Friday, August 1, 2008

Obama v. McCain

This is a pretty interesting election for me. I have two candidates who I really respect.

I appreciate that both Obama and McCain tend toward the center, even if they've both advanced policies with which I strongly disagree. I know that Obama and McCain are both men of integrity, even though they've done things that are out of character. And I trust that both Obama and McCain have the best interest of the country in mind, even if they've been willing to make some ridiculous statements--or run some unfortunate ad campaigns--along the way.

Having said that, I know that I'm too fiscally conservative to ever fully support Obama's economic agenda. While it's true that I have decidedly mixed feelings about universal health care, on almost every other economic issue, I think Obama is too far left.

But I am also very socially liberal. I care about issues like gay equality and warrantless wiretapping. And though I'm almost certain the Democrats will win large majorities this November, I'm still deeply concerned about Supreme Court nominations.

So, for me, this election really comes down to two questions:

1) Which candidate is most competent to run the country?
2) Which set of issues am I, at this stage in my life, most concerned with?

When I look at the election this way, Obama is the clear choice.


MediaMaven said...

You should write about why Obama's the clear choice for you.

MediaMaven said...

Also interesting that the three examples you give of "unfortunate ad campaigns" are all from McCain. Does Obama have any?

What do you think of McCain's recent "Celebrity" ad? At first I thought it was a good tactic to take, even though he's considered a "rock star", not a celebrity, but by comparing him to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is low and ineffective. A better comparison (though far too positive) would be Will Smith.

petpluto said...

Question: Do you support what McCain has advanced as his economic plan? Because for the fiscally conservative person, his plan (like continuing the Bush tax cuts) also seems well... the opposite of fiscally conservative.

mikhailbakunin said...


I think that continuing the Bush tax cuts is fine, as long as we're going to cut discretionary spending. But I'm also okay with raising marginal rates.

To be honest, I don't actually think that structural deficits are all that bad. Some economists complain that too much government debt causes "crowding out" of private sector investment, but it also stimulates growth.

Ultimately, deficits can be paid down by issuing more government securities. That may make the economy more fragile, but the real concern for me is overregulation and overtaxation. That's what I think causes stagnation.

And that's where I profoundly disagree with Obama.

John said...

My goodness, how times have changed.
I can still remember your attitude with regard to the last election, when you could not in good conscience vote for either major political candidate. The fact that your difficulty choosing a candidate to support is a positive dilemma instead of a negative one is a sign that both sides of the American political machine have learned from their recent mistakes.

mikhailbakunin said...

Yeah, that's true, John. Policy issues aside, I really like both candidates.

I do think that the negative ads coming from the McCain camp have been really disappointing, but my concern isn't so much that McCain condones vicious ad hominem attacks (he actually seems repulsed by them), but that he's simply too weak or too pragmatic to discourage them.

In other words, my focus is on what these ads say about McCain's ability to manage his campaign--and, by extension, the country--more than the actual content.

Obama's had some ridiculous ads, too, but they're generally more issue-oriented, and he seems to be managing the tone of his campaign much more artfully than McCain.