Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Democratic slugfest continues

From a political theater perspective, the second-best possible result prevailed last night when Hillary Clinton won three out of four primaries, including the two biggies in Ohio and Texas, and regained momentum for her campaign. The best result would have been if Mike Huckabee had won all the Republican primaries and kept the battle going for both major parties.

But I'll take what I can get.

This means that Clinton and Barack Obama will spend the ... weeks? months? ... to come battering each other, making scandalous accusations, sucking donors dry and otherwise hammering each other like the power-hungry gladiators they are.

Oh, what glorious sport.

I actually have nothing more -- or less -- against Clinton and Obama than I do against John McCain, but for an antigovernment guy like me, there's pure joy to be had in watching one of the state-obsessed major political parties engage in virtual civil war, fraying and splitting at the seams all the while.

I doubt that I'll vote for either John McCain or whichever Democrat is left standing in November. I don't want my taxes raised, my life further regulated, my speech abridged, my neighbors sent to war or the leviathan in D.C. to amass greater authority over the lives of 300 million Americans. I don't want barriers built to international trade, private enterprise treated as a slightly dirty field of endeavor or service to the state glorified as the highest ideal. Since I'm shit out of luck in this regard whether McCain, Clinton or Obama ultimately claim the White House, the best I can hope for is a bloodied, weakened, somewhat illegitimate victor.

I want chaos.

I have a split household in this regard. My wife has turned into a single-issue voter this year: she's dead-set against increased government intrusion into medicine. Talk of "universal health care" causes her to reach for her ... well, if not her revolver, then her medical degree, to throw at the TV set. She'll likely vote for John McCain come election day.

I see some value in a strategic McCain vote; Congress will likely remain in the hands of the Democrats next year, so a Republican president might give us blessed gridlock, with neither party able to fully enact its obnoxious agenda.

But that's John McCain we're talking about, the Republican who seems like a civil libertarian in contrast to his party's current leadership only because he has doubts about using torture. Oh what crumbs we grasp at. This is a man who finds political criticism of sitting politicians intolerable, never mind that pesky First Amendment. He has no great respect for the free enterprise system, and an abiding belief that dedicating yourself to the state is superior to pursuing private goals.

And did I mention America's 100-year occupation of Iraq? Oh joy.

Are the Democrats any better? Not likely.

There's that unpleasant business about inserting the government like a probing finger into the nation's medical concerns, for instance. Obama and Clinton both like that idea.

According to the National Taxpayers Union, Barack Obama would boost federal spending by $287.0 billion; Hillary Clinton plans to raid the taxpayers for an additional $218.2 billion (by contrast, McCain would only increase the federal government's burden on working Americans by $6.9 billion).

Not surprisingly, Obama and Clinton both believe higher taxes are a good thing. The senator from Illinois would hike Social Security taxes; both Obama and Clinton want to roll back Bush's measly tax cuts.

Obama and Clinton have also come out against free trade -- except when they're quietly telling the Canadian government not to take them seriously. Make of that what you will.

Basically, McCain, Obama and Clinton are all authoritarians; they know what's best for us and they want the government to "help" us -- or else. The state, to them, is a prod and a carrot to move the herd along in the right direction. And we're the herd.

So I wish for chaos, combat and scandal to weaken whoever wins dominion over us in the end. The longer and nastier the fight, and the more divided and uncertain the results, the better for all of us who have to live with the election's outcome.



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