Wednesday, January 30, 2008

California's muy super duper primary is coming up next week and I'm not sure for whom I'm going to vote. Let's review the candidates.

I'm a pretty liberal guy and probably have never voted for someone on the conservative half of the spectrum for any office above the county level. That being said, I've enjoyed the Republican race so far, so let's include their candidates too.

Rudy Giuliani - Megalomaniacal head-case completely obsessed with 9/11. Spent most of the campaign trying to convince everyone that he was a conservative by becoming increasingly xenophobic. Also, 9/11. Has now dropped out of the race. 9/11.

Mike Huckabee - Has a funny and charismatic demeanor which nicely covers the fact that he'd like to remake the Constitution over in the image of the Bible. Doesn't believe in evolution, is admittedly ignorant on foreign policy, and isn't a fiscal conservative. Plays guitar.

Mitt Romney - No clue what this guy is about. Looks good in a suit.

Ron Paul - The most principled guy running in either party (with Kucinich coming in 2nd). His basic philosophy seems to be to get rid of as much of the federal government as possible. In lieu of things like environmental protection policy or educational standards, we're all just supposed to sue each other for "property damage". Although I'm pretty sure that's a naive approach, if the Republicans nominate this guy, I will seriously consider voting for him. I think his policies would fail, but we've been failing the traditional way for longer than I've been around, so let's give Libertarianism a try. Also doesn't believe in evolution.

John McCain - Would be the oldest President ever. Often crossed party lines to craft policy back before he was running for President. Has now received the endorsement of Giuliani. If they run on the same ticket, it will be the first Republican ticket that consists of zero true Republicans.

Now for the Democrats. This coming Tuesday I'll be voting for one of these people in the California primary.

Hillary Clinton - Wicked smart. Has the "career politician" stench despite having only been in the Senate for a few years. A policy wonk who trots out positions and proposed policies with ease. A chick. If you're a Democrat and you don't vote for her, you are a misogynist.

Barack Obama - Inspirational. Nearly glows with the ability to start healing rifts, whether they be between Republican and Democrat or white and black. Makes uplifting speeches in lieu of laying out policy. Says the word "change" a lot. Mostly black. If you are a Democrat and don't vote for him, you are a racist.

John Edwards - Son of a mill worker. The choice of misogynists, racists, and mill workers. Dropped out of the race.

This is a tough call for me. At heart, I love numbers. Every time I hear Clinton speak, I'm impressed with her command of numbers and the fact that she has a well-defined set of policies on every issue I've seen thrown at her. She is an exceedingly capable candidate. Also, being the father of an eight year-old girl, I cannot help but wonder about the impact she'll have on a new generation of women, who will look up to the most powerful position on the planet, and see a woman there. That's an amazing amount of encouragement for about half the people on this planet.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, seems to be more of a feel-good candidate than a facts and numbers candidate. He may have well-defined positions on all the issues, but he'd rather talk about healing the nation. I'm not surprised that Oprah endorsed him because if he loses the election, he'll probably take her job. I am, however, intrigued by his idealism. I like that he doesn't have an axe to grind. I like that he'd talk to any world leader. I like that he hasn't been around politics long enough to be owned by the lobbyists. Unlike Clinton, I don't think that he's just telling me what he thinks needs to be said to get elected. The guy just seems like our first 21st century presidential candidate.

So many things to consider. Is Hillary hated too much to be electable? Would some wacky KKK member assassinate Obama? Is it important to have your policy laid out in the election or does that all get thrown away on your first day in the office? Is Obama more smooth talking than substance?

I guess I must ask myself, "Mike, are you a racist or a misogynist?"

I'll find out on Tuesday.


Avery Gray said...

If you vote for Hillary, I can no longer heart you. I'm just sayin'...

Barack's good people. For a RADICAL MUSLIM.

And Romney and I are homies. So he's got that goin' for him.

McCain's still on my radar. I like that he's willing to cross party lines. I think we could use someone like that.

Honestly, I don't know who I'm voting for either. But it won't be Thompson.

He had a real shot, damn it.

Mike said...

What's your beef with Hillary? I know she is detested, but I'm not sure why. Is it because she didn't divorce her philandering husband?

Siôn said...

My tips for you...
Rudy Giuliani - Glad he's out of the race. How can he expect to win with just Florida supporting him? 9/11.
Don't vote for Huckabee. He reminds me of the bad President Logan in 24. Though he did kinda come good in the end so who knows?
Mitt Romney - who? And what sort of name is Mitt?
Ron Paul - he looks like a sweet old man. Probably a good gardener, so would keep the Whitehouse estate in fine order.
John McCain - erm...his wife's pretty attractive for her age. Could well be worth a vote.
Hilary Clinton - don't mess with this woman. Anyone that'll let her husband get away with cheating just to become President has ulterior motives. Few too many hand-movements, though.
Barak Obama - I read something the other day about him going out drinking on a stag night in England a few years back. Sounds like a good bloke.
John Edwards - idea. Is his wife attractive?

The 4th Sister said...

Mike I can't believe you are undecided....I am voting for Hillary......But McCain will carry this always,,,,

Mike said...

Siôn, I think you have your finger on the American pulse here. You have identified McCain and Obama as the best candidates primarily on the attractiveness of their spouses, and so has the American public. So, in the final election, which of these two will win?

4th Sis, you can't believe I'm undecided? You should come to my house before my lunchtime run today and watch me stare at two nearly identical pairs of running socks.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have a "none of the above" option.

Some of the feminist blogs I read are all about Hillary simply because she's a woman and therefore women's issues are on her radar... I find that pretty short sighted. To vote, or not vote, for someone on basis of gender (or race) seems to me to be, well, stupid.

I've got no idea who to vote for.

Avery Gray said...

Bah! Philandering husbands are a dime a dozen. What does she care? I don't think she swings that way anyway.

No, the reason she will never get my vote is because I don't trust her. She's a power-grabber. Every move she makes is calculated. There's nothing real about her. Even her reaction to Bill's affair was written by a ghostwriter.

For one so consistently unemotional in public, presumably because it would put her at a political disadvantage, her recent crying bout seemed nothing less than Oscar-worthy. I'm not fooled for one minute it was not politically-driven. Every detail of her life is managed by her campaign team.

She's uncomfortable around people, for goodness sake! She has no sense of humor, no natural ease with her constituents. She is awkward and retaliatory in the face of criticism, and I don't believe SHE even knows where she stands on the issues. Her stance changes with every campaign stop and every demographic.

In short, I didn't vote for her in the 90's when she had a penis, and I won't be voting for her now that she doesn't. I'm all for female empowerment, but not with her leading the charge.

Where's Margaret Thatcher when we need her?

Mya said...

Hopefully she's in a nuthouse for the politically insane.
I like Obama - he writes poetry. A sensitive prez of the USA - now that would make a nice change.

Mya x

Mike said...

Hey Mox. You know, this is the first year that I'm NOT pining for a none-of-the-above checkbox. I think both Obama and Clinton are capable and somewhat exciting. I even find the Republicans less distasteful than usual. I mean, 4 years ago it was Kerry vs Bush. This year seems an order of magnitude better.

Avery, I agree that she seems to be more of a political animal than a true leader, but if pandering to the public makes you detest someone, then I urge you to check out Romney's record. He's definitely a I'll-be-whoever-you-want type of guy.

Mya, Obama is a pretty likable guy, at least from this distance. Even some Republicans like him. Big ears though.

nrd2 said...

oh avery, i think you're describing george bush. and i bet ya voted for him, too.

Velvet Sacks said...

I could live with Hillary -- or possibly even McCain -- but right now my heart and my vote belong to Obama.

Some people say he doesn't have enough experience, but that just makes me think this is the PERFECT time to give the lesser experienced candidate a try. He might possibly be wonderful, and if he isn't? Well, how much worse could he make it?

Mike said...

Nrd2, as much as I like to slam Bush, I think he suffers from the opposite ailment as Hillary. The man is too stubborn to switch positions regardless of evidence or overwhelming disapproval from the American public. Now, Avery on the other hand, clearly suffers from political delusions, but I don't think even she voted for Bush (at least in 2004).

VS, yeah, I don't think his lack of experience will be a big deal. I've been more concerned with his lack of specifics, but I suppose it's acceptable to be a "big picture" guy if you're the Prez.

Avery Gray said...

Mike--the only way I will vote for Romney is if the choice is between him and Hillary. Otherwise I will vote for Obama. If McCain and Obama win the primaries, I'll be at a loss. I think either one will do a fine job.

Nrd2--no, I didn't. I voted for Kerry.

Avery Gray said...

I suffer from political delusions?

Avery Gray said...

I thought I enjoyed every minute of them.

Mike said...

Avery, I'm sure you do enjoy your delusions, but since you consistently turn out not to be the conservative harpy that I like to pretend you are, I'm going to give you a free pass on this one.

SquirrleyMojo said...

why wouldn't the kkk assassinate hills?

do some not like her b/c power-hunger is tolerable as a male-trait, plus we like our women to be emotionally accessible?

just wondering

Sue said...

Oh darn - hope I'm not too late for this erudite conversation on the candidates.

Mike - you like logic right? Follow this:

1.) Govts / rulers tend to grow and usurp authority and power over time, thereby violating the rights of citizens. (check your history books)

2.) Govt. "educates" children as to the purpose and propoer role of govt.

3.) Citizens "educated" through the govt. schools grow up believing that govt. can / should solve most problems.

All Ron Paul is saying is that it is not the proper role of govt. to be educating children of a free society.

Agree with you that his environmental solution is weak. Plus, his wife is no looker, so that's that.

Mike said...

SquirrelyMojo, you know, you are right. I've never actually attended a KKK meeting. For all I know, maybe they hate mill workers too.

Sue, I love logic. I'll play your game.

1) First, you use the word "tend". Any logical this-follows-that argument will immediately get bogged down in "tend". That being said, I agree that ALL organizations tend to err on the side of growing and existing for the same of growing and existing. That does not mean that all governments are interested in usurping our rights.

2) The government is educating my kid? I guess. I know my kids teachers (and a number of other ones, and they're not very governmenty. If you're going to argue that the richest nation on earth should not offer a free educational system (mostly through the state and local levels no less!) then I'll happily debate that with you.

3) So, the leap here is that if the government is educating my child (sort of) and governments like to keep themselves in business (agreed), then they'll naturally teach my child that governments are needed? Ok. I'm fine with all that. So, what if we let private corporations run our schools instead? Then, instead of them teaching that government is good, we get subliminal lessons on the value of Monsanto or Dupont products. Is that better? Don't want for-profit school? How about religious ones? Same deal. They'll teach that their religion is the only true path. Homeschoolers? Congratulations, you get enough of those and one day we're all going to be forced to homeschool our own children.

Whichever noun you put in charge of the schools will have the same bias.

Sue said...

Yo Mike - some thoughts:

1.) People in government don't see it as "usurping the people's rights". They see it as "protecting the people", or even "saving the people" (from themselves usually).

2. Yes, 99.9% of teachers are very cool, loving, giving, ya da ya da people. But who do you think decided WHAT they teach? Is it the local PTA? You are blessed and lucky if it is. No, it is the state or federal governments which dictate the curriculum. How much sense does it make for someone in Sac. or Washington D.C. to decide what your or my child should learn and how and when? To me, not much.

3.) Ultimately it comes down to who is responsible for the education of children. I believe it is the parents' responsibility. The beauty of a free market in education is that you would get to choose where to send your kids. Don't like the Monsanto bias? Pull'em out! Don't like what's offered in your area? Move! or create your own school that meets your kids' needs.

OK. I will now step down off my soap box and try not to get back up again (it's hard for me sometimes!)

It would be interesting to do a historical survey of the outcomes in societies where the state was in charge of education. I'll get right on that.

Mike said...

Hey Sue, I'm still game here

1) I'm not sure we're disagreeing much on this point. I agree that governments, like all organizations, tend to ensure their own survival and growth. Does that equate to Barack Obama looking to strip my rights? There's the leap.

2) You ask how much sense it makes for someone in Washington D.C. to decide what my kid learns. Not much I suppose, but no less so than someone in California, San Francisco, or my own house. Hell if I know what to teach a kid. I got stumped right around the time I had to teach her to wipe her own ass. Also, I believe that the feds have very little to do with the curriculum. Schools are basically state and district run. Don't you think Bush would have mandated creationism teachings if there had been a well-worth path to do so?

3) I already do have the choice to decide where to educate my child. I can choose the evil public school system (which I do), the evil Monsanto Corp, or home school. Are you arguing that one of those choices should be taken away? That there should be no public schools?
That would be a shame I believe.

Sue said...

Hey - this is fun!

1.) Leap # 1 - agreed. It's not personal to Mr. Obama.

2.) You've heard of No Child Left Behind - right? Federally mandated testing (unintentionally perhaps) forces many teachers to teach to the test. And I don' buy your incapable act. You are clearly extremely smart. If you (or your wife) applied even half of your brain cells towards thinking about what and how to teach your kid, you would probably do a better job than anyone else could.

3.)Yes, you have a choice because you earn enough to even consider a private school. I think most American's don't really have a choice. In CA schools receive (I think) $7K per student per year. That kind of money in people's hands would surely help towards private school tuition. And don't even get me started on the dismal track record of public education (even though funding has increased over 40% since 1980).

Anyhoo - I fear that our differing outlooks on the role of govt. means we may never agree about this.

Plus, I've got to go homeschool my kids! :)

Mike said...

Hey Sue. Ok, 1 down, 2 to go.

2) I'm fairly familiar with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act, and as far as I know, it makes no attempt to mandate a curriculum at the federal level. Instead it asks each state to set testing goals and it then takes action against/with the schools that do not meet their state's goals. The idea is to create accountability. That being said, it appears to be a really shitty act and you'll get no argument from me that it should rescinded. In fact, I'd be happy to have the Feds stay entirely out of my school district but not because I fear the Feds, but rather because it's a case of too many cooks spoiling the soup.

And, yes, I suppose I could quit my job and educate my child, but we could no longer live in the city of our choosing and we'd be strapped for cash on my wife's income. Additionally, I've shown zero aptitude at teaching elementary skills to small kids.

2) If the state is really only paying $7K per year for my daughter's education, that's a great bargain. We'd easily pay double that for private school tuition. Consequently, the poorest citizens in many sections of this country would not be able to afford private school even with that additional $7K in their pocket.

You know, I mentioned "environmental protection policy or educational standards" when talking about Ron Paul as an example of something where I agree with him and something where I don't. I'm fair and balanced that way. Frankly, I don't see much value in a federal department of education, so he can axe that as far as I'm concerned. I'm more interested in having the government providing long-term vision on the environment, which is something that is poorly done on the individual or, god forbid, corporate level.

I would not, however, recommend the dismantling of public schools. You can argue that they should be better (and you'd be right), but they clearly provide education to many people who would not have an opportunity to get it otherwise. If you buy into the basic premise that it's valuable for all citizens to have access to education, then it's a pretty sane step from there to wanting to make that public education good enough to attract middle class families like mine.

Velvet Sacks said...

Go, Mike! I agree with everything you've said. Let me know when you run for office.

Sue said...

Howdy - Actually the founders of the country wanted public schools, but their idea of public schools was different than ours. They imagined schools where a bunch of families got together and pitched in to build or rent a school and pay a teacher. It would be mandatory, but totally controlled by the parents. I like that idea.

Clearly we are all better off if everyone is educated. It's just hard for me to be anything but dismayed by the current state of public schools, whose problems, in my opinion, stem more from maladministration than lack of funds.

Nuf said. You good arguer.

Mike said...

VS, thanks. Be sure to look for me on your ballot NEVER EVER EVER.

Sue, I'd be surprised if the founding fathers also happened to be experts on educational theory, but I'm willing to call a truce on this debate (although I have enjoyed it immensely!).