Monday, November 3, 2008


I don't know who all is reading this blog but I do know that it is being read by a certain number of people. So, here is your chance!

Closing Statements!!! Tell us all why we should get behind YOUR candidate in the comments!


Coffee Bean said...

The following is from an e-mail I received:

It's a long story (or a short dissertation) on how I try to cut through the political spin and face the issues of an election. Plus my opinion of the presidential candidates.

The Given:
Politics is always a harsh place. Think about it. This is where people continually are at the center of a tug-of-war. Like the point of contact of a mill stone or that which is under the wine press. It's a place of give and take. A place of compromise and standing for mainstay principles. (And, I think America has at the center of conflict, a clash of 2 worldviews. One is humanist. The other is theist, meaning from a Christian point. To keep it simple, I am simply lumping any non-Christian philosophy/theology w/ humanism. That would be another subject to parse another time.)

Therefore, politicians will always tend to compromise something that will, from time to time, offend my worldview. I cannot trust them to defend my worldview perfectly. (And my own personal worldview is under question w/in myself too... so I might change it as my understanding and knowledge are further enlightened. The are generally very slight changes though.) This is why we always hear the statement, "lessor of two evils" during politically campaigns and election season. Government is human-run and inherently has both the potential for great evil as well as the potential for great good, all at the same time.

Understanding Government:
The US Constitution establishes a Republic. On the far left (liberal) you have total government rule. Left of center you have an Oligarchy, which is the rule of a few. In the Center you have Democracy. Right of center is a Republic, which is the rule of the people through a representative government as subject to law. And, on the far right you have no government

With the left, you have leanings toward Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Kings, Potentates, etc. With the right, you have leanings toward anarchy, which interestingly, often gives birth to dictatorship. To each his own! ...until you can't take it anymore. In the middle, you have the rule of the people. The US is ruled by law, by the people, as established by their elected representative officials, which is just right of center. Complete rule of the people without the law would grant opportunity for people to rule with things like lynch mobs determining the fate of another. But in a republic, a person has rights under the law and is defended/convicted by the established law of the people. This allows individuals to live, work and play with broad freedoms as longs as one does not stop the rights of another. We are free to buy, sell, own, trade capital w/o being told by a ruler (government) how to do it. (Degrees of ownership, of course.)

So “where is the balance of power” is the question for me when looking at an election. I favor less government and self-rule. Of course, that self-rule submits to some government in the USA because we cannot have anarchy. Christians are to submit to the rule of Christ and their government, so long as it does not force them to deny the rule of their God.

This Election:
For the two presidential candidates we are voting on, I look at there track record under the principles outlined above. When I see a record of someone that is too far to one side or the other, I'm concerned. When I see someone with a record of being closer to the above defined republic form of government, I'm more likely to vote for them. Therefore, I tend to look at the degrees of left or right or center that the candidate exhibits. To me, McCain has a record of being more to the center than Obama. He has a record of reaching across the aisle too. Obama has the number one far left record. He also has a long history of associating with countless anti-American persons and groups. I am very, very seriously concerned about his character and the “known” indicators of his worldview.

After attending Harvard and seeing first hand the levels of infiltration that anti-American and anti-semitic philosophy has taking hold the system that our Constitutional framers intended for our nation, I cannot sit idle when I believe there is a threat. (Honestly, I rarely get this intense about an election, but I'm very concerned.)

I've talked to investment bankers, investment advisers, etc. and they are very concerned about what will happen to the economy with the current proposals of an Obama admin. Given, my circles will tend to favor "free-market capitalism." They do not like the bailout, even if it is or isn't a necessary tool to stabilize the economy. ...which it hasn't. But where do we quit? The bailout bread line is beginning to grow. Not good in my opinion.

Not only does Obama alone concern me, but the prospect of an unchecked, imbalanced power in government gravely concerns me. Obama, Biden, Harry Reid, and Bernie Sanders all have the top most liberal left voting records. We know Nancy Pelosi is far left too but only votes if a tie needs to be determined, so she doesn't have a record. So w/ the White House, the Senate, the House of Rep. all controlled by far left thinking persons is very scary to me indeed! Not to mention that we have a potential of 2-3 new Supreme Court appointments by the “absolute” controlling majority. I am sick and tired of legislation being determined by a very few from the bench. As I understand it, legislation (Law) is supposed to come from the Executive and Legislative branch and the Judicial branch is supposed to judge things against the laws they establish, not establish law or re-interpret law to their liking. There would be not checks and balances with this government.

When the Republicans had control of the White House and a majority in the House of Reps and Senate, at least the Democrats had the ability to filibuster as a last resort to keep things from swinging to far from their control. We may not have any checks and balance after this election and Obama's character gives me no comfort he will hold the US Constitution near the center. I believe that neither Republicans nor Democrats, Liberals nor Conservatives, Leftists nor Rightists should not have unencumbered control. This is dangerous. (power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely)

I cannot put all of this in a small sound bite and neither can a politician. So we end up resorting to and hearing all manner of tactics to influence the vote. That's why I believe in informed voting. It really disturbs me to see how adulterated our voting system has become. (My insecurities lead me to think we are witnessing what I have termed, "poll-jacking!")

If Obama is elected President of the USA, I will pray for him, our nation, and the people. I will continue to do the things I do to bring real change, one relationship at a time. I will never believe real change will come from government. Obama says change comes from the bottom up and he is correct "in statement" although I believe the way he wants to bring change to the bottom will be forced down on us by government from above. That is not of the people and by the people. That is by the few in government.

Serve (Love) the Lord w/ all you heart, strength & mind and Serve (Love) your neighbor as your self. Change people one by one, yourself, not through government.

I am sorry for the lengthy email. This how I face the election spin and develop an informed voting opinion and rhetoric.

rhetoric:1: the art of speaking or writing effectively: as a: the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times b: the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion 2 a: skill in the effective use of speech b: a type or mode of language or speech ; also : insincere or grandiloquent language3: verbal communication : discourse

Hattiesburg, MS

Two Dogs said...

As always, the election turns toward philosophy for me. There are two diametrically opposed ideas here. On the one hand you have a very wealthy politician who has assumed power by every corrupt means at his disposal and tells morons what they want to hear, despite the lack of truth in his claims. Then you have another humongously wealthy politician that is a militant centrist in ideology. In other words, he listens to folks, accumulates all the data and then determines his path.

What it all boils down to in a brief statement is this: Poor people should not be fat. Get it?

And MG gets it, Barry is far left and far right.

Roland Hulme said...

For me, the election is simple. John McCain is a great man and had some of (his own) great policies.

However, in embracing the far right, he'd embraced the entity that has led us in the wrong direction for the last eight years.

America is embroiled in a messy war overseas, buried in the greatest economic crisis since the depression, despised and mocked overseas, even more of a target for terrorism than before 9/11 and if the reason we've not been attacked again is thanks to anything, it's to bills that have removed our constitutional rights and freedoms and spat on everything the Declaration of Independence stood for.

Obama isn't a saint, or a messiah, or even the best of the two candidates on offer. However, he represents the best of the two PARTIES on offer. Because whether you lean too far to the right or too far to the left, the same thing happens. The system collapses.

Republicans fear socialism. Rational people fear the extreme form of unregulated wage-slavery that is the opposite of that.

I will support Obama because I want the freedom to make my own way in life and be independent. The Republicans currently offer MORE restrictive social policies and continued economic policies that will basically turn us all into 'sharecroppers' for foriegn corporations who own the lion's share of an America the Republican government has backrupted.

At my son's baptism, this weekend, this question KEPT popping up in my head:

"Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?"

That's not just a Christian philosophy. That's a humanist philosophy. An AMERICAN philosophy (even though it's from the Anglican book of common prayer.)

I honestly don't think the current Republican party represents justice (Patriot Act, Gitmo bay) it CERTAINLY doesn't represent peace (war in Iraq, bombing raids in so-called friendly countries like Pakistan) and all they've done over the course of the last eight years is stomp on human dignity.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the 'screw everybody else, I'm the only one that matters' philosophy. I'm sick of the stupidity of giving tax breaks to the ridiculously wealthy in the belief that it'll 'create jobs' or 'trickle down.' I'm sick of the social conservatives pretending to believe in the constitution and then censoring us and forcing their beliefs on us to change America into 'their vision' of what is moral.

I just want to be left alone, to earn my own living, to have the security to buy a house and own a car and not have to worry about whether I can pay the bills EVERY week.

It USED to be that such a philosophy was embraced by the Republicans and if you read my blog, you'll see I fully supported McCain when he started his campaign because I believed he stood for change.

But he doesn't any more. The Republican party is a pathetic shell of what it once was and what it claims to represent.

I support Obama because I want to drag America back to being the land of the free, where everybody has an equal shot but NOT at the expense of those we tread underfoot.

I want justice, peace and human dignity and currently, only Obama can offer that.

I hope America makes the right choice tomorrow.

Two Dogs said...

Just to clear one misconception up in your comment, Roland. Republicans do not fear socialism, they know exactly what it does because they understand history.

BLBeamer said...

I apologize for the length of this post. Even if you end up disagreeing with my choice, I hope you will see that I took my franchise seriously.

I voted today. I agonized - genuinely - over my presidential vote. Up until 6:00 am this morning, abstention was under serious consideration. Both major candidates are - not to put too fine a point on it - less than ideal candidates. Both have some pluses and both have major negatives.

I had very little difficulty deciding for my state, local and Congressional races. I ended up voting for 4 Dems and 5 Repubs. One of the Repubs is a neighbor and I would have voted for him regardless of his party affiliation, so you can see I can't be accused of being overly partisan. I believe I voted for the person who will do the best job in their respective office, and I tried to take into consideration as much info as I could. I even consulted our three local daily newspapers to see how each candidate responded to the editorial boards.

I believe the highest priority issue facing the nation at this time is the economy . I re-read my long post from last week where I laid out my case for "undecided." This past week, I have also been reading some history on the Great Depression and how the government caused/responded to it. This was prompted by my vacation last month, during which I spent 3-4 hours in the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum in West Branch, Iowa. Due to the current economic events, I paid particular attention to Hoover’s actions in 1929-1932. Hoover had several chances to alleviate the downturn and he blew it each time. He has earned his ranking among our five worst presidents, in my opinion. I decided that any candidate who endorses policies similar to what Hoover did, would lose my vote. Complicating my choice is that each of the candidates has endorsed such policies, to one extent or another. Some of it is normal political pandering, I think, and not to be taken seriously, but I tried to parse where each candidate stood to get at least a dim view of their likely economic policies.

In my opinion, the four biggest mistakes Hoover made (it was hard to pick just four!) were:

1) Despite a severe credit crunch and deflation, Hoover worked with Congress to increase taxes, thereby pulling even more money out of the economy and reducing the profits available for economic growth. He signed the Revenue Act of 1932, which more than doubled marginal tax rates on highest income earners; estate taxes were doubled, and corporate taxes were increased by 15%. In addition, there was a two cent (30 cents in 2008 dollars) tax on all bank checks, which acted to further reduce economic activity.
2) Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. This protectionist law not only almost eliminated cheaper imports, but harmed exports because our trading partners reciprocated and penalized US goods.
3) Despite significant real price decreases in nearly all inputs across the economy, Hoover fought to maintain inflated wage rates, guaranteeing that unemployment would jump. When he left office it was over 24%.

I kind of agree with Roland that this election is not so much about the candidates – they are both mediocre – but about which party should lead. I believe the GOP has demonstrated they are too inept and corrupt to lead. However, I disagree with Roland that the Democrats are therefore worthy.

1) Despite Obama’s campaign promises, the Democratic leadership has made little effort to hide the fact they want to raise taxes.
2) The current Democratic party is generally opposed to free trade, unlike Bill Clinton’s party. For those who are concerned about the US’s moral standing in the world, think about the impact erecting trade barriers to poor countries would have in a declining world economy. Forcing countries to remain poverty-stricken is hardly the moral position.
3) Both parties have indicated they have no stomach for allowing wages to fall in order to avoid unemployment among the least skilled members of society. I fear we are in for deepening unemployment unless Congress reduces or eliminates barriers to hiring and firing. In France, for example, it is very, very difficult to fire someone even for incompetence. Subsequently, companies are reluctant to commit to hiring young or unproven workers (my niece’s husband is French and assures me this is true). Today’s Democrats want to strengthen union power by eliminating the secret ballot in union elections. How likely is a company to hire workers knowing this?

Because of these issues, and because the Democrats will clearly have a majority, if not a supermajority in Congress next session, I reluctantly voted for John McCain for the simple reason that I would hope he would make good on some of his promises to use the veto.

Furthermore, I know my vote was wasted because my state is not only blue, it is indigo. There is no way my vote will make a difference. If Obama doesn’t carry my state by ten points I’ll be very surprised.

But at least I did what I could do.

BLBeamer said...

Geez! Sorry, I composed my post in MS Word and somehow I failed to copy and paste Hoover's fourth big error.

Roland Hulme said...

"Because of these issues, and because the Democrats will clearly have a majority, if not a supermajority in Congress next session, I reluctantly voted for John McCain for the simple reason that I would hope he would make good on some of his promises to use the veto."

That's a VERY smart reason to vote for John McCain. I support Obama because I hope the majority at least means things will get done, with the engine running smoothly. But if you're moderate/right in your politics, I think putting that presidential burden on the Democrats is probably no bad thing.

Elysa said...

I'm voting for McPalin.

The main issue for me is the issue of protecting the unborn. To me they are the absolutely most helpless, innocent, and "least of these". Abortion not only destroys the life of the baby, but it hurts the mother as well...often times in tragic ways. McCain and Palin have consistently stayed true to the pro-life issue and McCain's record strongly reflects this.

O'Bama and Biden's records do not show a respect for the unborn. And I'll be honest, though many say that they are for the other "least of these"...especially the poor, as someone who has worked with the welfare class and poor, inner city class, I can readily attest to the fact that liberal policies that are supposed to HELP the poor actually hurt them in the long run as it makes them victims and virtual slaves. They don't get ahead but instead get deeper and deeper entrenched in a way of life that rewards poor choices, broken families, immorality, etc.

Are all poor in that state because of poor choices, immorality, etc? Of course not, but on the whole, the liberal policies have done more harm than help.

For these reasons, the tough love philosophy of the Republican party as a whole to me is more loving and beneficial in the long run.

And those are my two main reasons for voting McPalin today.

BLBeamer said...

Roland, it looks like both you and I have voted for a hope we can believe in!

Graham said...

Mr. Hulme wrote eloquently, and I echo his thoughts.

You can only learn so much about a man by seeing YouTube clips, or trying to discern his heart and his head purely from a simple voting record.

So I read Senator Obama's books. And I listened to his interviews.
And I looked him in the eye and shook his hand when he visited our campaign office.
So I am comfortable in my gut that he is not Reid or Pelosi.

That he means it when he says "I hope to hear the voices also of those whose votes I did not earn".

And that he truly has the spirit to inspire us all to also do our best to serve our country... a feeling I shared in rallies numbering over 50,000 people.

John McCain is a fine man.
A war hero and servant of the people.

But in his journey to the Presidency, he embraced a party that has been hijacked.
This party's majority are decent folk who love God and Country.
But the RNC has become a haven for a small minority of angry and disassociated white men.
Some so consumed by hate that they would utter obscenities and slam a door in the face of a minority canvasser like myself even BEFORE I DECLARED who I was canvassing fore.

So call it a personal decision. I personally admire John McCain, but cannot give my vote to the party he represents.

So you can say your opinion may differ, but please don't say I am "wrong" until you have stood in my shoes and been the object of abject spite and hatred.

Even in such situations, I reach out my hand across the fence, because we are not enemies, but fellow Americans.

As another skinny guy from Illinois (Abraham Lincoln) and Republican wrote, over 150 years ago:

"We are not enemies, but friends. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

BLBeamer said...

Graham - I gave nearly the same reaction to canvassers (slammed doors but no cursing). I didn't bother to find out who they were canvassing for, either. It had nothing to do with "hate", though. It had to do with canvassers ignoring the "No political canvassers" sign posted in my window.

I would hope we all can put an end to this too-quick-to-assume-hate attitude too many of us have. It's stupid and it's un-American.

Congratulations to Barack Obama. Good luck dealing with those lunatics in Congress!