back on the campaign trail

2008 Democratic Presidential Candidates (composite image by me)

It occurred to me this morning, over a cup of coffee and the news that Obama won the Iowa caucus, that lately I haven’t spent a great deal of time talking about politics. Of course, other things have been weighing heavily on my mind. I could feel guilty for being so self-possessed, self-centered, whatever. But two important facts keep the guilt (if only slightly) at bay. (1) No matter who wins the election, the dissertation is still going to be due, so I needed to finished it, and (2) the dissertation deals, in its own small way, with inequality and racism in our culture, so, you know, I’m doing my part.

At any rate, moving on. Now that Obama’s taken the lead (and surprise surprise, Clinton came in third!), and now that my own primary is coming up in a month, I guess I’d better start thinking about who I’m going to vote for. The other day, Dana and I were talking about this, and (correct me if I’m wrong, baby) it seems like she’s leaning towards Edwards and I’m leaning towards Obama. But neither one of us really has any strong feelings about why we’re leaning in those directions. We’re just leaning. I mean, I get Edwards’ popularity. He’s the first Democrat in about forty years to talk about the poor. And there’s something about Obama that gets to you. Maybe it’s just that he’s such a damned good speaker and we’ve been stuck with Mr. Our Childrens Do Learn for so long that we’d elect a well-spoken one-armed midget if she was running.

What’s my fascination with one-armed midgets?

At any rate. In our ruminations, Dana and I tried to find out more about what these candidates actually stand for, so we went to their respective websites which were pretty disappointing. It’s all vague promises and sound bites and platitudes. We wished there was some site that just compared them, listed their stances on several issues, side-by-side.

And it turns out there is! Apart from the really annoying flashing banner ads and the incredibly small text, this one’s pretty good. I’m sure there are better ones out there, but it was good to see people’s voting records, etc.

And I gotta say. I’m a little disappointed. I mean, I know that my disappointment comes from unrealistic expectations. But still. Why isn’t there a candidate who unequivocally supports gay marriage, opposes the death penalty, wants to cut the military’s budget in half while doubling the budget for education, supports the Kyoto Protocol, wants to do away with SUVs and light trucks, firmly supports the separation of church of state, AND is good public speaker?

I know I need to accept the fact that there are over 300 million people in this country, and there’s no way that the majority of them feel the same way about all of those issues. So even if a candidate did feel exactly the same way I did, s/he would have to temper their radicalness a little bit to get elected.

Damn it.

So, in the meantime, I guess I’m going to have to mull this one over for a few weeks before I send off my absentee ballot. If someone’s got a strong feeling one way or another and wants to convince me which was to lean further, let me know. I might not take your advice, but I’m always open to ideas.

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2 thoughts on “back on the campaign trail

  1. Since you didn’t put “stands a snowballs chance in hell of actually being elected” on your list of requirements — there’s always Kucinich. But as you said, he’s way to out there to ever win.

    FYI, another site for comparing candidates is http://glassbooth.org. It’s less for comparing two candidates and more as a quiz to see who’s beliefs line up closest with yours.

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