Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Why I didn't vote for Barack Obama

My friend Tim unknowingly extended his sympathy to me for my failure to vote for Barack Obama. Somehow that has compelled me to explain why I didn't vote for Obama.

My primary reason was that he didn't need my vote. Even when I filled in my absentee ballot two weeks ahead of time, it was pretty obvious that Obama was going to win. Some people watch sports; I read electoral college prediction drivel. Regardless of whether I desired him as president, I was convinced my vote wasn't going to decide who sat at 1600. Consequently, I decided to spend my vote to send a message.

I abhor the Bush administration and all other Republicans who speak of limited government, fiscal conservatism, and personal rights, yet have supported or claimed unitary executive power, have overseen the increase of the national debt to GDP ratio through the last 20 years of Republican presidency, and supported the USA PATRIOT Act.

It was clear that the Republicans would be the minority party for a while. I cast a vote to say to them, when you come back, please stick to the ideals that you claim. The Democrats will do a fine job of being a big government party that socializes. They will tax and spend. The nation does not need a borrow-and-spend party. The nation needs a conservative party that's actually conservative and does not lead the way in nationalizing industries. I expect the Democrats to do that. I expect them to do it in a competent, punitive way. I am embarrassed of a Republican President and his Treasury Secretary demanding 5% of our GDP be borrowed and given to one man to spend without oversight. I am shamed that he would spend that money to nationalize in a way that effectively gave those recklessly self-destructive corporations handouts equal in size to the equity stake required of them. Shame.

I am appalled by conservatives who see education as elitist, learning as suspect, and science as untrustworthy. They extol the virtues of our Founding Fathers, but they reject the life-long-learning ethic of those men. (c.f. 1776) The Bush-Palin wing of the party seems to value ignorance, instead. They seem to believe that current events have a clear liberal bias and should, therefore, not be understood. They value technology and its wealth-building, military-power-extending, nation-glorifying, life-preserving benefits, but revile as wasteful and immoral the basic research which produces those innovations.

While Obama did not need my vote, the Republican party desperately needed what little guidance I could offer by voting for a member of their party who is actually a conservative; who believes in listening to those with whom he disagrees in order to be informed; who defends balanced budgets as fervently as other Republicans clung to spending more than a bailout's worth on spreading Democracy in the Middle East.

Ron Paul write-in?
I didn't vote for Obama for different reasons, but I think I like yours better.
my sentiments (nearly) exactly. Except I didn't get to vote at all because I was still homebound with a new baby on election day. I had planned to vote early, but never got around to it.
While I love your reasoning and could only hope that a fraction of the country put in a fraction of the effort you did when determining who to vote for in this most recent election, I have to wonder if the Republicans got your message. I think the note attached to their @ss when it got handed to them on election day indicated that America was generally unhappy with the basic undertakings in the last four to six years, but I'm not certain they got the more detailed message from those who voted for McCain. More likely they'll focus on the votes they "lost", and assume that for the rest, they'll vote for whatever Republican gets offered up in the general election. Oh, and I didn't vote for Obama because I'd prefer not to have someone skip two or three steps along the learning path, and then go ahead and make all the inevitable mistakes that would have been made along the way, but all at once as the president. Sure would have been nice to get some of those out of the way as a governor, or at least the chairman of a commitee, or something. But, the time for misgivings and doubts is over. He is my president now, and God bless him and the people he looks to for advice.

I'm a policy advisor at a policy non-profit organization in Great Falls. I work closely with a handful of state legislators and am particularly interested in your thoughts on Montana's 529 plan. I found your post on the subject to be well informed and insightful. I'd love to speak with you some more about your thoughts on what could be done to address this issue during the upcoming legislative session. If this is something you'd be interested in, please let me know how to contact you.

I'd love to work with you on Montana's 529 policy. Please post a way for me to contact you and I'll get to you right away.


I'm a financial planner from Missoula who is testifying before the MT House Taxation Committee this Thursday (1/15/09) on HB 185 (Tax parity treatment of 529 contributions for out-of-state plans). From reading your "Bum Deal" post, I can tell you that my arguments in favor are pretty much identical to yours, but it would be excellent to have another voice of support on Thursday. Any chance you can make it to Helena. You can contact me via email jill@fstewartfinancial.com.

Hope you get this in time!

Jill Tripp, CFP
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