Sunday, October 26, 2008

A non-endorsement

Our local paper, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, took the weasel's way out and declined to endorse a candidate for president. Instead, they urged readers to ask themselves a few questions and then vote for the candidate they believe best fits. Among the questions:
Which candidate is apt to both appreciate the economic freedom that boosts living standards and protect workers, investors, and pensioners from the ruinous avarice of boardrooms where decency's chair sits empty?

Which candidate is less promiscuous in his appetite for new federal programs? Which is more credible in his promises to streamline government--and to see that Washington's truly legitimate functions are competently performed?

Which candidate more greatly respects federalism--the doctrine that states matter and that most public problems should be solved at the state or local level?

In foreign affairs, which candidate will withdraw U.S. troops more responsibly from Iraq? Which will conduct the war in Afghanistan more effectively? With which will you feel safer when sabers, perhaps bearing nuclear symbols, rattle in Iran, North Korea, China, or even Russia? Which candidate is better suited to repair America's tattered alliances and restore America's standing in the eyes of the world's leaders and peoples? Which can better distinguish American exceptionalism from American arrogance?

Which can be better trusted to ensure the integrity of America's borders while extending a welcoming hand to law-abiding newcomers? Which is likely to speak more effectively to a an increasingly heterogeneous nation, and to communities and individuals of mixed race?

Which candidate is more likely to confront ominous global climate trends soberly? To protect America's wilderness and other public resources from spoil?

Which is more likely to appoint judges who judge rather than legislate?
Clearly, Obama is more likely to "confront ominous global climate trends" and to "speak more effectively to an increasingly heterogeneous nation, and to communities and individuals of mixed race". But the very presence of those questions is an indicator that the paper's editors don't have a grasp on what's really important. The rest of the questions around the economy and foreign policy make John McCain a self-selecting choice, and the candidate who's most effective in those areas will have spoken far more effectively to the "increasingly heterogeneous nation" than the candidate whose lofty rhetoric says much yet does nothing.

The editorial also suggests that readers amend the list of questions when weighing their vote. OK, so how about "Which candidate has fewer ties to domestic terrorists?" or "Which candidate has more than 143 days of national legislative experience?"

C'mon, FLS editors...grow a pair and take a stand.

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