Thoughts on the Presidential Race 1

April 16, 2007

I figure I’ll have a consistent naming scheme for thoughts on the presidential election, since between now and the election I’ll likely post a number of times on that subject.

Right now, I remain for the most part undecided. It still is very early and I don’t feel I know enough about them to commit yet. One thing I am growing very tired of is phony “controversies” over something stupid a candidate said. We are all human and say something we shouldn’t have said every once in a while, and focusing on some verbal blunder a candidate or someone associated with a candidates said is ridiculous. Unless the offensive aspect of it really represents what the person believes, which 99% of the time it doesn’t, than the candidate should apologize and acknowledge that he shouldn’t have said it, the other candidates should ignore it instead of expressing “outrage”, and it should than be a non-issue. Unless the candidate is pulling a Kinky Friedman and trying to defend it, why does it matter? The press and the candidates need to focus on the issues and the real qualifications of each candidate, not irrelevant goofs.

As far as the candidates are concerned, at this point I only have much to say about 3 of them:

Barack Obama: Everything about him that we know I like. He is very charismatic and is a wonderful speaker. I especially like how he articulates his position on the war. This is an excerpt from his speech at the 2004 Democratic convention

When we send our young men and women into harm’s way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they’re going, to care for their families while they’re gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

While giving good speeches is important, it is not the only quality necessary to be president. His credentials on some of those other issues remain unknown, and a full evaluation of his candidacy can’t be made until they are answered. Is he a bunch of hot air, a good speaker but without much depth, or is their more to him than just his speaking ability? That remains to be answered.

I do however, believe the charge that he is too inexperienced is not a fair one. As far as time in office, he served 8 years in the Illinois Senate and by the time the election comes around 4 in the US senate. Compared to the 6 Bush had as Texas governor, 8 Hillary will have had in the Senate and 8 as first lady, and 6 years Edwards had in the Senate, he is not inexperienced.

He is in a good position at this point, and I know many people, including moderates, who are very enthusiastic about him. However, he hasn’t had any large obstacles to face yet,

Hillary Clinton: Hillary Clinton is the only candidate I’m negative about at this point. I just have a bad feeling about her and while it is not a deal breaker, she is a polarizing figure. Their isn’t anything in about her that makes her appealing. She has a lot of strength in the establishment and has front runner status right now, but I don’t know anyone enthusiastic about her. I believe that her support in the polls is wide but thin because people support her more as a default than out of real love for her. Obama’s supporters are much more enthusiastic about him and I think he is in a much better position to gain grass roots support.

Bill Richardson: Bill Richardson stands out because out of all the candidates, he is the only one with real foreign policy experience that would qualify him to be president. That is crucial, especially given that whoever is the next president will have to pick up the shambles of our foreign policy left by George Bush. Having extensive diplomatic experience dealing with foreign powers and political experience as a very successful Democratic governor of Republican New Mexico, he is very qualified to be president. This speech shows that his grasp of foreign policy is very sound, balanced, substantive, and intelligent. This kind of hire level reasoning without tons of fluff beats Obama’s speeches on the subject, in my opinion.

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The Minutemen and the protestors

April 10, 2007

Just for the hell of it I went to see Chris Simcox, the leader of the Minutemen (a group that patrols on the border to report illegal immigrants) speak, hosted by YCT (Young Conservatives of Texas). Lo and behold, protesters came and tried to shout down the event. They chanted for about 15 minutes, yelled slogans, and several had to be led out by police before the speaker had a chance to speak. Even when he was able to speak, they interrupted quite often with rants and name calling. It was disgraceful. I didn’t agree with everything Simcox said, but he was reasonable, respectfully, surprisingly moderate in his viewpoints, and even willing to address some of the protesters remarks. That didn’t stop the protesters from calling him a racist and a fascist. In trying to disrupt the event and discredit him, they did a great job making him look legitimate and reasonable. The protesters did very little to defeat his viewpoints and did a great job of making themselves look like ignorant assholes. I’m all for making your viewpoints and objections heard, but you have to do it in a respectful and intelligent manner, not try to shout down the other side with slogans. When the protesters chanted “this is real democracy”, my thought was that it was the exact opposite. They were more like a mob, and it was shameful to those that hold their viewpoint, to the University, and to the political discourse in this country.