First, Do No Harm
There's an old ethic among doctors (originating with Hippocrates) that says, "First, do no harm."
It means in treating patients, be careful not to kill them.
I think many Americans who would hold their noses and vote for John McCain this year would do well to consider this advice.
John McCain's election would come back to haunt these people. They would live to regret their decision. In their desperation to heal America, they actually would be making the patient sicker.
No matter who wins the 2008 election, America is going to face tougher times for the next four years. Obama will be very bad, but so will McCain. I wouldn't be surprised if 50 percent of Americans realize this. Yet a significant percentage of them will vote affirmatively for one of these extraordinarily unworthy candidates as the lesser of two evils.
For those leaning toward voting for McCain out of fear of Obama, let me set you straight. Nobody takes a back seat to me in my antipathy to Obama. But there is, in my mind, one fate worse than his victory this fall, and that is a McCain victory.
Here's what would happen if McCain won:
—He would reshape and remake the Republican Party in his own image, and that means more like the Democratic Party, which he nearly joined in the past four years.
—He would govern much like Obama would, working hand in hand with the Democratic Congress.
—His policies would prove disastrous, and he would be a one-term president.
—And in 2012, we'd get Obama anyway — or maybe Hillary Clinton.
In other words, the McCain pain would be long term.
What would happen if Obama were elected?
—He would re-energize the Republican Party as a party of principle and standards.
—His policies would prove disastrous, especially working with the Democratic Congress, and he would be a one-term president.
—Because Democrats would have all the levers of power, they would pay a price at the polls and lose their grip on Congress.
—And in 2012, we would have the chance to get a Ronald Reagan-style Republican president, if there is one in the wings.
In other words, Obama trauma would be short term.
I'm surprised more people don't see it this clearly.
It was in 1976. It was Gerald R. Ford vs. Jimmy Carter.
For most Republicans, Ford was perceived as the lesser of two evils. Yet had he won the election, there is not a chance in the world that Ronald Reagan would have been elected president in 1980. His political ascension was a direct result of Carter's hapless, misguided and destructive policies. After four years of Carter and a Democratic Congress, there was no confusion among Americans about who was responsible for America's dire straits. It was the fault of Carter and his Democratic friends in Congress. That's how we got a Reagan landslide in 1980 and eight years of moral and political restoration in America, including the end of the Soviet Union and unprecedented prosperity at home.
What if Ford had won? Would we have escaped a little bit of the pain of the Carter years? Possibly. But we would have lost out on what followed. Ford would have been punished in 1980, and Jimmy Carter or some other pretender to the throne would have been elected. Our pain would have been extended, not lessened.
That is one of the reasons I want Republicans to feel good about not voting for McCain. I know it's hard. I know it's counterintuitive. I know it seems as if you're not really in the game. I know if feels as if you're wasting your vote. None of that is true.
In fact, you are wasting your vote on McCain because if you vote for him, your choices are not going to get better in the future. They're going to get worse.
Joseph Farah's newest book, "None of the Above: Why 2008 Is the Year To Cast the Ultimate Protest Vote," is available now. To find out more about Joseph Farah and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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