Sunday, April 6, 2008

America's Presidential Election: Choose Wisely

The usual disclaimer: This isn't a political blog. I am, however, very biased in favor of America not having an extreme makeover of its government, under a caliph's guidance. And, I have well-defined opinions on how that can be done.

Since all three front-running candidates seem to agree that America should keep its Constitution, and that Islamic terrorists are a real threat, deciding how to vote depends on the candidates' stated policies. And, I think more importantly, why they have those policies.

This post isn't going to be so much about the candidates, though, as who the next vice president might be.

Warning! You are Entering a Political Zone

Fact filters strongly recommended.

The American presidential elections are having their usual abrasive effect on accuracy in my native country. Lately, they've felt like the intellectual equivalent of grade 1 sandpaper, overall. No complaints: That's the way this culture works, and it sure beats trial by combat or other means of picking leaders.

However, I like to vote based on fact, not which candidate has the most effective spinmeisters.

So, hearing and reading about how awful Mitt Romney is ("Social Conservatives to McCain: For the Love of God, Don't Pick Mitt" ABC (April 5, 2008), for example), I decided to do a little research. My first stop was, a non-partisan site, that must be quite annoying to all sides.

Turns out, Mitt Romney isn't a perfect candidate ("More Mitt Malarkey" (December 28, 2007)). For example, Romney:
  • Didn't cut taxes, although he tried to. Massachusetts has a Democratic legislature, and Romney's proposals were shot down before they could escape the lawmakers. As governor, Romney got some taxes cut, but the state's leaders raised others: net gain or loss, zero.
  • Shifted some of the state tax burden down to the local level, by cutting local aid revenues. Local leadership didn't like that.
  • And, he forced Massachusetts taxpayers to pay for abortions!
That last point may be why we're hearing and reading about how Mitt Romney would be utterly and totally unacceptable to 'real conservatives.' If true, he probably would be.

Without getting into the merits of the choice, life, or whatever, debate, that claim needs to be looked at. Although unrelated to the War on Terror, it could determine one party's vice-presidential candidate. And, as I said before, I like votes to be on the basis of fact, not propaganda. "McCain's Misleading Mailer" (January 15, 2008) addresses the taxes-for-abortion matter. (Did I mention that McCain isn't a perfect candidate, either?)

Talking about a McCain mailer, wrote:

"One section says in bold letters: "Romney provided taxpayer-funded abortions." That's unfair and misleading at best and certainly leaves a false impression. Romney never pushed for taxpayer funding for abortions. The state law he signed provided greatly expanded state-subsidized health insurance for low-income residents, but it left decisions about what should be covered to an independent body, the Commonwealth Connector. It was that body, not Romney, that ruled that abortions would be covered.

"In truth, the state had little choice but to cover abortions. The state Supreme Court had ruled in 1980 that the Massachusetts Constitution confers on Massachusetts women an even broader right to abortion than does the U.S. Constitution. It restated in a 1997 decision that the state must pay for medically necessary abortions if it pays for all other medically necessary procedures including services in connection with childbirth."

Nobody's Perfect: Live With it

Okay, I'll admit it: Mitt Romney isn't a perfect conservative candidate. But he does seem to have something on the ball. He's either
  • Good at getting a government's work done, through compromise
  • Or an adept buck-passer
Either way, he's a good politico. Whether he'd make a good backup for a McCain presidency, I don't know yet.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.