Why I cannot, will not vote for Barak Obama for president

Why I cannot, will not vote for Barak Obama for president October 23, 2008

A good friend of mine sent this video along to me, which further solidifies my decision to not vote for Sen. Barak Obama for president. The difference in rhetoric between Obama and McCain specifically on abortion is stark. And while the video is a bit deceptive on McCain’s true feelings on abortion (for instance, in the last presidential debate, McCain admitted that he would consider nominating pro-Roe justices to the Supreme Court), nevertheless the difference between the two candidates is brought into high relief. There is no redeeming value, I think, in Obama’s social and medical aid proposals for young woman and pregnant mothers when his rhetorical measures are so clearly antithetical to the State’s duty to secure justice for all its citizens.

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  • Josh

    Thanks, Poli.

    I have to say , though, that I can’t even accept as a given that whatever “social and medical proposals” Obama has made will help young women in this situation. It would be great if a healthy discussion of that assumption could happen without namecalling. I mean, what exactly is Obama recommending in regard to health care? Doesn’t it include abortion? So how would providing abortion reduce the numbers of abortions?

    And as far as the economics – there is so much fear about Obama’s proposed tax increases out there – I don’t see how further depressing business activity, which employs people, helps the economic situation of the poor and working poor.

  • Policraticus

    And as far as the economics – there is so much fear about Obama’s proposed tax increases out there – I don’t see how further depressing business activity, which employs people, helps the economic situation of the poor and working poor.

    On this, I do disagree. Obama’s proposal, in my opinion, are for the most part good. When it comes to economic policy, I tend to think regulation, shifting the tax burden, and stripping breaks from corporations who want to transnationalize their labor is most consonant with economic and social justice.

  • Sparki

    Neither John McCain or Barack Obama are going to be able to keep half their campaign promises — maybe even 90% or better of their campaign promises. Even Obama’s promise of pulling our troops out of Iraq is not a sure thing because there are other nations involved in that action who have a say when the U.S. leaves.

    But this is one that Barack Obama can and will keep. He will sign legislature that will not only threaten the lives of the unborn, but also living, disabled people. He has gone on the record stating that he thought the Florida Supreme Court was correct in ordering the starvation/dehydration death of Terri Schiavo, simply because the woman was severely disabled. It’s not just our unborn children and grandchildren whose lives will be at stake with an Obama presidency — it’s also the lives of our parents, our spouses, our siblings and ourselves as we grow older or suffer debilitating illnesses or accidents.

  • Katerina

    Who is arguing at this point that Obama is pro-life on any account?

    I wonder why the video doesn’t show how McCain, who obviously doesn’t understand what a true pro-life position is, had the guts to sit there in the last debate and admit he was “pro-life” while he was for ESCR and at the same time he was against abortion. It is the hypocrisy and inconsistency on the side of those who say that McCain is “better on life issues” that makes them so incredible.

  • fus01

    Poli wrote: “I tend to think regulation, shifting the tax burden, and stripping breaks from corporations who want to transnationalize their labor is most consonant with economic and social justice.”

    I’m curious about why you think taxation of corporations that want to transnationalize labor is most consistent with economic and social justice.

    First of all, it’s pure rhetoric – Obama will increase taxes on all companies, not just those that want to transnationalize labor, and there is no magical way to keep jobs from being outsourced.

    Secondly, even raising taxes even further for companies that outsource doesn’t seem particularly just to me. It’s just a deadweight drag on the economy which will make U.S. companies less competitive, decreasing their stock price, and making it more likely that they will have to lay off whatever remaining U.S. workers they have.It chases companies away from being established in the U.S. If U.S. companies are penalized for having employees in other countries, then companies in other countries will have a competitive advantage, barring high tariffs, etc. which aren’t good for anyone.

    Finally, and most importantly, it’s not particularly just. It is hard for me to see, other than on nativist grounds, why keeping jobs from people in other countries is an act of ‘justice’.

  • Josh’s comment on economics is yet more evidence that those who support McCain do so because of, not in spite of, his “preferential option for the rich” economic policies.

  • I’m still curious about what you’re going to do. Third party or abstain?

  • He is voting for McCain… that’s why he is sleeping in the couch!! 🙂 J/K!

    Pat Buchanan ’08!!!

  • For me, one of the saddest aspects of the upcoming election is its likely impact on the pro-life cause. The position of the Church on the necessity of legal protection for the unborn is sure to be marginalized–and probably openly ridiculed by the trend-setters. Catholics who support Obama will be subject to further cognitive dissonance, and are likely to resolve it by adopting a stance like Fr. Drinan’s: pro-life in the privacy of their own consciences, perhaps, but ardent defenders of any and every assault on human dignity the left might propose, from cloning “lab rat” embryos to poisoning the terminally depressed. The mental gymnastics already evident on this forum (and even more evident on the Commonweal blog) are indicative of what we can expect in the Obama era.

  • David Nickol

    Policraticus,

    Not that it will change your decision, or make Obama seem any less pro-choice, but a number of things in the video are not correct. Alan Keyes’s infanticide charges are outrageous (not that anybody wants to actually completely and fairly look at the evidence). Barack Obama is on record putting more stringent limits on late-term abortions by defining “mental health” more strictly. McCain can’t reconcile his statement that a baby “is entitled to human rights” at conception with is position on embryonic stem-cell research. The Freedom of Choice Act has not been passed and might not be. And the Old Testament does not address the issue of abortion.

  • Josh

    MM:

    How does an economic downturn (caused by myriad factors) that is then pushed along in part by higher taxes that necessitate businesses cutting jobs and giving individuals less money to spend on food and shelter and less money to save for their retirement and their children’s college..help poor people?

    Can you tell me specifically how Obama’s economic proposals will help poor people in a lasting way?

    Thanks.

  • Josh:

    You made an argument about fiscal multiplers, that raising taxes will depress economic activity. Empirically, there is no such evidence. If you want to think in Keynesian sense, then evidence suggests multipliers are really small, and far bigger for spending than taxes. Let me put the last point another way: economic activity will suffer more from cutting government spending than raising taxes. Another point: multiiplers are higher for people to consumer greater shares of their income, which usually means the middle class and the poor. This is why economists insist on “bang for buck” stimulus packages to those that are most likely to spend it (and Obama passes this test, while McCain does not).

    Let’s look at the Ricadian argument. Here, a tax cut today is treated as a tax increase tomorrow if spending is unchanged, with no impact on economic activity. The last place you can look for evidence is on the supply side: changes in work, savings, and investment. Again, empirically minor. Let’s put it this way: Obama proposes to raise the marginal tax rate for those making more than $250,000 to the prevailing rates under Clinton. Not only did we see a huge economic expansion under Clinton, for for the first time since the early 1970s did productivity actually rise too (suggesting that the supply-side effects were negligible). Remember 1993? The same people were claiming that the first Clinton budget tax hike would kill the economy. As we know, that didn’t really happen.

  • David Nickol

    Ron,

    Perhaps the problem is that the pro-life cause put so many of its eggs in one basket — the criminalization of abortion, rather than putting some emphasis on the prevention of abortion. And perhaps the Catholic Church pushed too hard not so much on the issue of abortion, but on the issue of whom Catholics could vote for. Some have alleged (incorrectly, in my opinion) that the Democrats keep certain voting blocs by giving just enough to them so that they feel they have nowhere else to go, but basically doing nothing more than that. Perhaps that is what the Republicans do with the pro-life movement — just enough to keep their vote for a few decades, but not enough to really deliver.

    In any case, if Barack Obama wins, it will break what I think is a stalemate, and I think you may be too pessimistic about that. It used to be pointed out that the people on both sides of the issue (but who were neither radically pro-life or pro-choice) could find a lot of common ground. Nobody seems to say that any more, because the fight is between the two extremes. Maybe an Obama victory will change the battle in unexpected ways.

    Also, one further point. To the best of my knowledge, Catholics have not been particularly faithful to the teachings of the Church even on procuring abortions, and polls show that few people make abortion the determining factor in their vote. What seems to me unique about this election is not how Catholic voters will vote, but rather the intense pressure that has been put on them to — and let’s be frank — vote for McCain. Whatever damage has been done in the run-up to this election, the Catholic bishops must take some responsibility.

  • sc

    David Nickol,
    FOCA has not been passed, and for that we are very grateful! However, the fact that Obama is an out right support of FOCA should give you pause as FOCA is contrary to Church teaching. Please remember, there is much damage Obama as president can do with simple executive orders – look at what Clinton did to undo restrictions and what Bush did to put those restrictions back.

    Infantcide is only outrages to those being subjected to it.

    The complete loss of logic in these Obama support statements in spite of Obama’s extreme positions on abortion is appalling for an educated group who prides themselves on their ability to sustain an argument.

    The task of educating McCain on ESCR versus the task for reshaping and re-educating Obama on all life issues is a no brainer, especially when McCain’s ESCR support seems fairly limited compared to Obama’s kill them all approach.

  • nathan

    When a candidate pledges (TWICE) that he or she will seek to ratify the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), this signals to voters that the reduction of abortions is not a goal. They are asking voters to suspend the effort to constitutionally protect human life, and – at the same time – to discard all the good progress we have made to actually reduce the number of abortions in the last thirty-five years. Such a candidate is asking Catholics to “give up” on abortion. They want us to deny our conscience and ignore their callous disregard for the most vulnerable human life.

    You can talk a good game all you want about reducing the incidence of abortion, but as long as you vote for candidates who continue to posit that the right to life is wholly dependant upon whether that life is “convenient”, and who will eliminate what few protections do exist for the unborn, and who will make public money available to pay for the decision to abort, you, by your vote, will contribute to a climate where the unborn are seen as something inferior and unworthy of legal protection.

    Being “right” on taxes does not make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life (this includes all evil practices Obama supports – abortion, ESCR, death penalty, cloning and euthanasia). Consider this: Would Jesus agree that people’s right a thriving economy is greater than the right of our children to be protected from destruction?

    the finest health and education systems and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day.

  • He also pledged to re-negotiate NAFTA. Probability of that happening? Zero percent.

  • David Nickol

    Consider this: Would Jesus agree that people’s right a thriving economy is greater than the right of our children to be protected from destruction?

    nathan,

    Exactly what would Jesus approve of in 21st-century America? Don’t you think he’d be concerned about health care for all? And poverty? And rampant materialism? And the fact that the top 1 percent in the country control a third of the wealth, the next 9 percent another third, and the rest another third? Would he be happy with movies and television? The auto industry? Would he approve of either the conduct of the McCain campaign or the Obama campaign? Would he be happy that Americans spent $13 billion last year for things like Botox injections, tummy tucks, and breast augmentation while millions around the world died of starvation?

  • jonathanjones02

    There is every reason to believe that Obama plus an enlarged Democratic majority will what they have promised, and what they will be able to actually do: FOCA, and a slew of legislative and executive decisions that will very negatively and very directly impact the lives of the unborn – from funding to lifting restrictions to the end of policies such as Mexico City….the list is long.

    Should we not believe them? On the basis of what?

  • Policraticus

    First of all, it’s pure rhetoric – Obama will increase taxes on all companies, not just those that want to transnationalize labor, and there is no magical way to keep jobs from being outsourced.

    Not to get too bogged down in a tangential issue, but I think whenever you make a sweeping claim like “pure rhetoric,” you fundamentally concede that all politics is “pure rhetoric” and that we really ought not to listen to economic, social, political strategies of campaigning politicians. At the end of the day, you still have to answer the question, How do you know it’s pure rhetoric? I think that a reasonable answer can not be given.

  • Poli, I listened to the last debate, and what I got out of it was that McCain wouldn’t apply a Roe litmus test to a supreme court justice, but a justice who supported Roe, which is decidedly bad law, would disqualify themselves on legal and judicial merits.

    It was a very smarmy answer on McCain’s part. He seemed to want to say he would not appoint pro-Roe judges without actually saying it.

  • Policraticus

    There is every reason to believe that Obama plus an enlarged Democratic majority will what they have promised, and what they will be able to actually do: FOCA, and a slew of legislative and executive decisions that will very negatively and very directly impact the lives of the unborn – from funding to lifting restrictions to the end of policies such as Mexico City….the list is long.

    Count me a believer. A 60-40 Democrat majority in Senate and a President Obama makes me shudder in terms of abortion rights (embryonic stem cell research is going to be funded no matter who’s in office).

  • fus01

    “think whenever you make a sweeping claim like “pure rhetoric,” you fundamentally concede that all politics is “pure rhetoric””

    Nonsense. A politician is more likely to pursue some courses of action than others. Some promises are pure puffery (independence from foreign oil in 10 years), others are quite likely to happen (appoint pro-Roe judges). I argued that Obama’s actual proposals are to raise taxes on all companies, and questioned the wisdom of the proposal even if it was sincere. Any thoughts on the substance rather than the tangent?

  • blackadderiv

    He also pledged to re-negotiate NAFTA. Probability of that happening? Zero percent.

    He also said he’d pull out of Iraq. What’s the probability of that happening?

  • blackadderiv

    He is voting for McCain… that’s why he is sleeping in the couch!! 🙂

    If McCain pulls off an upset, maybe it won’t be due to the Bradley effect so much as the Katerina effect: guys voting for McCain then pretending they didn’t to avoid the dreaded couch. 🙂

  • nathan

    Many of the people voting for Obama seem to be doing so on the hope that he doesn’t mean what he says, and most of the people voting for McCain are doing so on the fear that Obama means exactly what he says. It strikes me as odd, indeed, to vote for a presidential candidate who disagrees with you on the most fundamental issues in the vague hope that he’s been lying to you throughout the entire campaign.

  • Hehehehe

  • ctd

    Does it really matter whether Obama intends to keep his campaign promise on FOCA or that FOCA may never reach his desk? Isn’t the real issue his strong support for FOCA?

    FOCA is nothing less than full support for abortion, eroding parental rights, and taxpayer funding for something that a majority of Americans find offensive.

    Substitute another great evil as a campaign promise. Example: “If elected, I will order that torture, without any limits, be used on suspected terrorists.” Or: “If elected, I intend to re-establish segregation laws.” Or: “If elected, I will support any regime’s right to engage in genocide.” Why would it matter if Congress never gave the elected candidate an opportunity to follow through with those promises? Wouldn’t the mere support of such evils be the real issue for voters?

    I understand that some may have reasons to vote for Obama, but dismissing the FOCA issue because it might not happen seems to miss the point raised by those for whom Obama’s support for FOCA is a serious impediment to giving him their vote.

  • David Nickol

    Why would it matter if Congress never gave the elected candidate an opportunity to follow through with those promises? Wouldn’t the mere support of such evils be the real issue for voters?

    ctd,

    No, I don’t think so. I am voting based on what I think the country will be like during and at the end of four years of an Obama (and possibly a Biden) presidency versus what I think it will be like during and at the end of four years of a McCain (and possibly a Palin) presidency.

    Just because Obama supports something you think is evil doesn’t make him evil. Obama is often depicted by pro-choicers as just downright wicked — a man who loves the idea dismembering babies and even killing children. Any number of times I have seen people who denounce Obama for his pro-choice stand claim that during an Obama presidency the disabled, the sick, and the elderly will be killed! That is quite a leap of “logic.” I suppose I understand why some people see Obama as a monster, but he isn’t.

    If someone thinks Obama will make a better president than McCain, but they are very much opposed to FOCA, then it is perfectly reasonable to attempt to determine how likely the passage of FOCA is.

    There are arguments, even by bishops, that the “life issues” are so important you shouldn’t vote in your own self-interest. If you think the prospects for the economy look bright and sunny under Obama, but catastrophic under McCain, you are obligated to vote for McCain because he calls himself pro-life. But of course the economy affects everybody in the country. So not only can’t you vote in your own self-interest. You can’t vote for what you believe is best for your family. You can’t vote for what you believe is best for your friends and neighbors and your city and state. You can’t even vote for what you think is best for the country! In fact, you can’t even vote for what you think will help the unborn the most. Instead, you must vote, according to many of the bishops, for the candidate who is most likely to appoint judges who are in turn most likely (but not guaranteed) to overturn Roe v Wade.

    It’s worse than single-issue voting, because even if you feel abortion is the overriding issue, the bishops are insisting that the only legitimate, Catholic way to solve the abortion problem is to vote for the candidate who opposes Roe v Wade. It’s not about abortion itself, its about how some people feel the best approach to abortion is, and you’re not allowed to disagree.

    The whole matter has become terribly distorted, and Catholics who might otherwise have quite naturally voted according to their self-interest in the light of what their conscience told them are now tying themselves into knots trying to apply principles of moral theology that many of them are encountering for the first time. It’s crazy!

  • Ressourcement

    Katerina,

    How are you? Hope you are well. Cleaning up down there?

    You said, “Who is arguing at this point that Obama is pro-life on any account?

    I wonder why the video doesn’t show how McCain, who obviously doesn’t understand what a true pro-life position is, had the guts to sit there in the last debate and admit he was “pro-life” while he was for ESCR and at the same time he was against abortion. It is the hypocrisy and inconsistency on the side of those who say that McCain is “better on life issues” that makes them so incredible.

    You know me and you know that I am no McCain fan. But given that you brought it up, I must ask you how it is “incredible” to suggest that McCain is better than Obama on the “life issues” (narrowly understood, for the sake of conversation).

    I believe that is clear, no?

    While I do not believe that he is 100% principled on the issue of abortion, and there does appear to be some inconsistencies on the issue of ESCR, this is no way stakes up to Obama’s stances on ESCR and Euthanasia. Furthermore, Obama is far from passive on the issue of abortion: he is aggressive, proactive, and radical.

    You know that I am no conservative, and I have found (in the past) many of Obama’s stances welcoming. But I can not allow such pro-abortion aggression pass unchecked.

    I think it is pretty clear with Obama’s comments in the last couple months especially, that McCain is better on the “life issues” (narrowly defined).

    In the last couple weeks (days even) I have started to come around for McCain. NOT for anything that he has done, but for WHAT Obama has done and said. I was going to vote for a third party because I really didn’t want to vote for McCain. But Obama’s radical stances (really radical stances!) have made me start to think that I should cast my vote, reluctantly, for Obama.

    Again, I don’t like McCain, but Obama’s radical comments have started to push me to McCain.

    Blessings to you, jn

  • Ressourcement

    The last paragraph is messed up. It should say the following:

    In the last couple weeks (days even) I have started to come around for McCain. NOT for anything that he has done, but for WHAT Obama has done and said. I was going to vote for a third party because I really didn’t want to vote for McCain. But Obama’s radical stances (really radical stances!) have made me start to think that I should cast my vote, reluctantly, for McCain.

    Again, I don’t like McCain, but Obama’s radical comments have started to push me to McCain.

    Blessings to you, jn

  • JB

    Ressourcement,

    I don’t intend to answer for Katerina, but from what I can tell I generally agree with most of her opinions and positions.

    Personally, it is “incredible” to suggest that McCain is better than Obama on the “life issues” precisely because I don’t (and believe one rightly can) define the “life issues” narrowly.

  • Ressourcement

    Knowing Katerina personally, JB, I would be surprised if she would provide the answer you did.

    Broadly defining the life issues is obviously fine on one hand.

    But I don’t believe that is the issue.

    jn

  • Ressourcement

    JB: That said, answering for her is likely fine because she usually won’t respond… she knows I will win. 🙂

    jn

  • c matt

    I think an argument can be made that McCain is better than Obama on life issues – but being better does necessarily mean good enough. And in particular does not mean good enough that you must vote for him.

  • c matt

    What point is there to encourage companies to locate in the US if they outsource all their labor to other countries? I mean, is the fact that some company holds a P.O.Box in Delaware really that imperative for the US economy, and more important, to the benefit of US citizens?

  • Ressourcement

    C Matt–

    You are right that nobody has to vote for McCain: there are third party options. I was going to, but Obama’s radical abortion stances have moved me to think that I may vote for McCain anyway.

    jn

  • TeutonicTim

    I’ve said it before, no matter how good someone’s policies may be, it’s the personal stances on issues like this that dictate how good of a person they are. Obama’s stances on these issues portray a person with suspect/dark views of the world.

    Thanks for being honest Policraticus.