29 August, 2008

Defining Moments in Campaigns

Every campaign has a defining moment, it seems. This year's may have come this week, but it happened a long way away from Denver, CO.

In 2000, the defining moment for me was during the first Presidential debate between then Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) and Vice President Al Gore (D-USA). Gore was visibly exasperated with Bush and mocking and condescending during the entire debate.  He gave exasperated sighs often during Bush's responses and stood practically on top of him during several responses. It was disrespectful and childish. Not that I really had many thoughts about voting for Gore before then, but there was no chance after that. My wife and I watched the debate and she was considering Gore, and she became a Bush supporter overnight and has never regretted it.

In 2004, it was Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) infamous line, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." I know the Democrats like to blame the Swift Boat vets, but for me the defining moment was that line. It gave conservative talk show hosts their best line of the campaign. They ran it relentlessly and it made Kerry look ridiculous. It didn't matter that he had good reasons for doing what he did or that he later explained the comment better. The damage had been done.

In 2008, the defining moment for me has been Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) campaign's response to the ad and investigation into the Obama-Ayers connection. To attempt to use an arm of the government to shut down opposition or to use your supporters to shut down a dissenting voice is beyond frightening. Perhaps I'm over-reacting here. I don't see quite the same amount of outrage on other blogs or news stories. Certainly, others have picked it up, including the Chicago Tribune, Instapundit, Politico, Powerline, and the DC Examiner, but reaction is generally subdued.

As for me, though, it's the defining moment. Even if I was in lock-step with Obama on every single issue, he would not get my vote after this. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this post, I'm going to make my first donation to the McCain campaign. There's a reason this blog is called "Chris of Rights". I believe strongly in the Bill of Rights and the protections contained in it, particularly the protection of freedom of speech. Candidates who want to shut down the voice of dissent must be stopped, whether they're Republican, Democrat, Independent, or even members of the Little Green Men Party.

I know that this is now the third time I've posted on this subject. I don't mean to keep harping on it, but in my opinion, the importance of this issue can not be over-stated.

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