Why I’ll Vote for John McCain Today (But Maybe Not in November)

So Amy and I went to Birmingham last night, and as we got onto I-65 southbound, talk turned to Super Tuesday—how much we’d know in another 30 hours, etc. The unspoken question from Amy was how I’d vote, so I told her:

I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’d be okay with either of Obama or Clinton. I’ve decided to let the folks who’ve been on that side of things make the decision about who they want. On the other side, well, I don’t like John McCain, but I hate the rest of those assholes.

She went on to ask me what I didn’t like about Romney—simply put, he zigged conservative and became a fraud; I feel that he should’ve stayed moderate and run to the center, because I think the GOP is ready to elect a center candidate, and given a choice between a moderate Romney and whoever the Democrats run, I think most conservatives will hold their nose for the pro-business GOP moderate over whoever the other half runs, especially if it’s Hillary, because hell, they hate her. [Holy run-on sentences, Batman. Yeah, well, I was up late.]

It’s not so much that I like John McCain—I’ve railed against him in the past, to be sure—but I really loathe the others. And I’ve decided that I could vote for a guy like McCain, even though I didn’t agree with all of his policies.

You may not feel that way, but you’re not gonna change my mind. Not today, anyway.

But please note that a vote for McCain here in Alabama’s primary from me is not an assent to voting for the man in November. There will be a number of factors that factor into that for me:

  1. How the two nominees feel about science in general, and especially NASA and open government through open technology. I’m passionate about both. [I know that Obama has a very good record with the latter, but I’m not very sure about his support of space exploration, and well … that is my damn job. I do have to vote with my wallet, people. I am your tax dollars at work!]
  2. Plans regarding health care and fiscal responsibility. I think McCain’s tack towards preserving Bush’s tax cuts is a Super Tuesday sop to the GOP base, and I don’t know that he’ll keep it as a plank. I fully expect Irascible John to return and for him to tell the party to fuck off and support him or stay home. Honestly, I think John McCain would rather lose the Presidency by being who he is than win and compromise himself too much. I could be completely wrong about that, though. I’ll eat my words if I am. But I’m generally in favor of the Democrats’ plans for health care, because I’m ready to try another system at this point. Where we are is broken.
  3. Statements about foreign policy. Look, I don’t think anyone other than Dick Cheney is happy with how things are going with American foreign policy today, and while it’s a shit sandwich, we gotta choke it down, people. Promises to bring troops home or keep them there for a century are just rhetoric to me. I’m more concerned with the general approaches to the problems than in specific solutions trotted out in the campaigns, because again … it’s rhetoric to get elected. I’m really undecided on how I feel about each of the three contenders—I like some of what each has to say, and I dislike some of what each has to say. [I must say, McCain’s approach to torture and the like is a strong point with me. Of course, I expect him to be against all that, given his background. And if not, I expect every POW that was in the Hanoi Hilton with him to absolutely ream him out over it in a way that only John Kerry could appreciate. And I know a couple guys who’d be at the head of that fuckin’ line, y’all.]

Functionally, I’m willing to let the center-left folks pick their nominee, and I want to vote on the right to go for the guy I think is most center-right. But John, just because you’ll get my vote today doesn’t mean you’ll get it in nine months.

[The first person to mention Ron Paul is gonna get me really pissed off.]