Friday, February 8, 2008

Why I don't hate McCain

So it seems pretty well set that the GOP will nominate McCain. I can live with this. Is he my ideal candidate? No, but since I am not yet old enough to run for president myself (gimme another ten years), he’ll do. I don’t love him, but I don’t hate him either.

First, part of me is excited about his “maverick” reputation. It’s almost admirable that he is not afraid to buck party orthodoxy when he believes in it. It shows a commitment to principle, which I consider a good thing (let’s save for a moment a discussion of what those principles he’s committed to actually are). I am (yes, still) a gay Republican. I like the idea of a nominee who, while still Republican, doesn’t quite fit the cookie cutter.

Now , there’s a lot that John McCain stands for that I can get behind. He’s pro-life (hardly a litmus test for me, but still I’m more comfortable protecting a fetus). He’s in favor of the death penalty (please don’t make me get into a discussion of reconciling those views. I can do it, but that’s not the point here). He’s hawkish on foreign policy (though he’s staunchly against torture). He’s on the conservative side of universal healthcare. And most importantly for me, he’s pretty much a fiscal conservative.

“BUT WAIT,” the conservative McCain haters shout, “He voted against the Bush tax cuts, not once but TWICE!”

True, but he was worried about tax cuts without corresponding spending limits. That is a very tenable position for a fiscal conservative. Now he did vote for the tax cuts, the third time around, but hey, it’s hard to fault someone for becoming more conservative in voting (where it matters, instead of mere campaign speeches, Mssrs. Huckabee and Romney).

So, he’s looking pretty darn conservative. The only problem is that maverick streak I mentioned is on the wrong issues. Campaign finance reform under McCain-Feingold has been a disaster. The immigration thing was wrongheaded. The other problem is that there are my maverick issues: on most gay rights he’s just like the majority of GOP members.

So what I have here I a Republican I can agree with on, say, 65% of issues (and several of my priority issues are among those) versus a Democrat (either one, they believe pretty much the same things) whom I agree with on, say, 15% of issues. The choice for me is clear: 65% > 15%. I can live with president McCain more easily than I can live with President Clinbama.

Pass me a McCain button, it’s time to look towards November.


Tim in Italy said...

Did you see your shadow while you were writing this? Are we in for 6 more weeks of Huckabee?

While I'm happy about McCain, I'm seeing a lot of right wing press on how JM now must, absolutely must, choose Mitt-boy as his running mate. Don't any of these people notice the change in the wind? It makes me ill.

Not happy at all about Clinton. Obama, maybe. Hearing some rumors that he's on the phone with Gore at least once a week. An Obama/Gore ticket? I might actually think about coming home if that were the case.

And I can go to the US Embassy in Rome to vote. That's incentive, believe me... I mean, other than saving the country from the neo-cons and all. If you could see some of these beautiful Roman boys, Pink! I'm sure there are several who would be receptive to learning about US Poly-Sci while in the nude. And I'm sure they'd find your perspective refreshing... odd, but refreshing.

Matt said...

You're helping me slowly figure out why I can't understand the gay-republican phenomenon. Your 65>15 explanation put it in stark relief: it's not purely a numbers game! There are some positions that are so viscerally offensive that they outweigh all the others. I simply can't believe you'd vote for a candidate who agreed with 99% of your positions "except for that pesky slavery thing." I'm not saying gay rights are anywhere near as important as slavery, but the point is that some things SHOULD be a straight-up litmus test!

Sure, fiscal conservatism and killing Iraqis and allowing rich people to buy elections and the other things you listed are all well and good (please note the sarcasm). But he wants to appoint judges who will deny YOUR basic civil rights! Doesn't that bother you!?!

I might have to blog about this. You have me all riled up.

Michael in Norfolk said...

It’s great to see you back blogging even if sporadically. To me, it would not be the end of the world if McCain wins in November – as long as he does not have Mike Fuckabee (to use Magic Bellybutton’s name for Huckabee) as his VP. Overall, I will nonetheless have to back Obama, who even my 80 year old long time Republican mother is planning to vote for in Tuesday’s primary here in Virginia. I truly believe that only some years completely out of power will convince the GOP that they need to throw the Christianists under the bus once and for all so that moderates can return to the party.

The reality is that our system is broken and systemic change is needed. Obama is the only candidate who might actually be able to usher in such a change. He is appearing tomorrow in conservative Virginia Beach and already over 7,000 have signed up to attend. He is obviously doing something right and has picked up on the under current that we cannot go on as we have been doing.

Jonathan said...

You forgot his stance on the 2nd amendment (fundamentally in favor of gun restriction), conservative federal judges (willingly joined with democrats to continue allowing Bush's nominees to be filibustered), environmentalism (code for displaced communists) leading to legislation that places an additional tax on businesses based on their carbon emissions...I won't go on because you've probably stopped reading anyway.
Bottom line, Mr. Elephant, McCain will raise your taxes, make it harder for American businesses to sell you things at low prices, and appoint diet-Coke conservatives to the federal bench.
Personally, I hope Obama wins the nomination. Such a candidacy would prevent Bill and his wife from ever returning to the White House, and, much like Jimmy Carter's disaster of an administration, would pave the way for a truly conservative candidate to take the reins and fix the country.

Pink Elephant said...


Methinks that part of your difficulty understanding why anyone would be a gay-republican is that you don't really understand why anyone would be a republican.

The fact of the matter is my priority issues are not the gay issues. Sure, I support at least a civil union for gay couples and I think don't ask don't tell will die under its own weight. But what are the civil rights I am going to be denied? No one is threatening to put me in jail for sodomy. I still enjoy freedoms of contract, religion, speech, association, assembly, and (indirectly) press. I get the same due process and equal protection before the courts that anyone else does.

I'm not interested in getting married yet (and is that really a civil right?). If and when I am ready to settle down, careful planning will take care of most problems. Ideal? No, but still not enough of a burden to change my focus.

I'm not worried about employment discrimination because I have chosen a firm that has for the past 5 years scored a 100% on the HRC corporate equality index. Indeed as I have blogged here before, the overwhelming trend in corporate America is away from discrimination (it just hurts business). Besides, I can always go work elsewhere if I do get discriminated against.

If someone commits a hate crime against me, I'll be happy to prosecute them under the regular crime laws (after all, it's all my father would have if he were the victim of a crime).

I just don't feel like my civil rights are in any great danger. I do, however, worry about the tax burden, the collapse of social security, and the threat of terrorism. By the way, those issues affect you just as much as they do me.

PS If it makes you feel better, I oppose Huckabee because he's bad on everything.

Marcus said...

I really would like to try to find a way to say this nicely, and not seem like I am attacking you personally, but I don't think I can.

If you truly, deep down inside, can support McCain and vote for a president from the party that wants to enact a constitutional amendment forbidding you from marrying someone you love, then you are no more enlightened than a black who would favor slavery because it gives him 'security' or a Jew who would support Hitler.

Whether YOU would ever want to marry or not is not the issue. That you would support a party so full of contempt for who you really are reveals a very disturbed sense of ethics and values.

It shows you value money over love, and that must be a very lonely and sad place to be.

You seem like a very smart guy, and as a lawyer have superb training in logical thinking, but at some point I hope you realize that not every right answer is found via the analytical process and that at the end of the day, and at the end of your life, it will be loving another person that will have been the most important thing you will have ever accomplished.