Editorial by John Ziegler

Why I Switched from Bush to McCain

2/29/2000

When this Presidential campaign began I was a big fan of George W. Bush. While I was aware and encouraged that he had an excellent record on taxes, torte reform, fighting hate crime legislation, and reducing affirmative action in education, his stance on the issues had very little to do with why I wanted him to be the Republican nominee. I wanted George W. Bush to go up against Al Gore because I thought that he had the best chance of winning and because I thought that a Bush victory would make the strongest statement of repudiation against the reign of King William Jefferson Clinton. While very little, if anything, has happened to alter my perception of George W. Bush or the historical implications of his potential victory, I will be voting for John McCain in the Pennsylvania primary.

Like our Founding Fathers I view the Presidency, except in times of crisis, as a largely symbolic office. This is one of the many reasons why I believe that Bill Clinton’s illegal actions were in fact worthy of his removal from office. The MOST important element of the job of being President is the upholding of the image of the office and of the country. Ronald Reagan (despite being senile for much of second term) was a master at this role. No President in our history has done a worse job in this area than Bill Clinton.

So, from a symbolic point of view, I lusted after a George W. Bush victory in November so that history would forever record that Bill Clinton was replaced by the son of the man he originally defeated. I felt that if that happened that even the liberals who write history would have a difficult time spinning THAT fact as anything other than a complete and total rejection of the Clinton Presidency and of the sad excuse for a man himself. I still believe that this would be an end worth attaining as we as a nation attempt to recover from the moral degradation we have suffered over the past eight years, but I longer believe that this goal is worth the ever increasing risk that Bush could lose and allow those same liberal historians use the verdict as a final stamp of approval on the Clinton years (not to mention allow Al Gore to be President).

I no longer believe that George W. Bush is likely to defeat Al Gore. I believe this to be the case for the very obvious and strikingly simple reason that Bush is now PRECEIVED to be too aligned with the Christian Right. I believe that Bush is a victim of an irrational and dangerous guilt by association when it comes to his visit to Bob Jones University. I believe what Al Gore and Bill Bradley did with Al Sharpton is just as bad or worse than what Bush did, but the liberal media can not feel as safe in attacking a black “leader” as they can in labeling a white one “racist.” But I also believe that, as sad as it is to admit, it NO LONGER MATTERS whether Bush did anything wrong in speaking at Bob Jones.

The reality is that the story (driven by McCain who has been aided by a more than willing media) has now become part of the public consciousness and will not go away. He is now forever linked to the “far religious right” and that means political death in a general election. I say this as a person who thinks that most of the people in the Christian Coalition are either frauds or idiots, but who also happens to agree with them on many political issues. During the impeachment process I was AMAZED at how many of my moderate or even conservative leaning friends were against impeachment in large part because they PRECEIVED it to be driven by the forces of the religious right. That is just how strongly many of the people Republicans need to win in the fall feel about a group of people who somehow in the year 2000 are still fighting for Creationism to be taught in public schools.

So the bottom line is that I now support John McCain because I believe that, rightly or wrongly, he has a much better chance of winning the election. George W. Bush may rightly think that this is unfair since he has done nothing “wrong” to lose my support, but life is not fair and it probably wasn’t “fair” for him to be the frontrunner in the first place based largely on his winning the sperm lottery.

Unfortunately it seems that too few Republicans are going to come to the same conclusion as I have soon enough to avoid the worst of all possible scenarios: Bush losing to Gore. Radio talk show giant Rush Limbaugh is not helping matters any by attacking McCain at every opportunity (by the way, why didn’t Rush make an “endorsement” in 1996? Was he wrong then or is he wrong now?). Rush has obviously determined that too much of his stagnant audience is made up of members of the religious right (he panders to them all the time and pretends to believe in Jesus) to risk alienating them. Either that or the Bush machine has gotten to him, or he thinks that his show actually needs a Democrat in the White House to remain successful. Whatever the reason, Rush Limbaugh is helping to sow the seeds of an Al Gore victory harvest in November. God help us.

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