seem to matter what Obama or McCain actually say on Iraq, as partisans read what they want to hear into what the candidates actually say.

This election is supposedly about the economy, but I don't get a sense that voters are really connecting with what either candidate has to say. The Obama cult seems to be as much about personality than anything else, while the right seems to have coalesced, not in support of McCain, but as a blunt instrument to be wielded againast the Obama cult. I have no love for the Obama cult of personality, but at the same time, the constant bludgeoning of Obama has approached epic proportions. I've enjoyed listening to Rush Limbaugh, on and off, for over a decade, but I've literally had enough over the past few months. Rather than illustrations of the particulars of Obama's bad ideas, we're given the politics of Reverend Wright, questions about Obama's patriotism and how much he loves America, and the preposterous scandal over properly inflated tires.

The tire issue, in particular, has been an irritation of late. For those unfamiliar, in the discussion over domestic drilling for oil, Obama made a comment that properly inflating tires would make more of a difference in gas prices than would any new drilling. What Obama meant- what I'm sure he meant- was that any domestic drilling is not likely to have any impact in oil prices until years down the road. The little comment blew up when McCain picked up on it, and the right wing media joined in the cacophony of criticism.

The thing is, domestic drilling will help reduce oil prices in the long run and the legislation that currently exists to prevent such drilling is a mish-mash of environmental nonsense. But none of that means Obama's comment was worth the controversy. Personally, I'm not sure what Obama's policy on drilling is, nor am I certain what he would do as President. But regardless, as many liberal commenters have pointed out, there currently are existing sources of domestic oil that are not being drilled. And more importantly, we're talking about an issue where where the rhetoric severely out matches the reality.

At this point, I don't trust Obama, but I really don't McCain. And my gut instinct to lean Republican is being suppressed by the nature of the campaign againast Obama. So what's a libertarian to do?


Anonymous rose said...

I continue to understand, but disagree with most of your points here.

We agree energy policy is extremely important and is a topic you talk about here.

Ethanol is THE case study in energy policy. It's demonstrated Obama's refusal to acknowledge that ethanol doesn't work and his continued support of government subsidies. And it's demonstrated McCain's willingness to lose votes for doing what's right, thoroughly opposing ethanol subsidies because ETHANOL HAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE A FAILURE and is the perfect example of how the government screws everything up.

Alternative energy subsidies might work. But only if you have someone in power with the character to do what is right instead of what is popular.

Side note, you've consistently said this Wright stuff etc doesn't matter because it has nothing to do with Obama's policies. Does the character of the man who we would elect president not matter to you? We're not electing a robot, we're electing a human being and politicians lacking in the character department are an enormous concern of mine, but apparently not yours.

Anyway, McCain again reiterated his opposition of ethanol subsidies today.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Republican presidential candidate John McCain didn't mince words Friday at the Iowa State Fair, telling corn producers he didn't want to subsidize their ethanol but was eager to help market farm products around the world.

"My friends, we will disagree on a specific issue and that's healthy," McCain said as he stood near bales of straw at one of the nation's premiere farming showcases. "I believe in renewable fuels. I don't believe in ethanol subsidies, but I believe in renewable fuels."

McCain has never been shy about speaking against subsidizing ethanol when he is in farm country, though that stand helped to make him unpopular enough in Iowa that he skipped participating in its leadoff presidential caucuses in 2000 and again in 2008.

In a brief speech at the fairgrounds — where he viewed a 1,253-pound boar named Freight Train and looked for pork chop on a stick, a fair delicacy — McCain pledged to negotiate trade deals favorable to farm commodities.

"My mission and my job as president of the United States will be to make sure every market in the world is open to your products," he said.

McCain met with Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey during his fairgrounds tour and promoted expanded pork exports as a boon to the nation's leading hog-producing state. He said a free-trade deal with South Korea could boost profits by $10 a hog.

"Agriculture products here in the state of Iowa can feed the world and we're not afraid to compete with anybody," he said.

McCain said his visit gave him a chance to "meet and greet the real America."

"This is the heartland of America, this is what America is all about, this is the people I want to know and meet," he said.

Democrats in the state said McCain's opposition to ethanol subsidies and the $300 billion farm bill would make it difficult for the Republican to win Iowa's seven electoral votes and would hurt him throughout the Midwest. McCain called the bipartisan farm bill "bloated" and an example of the kind of spending measure he would veto as president.

"He voted against ethanol subsidies, he's opposed to the farm bill," Iowa Democratic Chairman Scott Brennan said. "What it proves is he doesn't care about what's important to Iowa."

3:26 PM  

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