Saturday, October 08, 2005

So What the Hell Am I All About? Part 1 - Politics

Perhaps you've glanced at some of my posts since I started this thing up, and you've reasoned (not surprisingly) that I an just your typical East Coast, Volvo-driving, Bush-hating, Big Gub'mint-loving liberal.

I can understand that perception.

After all, there's the Bush countdown thing over there ----->

There are my posts about FEMA and the administration's seeming incompetence in making the trains run on time. There's my link to Jon Stewart skewering recent the recent statements on progress in Iraq. Not to mention any number of snarky, left-leaning comments.

How would I classify myself? For starters, fiscally conservative, socially progressive.

But it's not as simple as that. I'm a pretty religious Christian (raised staunchly Catholic, now a practicing Methodist - the music is better). I don't like abortion, for the most part. I don't equate a 10-cell blastocyst with a human life. However, I don't believe in "abortion on demand" at any time during a pregnancy. Where is the line drawn? I have no idea.

Can government solve our problems? No. Yes. Government's fundamental purpose is to do that which is much more difficult (if not impossible) to do individually. Wage war. Protect our borders. Build roads. Inspect meat.

Should gay folks be allowed to marry? Not sure. Should they be granted all the civil benefits of married folks? Of course. Adopt, visit in the hospital, take the tax deduction - sure. The equal protection clauses are a no-brainer, in my mind. Why anyone would want to somehow prevent two adult folks from legally committing to each other simply boggles my mind.

Does government (especially federal) attempt to do too much? Yes. Education, for example, is best managed locally. Should the feds help fund local education? Yes. Equality of opportunity demands it. Should funding for public broadcasting end? Yes, I think so. What is the compelling societal need anymore? Business subsidies (AKA corporate welfare), including agricultural, need to disappear. The government shouldn't be in the business of picking winners and losers, or propping up unprofitable industries and markets.

Do I find right-wingers insufferable? Absolutely. My blood boils when I listen to Rush/O'Reilly/Hannity et. al. The Right Blogosphere's blind commitment to Bush (Miers notwithstanding), regardless of what the facts are, destroys any credibility.

Do I find left-wingers insufferable? Hell, yes. I had the chance to listen to Air America on XM on a recent AirTran flight. I couldn't take more that 10 minutes of it.

I thought that Bill Clinton was a terrific, if flawed, president. He moved to the middle, he helped fix the welfare system, he opened trade, he rebuilt and modernized our military (let's remember - it was his military infrastructure and hardware that performed so brilliantly in Afghanistan and Iraq), and, most importantly, HE BALANCED THE BUDGET.

Which is why I voted for Bush in 2000. I liked McCain initially (still do - perhaps more on that another time). But when the choice finally came down to Bush or Gore, I went Bush for one simple reason - I believed he was the best bet to continue Clinton's conservative fiscal policies and keep the budget balanced.

At the end of the day, I believe that is the single most important issue we face. Aside from the morality of it, poor fiscal policy, carried out long enough, will turn into a national security issue (how about China owning all that debt of ours?).

I bought all the "compassionate conservative" lies. I believed that his Texas record showed someone who knew how - and when - to use government to better people's lives, someone who know how to "make the trains run on time".

I'm not a Bush-hater. I'm simply and extremely disappointed (and growing angry) former supporter. In his nearly six years, he has put this nation in a far weaker position on many fronts (more of which I will cover in the future).

My problem is, who represents me and my leanings? Aside from The Bull Moose, I'm not sure. I like the idea of a McCain run, though he is not as progressive as most folks think on social issues.
Libertarians? In some ways, that's what I am. Government does need to get its freaking nose out of our private business. But they go too far WRT where government shouldn't play.

I just discovered Neo-Neocon, and am really starting to enjoy her stuff. I don't necessarily buy that 9-11 "changed everything", but she has some great opinions. As a former young, idealistic, and Kennedy-philic liberal, I can relate.

So I will vote for the candidate, not the party. I will support the position, not that platform. And I will utilize this forum to rant, vent, question, pontificate, and basically work my way through my uncertainties as best I can.

In any case, thanks for listening.


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