First, let's establish things that have no importance in the race for the Presidency:
1) Physical Characteristics - "Red or yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight..." Race is not a reason to vote for or against a candidate. Neither is gender, age, height, weight, eye or hair color or other physical characteristics.
2) Financial Status - No matter if you are quite wealthy or just very average financially (Such as Governor Palin), you are equally eligible to run. Wealth doesn't have to ruin you nor does it make you superior. It simply makes opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by.
In that regard, I have had to rely on the blogosphere and embedded reporters like Michael Yon and actual veterans like Charles and Cecil and my son Robert and my friend Tom and my friend Chris and others who have been there and come back and told me what went on. They've shared stories with me and pictures and videos. I cannot afford to go to the Sandbox but I have worked hard to bring the Sandbox to me. I know enlisted men and officers as well. I have spoken to MP's and IED hunters and riflemen and mechanics and guys who regularly went over the wire. Because I want to know and I care.
Then there are things that have significance but are not overwhelmingly so:
1) Party Affiliation - Seriously. Parties can change. There was once a party named the Democratic Republicans! The affiliation alone doesn't always mean that much, although right now each party has some basic things it stands for in opposition to the other party. Individuals may, however, differ enough to still make voting for the man (or woman) rather than the party what the wise voter will do. I have voted for far more Republicans than Democrats in my life, but I have voted for both and I even voted for a Democrat in the 2004 election (a local candidate). Colin Powell calls himself a Republican but supports Obama. Joe Lieberman calls himself a Democrat but supports McCain.
2) Health issues - If a candidate is a diabetic or was a cancer patient in remission or so on, any health issue must be weighed carefully. Is there a condition that is life-threatening? That is then an issue. Is it simply annoying or very moderate? Different deal. FDR ran the country from a wheelchair for a few years, after all. No one at the top of either ticket has any health issues that we know of, so that is not applicable this year.
Now we get to the issues. What issues are important to me? What things should be considered? I will begin...
1) National Security Philosophy - John McCain is a military veteran who has been to and graduated War College. He pushed for the surge in Iraq and it worked. He has a good understanding of military tactics and strategies and real world political positions. We are in a world war against terrorists. Iraq and Afghanistan are fronts in that war but we have seen other fronts. Lebanon. Syria. Pakistan. The World Trade Center. John McCain is ready to handle these issues. He believes in the Teddy Roosevelt approach...talk softly and carry a big stick.
I don't want a President who will follow the Jimmy Carter demilitarization and unilateral disarmament path. Joe Biden stated that Barack would be tested by enemy powers and his positions would not look correct to us at first. Barack has stated he intends to back off of our defense systems that protect us from atomic attack via ICBM. He intends to back off of our position of power. That is just dangerous and stupid. The world isn't waiting for us to disarm so they can follow suit. The world would like us to disarm so they can attack us and attack our allies without fear of reprisal. Barack Obama wants us to lay the stick down and believe the bad guys will, also. Yeah, right! It didn't work for Jimmy Carter. It didn't work for Neville Chamberlain. It won't work now, either.
2) Judicial Appointments - John McCain believes that the people have the right to enact laws and that the courts should only interpret them in accordance with the wording of the Constitution. It is clear that Obama wants an even more activist court that changes the Constitution to suit their partisan belief systems. He has said so himself. I want strict Constitutional interpretation in my judges, handing down justice that is not tilted towards one side or the other but rather is even-handed and lawful. The next President likely appoints two new Supreme Court justices and several hundred other federal positions in the judiciary.
3) Economic Issues/Energy Issues - John McCain is a believer in the American free enterprise system. He believes that you let people have their own money and give them the opportunities to grow and create wealth and jobs so that the country as a whole can prosper. He also saw Fannie and Freddie coming and, had he been President in 2005, could have forced Congress to at least vote on the issue of reining in the crazed loan binge back then and kept us from reaching an economic meltdown. The Democratic leadership would not even let that bill go to a vote. Barack Obama was one of the guys who wanted it to continue and approved of the policies of Fannie and Freddie up until the time they went belly-up. In any event, John McCain would put a freeze on any new spending or spending increases and make all programs prove that they are being run fiscally honestly and responsibly. He will seek to decrease earmarks in any way that he can. He has plans in place to make health coverage available to all Americans via tax credits and changes in regulations that currently add costs to health plans available now.
John McCain wants to drill for oil and natural gas all the more to ease our dependence on foreign oil. He wants nuclear plants built and clean coal plants built while we work on improving alternate technologies. He wants to keep the current tax breaks in place that were working until energy costs and the Democratic mortgage loan financial debacle caused the markets to crash.
Barack Obama has a viewpoint that we should take more money from corporations and from wealthier Americans and give it to the poor. He doesn't mind that one percent of the population is already paying 60% of the tax bill and that we have the second highest corporate tax rate in the Western world! He doesn't consider the byproduct of taxing companies and wealthy individuals even more...that the richest people will manage to move their official residences elsewhere and companies will simply move to more favorable economic climates. Whereas giving poor people a chance to work and make money builds the economy, just giving them a check or a free house or free medical insurance only sucks the wind out of the economy.
Barack thinks paying off the middle class with a tax break will blind them to the devastations he will bring to the top of the industrial food chain. If our big corporations move away and take the jobs with them, what middle class will there be?
Barack thinks we should basically ignore our oil and gas reserves and force new technology to happen and take over the job of energy production. It is fine and good to demand that technology happen overnight but that will not make it so. What energy will power the country while new technologies are being developed? Countries like China will just drill far offshore and "side-sip" our reserves if we don't get at them and then where will we be?
4) Subset to point one is the War On Terror - If you have not read Michael Yon's posts from Iraq and Afghanistan AT THE VERY LEAST then you probably simply believe the slanted viewpoints of talking heads at MSNBC and CBS and NBC and so on. The war went south for awhile until we got General Petraeus on the job and implemented the surge techniques. We took on the Sunni Army soldiers and helped them become more professional and made sure they were getting paid. We worked to build schools and get electricity turned on. Now Iraq is changing rapidly for the better. John McCain knows we need to keep doing this stuff. We need Iraq to get to the point they can govern themselves and defend themselves with us as allies rather than as the defense itself.
Take the time to read a few dozen of Yon's dispatches, read some military blogs, find out what the military people and the people who are over there or have been over there believe. Read the Iraqi blogs, there are lots of them out there.
Afghanistan is crying out for the same techniques. John McCain will help us win the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan and he is ready for the next conflict whenever it should occur. Barack Obama wants to pull out of Iraq whether they are ready or not. He has no clue in terms of what works in Afghanistan, based on his remarks about taking potshots at Osama on Pakistani territory. Even if you are going to do something like that, you cannot announce it to the world. You might well notify Pakistan unofficially that you are going to blow up a terrorist's compound but there is no Pakistani regime that could remain in power and agree to such a move officially. They would be forced to condemn it even if, unofficially of course, they knew it was coming. Even I understand that much. The United States works this was occasionally in Pakistan or Syria and I don't mean just under George Bush. Bill Clinton did the same thing. Did he tell the world first? Of course not!
5) Social Issues - Christianity and Judaism are under attack. Our founding fathers were almost entirely God-believing and never intended for the government to be in the business of banning or eliminating faith, but rather simply not setting up a State Church as had been done in England and other European countries with disastrous results. The basic values on which our country was founded are in need of defending. Both McCain and Palin are people who share the basic belief that free people should be free to worship and that our heritage should not be torn down and mocked. Marriage has always been between a man and a woman. Abortion, until 1973, was considered to be murder in most cases and if the people and legislatures had their way it would continue to be that way.
Barack Obama's cousin (Raila Odinga) is an Islamic regimist who, along with Barack, signed an agreement that his country, Kenya, should establish Islamic Sharia Law. We are talking 2006 here, this isn't something that happened long ago! Obama is a man who attended a non-Christian "church" that teaches Liberation Theology, which is basically an almalgam of Jesuit and Machievellian and Marxist principles in the guise of a normal religion. With a host of other friends and associates who are either Marxists, socialists, terrorists, crooks or some mixture thereof, we cannot believe that Obama will bring a normal American attitude towards society into the White House. We know he voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Bill one time at least and "present" (as he often has in difficult circumstances) on at least one other occasion. Obama doesn't even want babies who are entirely out of the womb to be protected if the mother intended to kill them!!! "Punished with a baby" as he said on national television gives us an idea of what he thinks of the sanctity of lives other than his own.
6) Leadership - Which brings us to leadership qualities. John McCain has proven himself to be decisive and tough and willing to follow his head and heart whether the bulk of his party leadership agrees with him or not. It caused him to be labeled the "Maverick of the Senate" and frankly made it unlikely he would win the Republican nomination. He had not kowtowed enough to the main Republican themes. Some of his decisions I think were wrong. But I give him credit for being decisive and tough and his own man.
Barack Obama's tendency as a legislator to vote "present" on all sorts of critical issues is disturbing. His shifting stands on nuclear energy and drilling and whether Jeremiah Wright is a spiritual leader and mentor and his misrepresentation of his voting records and his political past all present a picture of an ambitious guy who will do and say things to get ahead and try not to stir up the waters as he goes. He has not had the intestinal fortitude to just vote yes or no on major bills so many times that it is hard to believe he will make a decision on a critical situation like another Russian attack on an ally.
7) Experience - McCain has led men and had responsibility for the command of military units and organizations. He has been specifically trained to lead men into battle and to understand the command elements from the point of view of command. He has many terms as Senator from Arizona under his belt as well. He was tried in the hot fire of the Hanoi Hilton and came out more proud of his country and more willing and wanting to serve than before they systematically tortured and starved him. His running mate has much managerial experience, including that of Governor of Alaska, duties which included being commander in chief of the Alaskan National Guard.
Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, also has many years of experience in the United States Senate and has served in areas that included foreign policy, so he has the experience necessary to take over the job should something befall the President. But Barack Obama has far less experience than not only the Republican Presidential candidate, but even the VP candidate. Barack has been a community organizer and has a short career as a legislator. His campaign has been successful but it has spent amazing amounts of money and is being run very poorly. You can be sure his donation system is already under federal scrutiny. He plans on spending as much money in Florida as McCain has spent in the entire nation! But he will find that simply throwing huge amounts of money at problems in the White House will mean taxing the people and they will very quickly be angered by it.
8) Honesty and Integrity - The Straight Talk Express is John McCain. Love him or hate him, you know he has been honest with the people and has served out of personal conviction. His wife has for many years donated time and money working with poor and medically needy orphans overseas. The McCains are wealthy. They don't have to come out and get their hands dirty helping others. Yet for years they have done precisely that, and not to move ahead politically. It is easy for a rich man to donate money to a cause. But give your life to the military for a few years or give your life to poor starving orphans whose skin color and background is very different from your own. This is what the McCains have done.
John McCain has consistently traveled to the areas where the American military men and women are fighting. He has talked with them, entered into shaky areas with them, asked them about the situation and discussed things with their commanders. He is a war hero and a patriot.
Barack Obama has not. In fact, when he went to Germany he made a big speech for the cameras but, when he found out while visiting the troops there would be no cameras to record him with them, he decided he didn't have time for that and went to workout at a gym instead. Even Governor Palin went over to Kuwait (staging area for those going to Iraq and Afghanistan, normally) with her National Guardsmen as they were readying to deploy further inland and spoke with them, got the feel for what they were feeling and thinking and showed her support. But for Obama, if there was no soundbite/video feed opportunity he wasn't going to bother.
Barack Obama certainly never went to visit Iraq when he began telling everyone what should be done over there, although he had the means.
Governor Palin has a son now serving in Iraq. Her family believes in serving this country. The Palins are the only family in this race that is not wealthy. She campaigned for governor in fleece and sometimes snowpants. She and her husband both had to work to support the family. Yet she ruled against her husband's primary employer in order to get the best bid on the natural gas pipeline for Alaska even if it threatened the financial well-being of her own family. Shame on all of you who lie about her and disrespect her because she is a woman or a Christian or speaks like most people north of Minneapolis, Minnesota speak.
Barack Obama champions the poor, but he seeks to set up a system of wealth distribution in which he would be at the top of the food chain. His work in community organizing always wound up getting introduced to various political operatives who found campaign funds for him and offices to win. His early career was staged and planned by Chicago Machine operatives. He is hiding behind lawyers now to avoid revealing records concerning his past. We really don't know why. Is he really a citizen? Did he lose his citizenship? Was his college paid for largely or in part by Islamic terrorists? We speculate wildly because he is not honest enough to just provide the documentation. When he accepted a sweetheart deal to buy a multi-million dollar property via Tony Rezko, slumlord and crook, he later was found out and said it was " boneheaded." Nice defense. So if the police stop me with a high alcoholic content while speeding in my car, can I just tell them I was boneheaded and they will let me go? I think not.
Senator Biden now has a son serving in Iraq. His family believes in serving this country. Obviously the Democrats have their candidates backwards. Biden makes more gaffes than Dan Quayle has years on this earth but he doggone well has an opinion and he will state it. He has experience. His policies are not to my liking, but I can respect his leadership abilities and his history of service. His story of caring for his children when his first wife passed away is inspirational for me. I've been a single dad as well. I know how hard that had to be.
I respect John McCain. I respect Sarah Palin. I respect Joe Biden. I cannot trust Barack Obama.
Summary of the first eight areas of consideration for my vote:
McCain and Palin far better reflect my values and the policies that are more likely to keep this country both safe and strong and to continue to be uniquely American.
Joe Biden is a worthy candidate with whom I disagree in many areas. I would not vote for him but I don't consider him a dangerous threat to the American way of life. However, his running mate is another story. Worse, his running mate is at the top of the ticket. I consider Barack Obama to be unsuitable for President of the United States and, quite frankly, unsuitable for public office at all.
More issues to come, like Immigration Policy for instance and also the Christian Perspective on the vote...