McCain's abandonment of fiscal conservatism and support for an open-ended occupation of Iraq is not, to my mind, a shrewd strategy for the fall, or the right policy for the country. If he wants to keep the Bush tax cuts or even deepen them, he has to show how he would cut military spending or entitlements to pay for them. And if he wants support on his Iraq policy, he has to explain how his strategy would lead to swifter withdrawal than Obama's. Otherwise, this reader (who seems to be channeling my own views) will join many others in backing the Dems this year, however many qualms we might have about them:
I'm a staunch independent (I've never been a member of a political party and likely never will) who thinks progressively about issues like video games, gay marriage or getting the hell out of Iraq, but conservatively about big-government programs, earmarks and the budget. So far, the left is the only side I think indies like me hear these days that's saying anything we can get behind (but even that's started to sound kind of empty, lately, too). The right just wants me to come to Jesus (and by "come to Jesus", I mean "blindly accept their myopic, cynical, Machiavellian view of Christianity, in which torture is okay").
I want fiscal conservatism. I want a Goldwater-esque Republican candidate who says he is going to let people live their lives, whether he agrees with them or not. Unfortunately, I'm not going to get that, because the Republican party has forgotten what their party was built upon.
The true shame of the right is that they no longer have any message whatsoever beyond, "Democrats are traitors" and "America is a Christian nation". There is a tremendous hollowing out of the right going on right now, which I think is why Ron Paul got as much press as he did, since he was the only Republican with more to say. (There were things about him I liked, but he did always come off as kind of a nutter to me.)
I'm backing Obama this year, because I can't see a Hillary Clinton presidency being any less divisive and hateful than the current administration. Obama, while light on the details of his plans, has the look and feel of a guy who can rebuild some of the grace that once existed between the parties. He seems like the kind of guy who can be a role-model President again and who can build bridges. I liked McCain in 2000 and I wish I could have him back, because I don't recognize this one who stands in his place today. (Perhaps he was abducted by aliens and replaced with a robotic simulacrum?)
I hope that things get dramatically better next term, because they have to get better. The country simply can't take much more of this.