McCain Has Lost Second Place on my List

John McCain has been my #2 choice for 2008 (behind Barack Obama). He has been willing to buck his party and its leadership for what he feels is right. But last week he spoke at the Virginia Military Institute trying to reenergize his faltering campaign by focusing hardliners on his support for the war in Iraq. The statement that spun me the other way was:

“Having been a critic of the way this war was fought and a proponent of the very strategy now being followed, it is my obligation to encourage Americans to give it a chance to succeed; to do otherwise would be contrary to the interests of my country and dishonorable.”

In other words, “I have advocated a ‘surge,’ I can’t back down now.” The last thing we need is another person in the White House who believes his own words to be gospel. If one of the principal reasons for his continuing to support the war in Iraq is the fact that he advocated for it, it shows that he cannot be flexible to changes.

Whether this is a ploy to get the vote of the hardline Bush Republicans for the upcoming primaries or it is truly the way he feels, I don’t agree with it.

My problem now is who takes second place.


Reluctant says:

So who is your new #2?

Centrist says:

I don’t know who will be my new #2. I’ll go through my thoughts on the list:


Obama — He is a clearly refreshing voice in a chorus of bitterness and vitriol. He is a moderate, willing to work with the other side and willing to concede that the other side has valid points worth considering and working with. He is more socially liberal than I, but I don’t think he will get despotic and try to overrun the democratic process to get his way.

Clinton — She is too polarizing and in-your-face for my liking. I understand that a lot of people in New York grew to like her in her first term as Senator, but I don’t think she would bring the kind of new discourse that we need.

Edwards — Although I like some of the stuff he talks about, e.g., healthcare, poverty, and other domestic issues, I don’t like his roots and I don’t think he’s stong enough to win.

Gore — I still don’t favor Gore. I think he would do a lot for the environment, but I think he still presents such a bad taste in the mouths of Republicans that his association to the hated Bill Clinton would hinder his presidency in a country and Congress that is so close to deadlock.

Republicans — (first check out this comic –;_ylt=AhRcARrsJSFvIiUzaOH6yxDV.i8C)

Giuliani — I think he’s a good manager and administrator, but I don’t think he has the tact necessary for the job of head of state. Besides, if I’m going to vote for a Republican, it’s not going to be one as socially liberal as Giuliani.

McCain — Already talked about him (and I have another gripe that I’m going to put in a following comment).

Romney — I’m afraid Romney would be too business-friendly like Bush has been, much to the detriment of our environment and citizens. The good thing about Romney is that, unlike Bush, he can certainly change his mind when the situation requires it — and HOW!

Gingrich — I don’t know what to think. He certainly can’t take the high ground morally. He seems to be more progressive environmentally than the other Republicans, but I don’t know much about him (I didn’t care much about politics in 1994). I’m disinclined to favor him because he represents in my mind a kind of polarization I want the country to move away from.

Centrist says:

Another nail in the McCain coffin today. He said about the VaTech shooting, “It doesn’t change my views on the Second Amendment, except to make sure that these kinds of weapons don’t fall into the hands of bad people.” My prediction is that we will find out that this South Korean young English major has no prior police record, no public history of mental illness, and no other way to find out that he would become a “bad person.” The fact is that handguns are only good for killing humans, and my opinion is that they should only be in the hands of the military and law enforcement. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms CONTINGENT ON THE NECESSITY OF A WELL-REGULATED MILITIA.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

It does not mean that any idiot who can pony up the money should be able to own a 9mm, or even better, an AR-15. Guns DO kill people; most people can’t throw bullets hard enough on their own to penetrate flesh.

Shalynn says:

But is it fair to take away the rights of the law abiding citizens, who own guns and don’t go on a rampage to kill innocent people, because of a few nut jobs who do? I mean I don’t want my kids gunned down at the mall or some other public place deemed to be safe, but I don’t want my right to bear arms to be taken away either. There was a good reason why the founding fathers felt that we should have the right to bear arms. Guns do kill people, but so do a handful of other things when used incorrectly by people who want to harm others.

Shalynn says:

Another thought I had is, just because we ban guns doesn’t mean that people won’t be able to get guns. It just becomes a black market thing, and the bad guys still have access to guns – only now, the law abiding citizens don’t.

Centrist says:

I’m not talking about taking away all guns–just the ones whose only use is to kill humans. People should still have their hunting guns–just not Dick Cheney. I think there should be a waiting period of at least 14 days to buy any kind of gun, and I think handguns should be completely outlawed, except for military and police. Here are the stats from 1994:
Gun Deaths per 100,000 people:
United States 14.24
Brazil 12.95
Mexico 12.69
Estonia 12.26
Argentina 8.93

Countries with tighter gun control laws:
Canada 4.31
Australia 2.65
Japan 0.05

Among children, the ratio of homicide deaths for U.S. vs. non-U.S. kids 0-14 was 15.7 U.S. to 1 non-U.S. The ratio for UNINTENTIONAL gun deaths among children was 9:1 (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention).

I doubt the numbers have changed significantly in the last 13 years.

In my opinion, the Founding Fathers put the clause in to keep the militias of the several states and the federal government from overrunning any individual state. It was also meant as a protection for a relatively weak new nation against other nations and against attacking Indians. Now that we don’t have those problems, I think the Founding Fathers’ correct justification for the time period has lost its applicability. There is no reason for someone to have a handgun. People cite self-defense, but I think the possibility of an unitentional shooting is MUCH higher than the possibility of ever successfully defending oneself with a handgun. It’s not worth the risk to the law-abiding citizens, and it’s not worth handguns being so easy to obtain by criminals.

Centrist says:

Regarding the black market that would form around gun trafficking, I’m sure you are right. But the difficulty imposed might just give the intended murderer time enough to change his mind or give the police or family time enough to stop the shooting. I don’t think outlawing handguns would eliminate them, but I think it would certainly save lives–and that’s the whole point, and it’s worth it.

Centrist says:

Dan, my #2 is Bill Richardson, but I don’t think he’s going to be viable. I think he’d make a killer VP (no pun intended in reference to Cheney’s hunting skills).

Can you imagine a black President and hispanic Veep? I can!

Reluctant says:

Dave, your gun control statistics conveniently leave off to very important countries:

The UK has some of the tightest gun control laws, yet they have a similar violent crime rate to the US. See this document for statistics, but a few key points:

* Only 1% of violent crimes involved a firearm.
* A low percentage of homicides (11% of male victims and 5% of female victims) involved firearms. Most homicides were committed with “sharp instruments.”
* “Less than three per cent of firearm crimes resulted in a serious or fatal injury”
* “a big increase in imitation weapon offenses… “
* 40% of the violent crimes involving firearms were with pistols, even though pistols are illegal to possess.

Also, what about Switzerland? Between 1998 and 2000, they had a total of 69 murders which equates to murder rate of 0.00921351 per 1,000 people. In Switzerland, every male is required to own a gun. Every male is part of the militia there and is required to keep government-issued automatic rifles and semi-automatic pistols.

This is more in-line with your comments about the 2nd Amendment, but the gun-control statistics are very compelling.

Now, keep in mind that I’m not a huge advocate of the 2nd Amendment when it comes to handguns. But all other guns, I believe the constitution provides us that right.

Centrist says:

Dan, below is the entire list of countries from the CDC report (I meant to keep the U.K.; don’t know how I dropped it). The U.K. includes Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England and Wales. Since the bulk of the population is in the latter, I would call .41 a success, especially compared to the U.S. (No. Ireland is still an unusually violent place because of the sectarian violence there). As I said to Shalynn, I’m not saying tighter gun control laws would make guns disappear or never be used in crimes again; what I’m saying is it would save lives–isn’t it worth that?

I wonder how many of Switzerland’s homicides were committed with the guns issued to the “militia”? It would be an interesting statistic. Notice that Switzerland is the 8th worst out of 36.

United States 14.24; Brazil 12.95; Mexico 12.69; Estonia 12.26; Argentina 8.93; Northern Ireland 6.63; Finland 6.46; Switzerland 5.31; France 5.15; Canada 4.31; Norway 3.82; Austria 3.70; Portugal 3.20; Israel 2.91; Belgium 2.90; Australia 2.65; Slovenia 2.60; Italy 2.44; New Zealand 2.38; Denmark 2.09; Sweden 1.92; Kuwait 1.84; Greece 1.29; Germany 1.24; Hungary 1.11; Republic of Ireland 0.97; Spain 0.78; Netherlands 0.70; Scotland 0.54; England and Wales 0.41; Taiwan 0.37; Singapore 0.21; Mauritius 0.19; Hong Kong 0.14; South Korea 0.12; Japan 0.05.

Reluctant says:

Ok… so the full stats show an even more interesting trend. Just looking at the countries on the bottom of the list shows a strong indication that violent crime has more to do with culture than with gun control. I know that is an assumption, but I’d say that is a pretty obvious assumption.

Shalynn says:

Okay, I see your point with the handguns – and I agree with that. I thought we were talking about all guns. And I do agree that the founding father’s wrote the ammendment because of different circumstances – but I believe that they had a great handle on the nature of mankind in any day and age – so I think it’s still relevant today. But I never have seen a reason or justification for a handgun.

Shalynn says:

Okay, I want to clarify and “alter” my opinion a little. I personally would never have a handgun in my home. But, I don’t see how it’s fair that a very small majority of people misuse handguns, and so the rest of us can’t have one either. We are always catering to the minority. Just because one person makes an unwise decision, doesn’t mean the rest of us will. So, I don’t think banning guns is the answer at all.

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