Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Something New: How About We Look for Best Candidates in =Both= Parties?

The approach most people take to Presidential elections is, pick a candidate - if you can - one candidate, and support him or her to the hilt. If your candidate fails before getting the nomination, you may or may not switch to another, and go through the same process.

If your chosen candidate is a Democrat, you likely will have little real interest in the Republicans, except to hope that they choose the weakest person to run for office. And vice versa - if your favorite candidate is a Republican, all you likely will care about regarding the Democrats is what they can do, presumably unintentionally, to help your Republican candidate win.

But does this approach get the best out of our democracy?

I'm trying something a little different this time around. I am going to try to pick my favorites in both the Democratic and the Republican fields, and do whatever little I can to help them get nominated. If I'm lucky enough to see both nominated, I'll then decide whom to vote for in the general election.

So far, here are my favorites, and why:

Democratic Party:

Al Gore: pluses: his election would correct the deep injustice of the 2000 election, he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning, he is genuinely interested in science to improve our human condition; minuses: I'm concerned that he may be in favor of Congress's crackdown on "indecency," given his wife Tipper's history on this issue

Barack Obama: pluses: he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning, he would bring a Kennedy-esque youthful vitality to the White House, it would be healthy for America to have an African-American President; minuses: not enough experience, and untested on many issues

*John Edwards: see below for note added on April 21, in which I've including Edwards in my Democratic favorites

Republican Party:

Ron Paul: pluses: he was anti-Iraq-war from the beginning (and, better than Gore and Obama, was in office at the time, and voted against the war resolutions), he is a vigorous defender of the Constitution and the First Amendment, he is an opponent of government censorship, he's in favor of private enterprise in space (so is Gore); minuses: he's in favor of states (but not the Federal government) banning abortion (I'm in favor of a women's right to choose), an opponent of gun control (I agree that the Second Amendment is consistent with Paul's position - I'm in favor of repealing it), urged US neutrality in Israeli-Hezbollah war

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So, there you have it. I currently consider myself a supporter of all three candidates. Regarding Gore and Obama, I would certainly be happy with a Democratic ticket that had them both (Gore for Pres, Obama for VP), and I would be happy with a ticket that had either for President. Regarding Ron Paul: at this point, there is no other Republican even remotely as good, in my view.

Regarding the minuses for all three candidates: I'll keep researching their positions and records, and of course be on the look-out for new developments. And I'll also be open to any new candidates, or to any dramatic shifts in all of the candidates currently in the field, but I'm not holding my breath for either.

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*Added 21 April 2007 - John Edwards' Favorite Book is I. F. Stone's The Trial of Socrates. If find this so impressive - indicative of a love a freedom of expression, and a philosophic depth - that I now include Edwards along with Gore and Obama as Democratic candidates for President that I could enthusiastically support.

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25-minute podcast of this proposal - 14 Oct 2007
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