Political -- 10/04/12

October is here. Well, this is the fourth day that October has been here... but I've been busy. Actually, I had it in my head that I had already written and posted an October entry and was puzzled when I couldn't find one in the directory that holds 2012 html files... and then I realized I was thinking of my September 30th entry.

Busy? Well, Monday night I had to dash from home to get to the historical society meeting (making it about ten after six for a six o'clock meeting) and then getting back home around nine o'clock and having to do some website stuff for a couple of websites I do for local groups. And Tuesday, work, shopping, cooking, probably some other stuff -- oh, yeah, Nancy and I actually watched a TV show -- almost a whole hour gone watching an episode of Parenthood. And then last night I not only watched the presidential debate, I even watched a bunch of pontificating afterwards (on PBS!).

Hence, political thoughts are in my head. Also a lot of amusement at the bemusement expressed by all the pundits when things didn't go the way their narrative had described. I think some of them begin to believe their own spin and then are shocked when the real world doesn't match their prognostications.

You'd think they would have learned from what happened with Ronald Reagan. Carter and his handlers apparently decided to present Reagan as being a dangerous right wing lunatic -- and the media played right along with this -- and then people saw the debates and saw this well-spoken guy with a clear vision of what he proposed, no drooling, no fangs, and they compared that with Carter's four years of fumbles and mismanagement. (For those of you too young to recall those days... we had bought our first house in 1980 -- and were delighted to have locked in a 12.75 % interest rate, because by the time we worked our way through weeks of paperwork and questions and delays, the cheapest rate had gone past 14 % and was still climbing -- while Carter was bragging that the rate of increase was slowing, not that inflation wasn't getting worse, it was increasing and increasing, but he was proud that although the rate of inflation was still increasing, the acceleration of the increase in the rate was not quite as fast as it had been. But I know people who had to pay 18 % to get a mortgage later that year.)

The net result. People stopped paying attention to negatives being said about Reagan and he won in 44 states, losing in just 6 states and the District of Columbia. (Okay, so Carter was such a incompetent disaster that probably any number of potential opponents could have managed to defeat him, but the scope of Reagan's landslide victory was quite clear.)

However, I didn't vote for either Reagan or Carter. I voted for Anderson.

Yes, I do have a history of voting for third party candidates. I'm sorry, but if I think that both the Republicans and the Democrats have nominated such poor candidates that it is insulting to even suggest I might vote for one of them, then I tend to pick a third party candidate.

I first voted in 1964 (because back then you had to be 21 to vote). I have voted in eleven presidential elections. I lost my right to vote in the 1976 election because I had moved, but my new address was only for the summer and then I moved again in September and I had the deadline date wrong -- I was driving to work listening to the news and the announcer said something like "And today is the deadline for voter registration for the coming election" but I also only two or three weeks into a new job and didn't think it would be a good move to tell them I would be a couple of hours late at the busiest time of the day -- especially since, given the choice between Ford and Carter in '76, I would have flipped the lever next to something like the Socialist Vegetarian Party candidate or some other equally flaky third party.

1976 is the only election I have missed since I was old enough to vote. And, since I moved to Rhode Island, I also often vote in primary elections. You see, in Rhode Island, if you are an unaffiliated voter, you can sign up to be a member of a party on primary day. This doesn't work if you already belong to a party. If you are registered as a Democrat, you can only vote in Democratic primaries; and if you are a Republican, you can only vote in Republican primaries. But if you are unaffiliated, you walk in and say "I'd like to join the Democratic Party" or "I'd like to join the Republican Party" (which ever one is having the more interesting primary). Then, after voting, you stop at a table on the way out and fill out a form saying that you want to change from being a member of that party to being an unaffiliated voter.

So in 2008 I was a Democrat for a few minutes and voted for Obama in the primary (although it really didn't matter -- he had the nomination sewed up by then without Rhode Islands small number of delegates) and then in November I voted for him for president. (Yes, despite him selecting Joe Biden as his running mate.)

How am I going to vote next month? Well, first off, it doesn't matter. Rhode Island will overwhelmingly vote for the Democratic candidate. We still even have a straight party line lever on our ballots. Yeah, okay, so the ballot is paper and you mark your vote with a black marker pen, but people still call it the straight party lever. If you mark that for the Democratic party, it records a vote for the Democratic candidate for every single race on the ballot. That is the kind of deep thought and reflection tens of thousands of my fellow citizens put into deciding who will receive their vote. In many parts of the state, it is a moot point anyway because the only candidate running in some state assembly or state senate districts is a Democrat. That is why our legislature is 85 % Democratic. (It also explains the general level of corruption and incompetence in our legislature, but that is only to be expected in any one party regime.)

I don't expect any president to be perfect -- nor do I expect to approve of everything they might do -- and despite what his critics say, I do not think Obama is as bad as Carter was -- but I do think that he has not kept his promises -- especially not his promises about openness and transparency.

On the other hand, although Romney does have the financial and executive and management experience, the very areas where Obama has shown an utter lack of knowledge and experience, I do not agree with his stated positions in a number of areas. As I told people back when Romney announced his candidacy and entered the Republican primaries -- If I wanted to put on an Olympics, Romney would be the obvious choice to put in charge of it. If I needed a CEO, Romney would be my guy. But we are talking about selecting the next president. This is a tough decision because I think he would deal with economic issues much better than Obama has, but there is more to it that that. Now, admittedly, Obama has not exactly handled foreign affairs with any great skill either -- and if he keeps stalling in doing something about Iran... a minimum, there will be a nuclear arms race throughout the Arab world... and soon after that, a nuclear ware. And besides that, as someone who leans quite strongly libertarian, I have major problems with things like the government assassinating American citizens without a trial or any true legal proceeding at all. I have problems with foreign military involvement. However, I see no sign that Romney would do anything differently. And, frankly, he has no more foreign policy experience or knowledge than Obama had four years ago.

I think I am going to vote for the candidate that most impressed me and whose outlook on most issues of the day is closest to mine (not identical, I do disagree with him on some things)... I am going to vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate.

Yes, I know that he has no chance of winning. However, ignoring 1976 when I could not vote, this will be the 12th time that I will be casting my vote in a presidential election. Thus far, in my entire presidential voting life, I have voted for the winning candidate twice (and one of those two times it was not that I supported that candidate, it was that I felt so insulted by the pair of creeps nominated by the opposition party, that I voted for a candidate I disliked solely as a way of extending my middle finger at his opponents -- had they selected just about any of their other contenders, I would have voted for them). I am used to not voting for the winner, but I would rather vote for a candidate who reelected my ideas than to vote for a winner who did not. Since I am not happy with having to choose between Romney and Obama, I am going to go with Johnson.

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