The Election From Hell

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Good God! What a terrible election this is!

I keep reading about the huge turnout in various primaries, and I’m dumbfounded. How on earth could anyone be enthused about this slate of candidates?

Am I missing something?

At the onset of this election season, I vowed that there were two candidates I absolutely, positively would never support. For a plethora of reasons, I consider both John McCain and Hillary Clinton to be totally unsuited to occupy the office of the presidency (actually, Rudy Giuliani was a third, but his candidacy thankfully never got off the launch pad).

So, as if to mock my concerns, the black-hearted gods that rule American politics have seen to it that these are precisely the two candidates who may well win their respective nominations (with Barack Obama as the possible spoiler for Hillary).

John McCain is on my verboten list for a simple reason: he’s crazy.

Polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly disgusted with our dual, no-win wars in the Middle East. But that hasn’t stopped McCain from telling crowds that he wants to occupy Iraq for another "50 or 100 years." Not satisfied with only two quagmires, he has darkly warned that there will be yet "more wars." He even sang the "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" spin-off of the old Beach Boys tune at one of his campaign rallies.

And alongside his warmongering, he has an explosive temper and a fanatical look in his eyes that should unsettle even the most militaristic of voters. (To be brutally honest, whenever I see him speak, I half expect him to start ruminating about "fluoride" in his "body fluids" like that character from Dr. Strangelove.)

Lest I seem unkind, I should add that I harbor genuine sympathy for what Senator McCain endured as a POW. His suffering during those long years in captivity is beyond the imagination of the average person.

Unfortunately, sympathy for John McCain the man must not blind us to the policies of John McCain the candidate.

One would think that McCain’s experiences would have made him all the more skeptical of military misadventures. After all, if America hadn’t been involved in the ridiculous Vietnam War, John McCain would have been spared the entire horrific ordeal. He would have been home enjoying a normal American life instead of being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton.

But by some strange logic, McCain’s experience seems to have made him even more eager to start new wars. Perhaps it’s one of those odd, Freudian syndromes where the victim is compelled to repeat the same mistake over and over again, in the vain hope that he can "get it right" the next time.

Whatever the case, the last thing this country needs is to be dragooned into John McCain’s Kafkaesque psychodrama.

Simply put, his election would be nothing short of a catastrophe.

As for Hillary Clinton, I am stunned to disbelief that she has even gotten this far.

Before any Democratic voters pull the Hillary lever, they need to ask themselves a few simple questions:

Given the political freak show that we were forced to endure the last time; do we really want to go there again? Do we really want the Clintons — along with their retinue of clowns, court jesters, and small-time con artists — back in the White House? Do we want to read about new semen-stained dresses? Or more purloined FBI files? Or new stacks of missing law firm billing records?

And how is this woman getting any votes at all from a party whose members claim to be opposed to the war?

After all, Bush’s hideous bloodbath in Mesopotamia has the Clintons’ fingerprints all over it.

Hilary likes to brag that she gained valuable experience serving as her husband’s most trusted advisor.

OK…fair enough.

Would that be the same husband who slapped crippling sanctions on Iraq that killed over a quarter of a million Iraqi children? Would that be the same husband who bombed and strafed Iraq for eight long years, degrading its infrastructure and spreading death and misery in his wake? Would that be the same husband who signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law, thus making regime change in Baghdad the official policy of the U.S. government?

And what about Hillary’s own actions concerning Iraq?

In the Senate, she voted for the resolution that gave President Bush the authority to invade Iraq, and she enthusiastically supported the war in its early stages. And just like McCain, her current plans call for residual American troops to remain in Iraq indefinitely.

So can someone please explain to me the twisted logic by which Hillary Clinton is an antiwar candidate?

In truth, if the Democrats nominate her, they will make a farce of any claims that they were truly opposed to this war. They will, instead, make themselves and their party an accomplice to the whole bloody mess.

Since McCain and Clinton should be excluded from any reasonable voter’s consideration, we are left with Barack Obama.

On the surface, he seems like a nice enough guy. He has none of McCain’s psychological instability, and he doesn’t come off as a shrill ideologue like Hillary.

But when I listen to his speeches, I come away without any clue about his plans or policies. His orations are short on substance and laden with vague banalities and marketing jingles. I’m reminded of that old hamburger commercial where the two old ladies ask, "Where’s the beef?"

Furthermore, I’m suspicious about the motives of his followers. His rallies have the whiff of a Moonie conclave.

This celebrity adulation may be just harmless nostalgia, but it doesn’t make Barack Obama presidential material.

Truth is, he is too inexperienced to be trusted with the power of the presidency, and he is far too vague about exactly what he will do if he takes office.

Perhaps if everything was going swimmingly, we could indulge in this sort of politics, but America finds herself in a situation that is more precarious than at any time since the Great Depression. We are losing two wars, our banking system is insolvent (thanks to the Feds’ reckless monetary policy) and our government is spiraling toward bankruptcy.

Despite the seriousness of our predicament, the way out is simple (though not easy). We need a leader who clearly grasps the fundamentals of market economics and who appreciates the basics of our republican form of government. We need a leader who will reduce our overseas commitments, balance our budget, and restore our constitutional liberties.

In short, America needs a president with a solid, rational plan based on fundamental principles.

Looking at the polls, it’s becoming apparent that the American people want none of this. A significant portion of our population still thirsts for imperial glory. Another healthy slice wants the government to serve as a giant teat in the sky, regardless of the financial consequences.

Very few, on the other hand, seem willing to take the hard path that an authentic American restoration would require.

So instead, it looks like our next president will be a deranged militarist, a shrill neo-Marxist, or a sloganeering lightweight steeped in cultish adulation.

And all the while, the USS Titanic churns ever closer to its rendezvous with the icebergs.

Steven LaTulippe [send him mail] is a physician currently practicing in Ohio. He was an officer in the United States Air Force for 13 years.

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