Friday, October 31, 2008

A Conservative Viewpoint
- Perils Of Voting Your Emotions

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

Emotion is defined as a strong feeling about someone or something. Judgment, on the other hand, means having the ability to form sound opinions based on knowledge or at the very least reliable guesses. In this year’s presidential contest, it seems American voters are being guided more by their guts than their heads. How else can one explain the dichotomy between the candidate pollsters and pundits are telling us will likely become the next president and that candidate’s advocacy for fiscal and social positions most Americans have historically rejected?

We’ve all made decisions based purely on emotion. Approaching middle age, I couldn’t stand the idea of getting older. How could this be happening to me? In the interest of somehow convincing myself I could reverse the biological process of aging, I purchased a high powered European sports car with all the bells and whistles. I remember the euphoric feeling I had driving my dream car away from the dealership on that beautiful fall day. With the sun roof open and the music blaring, I sped down the highway saying to myself, “Look at me. I’m not really old.”

In less than five months I found myself suffering from a severe case of buyer’s remorse. I had received three speeding tickets in my new car and ruptured a disc in my lower back by trying to cram my middle-aged and expanding anatomy into a car that in no way was ever built to accommodate it. I had 54 payments left on this chariot. So much for making a decision based solely on emotion.

Emotional decisions and reactions on the part of some may lead to more serious consequences. Failed marriages, lost friendships, bad business or financial decisions, quitting a good job or even getting fired can all result from relying strictly on emotion.

In 1976, America was mad. We were angry and festering wounds from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. Vice President Gerald Ford, a man long respected for his honesty and integrity, became the new president in August of 1974 after Nixon stepped down. The following month, he granted Nixon a full and unconditional pardon “in the best interests of the country” and served for another 27 months.

Ford reluctantly agreed to run for president in 1976. Many Americans never forgave him for his pardon of Nixon. His opponent was Jimmy Carter, a one-term governor of Georgia,. Carter campaigned as an outsider and reformer at a time America was seeking change. At one point, polls showed Carter leading Ford by 33 points.

In the closing weeks Ford closed the gap to within two points by Election Day, primarily by painting Carter as lacking the necessary experience to be president. Had fewer than 25,000 votes shifted in Ohio and Wisconsin, Ford would have been elected. That emotional decision to go with an unknown, inexperienced newcomer over the proven and more experienced legislator resulted in double-digit inflation. This led to high unemployment and interest rates that peaked at 21.5 percent. Ford was not Nixon and was never accused of any wrongdoing. But voters turned away from him and entrusted the presidency to someone who they knew so little about.

This year the Democrats are attempting to morph John McCain into George W. Bush. Democrats are juxtaposing McCain with Bush to suggest McCain’s presidency will be an extension of the Bush years. It’s hard to see the connections other than both are Republicans. Yes, McCain supports winning in Iraq but he can never be accused of being a reckless spender. McCain is a reformer who has spent his career fighting against earmarks and excessive pork barrel spending. It’s unlikely those pet projects would be curtailed in an Obama presidency that has proposed a trillion dollars in new spending.

In contrasting McCain and Obama, here are a few specific things to think about before casting your vote.

Energy: McCain favors off-shore drilling and the expansion of nuclear power. Obama does not.

Judiciary: McCain favors judges who interpret the Constitution as written. Obama will appoint judges who will rule from the bench.

Experience: McCain has 22 years in the Senate. Obama has served less than four years, two of which have been spent running for president.

Right-to-Life: McCain opposes abortion. Obama supports abortion throughout pregnancy including partial-birth abortion.

The War: McCain authored the surge, which has turned the tide of the war in Iraq. Obama refuses to even acknowledge the surge is working.

Immigration: McCain is opposed to blanket amnesty that would automatically bestow citizenship on the 12 million illegal aliens estimated to be living here. Obama is an advocate for some form of amnesty that will add billions of dollars to our already overburdened Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare systems.

McCain is in favor of establishing English as the nation’s legal language and voted to support it. Obama voted against it.

Capital Gains Tax: McCain- zero percent on sales of all homes up to $500,000. Obama-28 percent tax on all profit from any home sale, including the homes of those planning to downsize for retirement. Under Obama’s plan, a $200,000 profit from the sale of your home would result in up to up $56,000 in taxes.

Inheritance tax: McCain is opposed to it while Obama is in favor of reinstating it.

These are but a few of the differences between the two candidates seeking to become our next president. Our nation is at a pivotal social and fiscal crossroad. Your vote this year requires more than emotions. This isn’t simply about “choosing hope over fear.” It’s about using good judgment based on the facts.

I have not been a strong supporter of John McCain, however I have always considered him a patriot and a hero. John is probably the single best candidate we could have on the issue of fighting the war we currently find ourselves in. Islamo-fascism must be defeated or we will see the nuclear war that we avoided during the cold war coming to our shores and cities. I, for one, do to want to wake up one morning and watch the morning news shows covering the consequences of nuclear bombs going off in our cities. That is our future if Barack Obama is made President.

Good article Bob.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home