Posted October 3rd, 2008 @ 12:31pm by Erik J. Barzeski
Today I dropped off my PA voter registration form. I'd previously been registered to vote in FL, and voted by absentee ballot in the last presidential election.
I don't care much for politics, and I never really have. I understand the importance of being involved in the decision-making. I had a lot more free time in 2004, so I took the time to educate myself a little bit beyond what people said and what commercials I'd seen (admittedly few, given the power of TiVo…).
This time around, I haven't really had the time or opportunity to do the research. Perhaps this post will kick that off for me - I have a month. I do think it's interesting that we're either going to have a black president or a woman vice president.
I don't care about Palin or Biden. The vice presidency doesn't seem to matter much at all, though I realize Cheney may have changed that. And even if the VP matters, they're not going to go against the express desires of the President, so for me it comes down to the two men: McCain and Obama.
Historically, I've sided with Republicans. I don't care for the heavy religious angle they seem to apply to everything, and I support Roe vs. Wade, stem-cell research, and a few other things, but I side with Republicans when it comes to smaller government, gun control, and the "family" as a unit. I couldn't care less if gay people want to marry each other and I think more should be done to separate church and state.
I'd register as a Libertarian except then I'd not really get to vote in the primary elections - and I'm a bit leery of the extreme Libertarians who want almost no government. Given the paragraph above, it really sounds like I'm a Democrat. The Republican Party has completely failed at the "smaller government" deal.
My wife is similarly conflicted. Her family's fairly staunchly Republican (and religious), and teachers tend to vote for Democrats. No Child Left Behind is an absolute, horrid disaster.
And yet I still can't get behind Barack Obama. I couldn't care less about his race - just as I didn't care about Hillary's gender1 - but the man doesn't seem to say very much. He has plans, but I've never really heard anything concrete about them. He's for "change" - but any Democrat coming in after W's eight-year term would bring "change" to the White House. What kinds of change? What goals does he have? Will we be within two years of having cars that run without any gasoline at all after his second term in office?
Perhaps I've just missed the specifics, but I watched the debate, and while McCain seemed to be more specific, Obama seemed vague. He's a great speaker, and no doubt a lot of people have rallied around that, but while Bill Clinton possessed similar skills, I always felt he was talking about an actual plan, not just a vague concept.
I voted for Bush in the last election, or rather, I voted against John Kerry. He did not strike me as the kind of guy I wanted leading this country - which is saying alot given my low opinion of George W. Bush. My opinion of W has since sunk, along with the rest of the country, to all-new lows, though, and that's a knock on John McCain. However, I do think he's realized the errors of the Bush administration - whether out of necessity or actual philosophical disagreement I don't care - and will not behave as Bush has the past eight years.
So right now, I find myself squarely caught in the middle. I'm not so much asking for help here, but I do welcome any comments you might have. This post was written extemporaneously, but I think it captures the central parts of my current feelings on this election. I'll be doing more research going forward, and your comments may help to steer that research.
- Beyond thinking that it would be interesting to have a woman president all of a sudden when none had even really run before.↩