I am on record as suggesting that in a John McCain-Hillary Clinton presidential race, everybody loses and nobody wins.
I see both candidates as insider politicians with a complete investment in the way Washington works. Hillary's health care proposals (and her previous record on the issue) and John's plan for a century-long occupation of Iraq both scare the hell out of me, but more importantly, neither will be able to lead the nation into any fundamentally new direction.
Hillary's not going to push for gay rights any more than Bill fulfilled his campaign promise on gays in the military.
John McCain not only approves of "big-government" solutions to problems like education, immigration, and campaign finance, he approves of big-government responses that are inherently incapable of delivering the results he claims to want.
I think Hillary will edge out Obama at the end, but let's assume she doesn't. When I watched the last debate (number 2,399) between him and Obama, my twelve-year-old daughter noted that both candidates were essentially giving the same answers to all the questions. "So then," she asked, "why wouldn't you just vote for the nicest one?"
Barack is a potentially inspirational leader, but he is also a legislator by experience, and even though I think he's personally brilliant, I doubt his ability to implement his rather vague program. I don't think Ted Kennedy endorsed him because he's willing to follow him, I think he expects to co-opt him. And the weight of history suggests that will happen.
Worse still, on issues that I think are important--like gay rights or abortion or the Second Amendment--none of these candidates are willing to say a damn thing.
So, do I stay home and sit it out?
I don't think so. Among other things, it would be exceptionally difficult to explain to my children.
For me, that leaves the Libertarian Party. I've already posted on the idiocy of the national party's idiotic faux auction of its nomination, and the intellectual vacuum of the four leading candidates in that circus.
Becky, the Girl in Short Shorts, has gone with Christine Smith--the "peace-driven candidate?--and while I like Christine, shouldn't I vote as if she might actually win? If so, some of her positions are not only naive, but impossible to credit.
That leaves me with George Phillies, who is not charismatic, but who at least addresses all my issues with logic and thought. If an earthquake of rationality struck and somehow through a legal loophole he became President, at least I think he'd understand the constitutional prerogatives and limitations of the office.
Outright Libertarians has endorsed him because of his unequivocal stand on gay rights (although they don't really have any problems with Christine).
Am I contemplating the waste of my vote? I doubt it. In Delaware it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that if my vote is not for the Democratic nominee it will be pointless, anyway (given that more people just voted for Obama alone than the total number of Republican primary ballots cast). That's the glory of our electoral system: it immediately disfranchises the political minority in every state.
Besides, if more people don't vote for third parties, then ballot access will never change, and the Demopublicans win by default, anyway.
So I'm going to be thinking as seriously about the differences between George and Christine as if either had a prayer's chance in hell to win the White House.
I'll let you know how it goes.