Choices to Make:
Ok, we've set the stage, How does it play out for the presumptive candidates?
For BHO, this is The Land of Dreams Come True. He can function pretty much as the king he imagines himself to be: commanding by fiat and having his wishes transformed into law. Surrounded by coteries of adoring acolytes and wizened viziers wishpering into his ear.
With the expected congressional gains the Democrats are likely to make and given their propensity to grovel, a rubber stamp congress for BHO is pretty much a done deal. If we had HRC in the executive we might actually see some groundbreaking legislation and the enactment of a number of sorely needed reforms. With BHO in the saddle we're much more likely to see a repeat of the current farce. Largely this kind of administration is reflective of the nature of the person who is POTUS. We've just been through a seven year example of how this can go horribly wrong. BHO's nature, both the revealed and the still hidden aspects - gives plenty of cause for alarm: narcissistic, solipsistic, arrogant, ignorant and truculent, he is a walking poster for exactly what to avoid when looking to fill an executive position with unlimited power.
For McCain, the picture is not quite so rosy, in fact, he's more likely to be a caretaker president, given the majority the Democrats will hold in both houses.
There will be few initiatives from the Executive branch. McCain doesn't have many new ideas, there may be some movement on campaign spending reform but certainly nothing on healthcare. With a Democratic congress there will not be any Supreme Court nominations even if all the sitting justices tripped on the steps and fell on their heads.
On the other hand, there are some good points to a McCain presidency: first, there would not be an Obama presidency - I can't stress enough how desirable this is. Next, he's not GWB - repeat that please: he's not GWB. No more idiots in the White House, what a relief. Further, McCain is regarded as an honorable man and we could sure use someone honorable to represent us to the world again. BHO already show deficits in that regard. Last, we survived seven years of GWB, I think we can survive four years of McCain but I really question whether our country can survive a BHO cult takeover.
...And another choice we could make:
I'm going to push the Red Dirt metaphor a little bit here. With PUMA and JustSayNoDeal out there stirring things up, I'm thinking that there may be another way onward. The goal is to get some leverage in the political game they play in Washington. We've been a two party system for some time because, among other reasons, the parties field full slates for all offices, including POTUS. Even the smaller parties like the Libertarians and the Conservatives are always running a Ron Paul or Bob Barr. It's pretty pointless, really, they're never going to get elected - sure it's an ego boost to say 'I ran for POTUS' but so did Lyndon LaRouche and Harold Stassen (many times each). It also feeds into the myth we have developed that 'anyone can run for POTUS', it's really useful for the two major parties because it bleeds off the anger a lot of people like us feel about having been hosed, yet again, by the party of our choice. We get all fired up and run around pushing our 'pet rock' for the highest office in the land... and when the inevitable happens, we turn back into pumpkins serene in the knowledge that we've participated in the 'democratic process'. But we haven't really accomplished anything (Red Dirt Talk, remember?) and deep down, we know it.
What about focusing on some real power? If the Democrats pick up 15 seats in the House they will have a 248 to 187 advantage over the Republicans, pretty much tromping rights on everything.
What If some interested people were to begin building a political party organization - call it the True Democratic Party, for example, with a clear focus on the 2010 elections. Traditionally the party in power loses some seats in the off-year election, given BHO's track record to date I would expect serious 'buyer's remorse' if he should get elected, certainly McCain would not be likely to still be a crowd pleaser. Moreover, the seething anger that many of us feel toward the Gang of Four (Pelosi, Dean, Reid and Brazile - with a sly reference to their Maoist forebears) will, no doubt, be exacerbated by the time the 2010 elections roll around. The purpose of the True Democratic Party would be to pick the 50 most vulnerable Congressional districts and work to take at least 36 away from the Democrats. This would bring the Democratic House seat count to 212, that is 1 vote shy of a majority. Even half that many seats would scare the bejeebers out of the Gang of Four and would very likely lead to a significant amount of attention paid to the needs of True Democratic Party members by both major parties. This is called 'leverage', it is also what they call the "dish best served cold."
For myself, I will not ever vote for Obama. When he is installed as the official nominee of the Democratic Party, I will leave the Democratic Party - after 40 years. If necessary, that is if the election looks to be close enough so it might actually matter, I will (figuratively) hold my nose and vote for McCain. I can see that there is a path forward, certainly not one I ever expected to take. I think our democracy needs some critical thinking, some untypical action and, desperately, some different results than we have seen so far.
Repressing competency for magical thinking is a sign of a culture in deep trouble. Reagan and Bush were both that kind of sign, I had hoped the sickness was limited to the Reaganauts and the Bushies but it appears to have spread to the Democratic party as well. This essay is an attempt to deal with the reality of a deeply flawed process and candidate. The issues are of coequal importance with the character of the candidate and integrity of the process; when one is degraded, the other two can determine the balance, when two parts are deficient there is no good solution.
Think, think long and deeply, consider well your options and remember: You get whatever you choose.