Just a few scattered thoughts on "Super Duper Tuesday" . . .
Thought #1: Finally, Some Sanity
I have previously shared my frustration with some conservative pundits who have claimed they would rather see anyone--even a Democrat--inhabit the White House rather than John McCain. Even before this election cycle, I had my doubts about Ann Coulter's priorities, but having listened to Rush off and on over the years thought he would maintain some common sense. Yet as I have dropped in on his program over the last few weeks I have been offended not only by his nonstop hammering of McCain (which will only be destructive in the long run) but also by his insulting of conservatives who have decided to support McCain, suggesting that we are blindly letting the mainstream media pick our candidate for us. I take this personally, as I have spent more time this year studying the candidates and issues than I ever have before. In the past I am not ashamed to admit that I have sometimes just trusted my husband to tell me for whom I should vote--he is the smartest person I know, with vast political and historical knowledge, and I trust his judgment. But this year, perhaps due to my newly discovered passion for blogging, I have done my own groundwork and in fact am responsible for helping to confirm my husband's own decision to vote for McCain. So I really resent Rush's dismissal of my intelligence and understanding. I also have little respect for his argument that a Democrat in the White House would not be much different from a Republican when it comes to national security and that thus it would be better to suffer through 4 years of Democratic policies so as to crystallize in people's minds that a conservative is better for the country on bread and butter issues and to drive the country rightward again.
This makes no sense to me! All I can make of this is that Rush is willing to sacrifice national security and the Supreme Court in order to achieve the conservative purity he so desperately wants in his president. And that is a viewpoint I cannot respect.
Thus, I several times this week wished I could reach into the television set and hug Laura Ingraham, who unlike Rush and Ann Coulter is willing to say that although John McCain may not be her preferred candidate, he is certainly preferable to either Democratic candidate and if he is the nominee she will vote for him in the fall.
Please understand that I do not think that Rush and others should be falling into line behind McCain right now just for the sake of party unity. They are out there to promote the conservative agenda, an agenda which I support. And the primary season is the time for the various elements within the party to debate their differences and make their best case. But in my opinion that means positively pointing out what you see as the strengths of your chosen candidate, not relentlessly attacking another who may very well end up as the nominee. What ever happened to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment--"Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican"? At least not in front of non-Republicans! (Kind of like parents, we need a united front.) I know that Rush's position is that he is a conservative first and a Republican second, but as long as he continues to weigh in and try to have an impact on the Republican Party's decision he is including himself in the Republican Party and should therefore not be behaving in a way that will be destructive to the party's chances in the fall.
Thought #2 - I'm Really, Really Worried
Watching Obama's speech Tuesday night scared me to no end. I am hoping and praying for Hillary to get the Democratic nomination, not only because I think she would be easier to defeat but also because I think she has some sense. As I watched Obama I was struck by the emptiness of his rhetoric (it's beautiful to listen to seems to have no grip on reality) as well as the adoring, almost worshipful reactions of his supporters (one lady in particular, standing behind him to his left, was like a barometer whose face and body indicated--through various expressions of delight and joy, several lapses into tears, and repeated clasping and prayerful gestures of the hands--how the listener should be reacting to Obama's words). What scares me is Obama's ability to stir up a crowd through only his presence and his words, which in my opinion usually say very little of substance. I get the impression from watching the crowds that turn out for him that he could say just about anything and they would thrill to it just because it came out of his mouth. But to speak rhapsodically of "uniting people" is for me empty rhetoric. The question is, what are we uniting behind? Surrender and appeasement to those who would like to see us cease to exist? Continued indoctrination of our young people into the belief that they can do nothing for themselves and that everything good comes from the government? These are ideas behind which I cannot unite, no matter how effective the delivery.
And yet, judging from the numbers of people who are turning out to vote and rally for the other party's candidates, it appears to me that there are a lot of people ready to buy into the empty rhetoric. And that is what is frightening. The Republicans may have the right ideas, but without a candidate who can successfully unite people and winningly promote those ideas, do we have a chance to succeed? Mark Steyn on National Review Online had this chilling observation today:
"The real story of the night, when you look at their rallies and their turn-out numbers, is that the Dems have two strong candidates either of whom could lead a united party to victory. Forget the gaseous platitudes: in Dem terms, their choice on Super Duper Tuesday was deciding which candidate was Super Duper and which was merely Super. Over on the GOP side, it was a choice between Weak & Divisive or Weaker & Unacceptable. Doesn't bode well for November."
(Author's Note: I'm feeling a bit better now that it looks like the Republicans are starting to come together.)
Thought #3 (Finally a Bright Spot) - My Vote Really Does Count!
On my local ballot yesterday there was a referendum calling for $48,600,815 in 20-year building bonds of which $43,600,815 would be used to construct a new 100,000 square foot library in my town and $5 million would be used for remodeling the facility in a neighboring town (both towns are part of the same library district). The referendum failed by 43 votes, and between my husband and myself, several of our friends, and my mothers and some of her friends, I think I know where at least 10 of those "no" votes came from.
Now don't get me wrong--we love the library and use it a lot. But although I would agree the facility we utilize could use a little remodeling, I see no need for a 43 million dollar state of the art amusement park. I rarely see a crowd at our library. There is space that is currently not being used. There is room for expansion on the current campus. And considering that I know much of the money that would be raised would be spent on what I view to be unnecessary technology and programs and a collection of books that does not represent my values to the same extent that it represents those of secular humanism, this is money that I am unwilling to pay. The additional assessment on our property would amount to "only"about $70 per year, but after watching our property taxes increase by approximately 40% in the last 8 years and seeing no end in sight, my husband and I have decided to register a "no" vote on any additional increases. The causes are always noble--who doesn't want good schools and libraries?--but as I have watched the tax base in our area do nothing but expand as more and more $400,000+ houses get built and more and more businesses come in (including an Ikea just down the road from me), and as I consider other money-makers such as the red-light monitors that slap motorists with $100 fines no matter the severity of the infraction, I can't help but wonder where all the money is going. So this week my husband and I decided to stand athwart further tax increases and yelling "Stop!" and this time at least, we got heard (at least until the next referendum).
Chalk one up for the little guy.