Car and Driver Endorses McCain. More or Less.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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  • Thebigmass Thebigmass on Aug 12, 2008

    psarhjinian: I'm not attempting to open a second debate (seriously- I have a meeting in seven and a half hours and I've already spent too much time on this); I would simply like to explain where my views come from (you state that you do not understand the apparent dissonance in those that support a robust military and limited healthcare spending). I support having a strong military (certainly we have undertaken several actions of questionable merit- I mean only that I support in general having a strong national defense). I do not support government run/funded healthcare. This stems from my belief in a government limited to the powers enumerated in the US Constitution. The Constitution explicitly calls for common defense through a Navy and Army. The obvious counterargument is to speak of the provision whereby the government is to provide for the general welfare of the United States (a source of legitimate debate). Again, I post this not to debate, but to explain how I (and possibly others) hold beliefs that you found inexplicable.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Aug 12, 2008

    It is actually simple. We need a smaller government and less regulation. Like the Constitution intended.

  • Geeber Geeber on Aug 12, 2008
    psharjinian: The point was this: only in the United States is “liberal” a dirty word. You can’t tell me that the USSR didn’t have spies in Canada, the UK, France or West Germany. Yet none of those nation-states have nearly the panties-in-a-bunch syndrome about “liberalism”. All of them - except for France - were quite happy to rely on the U.S. for a large part of their defense, so they could afford to take a more lenient attitude toward the Soviet Union. They could also afford to devote more of their national spending to social programs. In the case of West Germany, a desire for friendly relations with East Germany also played a role in its relations with the Soviet Union. But don't kid yourself - the European countries in NATO weren't about to completely leave the defense umbrella largely provided by the U.S. You suggested in your original post that the American fear of the Soviet Union was unfounded. Which is incorrect - again, I'd suggest talking to an Eastern European who was an adult before 1989, and then reading all about what was uncovered by the Venona Project. psharjinian: So, like the military then? Who said that the military is free? We pay for it with our tax dollars. It's not "free," any more than nationalized health care would be free. Someone, somewhere, is still paying for it. Also note that under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government is specifically charged with providing for the defense of the country. Anyone who has a problem with that needs to talk to the Founding Fathers. Again, this is what gets me: somehow it’s acceptable to American conservatives for the government to maintain a police force, military, domestic and/or international intelligence agency, but universal healthcare or welfare is evil? First, as I said above, under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government is specifically charged with maintaining the defense of the country. Second, you may want to study history regarding the formation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). You will be surprised to find the number of people classified as "liberals" and "progressives" who pushed for their formation. Meanwhile, one of the early chief critics of the CIA was Ohio Senator Robert Taft, who was noted for his staunch conservative views. psharjinian: The US has the least effective healthcare system in the developed world. It’s also the least effective and the most expensive because the bulk of the money is spend deciding who should or shouldn’t have coverage, rather than just carte-blanche covering everything. Nonsense. One of the best indicators of a health system's effectiveness is how long a person survives after being diagnosed with a serious disease or condition. The U.S. is at or near the top for virtually every condition (except for diabetes, which may be because of the greater incidence of obesity in the U.S.). Longevity varies regardless of health care (genetics and health habits play a larger role). Within the U.S., a study of longevity found that among the longest lived were those of Native American descent in the Midwest. Many of them did NOT have access to regular health care. Infant mortality rates in the U.S. are negatively affected by the efforts to keep premature babies alive, so they are counted in the infant mortality rate when they die. In many European countries, less (or no) effort is made to save these babies, which means that they are not counted for purposes of determining infant mortality rates. In Germany the government has been instituting co-pays and making citizens clear more hurdles to receive care, especially for end-of-life care for things like hip replacements and dialysis. This happened to my 92-year-old great aunt before she died. Meanwhile, here in America, my 95-year-old grandmother is covered by private health insurance, as was my recently deceased 90-year-old great aunt. The doctor wants my grandmother to have knee-replacement surgery. The insurance company will pay for it - but SHE doesn't want it. My great aunt needed dialysis. The insurance company would have paid for it, but, once again, SHE didn't want it. (She was ready to die.) psharjinian: Government intervention can be a good thing in areas where the market either doesn’t provide sufficient stimulus to “do the right thing”, or where the motive for profit would make delivering services ineffective. The government - both at the federal level and the state level - already intervenes in the health care market. Given the level of state and federal government regulation and intervention in the health care market, it is quite a stretch to consider it an example of a "free market" in any sense. Many of the problems stem from these government efforts. philipwitak: glad to learn you agree with me. i however, do not agree with you. why should the people of the united states continue to put their coastal and atmospheric environments at real risk, just so big oil can continue to profit obscenely? Because it's not 1969 anymore, the oil blowout off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, happened almost 40 years ago, and informed people realize that offshore drilling can be done in a safe, controlled manner. Incidentally, if more oil comes on the market, it will increase supply, which will decrease price. The last time this happened was during the 1980s, and oil company profits...plunged. Or disappeared completely. philipwitak: just what has big oil done for us - or what is it we owe them? I guess your car is powered by french fry grease, or squirrels. Or you pump your own crude oil, and then refine it. The electricity powering the computer you used to type your post is generated at a nuclear or coal plant. Or your wife is out back, on the treadmill, generating electricity (and getting a good workout) so that you can turn on the computer and post on And your house is completely solar powered, and you shower with cold water, wash clothes by hand, and hang them out to dry... philipwitak: i don’t think that you, or i, or we, should be too worried about the fiscal health of the oil companies. they have managed to prosper just fine on their own [with the aid from their lobbyists and the members of congress they have corrupted along the way] - even during those quarters when business was not booming - or they wouldn’t be here today. and last time I checked, they are here. today. And the last time I checked, you were claiming that they regularly make record profits, and this will go on forever. Which hasn't been what happened in the past. Several of them had to merge to survive in the 1980s and 1990s. Sorry, but it hasn't been one big profit party for oil companies. philipwitak: in the first place, that remark of mine you have quoted was expressed with sarcasm - to make a point - not something meant to be taken literally. but since you insist… i think most liberals couldn’t care less if you own an suv - as long it doesn’t pollute the land, the air and the water we all rely on; or occupies more than a fair share of the roads and/or parking lots it inhabits; or makes driving in smaller cars so much more difficult and unsafe for the rest of us. A few facts for enlightenment - modern SUVs are surprisingly clean. A new Ford Explorer emits less emissions running than a 1969 Ford Galaxie emitted standing still, without the engine running (because of gasoline vapor leakage). There are no truly "dirty" brand-new vehicles being sold in the U.S. To say otherwise suggests either a desire to inflame to score points, or complete ignorance of modern vehicles. The roads are much safer, too. The U.S. death rate per 100 million vehicle miles driven has been halved since 1978, while the percentage of the total new vehicle market claimed by light trucks has doubled during that same time. If SUVs were really death-on-wheels, that figure would not have declined to this extent. Most small car drivers (over half) who die in accidents are killed because of collisions with other small cars or stationary objects. philipwitak: or care about the guns you possess - it’s just that so many people keep getting killed in this country and the rest of us have a sneaky suspicion that all those guns have sumthin’ to do with it. You need to rely less on "sneaky suspicions" and more on facts. Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens has never reduced the homicide rate in this country. If so, Washington, D.C., would be the safest place in the country. Last time I checked, it was anything but that. Banning guns won't even help reduce the suicide rate. (Japan has virtually banned guns, but has a suicide rate more than twice that of the U.S. Same with many northern and central European nations.) Meanwhile, there are thousands of justified self-defense use of guns in this country every year. If anything, law-abiding citizens with guns DETER crime. And that's based on more than a "sneaking suspicion." philipwitak: or really care whether you exceed the speed limit - as long as you don’t place the rest of us in such grave jeopardy every time we climb into our cars.? There has never been any proof that exceeding the speed limit on a limited access highway increases danger to drivers or anyone else. If anything, studies have shown that drivers who drive the SLOWEST have the highest rate of accidents. Someone driving 80 mph in the 65 mph on a limited access highway (designed to be safe for a 1956 car to travel at 75 mph - amazingly, automotive design has progressed dramatically since 1956, last time I checked) is not placing you or anyone else in "grave danger." philipwitak: as any rational person can plainly see, the activities you have alluded to, and to which i have responded, are actually not only harmful “…in the imaginations of the uninformed or woefully ignorant…” as you have erroneously claimed - they can be and quite often are excessively harmful to real people, in the real world - and therein lies the rub. that is when reasonable people must insist that unreasonable people change their behavior. Those activities are only harmful in the imaginations of the uninformed and ignorant. Those who have studied these issues - as opposed to those going by what "everyone" knows - have a true grasp of the real risk posed by said activities, which is why the more sophisticated, better informed position on these subjects is invariably the conservative/libertarian one. philipwitak: the freedom for people to act in any manner they wish, must cease, once any of those actions imperil the well-being of others. period. full stop. In which case, you support ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens, realize that the rants against SUVs are silly and uninformed, and recognize the "speed kills" baloney for the nonsense that it is. philpwitak: as far as your “wanting to keep taxes as low as possible” comment is concerned - i can only point out that i think we would all like to have lower taxes. the underlying truth of the matter is that nobody really wants to pay taxes - but everybody wants the benefits only taxes can provide. Except that no one seems to know what is "enough." And Senator Obama wants to raise taxes. Maybe we should raise taxes on the 50 percent who don't pay any federal income taxes, to give them an idea of how much all of these programs cost. Maybe people who can't afford children without government support, for example, wouldn't be so quick to have them. Which would also relieve population pressures. philipwitak: it seems to me that those who benefit most from this society - and here, ‘wealthy conservatives’ springs quickly into mind - should at the very least be willing to pay for the privilege. the wealthy should quit whining and rejoice in their good fortune. The wealthy do not benefit from taxes the most. They use private schools, don't rely on the government for health care, don't rely on food stamps to eat, and don't rely on the government for a monthly check to survive. Their children are not fed through the Women-Infants-Children (WIC) welfare program. They live in gated communities or co-op apartments with private security, which means they don't rely on the police as much. Spending for entitlements is by far the biggest driver of spending at the federal level. At the state level, spending for education, along with welfare programs, are a huge driver of spending growth. Given that the wealthy are much less likely to use these services (or more likely to be banned from participating because of income, as in the case of food stamps and WIC), they do not benefit directly from this spending. If anything, they are subsidizing everyone else (which isn't surprising, as at the federal level, the bottom 50 percent of wage earners pay NO federal income taxes).
  • Brod0056 Brod0056 on Aug 12, 2008

    I think what is important is that most people are upset about paying $4/gallon and wish they were still paying $2. I'm sure Obama wasn't trying to say that inflating your tires will solve $4/gal gas, but to point out the absurdity that drilling will. Furthermore proper tire inflation helps your pocket book a 4% (3% Alaska + 1% coastal) increase in US oil production increases the global oil supply 1%, with uncertain consequences on price.