Monday, November 03, 2008

The Case For McCain

I've already voted here in Florida, and I cast my vote for John McCain. McCain is far from my ideal candidate, which I've detailed in this space ad nauseum. But ultimately, I cast my vote for him with a clean conscience. Following are my three major reasons (only the first of which really matters). I'd particularly like to communicate these to confused evangelicals who are considering casting an Obama vote tomorrow.

1. McCain is solidly anti-abortion, while Obama is the most radically pro-abortion presidential candidate in history.

I am proudly, unapologetically a one-issue voter. To compare any other issue to the abortion holocaust is to engage in a breathtaking moral equivalence. It is not a viable Christian option to say, "Well, I disagree with Obama on abortion, but I agree with him on taxes [or whatever]." You cannot draw a moral equivalency between the wholesale eradication of human lives and other issues. To do so is to demonstrate one's self to be a moral midget. You can get away with this (indeed, it's expected) if you are a secularist, but it is not an option for a Christian. Imagine saying in 1860, "Well, I agree with Abraham Lincoln on the slavery issue, but I agree with the pro-slavery candidate John C. Breckinridge on taxes." You don't settle that with an eenie, meenie, miney, moe. As Doug Wilson has aptly said, abortion is the big E on the moral eye chart. If you don't get that one right, your eyesight can't be trusted on anything.

Many have been duped by Obama's simple assertion that his policies will lead to fewer abortions. It's just a flat-out lie, which is easily enough discovered by anyone wishing to dig an inch below the sound bite. Obama said in one setting that he views a baby as punishment that a pregnant girl shouldn't have to suffer, analogous to a sexually transmitted disease. The fact is that Obama has assured Planned Parenthood that he will immediately institute the "Freedom of Choice Act" (or FOCA) which will repeal almost all local restrictions on abortion. Michael New has crunched the numbers and determined that this would likely result in an immediate increase of about 125,000 abortions a year. How long would the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have to go on to kill that many people? If you are willing to overlook this issue, you need to take a serious look at where things stand between you and God.

2. He's not Obama.

Granted, this has seemingly been McCain's entire strategy, and I'm not sure that it's strong enough to win a national campaign, especially considering that Obama has been the beneficiary of an entirely, utterly uncritical media for the last several years. But it is still a powerful point in McCain's favor. Obama is the most radically leftist candidate to ever sniff the presidency, and the nation is perhaps one day from sweeping him into office. He's already been endorsed by al Qaeda and communist quasi-dictator Hugo Chavez.

Obama's life and career have been intimately intertwined with characters like Jeremiah "God damn America" Wright, William "I don't regret setting bombs" Ayers, and former PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi. He lied when pledging to stick to public financing of his campaign. He threw the elderly white grandmother--who raised him--under the bus (calling her a "typical white person") in an attempt to defend the indefensible Jeremiah Wright. When defending Wright became too politically cumbersome, Obama threw Wright under the bus too. Just this past week, he also threw his Kenyan aunt (who even gets a mention in his memoir!) under the bus, in his relentless drive to the presidency. There soon won't be enough buses for all the people Obama wants to run over. And we're about to elect this guy president.

3. McCain is a genuine hero, while Obama is a complete neophyte.

Sarah Palin, quite properly, reminds voters that "only one person in this race has actually fought for you."

In the wake of the sad suicide of the author David Foster Wallace, I was reading some of his work online, which includes this piece [WARNING: graphic language--adults only] written in 2000 for Rolling Stone magazine about the first McCain presidential campaign. Reading the graphic description of McCain's treatment in Vietnam, I found myself actually brought up short for some of the harsh things I've said about McCain in the past. After being shot down,
He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant's office and offered to let him go. This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain's father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces (which is true — both his father and grandfather were admirals), and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused. The U.S. military's Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order they were captured, and there were others who'd been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code. The commandant, not pleased, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs. And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a "punishment cell." Maybe you've heard all this before; it's been in umpteen different media profiles of McCain. But try to imagine that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? If so, would you have refused to go? You simply can't know for sure. None of us can. It's hard even to imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you'd react.

But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts. But the point is that with McCain it feels like we know, for a proven fact, that he's capable of devotion to something other, more, than his own self-interest.
Frankly, we no longer deserve a president with this kind of honor, but maybe God will be merciful and give us one anyway.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama has been groomed for the presidency since when, as a callow Illinois state senator, he was anointed to give the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Then, after being elected to the U.S. Senate that same year, he spent 143 days in session, at which point he felt he was now sufficiently prepared to become president of the United States and launched his campaign. His entire national political career has been shorter than only the time McCain was imprisoned after refusing a dishonorable release. Obama's own running mate admits Obama is completely untested and unproven, saying during the primary campaign that "the presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training." And more recently (and famously), Biden predicted that other nations would try to take advantage of Obama's manifest inexperience.

I have no problem with someone who sees the two-party system as in need of drastic reform and decides to vote for a third-party candidate. I understand that and have flirted with it myself. But for a professing Christian to cast a vote for Obama displays either a naivete, an almost willful ignorance, or a hardening of heart that should be cause for deep concern. I pray that Christians will not participate in the national blindness that has befallen us. You will someday account for your vote (or your failure to vote) before a just and holy God. Think about that before you pull the donkey lever just because you think Obama's got some good ideas about tax rates.

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