The other night, Paul and I were arguing about the election. I am still undecided. Paul was trying to convince me to vote for Obama.
Why I’m Undecided
I am totally opposed to Obama’s plans for taxes and healthcare. If they get passed, I think it will be disastrous for the country. On both of these issues, I prefer McCain’s plans.
But when it comes to “social” issues, I think Obama will be a better president. He will nominate left-leaning judges to courts that are likely to hear cases on gay marriage and other issues that are important to me. Beyond the judge thing, I think Obama has the opportunity to permanently change public opinion on these matters.
Paul makes an interesting, if cynical, argument. He says a) social issues are more important anyway; and b) major policy proposals have little chance of passage. He uses Bush as an example: Bush claimed to be fiscally conservative yet his administration has been marked by huge budget deficits, profligate spending, a collapsing currency, and inflation.
This is a smart argument because it plays on my cynicism about the Federal Government. But even if it is logically coherent, I’m not sure it’s empirically plausible. There are numerous recent examples of presidents affecting major policy changes: Bush tax cuts, Iraq War, NAFTA, and several examples from the Reagan administration.
So when I’m thinking about who to vote for, I’m assuming there’s a reasonable chance that his policy proposals will become law. And so I have to decide what’s more important to me: healthcare and taxes or social issues?