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Michael Pento Headshot

Lose the Election and Save the Party

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This erstwhile Republican will not be voting for the McCain/Palin ticket today and here's why. I believe Senator McCain and Governor Palin are simply thinly veiled, watered down versions of Democrats. They espouse to represent all the key tenants of core conservative beliefs. But in truth they are far removed from being true free market capitalist and here are two examples that illustrate perfectly both their self deception and hypocrisy.

Both the Senator and Governor are quick to accuse Obama and Biden of being wealth redistributors. Yet, are the republican nominees any different? Not really. As governor of Alaska, Sara Palin passed a windfall profits tax on oil companies. That tax added an additional $6 billion in revenue last year and brought the total take of state revenue from oil companies to more than $10 billion -- double the amount received in the prior fiscal year. What did the maverick from Alaska do with the booty? She sent a special distribution check to each citizen in the amount of $1,200. Now putting politics aside -- whether you agree with that decision or not -- are her actions any different than those of Obama who supports a national windfall profits tax on oil companies? If Sara believes in wealth redistribution then she should embrace her own ideals. However, railing against the other party's socialist proposals while already having done the same thing in your own state is disingenuous.

An even more egregious example of duplicity can be found from Senator McCain. John loves to wheel around Joe the Plumber as an example of the benefits that can be derived from low taxes and a small government. It is easy to memorize and articulate the core beliefs of conservatives but does McCain really believe in them? He has consistently endorsed a proposal to force his would be Treasury Secretary to buy up all those "Bad" mortgages and have the government write down the principal. I don't think the Senator from Arizona really is aware of the hypocrisy between his words and his actions. Issuing Treasury debt to give to banks and then lowering the amount of mortgage payments for the consumer amounts to a gigantic redistribution of wealth. In effect, he intends to reward those who did not accurately access their ability to afford their home and punish those who did while sticking the bill to the taxpayer.

That is a perfect plan to endorse if you want to alienate the core of the party and make the conservative base despondent. Mr. McCain at his heart does not believe in allowing the free market to work and in that respect he is no different than the Democrats.

For me it's not just that the McCain/Palin ticket sounds very much like Obama/Biden in many ways, it's the fact that they believe that true conservatives can be fooled so easily. A true supporter of free markets would not have suspended his campaign to help push through a $700 billion stimulus package. That package is designed to prop up real estate values and force banks to lend money to an already debt-laden consumer. A true conservative believes that home prices must fall in order to clear the market of excess homes and to allow affordability to return to the market. A real Republican knows that increasing government spending to bail out the economy will only help perpetuate the cycle of borrowing and spending that brought about the credit crisis in the first place.

For those reasons, both I and many other Republicans will be voting for the Libertarian party or sitting it out this election. It is much more important for me to bring the Republican Party back to its core conservative beliefs than to just win an election. Maybe in 2012 we will nominate someone who truly believes in the power of free markets and not just feigns to believe them in order to win the presidency.