Last Winter I took my son to see Senator Barack Obama speak at a rally in El Dorado Kansas. El Dorado is a small town outside of Wichita where Obama’s mother’s parents are from. After standing in the very cold snow storm for over an hour, we finally got in, sat in some VIP seats and listened to his presentation. At the time I was seriously considering voting for Senator Obama. You see, while I have been registered with the Republican Party since the election of President Bill Clinton, I am still open to voting for the best person, not the party. As a result, Senator Obama sounded like someone I could support.
Well the rest is history and the following is a continuation of the limited celebrity I have experienced since that rally. You see I was interviewed for an article at the rally by Salon.com. That story went international and since then I have heard from people all over the world regarding my position and beliefs. In the weeks leading up to the election I have been interviewed by various media including this week, The Canadian Free Press and The Daily Telegraph out of London England. I have also heard from various individuals, radio programs and more. To say the least, after some discussion I felt it important to give clarity as to my thoughts in this article. While the reporters have been respectful and friendly, I find it important and realize that no media can print or cover an entire interview; as a result, some of my opinions and thoughts have been misconstrued. , I am hoping to clarify some of my thoughts here. I do want to make clear, these are my thoughts. While I believe I have spoken to a large number of people who agree with me, there is no recorded data to support my positions. I do believe there are many others who will hold to, agree with my positions, and support the assumptions made. That said, here goes, hope you enjoy the read, and hopefully it clarifies up some of the misperceptions some have had.
Note: While the following shows who I am supporting and voting for regarding the President of the United States, I must make clear, I like Senator Barack Obama, I also have concerns about him. I am not one of those who will vilify him at this point, I just don’t know enough about him to do support his run for president.
The following is titled How Talk Radio and The Religious Right Influenced The Election of 2008
There are several things, among others, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and other in the Religious Right and I agree on:
1. We support John McCain for President.
2. We like Sarah Palin and believe her selection as Vice President helped the Republican ticket for President.
3. That I am wrong about what I am about to write.
Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like Rush, have listened to him since he started in the late 1980’s. At one time I considered myself an “Ottid Head.” Now you would have to have listened to Rush for sometime to know what that term is because it isn’t used anymore. Over the last year while I wouldn’t consider myself a “Ditto Head,” I would say I agree with Rush more than half of the time and am entertained by his radio program.
Sean Hannity on the other hand is one I tend to agree with philosophically but disagree a great deal with the approach used on his programs. I personally find Hannity degrading, inflammatory, and largely disrespectful to opposing views, seldom giving others the time to express their views when they call. I can’t deny it though, I listen to one as much as the other, likely Hannity more because of the hours his program is aired is times I am in my car more. I also enjoy watching his show and despite the unjustified criticism I believe Fox News gets, know that Hannity and Colmes along with The O’Reilly Factor are two of the programs that trounce all other cable news programs in the ratings wars. While this must keep some up in arms, it really don’t bother me as I believe that in comparison to most network programs and other media outlets, those like myself, centrist with a slight lean to the right deserve what I consider “fair and balanced” programming. While many may disagree with this assumption, I challenge they likely don’t watch the programming at Fox, if they did, they would see there are those who do present a countering view with programming and many guests from “the Left,” who support the assumption that Fox is more balanced than given credit for. If I must say so, one of the things that have as of recent turned me off of the Senator Obama band wagon is his continued blasting of Fox in ways I believe are largely unjustified.
One of the things I was asked in the early Salon.com article was of my reasoning for supporting Senator Obama on some areas and not on others. The answer to that is really simple. I appreciate some of the positions Barack Obama has taken. There are some positions such as his position of some social oriented programs, and especially health care that I support more than McCain. In some of the web sites you can visit to rate your positions alongside the positions of the candidates, there has been a even split, with a one or two percentage point separating my positions in comparison to these two candidates positions.
With the above said, there is I believe a reason John McCain will loose this election. While there is still a slight outside chance he can win, I personally believe McCain will loose the election between 6 and 11 points at the least. In this day and age, that will be considered a landslide. In this election year one may assume various reasons Senator Obama will win by a large majority. Some of those may include the large numbers of youth and blacks he has inspired and motivated to get to the polls, while this is certainly true, the other truth is many of those would have voted for the Democratic ticket anyway. Some will say it was President Bush, and while there is truth that President Bush has deservedly lost favor with the American people, for those that follow politics, we know better than to believe the political spin that Senator McCain will be another 4 years of President Bush. Some will point to Senator McCain, and while his campaign officials haven’t run the best campaign, there are other factors he has had to respond to which has made this election difficult for him. Some will ask then, what do you believe to be the contributing factors in this election? To that, I would say, Talk Radio and The Religious Right did Senator John McCain in before the nomination was even secured.
I realize there will be many who will take issue with my position here but let me respond with what I believe to be factual issues of how especially Conservative Talk Radio and The Religious Right did in Senator McCain even before he secured the nomination.
I am sure many will recall that it seemed as if the first priority of the Religious Right and Talk Radio during the early stages of this election was to belittle and tear down first and foremost Senator Hillary Clinton. I was one of those who stated there was no way I could vote for Hillary. I have realized and stated that her husband, President Bill Clinton did a much better job at president than many will give credit for. That said, his moral indiscretions concerned many people. Hillary among those on the right was unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on whom you talk to, directly associated with her husband, therefore being guilty by association. I am not certain if this was a fair criticism, and I will readily admit, I was pulled into the discourse and attacks. In fact, I changed my party affiliation in Kansas this year to specifically caucus for Barack Obama and vote against Senator Clinton. How much was I into Senator Obama, a little know fact is that at this point I haven’t spoken, I was 2 votes short of becoming a delegate for Senator Obama in the caucus delegate selection process.
If the attacks on Senator Clinton didn’t in part allow for the votes to swing the nomination to Obama, then the belittling of two candidates in particular by the Religious Right, and Talk Radio, would. This would show one of the great dangers of the marriage which had taken place between the Republican Party, Conservative Talk Radio, and The Religious Right.
It was apparent that the Religious Right and Conservative Talk Radio had put their cards behind Governor Mitt Romney. In the process the Religious Right would leave one of their own, former pastor and Governor Mike Huckabee behind. Even as Governor Huckabee gained in popularity from his debate performances, he received attacks from these groups. Both Governor Huckabee and Senator McCain were the blunt of many attacks for their positions during the primary process. Governor Huckabee was attacked because of his social positions related in part to his faith, and Senator McCain was attacked for the positions he had taken on issues such as immigration. Both of these individuals at the time were attacked with the threats of endorsing Hillary from such people as James Dobson, Laura Ingram, and Ann Coulter. Also hinting at such an endorsement was Rush Limbaugh. It is hard to tell though and truth is my memory isn’t totally clear with Rush on this one. I know he kids about things like this but do believe his attacks on McCain were legitimate as he had little respect for his political positions. The evidence was clear among these groups, Senator McCain had not made friends with the Religious Right or with Talk Radio.
Over the course of the primary season, the social conservative, and those within the faith community had taken their issues seriously. Their primary source of information was obtained by hearing primarily from Talk Radio and Religious Right Information Groups. It wouldn’t take much to confuse this population, and potentially drive those from the religious community over to Senator Obama. While I would consider many of those voters suspect, in other words not solid as to if they will vote for Senator Obama when they step in the voting booth, I think a good many of them are solid. It won’t surprise me if the numbers driven to Senator Obama are the numbers to show the difference in this election.
There are several things as a person of faith that bothers me on problems that have surfaced during this election. One is that Christians in particular have been duped to be persuaded by the so called leaders of the Religious Right who are driven more by Republican Policy than they are Jesus. Another thing is that we who are moderate on some issues seem to have no voice in either party, whether Democrat or Republican. As a follower of Jesus, I have a mandate to follow Biblical guidelines as opposed to policy and political guidelines as have been established by individuals in their smoke filled rooms, in their thousand dollar suits, while filled with deceit. Most of us would never bother to step through the doors of this corruption.
I have been asked several questions, one of which is what I think could have been done differently. I think the worst candidate to put up against Senator Barack Obama was Senator John McCain. I say that not out of disrespect of Senator McCain. It sickens me at how people have belittled him and ignored the significant contributions to his country, both via his military service, and his political service where he has been on the opposite side of the Republican Party numerous times. Senator McCain just doesn’t have an approach that can compare to a charismatic, well trained lawyer who has a legitimate gift of communication. Senator Obama, through the mantra of change has electrified a voting segment that in reality likely doesn’t know, and frankly don’t care what his political positions are. Just as Talk Radio and the Religious Right made the mistake of thinking they could capitalize on these facts, I believe the Democratic Party made the same mistake regarding what they thought was their ability to capitalize on a candidate like Governor Huckabee receiving the nomination. I believe Governor Mike Huckabee may have been the only Republican in this election who could have competed with Senator Obama.
Governor Huckabee was my candidate of choice. I admire a man who stands against his party, but also stands up for the rights of the unborn, plus having a large respect for life, even for one who is up for consideration for the death penalty. It is those issues of supporting Biblical justice though that got Governor Huckabee in trouble with many of the National Talk Show hosts as well as the Religious Right. While he garnished some support for his position on the flat-tax, that support always seemed to come as a secondary endorsement after he had been belittled in the bulk of the conversation. If one recalls though, Governor Huckabee showed a lot of promise.
Governor Mike Huckabee was a little known politician from Arkansas prior to the primaries. During the primary season Governor Huckabee gained more and more attention for his positions, lasting longer than any other candidate other than Senator McCain, and gaining in popularity all along the way. The one person, who in fact could counter Senator Obama’s eloquence and ability to communicate, was a trained speaker, who as a pastor had learned to use humor, and bring up talking points and sound bites at the spur of the moment. This would have continued to increase the popularity of Governor Huckabee up until the general election, but certainly in the debate process. One of the things we heard on a continual basis was there were no “moments” in the series of debates between Senator McCain and Senator Obama. As a regular guy who loves the political process, I agree, the debates were boring with no memorable moments that swung the victory in those debates to Senator Obama not Senator McCain.
There have been other questions asked; one I will spend limited time on is the selection of Governor Sarah Palin as the Vice Presidential Candidate for Senator McCain. I didn’t make up my mind as to who I was voting for until late. It was the open forum on faith with Senators McCain and Senator Obama hosted by Rick Warren at Saddleback Church that begin to move me in favor of Senator McCain. He simply knew what he wanted, was quick with his answers and it gave me the assurance, that at least on issues he was clearer than was Senator Obama. While I did not support every one of his positions, I knew where he stood and supported most of them. To the Senator Obama supporters I will say, with clarity, Senator Obama’s answer to the question regarding abortion in that forum still deeply bothers me. Not so much his position but how he responded and answered the question by avoiding it. This was the first time I had seen Senator Obama as more of a politician than I did a guy who cared about serving the nation. It was something else that came out of the Obama and Democratic campaign that finally moved my vote to Senator McCain.
The undue attacks on Governor Sarah Palin disturbed me. I as many others who did not care about the cost of her dresses, which she did not buy and is donating to charity, who did take seriously the allegations in the trooper gate stories, which in fact her brother in law did threaten the life of her father and did taze his son, saw Governor Palin as a regular person, who had addressed the issues of her state, and more importantly saw the need to stand up for what was right as opposed to standing up for her party. It was her willingness, as a Republican to take on the Republican Party which impressed me. The unfounded attacks, the blasting, sexist comments and more were the final nail in the coffin to cause me to vote for Senator McCain. I didn’t see this much different than those who supported Congressman Ron Paul. Like Congressman Paul, Senator Obama is a man I personally like, will consider voting for in the future depending on what his experience in the national spot light shows me, but get this, many of his followers and supporters scare the hell out of me. Like Congressman Paul supporters, many which believe the events on September 11 were an inside job by our Government, many in the Obama camp believe in fruitless, and insane concepts. If they actually believe some of the rubble that has been stated about Senator McCain or Governor Palin, I just can’t bring myself to support them. It is a case where the supporters may have done their candidate more harm than good.
Now as I stated earlier, I hope I am wrong about this election, I don’t think I am though. I blame part of that on the actions of President George W. Bush. I voted for him twice, but would not do it again. For me the turning point was what I believe to be the turning point in the war in Iraq, it was the lack of response to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the Abu Graves Prison incident. Friendship and loyalty where not what was needed during this incident which seriously jeopardized our troops by damaging the respect of many of the people they were attempting to liberate. Rumsfeld and his cronies knew we had done wrong, and instead of swiftly and severely dealing with the issues for all involved, they attempted to pass the blame. President Bush on the other hand, was unwilling to admit the mistake and do what was right.
Now I realize that in my assessment, I have likely gotten President Bush supporters, Senator McCain supporters, and Senator Obama supporters mad at me, heck I even imagine that some Ralph Nader supporters are mad because I didn’t mention him. That was not my intent. My intent is to call each of us to the place where we watch carefully, we listen carefully, and we do something the forefathers in this country encouraged us to do, become involved in the political process. Now I am not here to say that Senator Obama supporters or any other supporter is ignorant or wrong in their positions. I am fully aware that many have watched Senator Obama and support his positions. I am also aware that thanks to some like Howard Sterns recent example of asking voters on the street about their candidates position, that many have no idea what their candidate of choice believes. That is sad, and as a result, in some ways, this may be the most uninformed decision the American Voter has ever made. Not just about any one candidate but about all of the candidates. How soon we forget people like Laura Ingram stating she is going to endorse Senator Hillary Clinton. How we forget people like Ann Coulter spewing her hate not just towards the Democrats but also the Republicans like Senator McCain. Frankly, I don’t know of any other way to say this, but for those not involved in the process, for those not knowing the issues, and for those believing the continuing tripe spewed out by their Party pundits, talk radio, and the religious right, we might, just might, deserve what we get.
The following is a video that is an indication of what I have been talking about. Tell me that didn't hurt the McCain party. Just click on the video below, and if the video don't appear, click on the link:
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