Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Political talk

So, it's a bit early, I suppose, for me to say where I stand on the 2008 presidential elections. After all, we don't even know all our options yet. But that doesn't mean I can't write a bit about what I see and how some of my opinions have changed. I'm no expert or even a truly "political person," just a mere voter looking to be informed. Now, feel free to leave comments on this, because I know politics can ruffle some feathers, but if so, let's keep it clean and honest, kids. And if anyone has any good links I should post, let me know. I'm still sizing everyone up.

There was a point when I thought I'd never vote Republican. Not that I've been very impressed by Democrats in recent years, but the thought of supporting a Republican sent shivers down my spine. That's what happens when you come of voting age in the George W. Bush-era, though I've been loosely following politics since I was a youngster. Anyhow, after the 2000 elections, I read a piece on John McCain that somewhat changed my mind. It was a Rolling Stone piece, a publication who can sometimes have acceptable political pieces that appeal to younger folks (though I think many, flip past it to see the Panic! At The Disco spread). Anyhow, the piece made him seem like the anti-Bush, a straight-talking, no-nonsense, widely-appealing, center-riding politician who didn't think, let alone vote, on party lines. But as McCain now shifts toward the 2008 vacancy, I've seen a change in him (not too surprising). He's visiting evangelical groups, knowing he needs their votes and support. He's changing gears and stance on the war too frequently. Which leads me to the latest email I received, toting the outing of the "Real McCain" (a nice play off the "Real McCoy" by the way). Check it out here to see it, but warning: watch for major spin.

Anyhow, my opinion of McCain has steadly dropped over the past, eh, nine months (not that I was ever a "McCain guy"). And he's the only Republican who has ever looked half-good (Romney WILL crash and burn, and perhaps won't even get that far due to his religion being somewhat unfairly attacked -- I say this for the first-time as a Bostonian who has watched him ignore his own people long enough; meanwhile, I loathe Giuliani and can't understand why everyone adores a man who is so two-faced and I don't even want to talk about the Bible-beating Brownback. He just angers me). I, like many others, have been dazzled by rising star Barack Obama. I've been reading his latest book, and interestingly, rather than make me feel closer to him, I've found it to be pushing me away (which may say something about his honesty, in a good way). He's an excellent writer, no doubt, and what he's doing here is precisely laying out his plans for his potential presidency. He would be a welcome change in politics -- he's energetic, tough but compassionate, and quite eloquent. But that doesn't make a president, many say, it's experience. The all-important record. And yeah, he doesn't have much of one (he may have thrown himself into this race a bit too quickly, riding a wave of hype and celebrity, though he directly says his opinion to run for president was not based on hype in his declaration video). In fact, in some ways I kind of like his lack of experience for that, because he doesn't seem disillusioned in the way some politicians do. But I still need to be convinced. Big time. Many of the same questions about Obama can be applied to John Edwards, as well.

At the same rate, it seems Hillary Clinton may get the nomination. We all knew she was going to run, but honestly, I didn't think she'd have so much support (and I'm a big Bill fan). Well, is it support, or is it money? Either way, she's doing dandy but I'm not into this whole down-home facade she's put on to combat her image as a chilly character (though I see her point). Don't believe me? Watch her "let's chat" declaration video and count how many times that right elbow goes onto her back-support cushion. None of this really has to do with her politics, but rather her viability as a strong candidate. I personally kind of align with some of Clinton's stances; truth be told, I'm just not sold on her yet.

Which brings me to my big conclusion. Who should run from the Democratic side? On the Republican side, it looks to be McCain (right now, at least). But amongst the major contenders right now (Obama, Clinton, Edwards, Vilsack -- OK, maybe not Vilsack), nobody seems perfect. But secretly, I've been pulling for Al Gore. I think he's made a lot of good moves since losing in 2000, and it's true, he can beat everyone else in the pack -- well, for the nomination. In fact, there's a decent article in Rolling Stone right now called "Run, Al, Run" by Tom Dickinson. It brings up the reasons of why he's a viable candidate. Right now, I'm just waiting to see who does what and who throws their hat in the ring. But like I say, I still need to be convinced.

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