To be sure, Senator Barack Obama is certainly to the left of Senator John McCain; however, it’s not a stretch to say that the real John McCain has more in common with Barack Obama than he does with his own party. In fact, McCain frequently drew the ire of his party for many of his supposed "maverick" votes in the Senate.
His legislative masterpiece, the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, is generally regarded as one of the most egregious attacks on free speech in modern history. Yet, McCain brags about his close relationship with Senator Feingold, as well as the likes of Senators Ted Kennedy and Joseph Lieberman.
Bipartisanship is an admirable trait in any politician willing to set aside partisan bickering, but not when it is for legislation that harms Constitutional liberties and puts taxpayers in danger, such as when both Senators McCain and Obama voted for the taxpayer-subsidized bailout.
Working together against liberty is no more virtuous than working alone for the same ends.
Senator McCain’s record—one that he has vigorously tried to recreate with euphemisms like "maverick," "bipartisan" and "reformer"—has made him a darling of the left and a pariah of the right; at least until he became the GOP’s nominee for president. McCain may be the new front man for the Republican Party, but it is too late to teach the old dog new tricks.
Republicans, coming to realize the true folly of their choice, try to excuse a vote for McCain by comparing the damage McCain will do to that of an Obama presidency. They will say, "McCain isn’t great, but Obama is a socialist." Even when faced with a viable alternative, such as Bob Barr, who better represents the fiscal conservative/limited government philosophy that once used to define the Republican Party, Republicans choose instead to abandon principle for the sake of preserving whatever hollow illusion of capitalism that managed to escape eight years of the Bush administration.
These Republicans are right, in part. Obama is no friend to the businessman or the free market. The legislation he would push through Congress would have a detrimental impact on the American economy, and would undoubtedly be difficult to undo following his departure from office.
However, an Obama presidency would not usher in a new era of government regulation—it would simply be the continuation of a trend started with his predecessor. Republicans who are fearful of an Obama presidency and his alleged "socialism" are either ignorant or in denial of the vast expansion of federal power under President George Bush.
It should be stated that this environment of big government—both economic and social—was not created and executed by Bush without lack of support by so-called "conservatives" in Congress. But by every objective measure, the Bush administration has been the single biggest catalyst of government growth since FDR.
Republicans admit they may not agree with 100 percent of what Bush does or did (a positive sign that at least Republicans do have some lasting semblance of a conscience), but the symptom of big government is not just particular to the Bush administration. Object as they may to the creeping dangers of Barack Obama, the abandonment of everything fiscal or limited in the last eight years of government growth has been with the full knowledge and consent of the Republicans in Congress, and the Republican Party members who keeping voting these same politicians back into power.
Maybe, the trepidations of Republicans are valid. Maybe, this era of capacious government is all the fault of liberals. If this were the case, then it would be the liberalism of the new GOP.
The frontrunner of the GOP is no nascent liberal. McCain has long been a blacksheep of the right, most recently evidenced by the prevalence of this attack throughout the Republican primary. This criticism of McCain came from many of those that now support him.
But to complain about this "liberal heyday" of government regulatory power that Obama would create is to complain about eight years of an ever-expansive Bush administration and the cowardice of a GOP refusing to stand up to him—including that of Senator John McCain. For all that McCain says of his "maverick" status, he has either voted with the Bush administration in expanding government’s power, or worked with Democrats to do the same.
So what are Republicans to do, faced with two choices that so clearly represent the antithesis of fiscal discipline and limited government?
McCain himself has proven that the premise that one must vote for him to save the country from Obama is misinformed. McCain’s commitment to a paternalistic government, for whatever justification, is no different from Obama’s. It is merely to what extent they are willing to take it. Using Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as barometers as to what one might expect from either an Obama or McCain presidency respectively, the idea that somehow McCain is the best bet for a restrained government is even more absurd.
A vote for McCain is to acquiesce to all the ills of the GOP, and to accept its current, vacuous state (just as a vote for Obama is to approve of the Democratic Party’s impotence). It is time to accept that the GOP is a zombie that stumbles awkwardly forward, refusing to die, but unable to live. Its soul has long perished, and what is left is a hollow shell of a body.
McCain will not win in 2008 because he has neither the faculties of a statesman nor the support to stand up against an energized Democratic Party. While the GOP elite will support whomever stands at the front, rank and file Republicans, who have long grown weary with the path the Party has chosen, will not swallow more of the same rancid milk that has been poured for them these past eight years.
A McCain vote is the quintessential wasted vote because it will neither elect a president nor demand reform within the Party. So long as Republican members continue to cast votes for those Republicans they find absolutely repugnant, Republicans will continue to lose elections.
This was the case in 2006, and it shall be in 2008.
If there need be any more evidence of this fact, simply look to the pitiful state of McCain’s campaign. Knowing that he can’t beat Obama on the issues—mainly because there is so little difference between them—McCain has resorted to stoking the fires of racism and paranoia among his supporters in hopes of winning on emotion, rather than policy.
In 2008, there is only one logical choice for fiscal conservative and champions of the free market: Bob Barr and the Libertarian Party. A vote for Bob Barr is not only one placed for a proven capitalist, fiscal warrior and enemy of big government, but it also sends a message to the Republican Party that cannot be ignored.
McCain will not win, and a vote for him is one wasted. McCain will bring no change from the last eight years, and will only continue the trend of bigger government and higher spending. His "reformer" rhetoric is as hollow as his campaign.
The Libertarian Party will not play spoiler to the Republican’s presidential aspirations this year, for there is nothing to spoil. McCain will lose because Republicans chose to support someone who better represented the fiscal values of forgotten GOP heroes like Barry Goldwater. So long as the GOP continues to run people who fail to inspire the base of the Republican Party, they will lose elections, as more and more disenchanted Republicans will drift to the Libertarian Party.