11/04/2008 - I've just made it into work after casting my ballot this morning at the First Baptist Church, around the corner from my house. Upon arrival there were approximately 100 people waiting in line ahead of me. This is a far larger number than I have previously seen here, but this is my first presidential election at this precinct, having only voted here in the previous off-cycle and local elections since moving to Maricopa. Volunteers were passing out coffee and donuts to those waiting. Everyone seemed to have a very positive outlook and the feeling that this was indeed an important election. This was also my daughter's first election, having turned eighteen earlier this year, and I was very proud to have her standing beside me.

I'm generally conservative in my views, and typically vote Republican. This year was no exception. My preferred candidate, Fred Thompson, unfortunately didn't make the cut. I can't say that John McCain is the best candidate we could have fielded, but he is the one we ended up with. The addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket, which some have lambasted, I believe was a superior choice which ultimately strengthened my support for the ticket. I could definitely see myself supporting her for 2012.

John McCain is a war hero, and he has made some initiative to eliminating corruption and waste in government. I don't believe he is strictly conservative, as he hasn't supported measures that would clamp down on the illegal immigration problem, which has been particularly acute here in his home state of Arizona. That has cost him some support among the 'Goldwater' and 'Reagan' conservatives.

Sarah Palin, although much maligned, is the only governor of a state bordering a potentially hostile nation, the only governor who as commander in chief of the Alaskan National Guard controls an active duty missile defense battalion, the only governor who is routinely briefed on national security issues, and one who is intimately familiar with the issues surrounding energy production and delivery. I think she is very qualified to be President, let alone Vice-President. Time will tell if she has staying power on the national stage.

While I don't believe that George W. Bush has been the worst president we've ever elected, as a conservative I have been greatly disappointed that he has not shown more leadership and allowed Congress to spend with wild abandon over the past eight years. Much, but not by any means all, of the mounting deficits can be attributed to the Iraq and Afghanistan actions and poor oversight. Unfortunately at the same time we have experienced a huge increase in domestic spending that as a fiscal conservative I believe the federal government has absolutely no business being involved with in the first place. The pork barrel earmarks need to be extinguished and the scope of the federal governments' involvement in local affairs needs to be greatly reduced. I predict with an Obama presidency the exact opposite will happen. If McCain were to be elected, I believe he would at least make an attempt at being a 'maverick'.

The most critical elections, however, do not involve McCain or Obama, as in reality, whomever is president can really only suggest policy, and a direction for the nation. It is up to the members of Congress to actually enact the legislation to make it happen. On this election eve, we are faced with the possibility of an incoming Congress with a huge Democratic majority, possibly one that will have the power to stifle any opposition from across the aisle. The most important elections occurring today are for those 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats that are up for contention. The Republicans are expected to lose heavily, even in some stalwart Republican districts. I have to say that while I am dismayed at the prospect, I can hardly blame the electorate. Even lifelong Republicans such as myself are embarrassed that the opportunity our party had to show fiscal restraint while encouraging economic growth was utterly wasted. Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave, God rest his soul.

While I stop short of actually voting for the other party, I do believe it is well past time to enact a constitutional amendment providing for term limits for members of Congress. I have even gone so far as to produce a draft of such an amendment and have forwarded that on to my state delegation. It is time not only for new blood and new ideas, but of an end to a legislative career. It is only fair after all, since Congress enacted an artificial term limit for president (the 22nd amendment to our Constitution), that there be an equal limitation for our legislators. Our founding fathers never intended for public service to be a lifelong career. This year, somewhere close to a billion dollars will be spent on the presidential campaign alone, for a job that pays around $400,000 (plus excellent benefits). Senatorial campaigns will cost in the tens of millions, in order to receive an annual paycheck of less than $200,000. It is clear the draw of power in itself is too great a temptation, and the dynamic needs to be changed. I think it will be ultimately better for the nation.

So this evening, after I rush home from work to sit in front of TiVo and eagerly await the returns from across the US, I will not only be watching the train wreck of John McCain's (probably final) candidacy, I will also be scrutinizing the House and Senate results from Alaska to Maine, with of course a special focus on the congressional delegation (House only, as John McCain and our other Senator, John Kyl are not standing for re-election in this cycle) from The Great State of Arizona, (God's own country, Goldwater country, and my new home since 2006), and as much interest as I can muster for the handful of state and local ballot initiatives and bond issues. I will hope for the best, and right now the best looks like just this side of a disaster for my party, and perhaps for my country.

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