My voting dilemma

August 20, 2008

I was just compiling my presidential voting record for the fun of it. I’ve voted in 10 presidential elections. Six times I voted for the Republican, three times for the Democrat and once for the Libertarian — not exactly monolithic, but it shouldn’t be too hard to detect an underlying political philosophy. And my record is even — five of my candidates won, and five lost. I don’t remember being particularly bitter when my guy lost or especially ecstatic when he won. My life went on more or less the same, whether I felt I had ” friend in the White House” or not.

Generally I’ve found all of the major-party candidates flawed, but there were enough redeeming qualities in one of them to get my vote. The exceptional year was the Libertarian one, and I didn’t vote that way to make a statement. The more votes that candidate got, the more credible that philosophy would be, I reasoned. I was voting to have a future impact.

I’m having another Libertarian year — that is, both John McCain and Barack Obama are so weak I can’t feel good about voting for either one. I watch everyone else going ballistic about McCain’s cross-in-the-dirt story or Obama’s born-alive vote problem, and I just can’t get worked up about any of it. The thought of seeing either of them day after day on the news for four years is really dispiriting.

But I’m not still naive enough to think a protest vote for one of the minor candidates will mean anything, except to lodge a pointless protest. So I have a dilemma. Will this be the first presidential contest for which I just stay home as a way of making the most meaningful statement?


7 Responses to “My voting dilemma”

  1. Doug Says:

    Interesting post. Makes me think:

    ’88 – Couldn’t vote but worked at the local Bush/Quayle campaign office.

    ’92 – Perot. Loved his deficit hawk position.

    ’96 – Perot. Loved him a little less, but didn’t like Dole and couldn’t bring myself to vote Democratic.

    ’00 – Gore. I don’t like dynasties. Son of a Senator trumped Son of a President.

    ’04 – Kerry. Bush was a fool, liar, and a disaster.

    ’08 – Obama. I think he’ll be a good President and, even if McCain were better individually (which I don’t think he is), the condition of the D.C. stable post-Bush can only be cleaned out (to some extent) by a Democrat.

  2. Bob G. Says:

    Nah…write YOURSELF in…(you can stilll do that, right?)



  3. gadfly Says:

    Hmm …Doug has not yet figured out that Bush is not running for POTUS this year.

    All of those Dem candidates including Bubba (heretofor unmentionable) were and are fools, liars and disasterous.

    As for Perot, he fooled me once …

    Leo is right about the fact that we have two bad pennies this year, but McCain has to be least scary.

    The other guy is a racist who hangs with a bad crowd and has no past (at least not one he will admit to). He deserves no votes.

  4. Harl Delos Says:

    Doug has not yet figured out that Bush is not running for POTUS this year.

    You’re only 5% right about that. McCain is almost a Bush clone, agreeing with him 95% of the time.

    McCain has to be least scary.

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and McCain’s never seen a war he doesn’t like.

    Even if he has to bring back the draft:

    AUDIENCE MEMBER: Senator McCain I truly hope you get the opportunity to chase Bin Laden right to the gates of hell and push him in as you stated on your forum. I do have a question though. Disabled veterans, especially in this state, have horrible conditions […] My son is an officer in the Air Force, and I am a vet and I was raised in a military family. I think it is a sad state of affairs when we have illegal aliens having a Medicaid card that can access specialist top physicians, the best of medical and our vets can’t even get to a doctor. These are the people that we tied yellow ribbons for and Bush patted on the back. If we don’t reenact the draft I don’t think we will have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.

    JOHN MCCAIN: Ma’am let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said and thank you and I am grateful for your support of all of our veterans.

    The difference between the two is judgment.

    Some decisions you have to get right the first time, such as whether to drop a nuclear bomb, or whether to put someone on the Supreme Court. McCain says Ginsburg, Breyer, Souder and Stevens are bad Supreme Court justices – but he voted to confirm three of them (and while he wasn’t in the Senate yet when Stevens was up for confirmation, Stevens won confirmation 98-0, without a single dissent.)

    But even with decisions you can do something about, such as going into Iraq, he refuses to admit that he’s wrong. We need a leader who’s willing to recognize that he doesn’t know everything – that some things are, to use the common expression, “above his pay grade”. Obviously, nobody’s perfect – but being unwilling to acknowledge your errors and do something about them? Now, that is scary.

  5. tim zank Says:

    Harl, there is absolutely no reason for President Bush to “admit” he was wrong, other than to satisfy those of you with perfect 20/20 after the fact vision. If only we could all be as intelligent as you. It’s simply your opinion he was wrong. There are millions of other inhabitants of this planet that don’t see it the way you do, and a few million of them live in Iraq.

  6. Harl Delos Says:

    Harl, there is absolutely no reason for President Bush to “admit” he was wrong, other than to satisfy those of you with perfect 20/20 after the fact vision.

    I didn’t say anything about Bush admitting that he was wrong. Bush was not mistaken; he deliberately took us into war with Iraq through misrepresentation and fraud.

    What I’m talking about is McCain admitting that he was wrong. Attacking Iraq was not vital to the national security of the US. We’ve destroyed the military might of the US, making us weaker and encouraging others to attack, at the same time that we’ve made it easier for anti-American groups to recruit new terrorists to their cause.

    If you found yourself in a gay bar by accident, assuming you’re not gay, you’d probably remove yourself from the premises as quickly and quietly as possible. McCain would apparently climb up on the bar and announce that he was going to whip everybody there, even if it were to cost the lives of all his friends’ and neighbors’ kids.

    He doesn’t want to leave before we “win”. But didn’t we declare victory in May, 2003? What else do we need to do in order to call it a “win”?

    I was taught to eat what I shot. If McCain wants to grant Iraq statehood, he needs to say that. Otherwise, he’s just throwing good American lives after bad.

  7. Doug Says:

    Even if McCain weren’t a lot like Bush, a Republican simply isn’t going to clean out the bad appointees Bush made to the executive branch. That’s why McCain would deserve a closer look if he were running to replace a Democrat than he deserves at the moment.

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