A couple of days ago, I came across an opinion piece on CNN’s website by that astute political pundit, Penn Jillette of the magician duo (and Vegas staple) Penn and Teller. I must have been feeling particularly masochistic that day to have clicked on the link, for I expected a liberal diatribe of sophomoric Bush bashing. (I’m no fan of the current president; he’s been the greatest disappointment in my lifetime, although not the worst president I’ve lived to see. The only reason that the incompetent, vindictive, and petty Jimmy Carter and the lying, self-serving, and malevolent Bill Clinton weren’t greater disappointments were that my expectations of them coming into office were so low that they really couldn’t go lower.)
I was pleasantly surprised by the erudite, mildly humorous, and amazingly astute grasp that the obnoxious and often-abrasive Jillette has on American politics. Take a read for yourself: \”Last Thing We Need Now is a Great Leader\” by Penn Jillette.
Based on what Jillette had to say, he’s no liberal at all, but a Libertarian. What’s a Libertarian, you might ask? This oversimplifies things a bit, but Libertarians are fiscal and political conservatives, but social liberals. They support smaller government and lower taxes, but legalization of marijuana and prostitution (calling them “victimless crimes”–an oxymoron, and dead wrong, for reasons that are Tales for Another Day).
Earlier this year, I was concerned when the Libertarian Party made an amazingly wise choice of nominee for their quixotic bid for the Presidency: former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr, who has spent his tenure in Congress as a bulldog for the Republican Party. Ironically, the Libertarian party was in no small part responsible for Barr’s loss in 2002 to fellow Republican Congressman John Linder when the state legislature redrew Congressional districts to put most of Linder’s former 11th District territory inside Barr’s 7th District. Two years later, Barr left the GOP (the abbreviation for the Republican Party: the initials mean “Grand Old Party”) to support the Libertarian candidate.
As a native Georgian and strong political conservative, I had followed Barr’s career with interest. He was a former member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors, opposed legalization of marijuana (even for “medicinal purposes”) and abortion on demand–all opinions that I support. I don’t blame him for breaking ties with the GOP–they’ve left me, too, but Barr has gone way down in my book for doing a complete 180 on his opinion about “medical” marijuana. He lost his seat in Congress because the Libertarians mounted a campaign villianizing him for his opposition, then he gets in bed with them and starts SUPPORTING the very same issue???? Smells like a self-serving sellout to me.
Anyway, what concerned me about Barr’s nomination to the Libertarian ticket was that he would split off the conservative vote, ensuring an Obama victory. This was months before John McCain‘s selection as a running mate of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (the best-credentialed female conservative since Lady Margaret Thatcher) . I knew that McCain was not a darling of political conservatives such as myself. I don’t presume to be a spokesperson for conservative America, but, although I respect and admire McCain’s sacrificial service to our country and salute him for his heroism in the Hanoi Hilton, I often wonder what he’s thinking in allowing his name to be paired on legislation with the likes of Russ Feingold and Ted Kennedy.
Now that McCain has made a very astute choice in running mate and potential successor (something I had commented on way back in March), I’m not so worried. This one choice has defused almost every argument the Democrats can lob in the campaign; in fact, every time they try to slam Palin, (her age/experience, her pregnant and unmarried teenage daughter, her Down’s Syndrome baby, her son’s imminent departure for Iraq), it just points out the Democrats’ hypocrisy. Apparently, according to the Democrats, it’s OK to be young or have a thin resume’, to have a special-needs child or a pregnant teenager, to be a woman seeking an executive office, or to have a husband who’s a union man–but only if you’re a Democrat. If you aren’t, all bets are off.
The Palin choice alone has made me feel much more confident about the election in November. Still, there is a long time between now and November 4, and we all know that the winner will most likely be one that makes the penultimate big mistake. Still, the ball is now in McCain’s court–for the sake of our nation’s future, I hope he doesn’t fumble.