Why I’m Voting McCain

Editor’s note: The Father Life is not endorsing a candidate for US President, and there are plenty of candidate comparisons already available online (two of the better ones are at glassbooth.org and votehelp.org). Instead, we’ve invited two fathers to give us the reasons they have chosen their respective candidates. Scott Ensign’s pro-McCain article follows. For the article on Barack Obama, click here.

It was the 1992 presidential campaign that gave us the iconic slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” With Bill Clinton’s successful bid for president, the era of folksy, I feel your pain populism was ushered in. Since that point, the politics of self interest have taken center stage. It’s become conventional wisdom that, like eager trick-or-treaters, voters will line up behind the candidate who promises them the most goodies.

The echoes of this philosophy are not difficult to discern during this protracted political season. I challenge you to try to escape the bucket-loads of cringe-inducing drivel about sitting around the kitchen table and Wall Street vs. Main Street. I don’t mean to demean the importance of our current financial crisis. It’s all too real, and it will most certainly go down as the defining issue of the 2008 presidential campaign.

However, despite the gravity of the financial meltdown, my Roth IRA won’t be on my mind when I pull the lever this year. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be no surprise to anyone that I’ll be voting for John McCain. I’m a lifelong conservative, and I mostly line up with him on issues of taxation, life, the appropriate (read:limited) role of government in our lives. I’ve never voted for a Democrat for president, and 2008 won’t be the year for me.

That said, conservative ideology has played nothing more than a supporting role in my political thought processes this season. There is a defining issue, not just of this election, but of our generation. It’s not the economy. It’s not universal health care. It’s not even who will be able to pack the most “change” in the suitcase they bring to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January.

I am voting for John McCain because he has the necessary moral clarity and world view to deal with the global threat of radical Islamic extremism. It’s funny that it seems so out of tune with the politics of the moment to even make a statement like that. That’s why you won’t hear McCain or Obama talking about it much in the days leading up to the election. Joe the Plumber may currently be getting more airtime, but that doesn’t change the fact that the global rise of a vile strain of Islamic fundamentalism is, by leaps and bounds, the most important issue of this young century.

I first came around to McCain during the Republican primaries when I heard him talking about this issue. He gets it, and he’s the right man to confront it as president. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. McCain understands that, while 9-11 woke us up to this problem, that kind of terrorism is just the tip of the iceberg. Right now a much more subversive kind of cultural terrorism is being bred in the mosques of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, sweeping across Europe and threatening to land on our shores. As we sit and ponder the ups and downs of our financial markets, politicians in Europe are giving lip service to enacting portions of Sharia law in order to mollify an increasingly antagonistic Islamic subculture.

If you’re an undecided voter leaning toward Obama, I can certainly understand why. He’s a compelling candidate (something the Democrats haven’t had since Bill Clinton), and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to turn a corner in American politics right now. However, I would challenge you to read a pair of books before November 4th (I know it’s getting late, but this is worth it).

The first is America Alone by Mark Steyn. Steyn has a command of this issue like no other. He frames it in a way that, to me at least, makes the problem undeniable and the necessary actions (which I believe McCain is better equipped to take) blatantly obvious.

The other book is even more interesting in many ways. It’s called While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within. Part of what makes this book interesting is its author. It was written by Bruce Bawer. Hardly your run-of-the-mill, fire breathing conservative, Bawer is a homosexual American expatriate who fled this country for the accepting shores of Europe to get away from the cultural prejudices against his lifestyle. It didn’t take Bawer long to realize that the vitriolic radical Muslims of Europe made the insult-hurling good old boys of his home country look like a pack of pluralistic pussycats. Bawer is understandably shocked and appalled at the way Europe continues to appease these people, even as they shamefully abuse European immigration laws and huddle in hate-incubating enclaves across the continent. Bawer uses the vivid examples of the recent French riots and the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh to drive home a truly undeniable point.

You will no doubt notice that neither of these books even mention the names of John McCain or Barack Obama, but that’s not the point. Once you’ve read them and taken a closer look at the candidates’ positions, you’ll see where I’m coming from. I don’t want to say that Obama doesn’t get it. That’s a far too simplistic, throwaway statement. It’s simply that Obama, and his peers on the left, are far to quick to hide behind the false veneer of moral equivalence. Just like liberals pointed to the aims of communism rather than its reality during the height of the Cold War, Obama and others today are quick to point to American foreign policy mistakes (of which I admit there are many) in order to explain away Islamic extremism. This is a fundamental misjudgment of the issue, and it will do nothing to solve the problem. As Winston Churchill said, “a fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” We’re dealing with fanatics, and leaving Iraq or creating a Palestinian state won’t get them to change the subject.

Just as Ronald Reagan understood that the only way to defeat communism was to confront it from a position of strength and moral clarity, John McCain knows that radical Islam cannot be appeased or conceded away.

When I cast my vote on November 4th, I won’t be thinking about whether or not my sons will be able to get dubious loans for big cars and McMansions. I will be thinking about whether or not they’ll have the opportunity, as I have, to live in a free and democratic society. Those are the stakes, and that is why I’m voting for John McCain.

Scott Ensign profile picScott Ensign is an online advertising professional and lifelong political junkie. He lives in Rochester with his wife and two small sons.

0 thoughts on “Why I’m Voting McCain

  1. So… you’re voting for McCain because you’re afraid of Muslims? Great.

    Fear based voting won’t get this country anywhere.

    Oh, and saying that conservative/Republican ideology didn’t influence your vote is hardly believable. This anti-Muslim vitriol is what the right has been spewing since September 11, 2001. The Muslims are no more a threat to peaceful, loving existence than Christians were when Christianity first became popular.

  2. Interesting take. My question would be, do you think that McCain at the helm would be more or less of an inspiration to these “radical Islamic extremists?” For example. There is an article that talks about How Iran is viewing the election (i’ll link it soon.) one really interesting response in that article was the hope that McCain wins, because if McCain decides to war with Iran, the global community won’t follow the US. But if Obama decides to attack Iran, the global community will join with the U.S. Wouldn’t the “war on terror” best be fought with the US having a leader that brings the world together?

  3. Scott – Here are the links I was referring to. Here is a comment by the NYT (admittedly not McCain’s favorite source) talking about Al Queda’s preference for McCain for their recruiting efforts: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/opinion/26kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    and here the article about Iran’s preference for McCain: http://worldblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/10/24/1588467.aspx

    The point is that our enemies prefer a leader to rally against. They loose that advantage with Obama (according to the articles).

  4. Cory, you seem to have forgotten what happened on 9/11. I’m not afraid of Muslims as you suggest. What I am is a realist about the global threat of Islamic extremism. You think the right is spewing anti-Muslim vitriol? Have you ever read a jihadist web site?

    And your quote about Christians is the quintessential piece of moral equivocation garbage. Because Christians have done bad things, it means that we should not address threats made by extremist Muslims? That makes a lot of sense. Certainly not every Muslim is a threat to peace right now. However, the greatest global threat to peace is Muslim extremism.

    For the record, I did not say that my conservative beliefs played no role. I said that they were less important than this issue. There is nothing wrong with what you call fear based voting. I am afraid that we will not properly address this issue. I wish more people would have been afraid and proactive after reading Adolf Hitler’s literature.

    Miguel, I hope that Obama will handle this well. It certainly looks like he will be president, and I will be very interested in how he approaches it.

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