- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I must congratulate my two good friends Jack Kemp and Peter Ferrara (one a former boss) for an excellent comparison of the stated positions of the two presidential candidates on tax and economic policy (“Obama vs. McCain on the economy,” Commentary, Monday).

I couldn’t find one thing in their column with which to disagree. What troubles me, though, is what was not mentioned in the column, namely anything about foreign policy and constitutional rights.

As Mr. Kemp’s former chief economist at Empower America, I have raised a few eyebrows among my conservative friends by endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president despite his misguided tax and economic pronouncements because I believe foreign policy and constitutional rights trump tax and economic policy despite how important the latter two issues are.

Even if Mr. Obama remains blind to economic reality, I still will support him for president if he can change the direction of American foreign policy and restore the freedoms the Bush and Clinton administrations and their lackeys in Congress took away from us in the name of national security.

The hard economic times Mr. Obama’s ill-conceived and harshly punitive economic policies surely would produce if implemented may simply be the high price of atonement the country has to pay for the horrible foreign policy errors Republicans and Democrats alike (but especially President Bush) have committed since the end of World War II.

Moreover, despite the glaring difference on paper between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama on domestic policy, hearing Mr. Obama say all the wrong things on taxes, economic policy and health care doesn’t bother me that much for the same reason that hearing Republicans saying all the right things on taxes, economic policy and health care doesn’t excite me anymore: You can’t believe a word any politician says.

From Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, they all said one thing as candidates and did exactly the opposite once they got elected. Ronald Reagan was the exception that proves the rule.

Consequently, I am placing some of my less important values and principles at risk backing Mr. Obama rather than supporting the certain destruction of other, more important values and principles by backing Mr. McCain. That is why I was disappointed to see my old friend Jack Kemp, with whom I fought in the trenches opposing the war in Iraq, acquiesce to Mr. McCain’s imperial foreign policy and his support for limitations on constitutional rights in the name of national security in exchange for a dubious promise on taxes. As tasty as it might be, a capital gains tax cut is a mere bowl of pottage compared to the great American birthright conservatives are giving away to the neocons.

LAWRENCE A. HUNTER

Warrenton, Va.

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