Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why I'll vote for Obama

I love following politics, so I've been following this presidential election process for the last year-and-a-half. Although politicians aren't held in the highest esteem in modern day America, I like both Obama and McCain, so deciding who to vote for hasn't been easy for me. In the last few weeks, however, I've pretty well made up my mind that I'll vote for Obama. I'm afraid that might be the kiss of death for him, though, because he's been dropping in the polls ever since.

Since I'm a teacher, education is important to me, and that is one of the reasons I've moved into the Obama camp, but the way that fits in is more complicated than you'd think. Although the Democratic party line on education doesn't really inspire me, I have been very impressed by what Obama has said to parents about their responsibilities. It is something I'd never thought I'd hear a politician say. I also think the guy is very intelligent.

McCain on the other hand simply parrots the Republican party line on education. "We have failing schools, and so we need vouchers to save the day." I'm no fan of vouchers, but what really bothers me is that when I've heard McCain recite the party line, I've gotten the same feeling I have when I've given an essay test and read answers from a student who seemed to have something memorized without really understanding it. I just don't think McCain really cares about education. In fact, the only things I think McCain really cares about are foreign policy, the federal budget deficit, and earmarks. (For pro-lifers who vote for McCain based on abortion, I suspect they might end up very disappointed if he gets a chance to appoint Supreme Court justices, because I don't think he really cares that much about that issue.)

The things that McCain cares deeply about are important things, and I've agreed with most of his positions on those things over the past several year. I agreed when we went into Iraq in 2003. (Yup, I admit it! I completely bought into the WMD argument.) I listened to him when he said we needed more troops for the occupation, (Joe Biden was saying the same thing for quite a while) and I think the results of the surge have shown him to have been right. The problem is that events have also caused me to conclude that we need a different direction in our foreign policy. Our military can beat up anyone in the world, but it seems to me that our aggressive foreign policy is just gaining us more and more enemies. What we are doing isn't working. Right now I think we need a very intelligent guy more than we need a very experienced guy.

Believe me, I do have my reservations. Obama's lack of experience does bother me, and I have no confidence that he will reach across party lines. But the bottom lines for me are these: I think Obama does care about and will be engaged in a wider range of issues than McCain would be, I think he's smarter than McCain, and I think our foreign policy needs to move in a different direction.

1. Politically, I think Obama should have picked Hillary as his running mate. But when it comes to governing, I think he made the right choice in by-passing her and turning to Biden. The president needs to run the show, and although I think Hillary would be okay, nobody can control Bill.

2. I think McCain will pick Romney as his V. P. candidate. One theme McCain is pushing is that he is strong, and Obama is weak. Picking Romney helps McCain to portray himself as "the grown-up" in this race. With Obama having passed over his top competitor, McCain can say he was man enough to pick his.

3. I think McCain will win the election. As of today, McCain is 2 points ahead in the Gallop Poll, and he has been gaining steadily as we've gotten closer to the election. I expect Obama to get a bounce from his speech, because that is his strength, but that bounce won't last for two months. I think the concern about Obama's lack of experience is taking its toll, and we really are a center-right nation. McCain is a lot closer to that than Obama is. As people pay more attention to the campaign and become more aware of the candidate's positions, more people will turn to McCain. The one thing that could turn the election to Obama would be a huge turnout by African-Americans and young people. And that is a definite possibility.


Blogger Charley said...

So you're a single-issue voter???

Having a single issue that DISQUALIFIES a candidate for your vote is one thing (support for abortion does that for me), but a single issue shouldn't QUALIFY a candidate for your vote (just because someone is pro-life doesn't mean he automatically gets my vote).

You have to look beyond the hopenchange mantra to the socialist/marxist agenda behind it all. Does he believe there is anything at all a bigger, more expensive government can't fix?

Free education from age 3 through college? Free health care from cradle to grave? Yeah, right. Never in the history of mankind has a socialist agenda like that created a better system. It only makes things worse, all the while trashing the economy...not to mention stealing from those that produce in order to attempt to fund such boondoggles. And that doesn't even begin to deal with the global warming excuses for federalizing private industry and creating more taxes and expenses via cap-and-trade.

And of course his support for infanticide is beyond the pale.

Look beyond the hopenchange scripted speeches to his performance when asked genuine questions. He is an empty suit with nothing but socialist claptrap...when he can say anything at all! When does life begin? "That's above my paygrade." Puhleeeze! No wonder he declined town-hall meetings with McCain!

Now before you tag me as a McCain supporter, I find similar problems with him as well, just with different issues.

So for me, for the first time in my life, I will not vote for "the lesser of two evils" but instead will vote my conscience. (Living in the United Soviet Socialist State of MN allows me to do so because I can be assured Obama will win here anyway!) And in some ways I hope Obama wins...because our country will be far worse for it (sort of like the Carter years), and the voters will have no one to blame but Obama and the liberals. Then maybe we can get another Reagan out of the deal....

Of course, in the mean time, Obama will use the whole force of the federal government to confiscate a large portion of my income, leaving me far less able to care for my own family and to give it away as I see fit....

Really disgusted with one, and mostly disgusted with the other....

HomeDiscipling Dad Blog

8/26/2008 7:07 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Charley, I'm confused. Which issue is my single issue? Foreign policy? Education? My fear that John McCain would not be a very engaged president regarding a number of issues? The fact that I think Obama is the more intelligent of the two candidates?

As I said, I am slightly left of center in my views, but you are obviously very far to the right. Two issues that I am liberal on separate me completely from you. I do think a decent society should make sure that good health care is provided for its people. I also favor our progressive income tax system. It seems to me that the idea that the upper and upper-middle classes are mistreated in America is laughable. And the last president who raised taxes on the rich was Bill Clinton in 1993. The results: the longest period of economic expansion in our history and a surplus in the federal budget.

Despite my leaning to the left on those issues, I am no socialist. The first Christians, however, were.

8/27/2008 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to leave aside anything else you wrote that I may disagree with an focus on one thing: the early Christians were NOT socialists. At least not in the sense that the term is used in the context of government.

Yes, they held many things in common. Yes, they made sure that everyone was taken care of. (I know the Book of Acts well.) But this was through individuals caring for one another. It was not through forced redistribution of wealth by a central government.

Socialism, as a political philosophy, does not respect private property; the collectivism is compulsory. The early church did repsect private property. Peter told Ananias that his property was his own to keep or sell, to share the proceeds of the sale or not.

Please do not use the early church to try to justify a tax code under which the highest quartile pays 86% of the taxes.

8/27/2008 5:56 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous, I will use the early church as an example of a "society" of people that believed they should take care of each other, especially the poor. As I said, I am not a socialist--I think that system just doesn't work as well as our mixed economy does. But what the early Christians did sure sounds a lot more like socialism than capitalism.

8/28/2008 2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were a group of people who chose to take care of each other as they each individually felt best. I would call them communal, if anything.

They were not a group of people forced to give over their own money and possessions to a central authority. That is the implication when you use the word socialism.

As for them not being capitalistic, read some more of Paul's writing. He knew how important it was that he support himself with the work of his own hands. "He who does not work should not eat."

Capitalism requires individual responsibility. Socialism cedes responsibility to the state.

8/28/2008 3:37 AM  
Blogger Mrs. C said...

Wow, where did this discussion come from??

I guess I don't trust the government to "take care" of poor people. Then again, I do understand the premise that there are people like the developmentally disabled or autistic, etc. who cannot take care of themselves and their families sure don't have the money or resources. A position I may find myself in in a few years with my older son. And if you go to a small church, most of the money goes toward the building and the pastor's salary. I can't see my son grown up and accepting nasty casseroles from people rather than receiving money toward therapy and help organizing his deodorant and toothpaste. You know, getting the things he really needs. You would think organizing your junk poorly is not a disability until you meet my child. Then you would understand.

I will say Obama has charisma, but that I don't like him. Too often, though, we like to paint one side of the aisle as pure evil and the other as the angels from heaven, and that is NOT TRUE. However, as the mom of two autistic children, this push for "reproductive rights" frightens me. I know the history behind it. I am already hounded at every doctor visit to get birth control. What would things be like with "universal healthcare?" I already experience enough medical bullying and difficulties through my limited choices through my health insurance. I'm SURE that "universal health care" will not be a panacea that will give me Christian medical choices. If anything, they will strongarm the few remaining physicians who don't force vaccination on my children to change their ways.

I don't know... but seems that at most practices, the doctors ask my children irrelevant questions like how they're doing at school or how many friends they have that are NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. And I tell them so and I can just tell that most doctors hate me.

Or I go to the ER and get asked if I live in a "safe environment." IRRELEVANT if I'm there for the flu. Go ahead and ask me if I have suspicious bruises and a broken arm, but otherwise LEAVE ME ALONE. Soon I will have to answer a 20-page handout full of stupid questions like this at every visit and if I refuse, they'll assume I'm "hiding something" just like they do now when I tell them that if I wanted help to escape the daily beatings, I'd ask them.

(kidding, but you catch my drift)

8/28/2008 3:45 AM  
Anonymous another homeschool mom said...

I think that you make your points on your decision well. I don't care for Obama, but McCain doesn't excite me either. Personally, I think that the states should control education and the federal government should back off, but that isn't ever going to happen. I have a hard time believing a politician that can afford to send their children to private school that we should work on public education. What is it to them? This goes for all politicians not just Obama. And isn't kind of strange that Democrats are usually pro-choice when it comes to reproductive rights, but anti-choice when it comes to education? I don't get it.

As for medical care, everyone who believes in socialized medicine should have to use Tricare or be seen at a military hospital for awhile. That will give you a good idea how socialized medicine will work. Yes, health care is paid for, but there are very few choices. I wonder what would happen if everyone had to use this system. Again Democrats are anti-choice on this one.

As for the early church being socialist, hmmm. Not sure I agree. We are commanded to love one another. Americans are still a very generous people, but when money is being taken from our pockets to help those we don't even know it becomes harder to help the ones that are sitting next to us. We are commanded to help the widows and the fatherless, but when the government steps in to do it, why should we? I am not saying that it is right, but when Uncle Sam takes a big chunk of my money for whatever they think is charity, I don't have much left for my own charitable giving. Forced charity through the government does not strike me as charity at all.

Anyway, thought provoking post. Glad to see you posting again.

8/28/2008 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Forced charity through the
> government does not strike me
> as charity at all.

In "A Christmas Carol," Christians came to see Scrooge to ask him for money to help the poor. He refused to do so because he already paid taxes for prison and work houses. I've always found that a telling difference between personal charity and government "aid."

8/28/2008 3:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. C said...

Yes, anonymous. This is a GOOD POINT. The prisons and workhouses were excellent examples of government giving gone bad. They were a crying shame and an evil to those they were supposed to help.

With help like that, please DON'T give to charity, thanks so much!

Scrooge I think was a bad sort of character, though, and his reason for refusing to help others was more Darwinian than Christian... you know, decrease the "surplus population" sounds more like Eugenics to me.

Again, how did we get on this train? Where are ya, Dennis?

8/28/2008 6:47 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Wow! Whether you like him or not, holy moley, can that guy deliver a speech!!!

8/29/2008 4:12 AM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

I'm rushing on this because I'm leaving for the Twin Cities in about 10 minutes.

One thing that is very clear in reading the New Testament (or the Old for that matter), is concern for the poor. To say that we should leave that to private charity and hope for the best....Man, I don't know about that one.

Regarding universal health care which I do support, I have heard horror stories from Canada. Yet, I've never gotten the impression that many Canadians would want to trade in their system. My understanding is that the best health care system in the world is in France, and they do have universal health care.

Mrs. C., for some reason I missed your first comment. Sorry about that. The "reproductive rights" thing bothers me, too. I'm pro-life, but so was Ronald Reagan. Two of his Supreme Court appointees were pro-choice, however, including Sandra Day O'Connor who wrote the opinion in the Casey decision which upheld abortion rights. George Bush 41 was also pro-life, and he was one for two in his appointees.

8/29/2008 4:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using government coercion to provide charity, education, health care or any other thing that requires resources is an affront to the concept of a free society. These things should be provided by voluntary means only.

I have to ask you, Dennis, by what moral right do you propose to take something, by force, away from a man who has done no harm to anyone else, and give it to another?

If it's so important to you that those who are unable to provide these things for themselves receive them, then you should be willing to use your own resources to provide them. If your resources do not satisfy your desire to provide for others, then voluntary persuasion is the only moral means to do so.

What a shame that a society such as ours, which has made great progress in overcoming things like discrimination against women and racial minorities, is held back by this ridiculous notion that it is permissable to use coercion instead of persuasion so that others will conform to our own moral standards.

8/29/2008 7:59 AM  
Blogger Roger Sweeny said...

Dennis, I hope your visit to the Twin Cities went well.

I was a little surprised to discover just now that McCain, Obama, and Biden all went to prep school. Palin is the only to go to a public high school. I'm not sure what it means, aside from the fact that nobody who runs for president or vice president is "just plain folks."

It would be interesting to know where the candidates sent (or send) their own kids.

8/29/2008 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It would be interesting to know where the candidates sent (or send) their own kids."

Obama's children went to University of Chicago Lab School, which is private [source: Wiki.answers.com].

Google is being much less forthcoming on John McCain's kid's schooling ...

-Mark Roulo

8/29/2008 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain's kids went to private schools, too (at least for some of their K-12 education).


-Mark Roulo

8/29/2008 5:18 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous, you talk about government like it was some sort of independent entity that acts on its own and then is gathering money for its own benefit. But we have a democracy. Decisions are made by representatives that we elect. We, as a society, have decided that certain services should be provided that you don't agree with. If those services are going to be provided, they have to be paid for, and the way we do that is through taxes. We as a society have also decided on a progressive system of taxes. I actually think it should be more progressive than it is. You don't. Tough break for both of us, I guess.

8/29/2008 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dennis, I would think (hope) that you would agree that even if your wife needed the money for an operation, it would still be wrong for you to go up to someone else, pull out a gun and demand they give you the money, or you will shoot them. But your answer indicates that you think that so long as you and others authorize your representatives in government to do the same thing, that makes it OK to threaten other people with violence if they don't comply with your wishes. And to think that this is what people like you teach children in public schools. Public schools are nothing but dens of government indoctrination.

8/30/2008 7:02 AM  
Blogger the anonymous teacher said...

Anonymous, I don't know that your comparison is really relevant. A progressive tax system is part of American citizenship. I don't know that holding someone up at gunpoint is.
Dennis, I couldn't agree with you more about both Obama and McCain. While I'm not a huge fan of either of them, I don't think a military leader with no passion is what we need right now. I also think McCain's choice of a running mate is laughable. He's harped on Obama's lack of experience, and he chooses Pallin?? He is either desperate or thinks women are idiots and will just vote for the person with the most estrogen.
Maybe it's because I went to public school or maybe I just like Obama's passion and brains, but I know who I'll be voting for...

8/30/2008 2:46 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous, right now, my wife doesn't need that operation, and I don't know who does. But whoever it is, I think that person should be taken care of, and I'm willing to help pay for it. So I would vote "yes" on that one, and you would vote "no." As of now, you win on that one because we don't have universal health care. That's the way democracy works. All I can do is try to change that by voting for the candidate that I support. And I take pride in the fact that I don't push my political views on my kids. I do everything I can to encourage them to form their own views, even if they are different than mine. I think any good social studies teacher does the same thing.

AT, it's great to hear from you again. You and I have both been away for awhile.

8/30/2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

By the way, doesn't anyone want to congratulate me on my swell pick on who would be McCain's VP pick? Oh well.

8/30/2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AT, a compulsory tax system, whether progressive or not, is just like holding a gun to someone and demanding that they pay. If you choose not to pay what is demanded, the government will send their agents to arrest you and confiscate your property. If you resist, they will do whatever is necessary to subdue you, including shoot you dead.

Dennis, you would be voting "yes" to use the threat of violence to force other people to help pay for things you want, and I would be voting "no" because I believe that people should be free to make those decisions for themselves without being threatened by violence. The fact that you or I may or may not be willing to use our own resources to help someone in need has absolutely nothing to do with your or my vote. Democracy is not freedom. It is not justice. It is not compassion. It is simply the majority ruling over the minority.

8/30/2008 6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "anonymous teacher":

> He's harped on Obama's lack of
> experience, and he chooses
> Pallin??

(1) It's "Palin"
(2) Biden also blasted Obama's lack of experience
(3) Palin is running for VP, not president
(4) Palin has been in public service for more years than Obama
(5) Palin has actually served as an executive, unlike Obama

> Obama's passion and brains

Obama's brains? Here are some samples:
(1) He demanded that the UN Security Council denounce Russia. That'll be tricky, since Russia's on it.
(2) He can't tell if he's in Kansas City or St. Louis.
(3) He's talked about being president for "eight to ten years."
(4) He thinks the Joint Chiefs of Staff have operational command of U.S. military forces
(5) He's been to 57 states.
(6) He can't keep to one story on anything. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHEIi4XKRmM

8/30/2008 7:35 PM  
Blogger Roger Sweeny said...


I'll vote for Obama if he promises to make you Secretary of Education. Seriously. You have a better understanding of schools than any policy maker I've ever heard of.

8/31/2008 7:48 AM  
Blogger the anonymous teacher said...

Anonymous, you choose to pay taxes because you choose to live in the U.S.
1. Also, I don't know that my typo is your strongest argument, but thanks for pointing that out. 2. I'm not a huge fan of Biden. I think it was hypocritical of Obama to preach about change, then choose Biden. But I'll also take him over a woman who governed a state with such a small population. 3. Where did I say she's running for president?
4-5. More years doesn't necessarily equal more experience. Serving a population of 670,000 compared to several million?

As to Obama's "brains," he's made some heinous errors. He's human. I think in comparison to who we have now, he could be part of Mensa. Some of his mistakes are much more serious than others. But following that same idea, McCain doesn't even know how many homes he owns.

8/31/2008 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AT, your reply is just what I would expect from someone who depends on government theft and propaganda for their livelihood. My choice on where to live doesn't give anyone the right to threaten me with violence if I don't pay what they demand.

8/31/2008 8:31 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous, according to your logic, it seems to me that someone who didn't support a large military could make the same complaint as you. The same goes with someone who didn't believe a particular road should be built. You seem a little extreme, even for a libertarian.

9/01/2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dennis, you can support a large military or support the building of a particular road or help someone with a medical operation or anything else you want to do with your own property. Or you can try to use voluntary persuasion to convince someone else to support the same things. But you or anyone else has no right to force another person to support those things, either by yourself or through elected government representatives. I don't see what's so complicated or extreme about that logic. It's just common sense and justice.

9/01/2008 8:17 PM  
Blogger EdWonk said...

I agree with you; Obama should have put Hillary Clinton on the ticket. By not doing so, he left the gate wide-open for McCain to choose Sarah Palin. (Who, for some reason, reminds me of Dan Quayle.)

I also agree with your prediction of a McCain victory.

The Republicans will use their tried-and-true formula of flag, tax-cuts, (for the wealthy)and fear of terrorism in order to achieve victory.

Meanwhile, it will be very interesting to note how long it will take for Sarah Palin to be interviewed by one of the Sunday morning talk-shows (And Fox doesn't count)where she doesn't get the benefit of a teleprompter.

9/04/2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

EdWonk, I'm honored that you stopped by. We actually don't agree on Obama's VP choice, however. I have to admit that I was hoping he would pick Hillary. It would have created a great deal of excitement and truly united the party. But I really think he did the right thing by going with Biden instead. I simply can't imagine what it would be like to be a president while having Bill Clinton as your VP's spouse. Who knows what he might do? I mean look at what he did as president (Monica). So I really do respect the fact that he seemed to be concerned about selecting a VP for the purpose of governing.

McCain, on the other hand, clearly made his choice purely for political reasons. As impressive as Palin was in her speech on Wednesday, is she really the best Republican McCain could pick to take over the presidency should he die? And he's 72 years old with a history of cancer! Besides that, McCain says he's against affirmative action. In other words, race and gender should play no role in who gets a job--it should go to the most qualified person. Does anyone want to tell me that Palin wasn't selected because she was a woman???

9/05/2008 2:59 PM  

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