We’ve heard from Republicans and Democrats supporting McCain, today’s Q&A is with Tracy, a Mom from Austin, Texas. Tracy is the founder of 'Independents for McCain', and is one of many non-partisan people across America supporting McCain for President. Check out her blog on the Ning site or MySpace. Thanks Tracy for sharing your thoughts!
Tell us about yourself. I have three kids: 11, 14 and 15 (all girls). I live just outside Austin, Texas. I used to work as a journalist, then went into public relations before a diagnosis of epilepsy sidelined my career (I'm now on disability and writing a novel).
What is your involvement in politics? Has it changed this election season? My previous involvement in politics would be mainly limited to working as a volunteer for Hillary Clinton's campaign (making phones calls, acting as a delegate, blogging, etc.), when I was in PR I was a spokesperson for an elected Republican official. The first thing I did when I turned 18 was register to vote, so I have always been very political.
Since you're active and interested in politics, why have you chosen to be an 'Independent'? In Texas, you do not have to register with either party to vote in the primaries, as you do in some states, so it's easy to be Independent. You simply go to the primary and tell the election officials which primary you want to vote in. In 2000 I voted in the Republican primary for John McCain. This year I voted in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton.
I'm Independent because I don't stand behind a party, I stand behind a candidate. I don't like partisan politics, and my beliefs are all over the board. For example, I was raised Catholic, but I am pro-choice but also in favor of the death penalty. Doesn't make much sense to many people, but that's how my life has shaped me.
Why did you choose to support John McCain in this election? I feel John McCain is by far the most qualified person to lead the country. Had McCain won the primary in 2000, there's a good chance I would have voted for him (since he didn't, I voted for Gore; I've never been a huge Bush fan but I would vote for him over Obama).
During the primary season I've had ample time to do my homework and what I've discovered about Barack Obama is, frankly, terrifying. His ties to extremists, to criminals, to Ayers, his own wife's views -- all speak to his lack of judgment. I don't trust the man. I will never vote for him, no matter who he picks for his VP running mate. His lack of experience alone would make me strongly hesitate, plus his platform is way too far to the left for me; his character takes him completely out of the running.
Didn’t you say you’re pro-choice? Aren’t the Democrats insisting this is a reason why former Hillary supporters won’t vote for McCain? Ahh, the old pro choice threat! I have several things to say about that. First, as I said, I look at the totality of the candidate, and everything about Obama takes him out of the running for me, period.
Second, McCain has vowed to appoint judges who will not legislate from the bench and I do trust him on his word. It's an empty threat on the part of the DNC, in other words, Roe vs Wade is not going to be overturned. It's a scare tactic.
I personally think Obama goes way too far on abortion, and I could never in good conscience agree with him on that issue. It's just a choice I wouldn't take away in the first few weeks (even if it's not one I would make myself).
As an active Hillary volunteer and supporter, what is your perception of other Hillary supporters’ sentiment since she left the race? I'd say the ones I've spoken to personally are about 75% leaning toward McCain (but these are people online who know more about Obama than those in the general public, who only know what the mainstream media puts out there). The rest are sadly sticking with Obama, but I have stayed friends with most, though not all. I made my stance clear very early on.
In the "real world" I've heard the numbers are about 30% of Hillary supporters going to McCain, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's higher than that. The DNC PO’ed a lot of people. I think many are just staying quiet. The ones who I talk to who are staying with Obama are really big on gay marriage or welfare issues, things like that. I think they will be in for a big surprise.
I keep stressing that the President doesn't make the laws; Congress makes laws and POTUS can veto them or at times introduce something, but for the most part that's not his/her job. So it's really not up to the prez to decide about healthcare, etc. But most people don't get that.
I think McCain is going to do what the majority of the country wants, but he's going to use his best judgment, and I trust his judgment. As we've seen, we can't trust Obama's judgment.
Any parting thoughts for fellow Independents trying to choose a candidate? Hillary and McCain both have a history of being bipartisan, and McCain has a proven record of getting things done.
Thanks Tracy for sharing your thoughts!