an argument for conservatism

Tomorrow we head for the polls to decide who will lead the country for the next four years. I don’t know about you, but I’m about done with listening to the same stump speeches over and over. But I’m also one who believes this is a very important election at an incredibly important time in our country’s history, so I’m looking forward to this chance to vote.

I don’t comment often on politics, and this is probably a too-late-to-make-a-difference post. Most assuredly, 49.5% of you will agree with this, and 49.5% will disagree. I’m writing for the 1% that may find this helpful.

I believe the country must vote for Romney tomorrow. The United States has a lot at stake over the next four years, and President Obama has not demonstrated a track record that gives me confidence to allow him another four years. Here’s why:


Foreign Policy

You’ve heard Obama’s rally cry at his events: “We ended the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan is ending, Al Qaeda is on the run, and Osama Bin Laden is dead.” I’ve heard it so often that it’s stuck in my head, which I guess makes it a good slogan. But you can tell that even Obama is getting tired of saying it – he delivers it with all the passion of a beached manatee.

The first two statements are true – the war in Iraq is over, and Afghanistan is ending – but why would you ever tell your enemies when you’re going to pull out of a fight? Why would you give them a specific end-date for occupation? Wouldn’t they just wait until the last troop carrier is packed up and headed home and then move back in to occupy. It sounds like careless messaging at a time of war that is geared more towards at-home politics (pleasing the ears of those who want the wars to be over), rather than a strategy for decisive military victory. Don’t get me wrong, I want the wars to be over as well, but it’s reckless to strategize publicly like this, and our allies abroad agree.

Osama Bin Laden is dead, and naturally because Obama was Commander In Chief at the time he was taken out, he gets the extra-credit points for being responsible for the deed. But the man was on the CIA and FBI’s most wanted list for over 10 years – no doubt that whoever was President at the time he was found would have given the order to take him out. A victory for sure, but a victory of convenience for Obama.

Al Qaeda of 2012 is not the Al Qaeda of 2001, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer a threat, and to say they “are on the run” implies that they are retreating and a non-issue. Recent terrorist activities against U.S. interests abroad are evidence of this, most notably the organized and strategic attack against our consulate in Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. This whole situation is a train wreck, and why it’s not getting more press coverage is beyond me. Validated cables and emails have now come to the surface that were sent from within the consulate a month before the attack was carried out. These messages were sent directly to the President’s administration, noting a strengthening in Al Qaeda forces outside the consulate, predicting a premeditated attack on the office, and pleading for additional security resources. It seems that these requests were ignored.

In the hours and days after the attack was carried out, there appears to have been a concerted campaign of non-response and misinformation by the President and his administration. The result was four American’s killed including a U.S. Ambassador. This deserves a full investigation, the media should be hitting the administration hard on this issue, and the American public should care more about this glaring error in foreign policy as they get ready to elect the next President. But that doesn’t seem to be happening. We’re promised a full investigation, after the election; how convenient. Democrat strategists have insisted that the country has bigger things to worry about – namely re-electing President Obama – and that the Libya affair should be dealt with later. Again, how convenient. This incident reflects directly on the President’s foreign policy abilities, and Americans should be weighing their Presidential vote based on this information. The Libya scandal is a huge mess, I think bigger than we even realize. Personal opinion here: if the President is re-elected, I think the House is going to move for impeachment once this investigation gets underway. After all, Nixon was impeached as a result of his lying and cover up, and no one died as a result of his actions.


The Economy

Most everyone agrees that the biggest issue facing the nation right now is the economy, and I agree. We’re in a bad place economically, and our debt really concerns me. $16 trillion. We can’t even register that number emotionally – it’s too big. That’s $16,000,000,000,000.

We live in a nation of debt, propelled by ongoing advertisements for credit cards, car loans, and mortgages that people can’t afford. We’ve become way too comfortable with having debt, and our lifestyle reflects our presupposition that debt is necessary. As a result, we don’t even blink when we see a number with 12 zeroes behind it.

We have to get the national debt under control because countries like China, who hold the vast majority of our debt, have too much leverage over us. At the very least, our economic future as a country is uncertain, and at the worst we are headed towards an economic collapse like the ones currently being experienced in several European countries if we don’t get this under control.

That’s the big issue – we have to reign in our national spending. The government can’t just keep writing checks for everything it wants to spend money on, regardless of how noble the cause may seem (bank bailout, automaker bailout, a healthcare law). People don’t realize that when the government spends money, there are only two ways to pay for it: either the government must raise taxes, or it must take out more national debt. And if it takes out more debt, the only way to pay for that debt is through higher taxes. This is the problem I have with Obama’s economic policies – he believes that we can continue to spend our way out of a recession, and it’s just not a long-term winning strategy. Even if the automakers are back in service, and even if the poor have health insurance coverage, the cost has put us $6 trillion more in debt than when he took office. Writing more government checks is a short-sighted solution; it makes people feel good because they see immediate results, but the long term effect is catastrophic on a national level.

Romney has gotten flak throughout the later months of this campaign for not having enough details on how to fix the economy. But he’s offered a pretty straight forward, more detailed plan than his competitor:

  • Energy independence
  • Improve public education
  • Get more aggressive with international trade, and stop bowing to China’s every whim
  • Reduce the federal budget
  • And keep taxes down on businesses

It’s hard to sum up an Obama plan. I haven’t heard things as nicely bullet pointed as Romney’s plan, but the main gist I get is lower taxes on lower income families and higher taxes on the rich. The truth is that I just don’t have a lot of confidence in an Obama economic plan. He doesn’t address the national debt head on, and his main talking points seem to focus on how many ways he can penalize those who are successful. His focus is not as much national economic strategy as it is the pursuit of socioeconomic parity.

Obama implies that his economic plan to increase jobs for the next four years is pretty much the same as his plan for the last four years. But his plan over the last four years has not led to a net increase in jobs for Americans. The unemployment rate when Obama took office was 7.8% and has hovered just below 10% for most of his term. Now we’re back down to 7.9%, but what does this really mean? It means that when Obama says he created 4.5 million jobs during his first term, that is the amount of people that found work after the economy bottomed out in January of 2010. They are 4.5 million people that found jobs after they lost them during Obama’s term. A truer number is 300,000 net job growth, over four years, which is a pitifully poor number.


Social Issues

Social issues are a tough subject because they come up in every Presidential campaign. The topics of abortion and homosexual marriage are in the back of the minds of nearly every voter, whether your opinion on them is traditionally liberal or traditionally conservative. The President and Governor Romney have both indicated that decisions on these topics should be left to individual states, and they are absolutely right. The federal government should not have the authority to control decisions on these issues because it gives too much power to the centralized government.

But the truth of the matter is Presidential politics speaks to these issues, even as a sidebar, and the mindset of the President on these topics influences policy even down to a local level. And so you have to consider these topics and the potential effect a person in an executive leadership position may have on your local laws.

On account of abortion, I can speak as a father, having been in the ultrasound room to watch the monitor as the technician pulled up the first visible pictures of our son Eli at 8 weeks old. What I saw on the screen was the beginning of life. The image was in the shape of a baby – a tiny little blinking bean of a baby. An abortion takes life away, clean and simple. The argument for a woman’s right to choose is an argument for the taking of life – it’s an argument for murder, and it doesn’t hold water. In no other context under the law is the taking of a life by an individual in society allowable; how can it be that the taking of a life, if it’s within the mother’s womb allowed? It just doesn’t make rational sense.

But the bottom line is that I can’t align myself with a candidate that disagrees with my moral stance on these important social issues. Because while the President shouldn’t be exerting executive power over such issues, his rhetoric broadly influences state and local politics down the road as the party falls in line with the status quo.

Oh but wait, Obama did use his executive power to influence federal power on issues such as this when he signed ObamaCare into law, effectively providing abortions with a federal subsidy. So perhaps states rights are not that important to him after all.



I’m a social conservative and a fiscal libertarian. I believe in the freedom of the individual and the freedom of the economic market. I believe in the transparency of government and the strength of the United States as an international power to influence the world towards democracy and individual liberty. President Obama hasn’t earned my vote with his record over the last four years, and rather than give him the benefit of the doubt by granting an additional term to right the road, I’m going to stick with his initial campaign proposition that if he wasn’t able to turn the ship around in the first four years, he would be a one term President.

I’m sure 49.5% of you disagree, and you’re welcome to share your thoughts and opinions as to why.


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