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December 6, 2005

on McCain in '08

The other candidates, including all the Democrats, are going to have to show why they're preferable to John McCain in 2008. McCain takes positions to my right on certain issues, notably abortion. However, I am not yet convinced that Democrats have a serious plan for moving the country to the left on the economic issues that matter most to me. A "serious plan" would not only include a plausible policy idea--I guess John Kerry's health plan qualified as that--but also a way of paying for the idea and a strategy for enacting it. Kerry had neither.

In any case, there is a dimension of politics that is orthogonal to the left/right spectrum (which is itself a crude representation of our values). This orthogonal dimension measures our civic condition, broadly understood. To improve civic affairs would require procedural changes, such as campaign finance reform and a better system for drawing electoral districts. It would also require a different kind of leadership, one that put genuine issues and choices before the public and scorned name-calling and character assassination.

I suspect that McCain would improve our civic condition. I do not say that because I know that he is a wonderful person. (I am against hero-worship as a matter of principle, and I distrust judgments of character mediated by reporters.) I say it because improving the quality of public life--like any serious political endeavor--requires spending energy and capital, thinking tactically, and confronting opponents. Civic reform would be McCain's strongest suit; therefore, he would be smart to make it a genuine priority.

For my own part, I'd like to see the country move somewhat west on this chart and as far north as possible. Bush is way over east, although not consistently so. The real shame is how far south he has taken us. McCain has the potential to move us northward, and that is a promise that others will have to work hard to surpass, in my opinion.

December 6, 2005 6:48 AM | category: none


I am studying existentialism. Existentialists don't believe in hero-worship. You said you don't believe in hero-worship. Might you be an existentialist?

December 6, 2005 9:40 AM | Comments (3) | posted by airth10

Peter, you need to trust your commander in chief and everything will be fine.

Seriously, if we were "Christian" consvervatives about how much we get to participate suddenly.

December 7, 2005 8:30 PM | Comments (3) | posted by Hellmut Lotz

Sorry. The last sentence should have been:

Seriously, if we were "Christian" consvervatives we might be rather pleased about how much we get to participate suddenly.

December 7, 2005 8:31 PM | Comments (3) | posted by Hellmut Lotz

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