I never would have imagined I would vote against Senator John McCain for president. Over the course of his Senate career, he has been one of the most bipartisan, pragmatic voices in U.S. government. He brokered deals across party lines to pass campaign finance reform, co-sponsored legislation to introduce a cap and trade system aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions and wrote legislation that created the 9/11 Commission. Plus, this guy is effing G. I. Joe. He endured more literal torture for his country than I can fathom, but that’s no reason to vote for him. The point is that McCain has done more to improve the quality of life for you and me than Obama has. That’s a fact.

So, what happened to John McCain? Short answer: I have no idea. A man that once seemed destined to govern this country in the most nonpartisan, no-nonsense fashion has run the most disreputable and diversionary, guerilla warfare-style presidential campaign in modern American history. Insinuating that Obama is Muslim (so what if he were!), calling his programs socialist and having his running mate (we’ll get to her in a second) link him to domestic terrorists while not having the balls to say it to Obama’s face are just the beginning. If you’re wondering why McCain looks so much like stitched-together garbage, it’s because he’s been so far down in the mud that the only thing he’s had to eat lately is dog crap and worms. Running for president is the worst thing that ever happened to John McCain.

On Aug. 29, McCain selected Governor She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (R-Alaska) as his running mate. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is the most uneducated person on important foreign and domestic issues to ever sashay her pretty little self around the town square. Seriously, every time this woman talks (after she buffers out a programmed response), my brain throws up a little bit.

McCain’s choice for vice president really shook me out of my election complacency. This is the crux of my argument against McCain. He’s surrounding himself with the wrong types of people. Did you know she can read every news publication ever, as long as you put it in front of her? Maybe she plans to upgrade her model to run for president in 2012, which is why I’m pre-emptively pushing for a new amendment to the Constitution that politely asks Alaska to secede from the Union. See me to sign up.

Not only am I voting for Barack Obama, I am first and foremost voting against John McCain. As much as McCain might want to make this election a referendum on Obama’s readiness to lead, it’s really become about McCain’s judgment. He’s defined the terms of this election, especially with his selection of a running mate. She makes Obama look like a supercomputer that has all the answers. Adding her to the ticket effectively truncated the experience argument and made Obama much more acceptable to the electorate as a potential president.

McCain’s unraveling might have to do with the nature of his opponent. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a little man crush on Obama. His forceful, forward-looking policies are sweeping and realistic, and that doesn’t even take into account his hyper-efficient campaign and squeaky-clean image. He does have the potential to be a transformational figure. McCain’s conduct around Obama and visible disgust at his meteoric rise are also troublesome and most evident by his inability to look his opponent in the eye. Keep looking away, John. This is all your doing. I can barely see you anymore, buddy.

Here are my problems. First, McCain has sold out. Secondly, I can’t figure out why. Far right tactics, a strong opponent, a need to appeal to the base or innovate in a bad year for Republicans all seem like too simplistic explanations. But this is my real problem: a few months ago, this contest appeared to offer the greatest choice of candidates in modern history. I never could have imagined my decision would be so easy. I’m pissed off that it’s so easy. There’s now a losing outcome in this election. I used to think it was win-win.

John McCain is 72 years old. He’s still sharp, but earlier this year, he fell ill and, on Aug. 29, he passed away. If you vote for McCain and She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you are voting for a hostile, zombie-robot takeover of the government. While I enjoy killing brain cells as much as the next guy, I still sometimes value my old noggin.

Ciszek is a member of the class of 2009.

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