“Endorsing” McCain; I didn’t vote for him, but here’s why you should

I had intended to write — to think — for myself on this matter, but I’m going to let Kara Hopkins do the work for me. I voted, if you must know, absentee; for president, I wrote in “Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez, (IND)”. Here’s why

I direct, then,  with little passion, this indirect endorsement not to those who intend, as I did, to “throw away” their votes; rather, I, recognizing that neither Nader nor Baldwin, Barr nor (Heaven forfend!) McKinney, will succeed President Bush, I seek to convince those voters undecided (If any remain) — or willing to be swayed yet — that, as contemptible as Senator John McCain is, and as much as the Republican Party deserves to enter the wilderness, so to speak, for the better of the party and the nation, we need to see the Arizonan in the White House. May we see this, and may God have mercy on our souls for it.

I may find time and energy to coincide in my favor, that I might add my own thoughts, seeking to make clear where I diverge from Ms. Hopkins; for now, though, the general of theme of her piece, part of TAC‘s colloquium of endorsements, suffices.

Kara Hopkins, Executive Editor of The American Conservative, on supporting John McCain:

A better writer said of a charmless woman that rousing any affection for her would be like “smoking an unlit cigar, walking a dead dog, swimming in an empty pool, or listening to the radio when it is off.” The same goes for the Republican nominee. When John McCain appears on screen, all vacant grin and Eeyore cadence, I reach for the mute button. I hate his wars. I don’t trust his maverick pose. When he says “my friends,” he doesn’t mean me. But I am voting for him.

Call it damage control. Come January, the Senate will be firmly in Democratic hands, perhaps with a filibuster-proof majority. And if current projections hold, some 30 House seats could shift left. Republicans face a long exile from the Hill—not that their presence has made much difference. They colluded with an ostensibly conservative president to launch a war we cannot win and swell federal spending by 40 percent.

Still, installing the Senate’s most leftist member in the White House, with a Congress eager to do his bidding, is to invite radical mischief. After a four-year tour through the outer limits of the liberal imagination, the Republic might not recognize herself.

That’s not to say that President McCain would inaugurate an age of welcome gridlock. Indeed, he would count it a point of pride to work with the Democratic Congress to enact his worst policies—and he has many. But there is a sliver of hope that they will occasionally clash. He is, after all, a man ever in search of targets for his rage.

The great risk is that he would find them not in Harry Reid’s office but in Tehran. That is the worst-case scenario, but there is at least some chance that it will not come to pass. With Obama, the worst-case scenario—boundless expansion of federal prerogatives—is promised at every whistle stop. A compliant Congress would guarantee that the airy speeches become ugly reality.

So put me down as an advocate of partisanship and shutdowns, of do-nothing Congresses and presidents with time to practice their putting. Let ideologues mire themselves in fruitless debate, cancel each other’s mad ambitions, and tie themselves in such splendid knots that no one’s utopia gains an estate.

[All emphasis mine. – NPO]


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