Where I stand on the Presidential elections

| February 12, 2008

My sister send me an e-mail asking what I thought about the status of the US presidential elections right now. My reply was a bit lengthier than even I expected, but since my cohort Henderson has already posted his thoughts, here are mine.

My original first choice was Giuliani, which I talked about at length early here on the blog. My second choice was Thompson; my third choice (after the first two dropped out) was Romney. So right now I’m 0 for 3.

I’ve recently been doing some analysis specifically from a Mormon point of view — which could indeed affect the final outcome, if the election turns out to be close (there’s several posts here, and in reverse chronological order, so go to the last post and read up). The upshot is that — due to the use of anti-Mormon slurs by both the Huckabee and (to a lesser extent) McCain campaigns — Utah could go Democratic for the first time in a long time.

As for myself, given the choices that are left, I really am personally torn. I don’t think much of McCain — he’s always pandered to the press, he is (IMHO) dead wrong on issues such as immigration, campaign finance reform, and global warming, he has a violent temper, and he freely insults those who honestly disagree with him. I think even less of Huckabee, who I think is simply unqualified for the presidency and who cheerfully played the anti-Mormon card himself to defeat Romney. While Hillary in and of herself would probably do an acceptable job as president, I have to agree with a comment that Romney made in one of the GOP debates: I am very uncomfortable with the thought of Bill rattling around the White House for the next four years. The man was sleazy and ethically challenged enough as president; during the 1996 campaign, I told Sandra that he were re-elected, he would not finish out his second term — that almost came true. I think he would be far less constrained as First Husband and the White House would be an ethics-free zone.

That leaves Obama, who actually has a more liberal voting record than Hillary. Notwithstanding, I’d pick Obama over Hillary in a heartbeat, and I’d pick Obama over Huckabee just about as quickly. Obama vs. McCain is a bit tougher, and it may well depend upon who their respective VP candidates are. But my inclination is to give Obama a chance. I’m a firm believer in the ‘Syrup of Ipecac’ theory of politics — if Obama and Congress swing too far to the left, the nation will react, much as happened in the 1994 mid-term elections, where — after two years of Clinton + a Democratic Congress — the Republicans had a landslide in the House (Newt Gingrich, Contract with America), nearly recaptured the Senate, and pretty much controlled legislation thereafter (welfare reform, balanced budget, etc.).

Besides which — the Republicans in Congress have, IMHO, largely been a bunch of gutless, self-serving wonders for the last 4 years. They deserved to lose in 2006, but I still don’t think they’ve learned their lessons, and I’d like to see them spend a few years in the wilderness without a president to back them up.

As for what will happen, I’ve read reports from conservatives who have attended Obama rallies in person, and they’ve usually said the same thing: this man has incredible charisma. I think that if it is indeed Obama v. McCain that Obama will kill him in the debates — seriously, who wants to vote for an old, irascible white guy over a young, charismatic black guy? — and that he’ll win the election. If it turns out to be Hillary vs. McCain, I think that McCain will win due to fear of Bill returning to the White House and Democratic disgust with Hillary wresting the nomination from Obama (via Michigan, Florida, superdelegates, etc.).

That pretty much sums it up. ..bruce w..

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Category: 2008 Election, Latter-day Saint (Mormon), Main, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

Comments (2)

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  1. Bruce Henderson says:

    I have to confess that you are to some extent echoing my mental calculus at the moment. I reserve the right to change my mind later on, of course.

    As is typical, I think Trey & Matt with South Park have once again nailed it, as this video clip shows:

    http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=4284258

  2. loscielos says:

    Bruce, out of sheer curiosity, what do you think about Ron Paul’s message from the Mormon perspective? In particular, the perpetuation of a foreign policy of preemptive war that, if only in hindsight, has caused us as a nation to violate the Biblical “just war” doctrine, and even our own Constitution which states that Congress should declare war before we wage it?

    In 2003, President Hinckley stated the following in his talk about “War and Peace” :

    “…as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders. They have access to greater political and military intelligence than do the people generally.”

    That was 2003. In 2008, we know that the trust we extended to our national leaders was abused by the way intelligence was being handled and obtained. For example, the faulty and improperly vetted intelligence about yellow cake from Niger in Iraq. Now, McCain seems to want the pit bull approach in Iraq with more troops and spending to go after Iran if he’s elected.

    In that same speech, Hinckley also mentioned that “modern revelation states that we are to ‘renounce war and proclaim peace'” which is basically only being done by Ron Paul, and to a lesser extent, Obama.

    Even if you feel Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance, I’m curious what your take on the man is. Do you think the Republican party ever has a hope of once again becoming a place where people who want to proclaim peace will be welcome?