Sunday, November 02, 2008 also...

Remember that part in Groundhog Day where Andie MacDowell is describing her ideal man and Bill Murray checks off every item on the list as applying to himself?

This morning, I read an article in The New York Times that did that for me, except it's about undecided voters this election. Who are those people, who are still undecided two days before the election??

Well, for better or worse, I'm one of them. Of course, it doesn't really matter when you decide who to vote for, as long as it's a thoughtful process that takes place before you check a box (or punch a ballot, or press a button, or whatever) on election day. But I still fall into that "sheepish" category of undecided voters described by the NYT article.

Here is a very good description of what I've been going through these past months and weeks whenever I sit down to think about who I'm going to vote for:

Mr. Finke, a Republican, voted twice for George W. Bush. He describes himself as an economic conservative and said he had been “very impressed” with Senator John McCain. It sure sounds as if Mr. Finke is leaning toward Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican, right?

Not so fast.

“I’m socially more liberal,” Mr. Finke said. “I think Obama is bright and has been very steady in this campaign.” He added that it would be “very exciting for the United States to elect a black president.” Besides, he does not think Mr. McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, would be ready to step into the top job if something happened to Mr. McCain (who, Mr. Finke pointed out, “is pretty old”).

Where does this leave Mr. Finke? “I plan on doing a lot of reading this weekend,” he said.


“I tend to be a procrastinator,” said Ms. Finke, 44, who said she operated best with deadlines.

She voted for Mr. Bush twice and describes herself as “a conservative person at heart.” At the beginning of the campaign, she was suspicious of Mr. Obama “because of the whole Hollywood thing,” [for me it's been the "Oprah thing,"] but she has since warmed to him.

“My opinion of Obama has definitely risen during this campaign,” Ms. Finke said. “And my opinion of McCain has fallen.”

So it sure sounds as if Ms. Finke is moving toward Mr. Obama, the Illinois Democrat, right?

Not so fast.

“I’d say I’m leaning towards McCain,” she said. “For as awful as things are with this Republican administration, there’s something about the whole conservative thing that appeals to me.” Put her down as “leaning McCain” then.

“But maybe I’ll vote for Obama,” she said. “How many days are left?”

In the words of Bill Murray, " also..."

At least I have two more days.


Jeremy Palmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Palmer said...

I am also undecided, though I am leaning towards a write in for Colin Powell. Many may scoff at this, but I honestly think he is the best choice for America nationally and internationally at this time.

I do not have any particular reasons to not vote for McCain or Obama as far as their personalities are concerned. As for their “strategery” and policies, I think McCain's choice of Palin was exotic yet ultimately wrong. I do not think she is prepared to lead the nation. I think that Obama is overly gung-ho about being the antithesis of gung-ho. I believe his opposition to the surge in Iraq (Bipartisan Iraq Study Group) was exceptionally ill taken. If America is attacked again, would McCain bomb places that had nothing to do with it? Who knows? Would Obama do nothing? Who knows? What would Colin Powell do? I think he would seek out the best possible response and solution from a broad representation of America’s brightest and best thinkers. I believe Colin Powell’s distinguished experience as a diplomat, ability to admit mistakes, and the encompassing manner of his critical thinking is what America needs at this time.

Bridget said...

In the words of Kang (or Kotos, whichever): Go ahead, throw your vote away!!!!

At least you have the guts to back up your "vote your conscience" principle.

Liz Johnson said...

Would you say you're trying to pick between the better of two good choices, or the lesser of two evils?

Hareega said...

If I had the right to vote, I'd vote for Obama. Nothing against McCain, but the guy's 4-year survival is something like 50%, and PAlin is the most unqualified politician in the US to become president. She doesn't know anything in politics.

One way that can help you decide, remember that it's not only the president who rules the country, it's also his advisors and the people around him. I have feeling that those who will be surrounding McCain and Palin are the same as those who will be surrounding Bush, since they would be the same people who would have helped win the elections. I think the country had enough oh them.

Eevi said...

I think Troy is still not 100% of who he is going to vote for and I am glad that I don't have to worry about making a good decision. For sure, it will be an interesting Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

Lilianne and Jason Wright said...

Bridget - you've awoken the political fire within me. A vote for McCain is a vote AGAINST Obama. Definitely the lesser of two evils, Liz!

I disagree with what's been said about Palin. Talking about experience? Obama has had no more experience than Palin...the Liberals and media have definitely played this talking point up, as displayed by what Hareega has stated. But really? Obama is more "unqualified" as you say Palin is. She actually has more experience under her belt. But of course, "they" don't want you to know this.

Obama's ideals and philosophies in addition to his shady past associations - whether they be significant or not - lead me to question his integrity and motivations. His associations alone with Bill Ayers (how big or small) would disqualify him from getting a job with the FBI, CIA, DHS, etc. I cannot trust him and he will not be getting my vote.

Plus, I don't believe in hand outs, big government or "redistribution of wealth" as has been discussed by Obama and Biden. I have not been happy with Bush's growth of government and his liberal spending. But Obama will do MORE of this, not less.

It will be interesting to see what will happen. May God bless this country to continue to be a land of FREEDOM. Cause if Obama wins, we will be on track to socialism... I sometimes wonder why people don't see it. I have to admit, he's charming, a great public speaker, a motivator and certainly much more eloquent than McCain...but are we REALLY listening to what he's saying?

And Jeremy - totally agree. Colin Powell is an awesome person!

...And forgive me if this is forward. Like I said, Bridget has awoken the political fire within me!

Ben said...

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

Consider a third-party candidate.

Jeremy Palmer said...

Finland is kind of socialist isn't it? It's not so bad is it, Eevi? :)

Lilianne and Jason Wright said...

Jeremy - Finland is probably awesome. I don't doubt it if Eevi is from there!

The problem with a socialist society is that it just won't work in America. Finland has been and always will be run on a socialist system. So will places like Denmark. But it works there because the population is almost entirely homogenous, EVERYONE pays into the system, there is less variable to a person's wages, etc. Plus, they are much smaller countries! And it's important to point out that most people feel more comfortable paying into a system when they know the money is going to others similar to themselves. Here in America, we have all levels, from CEO's who never use the government's welfare services to illegal immigrants who are continually draining our welfare systems. I guarantee you that illegal immigration is not an issue in places like Finland - and people would feel less likely to pay for those who a) don't pay into their system themselves and b) aren't even a citizen of their country!

I would feel better about a socialized system if everyone were to actually pay into the system. But as it stands right now, those who do make money pay into a system to support those who do not! Where's the justice in that?

The problem with a socialist system is that America was not built on these principles. It was built on achieving dreams, hard work and ingenuity and the American Dream was available for those who were wiling to work hard for it. It was built on a free-market economy and people came here mainly for opportunity in a free market and freedom of religion! If we move towards socialistic practices where "to each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is practiced, what will be the incentive for those who are actually working hard and paying into the system?

I worked for over a year on Hurricane Katrina issues. Statistically, nearly 60 percent of those living in New Orleans were on government welfare aid. The poverty there is cyclical - generation after generation, kids learn that instead of getting an education and a job, you simply work to get on government aid. Their form of "work" is to get on welfare! After all was said and done with the storms, they were blaming government that no one came to their doors to come pick them up and get them away from the storm! Hand outs by government do NOT bring people out of poverty. They perpetuate it. Obama wants to grow "entitlement" programs for people...and those who work will be the ones footing the bill. There was no personal responsibility for one's affairs. That's why much of New Orleans is still in shambles now three years past. Those who have rebuilt are those who feel that it isn't the government's job to do so.

Sorry for the long post...but I just had to. :-)

onlymehere said...

Too bad we can't get your Finkle friend to stop by my blog. At the bottom in my edit I have included a link to a video that just may make up his/her mind (I forget if it was a man or woman). May God bless America at this time. We certainly need his help as I fear for our country if Obama is elected. Don't mean to use your blog for a political stump and I have never posted politics on my blog but this video of news footage made me cry and I NEVER, I repeat NEVER cry.

Hareega said...

Lillian and Jason Wright, allow me to disagree on the socialism part. Obama is seeking social justice and that's different from socialism. Republicans are harshly criticizing Obama of being a redistributer of wealth. The Republican government for the past 8 years has been a very big redistributer of wealth, from the pockets of middle class citizens to the wealthy. The ratio of what a CEO makes to that of the average worker has increases more than 15 times. I cannot defend a slacker who doesn't work and gets benefit from the government, but I don't the majority of people belong to this group. What we have seen under the current administration is that hard-working people, who work long hours and quite often in 2 jobs, have lower standards of life than many other countries in the West, and it was getting worse. Obama will not raise taxes for those making more than 250k and the vast majority of the country makes less than that.

I don't think Obama having a crazy priest is worse than McCain's or Palin's associations with more dangerous people. McCain accepted, and was glad to receive an endoresement from a very irrational pastor (Hagee). What's worse and was not covered by the "liberal" media is Palin's association with the Alaska Independence Party. Her husband is a member of that party and she herself gave a speech in front of that party. Forget about all the pastor stuff, this is real. This is the candidate herself being involved in the a very anti-American party.

Bridget said...

Our friend Steve says:

"--Warning to anyone reading this comment: Please do not take offense at my use of any scriptural references to support my political views (Especially since I'm not particularly religious anymore, but I do still believe in good principles, which the scriptures are full of). I trust everyone reading this blog is intelligent enough to not let me bully anyone into voting one way or another.

I grew up in a very politically conservative household, and I used to be Republican, and although I'm an independent now, I still think many of the conservative principles are important, especially when it comes to small government, states' rights, fiscal conservatism, and the defense of civil liberties, but the Republican Party has strayed so far away from those ideals that it's become unrecognizable.

The Republican Party and Generation Whatever We Are:
While our parents' generation often views the Republican party as more fiscally responsible, our generation has known nothing but fiscal irresponsibility beginning with Reagan and continuing with each Republican president until now. I may not like the idea of redistribution of wealth (I'm a fan of a flat tax, or no tax...), but if I have to choose between it being redistributed up towards the wealthy, or down towards the poor, I'll choose "down" any day. I'm not an economic expert, but recent economic developments would seem to debunk the idea of "the trickle-down effect" that is always used to justify the rich paying less taxes (because of the type of income they have). (Maybe the day of the "distribute-down-then-trickle-back-up effect" has come?)

Furthermore, the deterioration in respect for civil liberties (warrant-less wiretapping, Guantanamo, etc.), the attempts at increasing executive power through signing statements, and the general derision of the Bush Administration towards the idea of accountability have really soured me on voting Republican right now. Not to mention this Administration's horrible foreign policy. I know that McCain is not Bush, but McCain has not done enough in my book to show me how voting for him will make a difference in these things that matter to me. Voting for Obama, to me, is a vote in hopes of restoring democratic principles and the power of the system of checks and balances. If we learn anything from the Book of Mormon, it's that just laws are a thing that must be fought for continuously in every generation. Sometimes the people are wicked and choose wicked laws like in 3rd Nephi. Other times it's the ruler himself (eg. King Noah). However, the breakdown of laws in the Book of Mormon usually seemed be precipitated by and have more to do with corruption, crony-ism, and war and violence (whether just or unjust) than it did with individual laws.

On Morality and Politics:
I personally struggled for a long time with the question of abortion. I know it made me and a lot of other people feel guilty if we entertained the idea of voting non-Republican. Some time after Roe vs. Wade, the GOP decided that legislating morality was more important than proper governance. Or rather, it decided that "promising" to legislate morality was a good way to hold onto conservative votes. While in theory it doesn't sound so bad to have "laws that represent our beliefs", in reality, it's giving "teeth" to morality, and I think only God should have that power whenever possible. It seems very out of touch with Joseph Smith's statement that "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." He certainly did not say, "I teach them correct principles, and then they force the correct principles upon others." That smacks of Wahhabism to me. In the end, neither party actually supports my exact views on abortion, so why would I let them control me? I won't let that be what determines my vote. There are other issues to be dealt with in our world, and I choose to focus on them instead.

On "the Surge":
As for "the surge", I agree with Obama that it had a very minimal effect on the decrease in violence. Having talked to Sterling and a soldier that was in Iraq before and during the surge, I feel like Obama is justified in what he said. Working with tribal chiefs, training and expanding local police forces, the re-enfranchisement of Sunnis (Baath party members), and the fact that the ethnic cleansing in Baghdad was basically already accomplished had more to do with the decrease in violence than the surge. If we had gone in with that many troops to begin with, it might have actually made a difference. The problem is that the surge was about 3 years too late. However, it did have other good effects, such as giving the Iraqi government confidence that the new stability would continue, and it gave them some breathing room to start trying to work out the political deadlock without having the spectre of civil war hanging over them. Sadly, they didn't accomplish much with that breathing room, but that's not our fault.

Certainly neither candidate is ideal, but I can't in good conscience vote to continue the status quo I feel McCain represents. When it comes down to it, a vote either way isn't the end of the world. Congress drafts and passes the laws. The president may be able to veto them, but he doesn't get to write them. Sometimes we act like only our vote for president matters, when in reality the vote for our congressmen means just as much. I love the system of checks and balances. If Obama swings too far left, the next congressional election cycle will probably swing Republican to compensate for that and put a stop to it.

Anyway, I doubt I've swayed you, but those are my views. Maybe you should just listen to Kang.


Eevi said...


FInland is totally socialist and totally awesome! That is my political wisdom for the night:)

Ben said...

But not a word about the Constitution in this whole debate. Very telling if you ask me.

dave said...

Many thoughtful comments, including Steve's. Although I respectfully disagree with a number of his conclusions, the only thing I'd comment on is that if one rejects, as a general principle, legal enforcement of legislated norms as improperly giving teeth to morality, then one will very quickly need to jettison support for a great many laws - most obviously including those proscribing prostitution, gay marriage, illegal drug usage, etc. I don't think the idea that such decisions should be solely left to God "whenever possible" will in reality ever leave much to God once you realize that almost all enforceable laws - murder, theft, fraud - have a significant basis in morality.

I also agree strongly with most everything written by "liliane and jason wright." Twice well said. I especially agreed with your statement about Obama's past associations and how that could affect his job prospects outside of politics. I have some experience with high-level security clearances, and believe me, Obama's long-term associations with Ayers alone really would keep him from getting even a Secret clearance. Be honest: should someone like that be allowed to be in charge of the CIA, NSA, FBI, etc.? He wouldn't even be allowed to make photocopies at those places if he hadn't discovered a way to circumvent their strict security requirements - i.e., by employing his gifts of charisma and for eloquent rhetoric in the realm of politics.

And a glaring error by Hareega needs to be corrected. It's both misleading and false to assert that "[t]he Republican government for the past 8 years has been a very big redistributer of wealth, from the pockets of middle class citizens to the wealthy." Such an attempted re-definition of the word (?)"redistributer" degrades that word's meaning into nothingness, and it irritates me when people do things like that (compare the evolution of the term "judicial activist" with respect to decision-making by judges; it's now a meaningless term when once it very usefully contributed to the English language by indicating judges who consciously chose to redefine the Constitution as they see fit; but I digress).

"Redistributor," as used to describe Obama in this context, or really anyone using the power of government (and its inherently implied threat of forceful, well, enforcement), means lawfully taking something from someone that was his/hers and giving it to someone else. In other words, it's essentially a legal form of government-sanctioned robbery via taxes. Many of Obama's claims for "social justice" are ultimately just claims for an end that he and his supporters generally believe justifies the means of literally taking money from those who have it, under color of law/implied threat of force, and giving it to those ever-more-entitled individuals who have less of it (many of whom are, surprise surprise, Obama's most reliable voters at the booth; but again I digress).

No such activity has taken place under the Bush administration. While wages have increased for CEO's faster in relation with the also-increasing wages of the middle class, that's almost all due to higher returns on capital in a world where borders are ever-lessening and those who have money have had increased international options for deploying that capital to get higher returns. Which they have done (by and large) legally. More importantly, in no way has the Bush administration ever taken money from any middle class person's pocket under implied threat of force (i.e., government law enforcement) and given it to someone who is wealthy. Consequently, Hareega's claim that somehow the relative increase in prosperity for those at the top of the corporate pyramid is equivalent to Obama's promise of additional, enforced confiscation of personal property in the name of social justice is an incorrect attempt to define an apple as an orange.

Anonymous said...

Nobody says it better than Dave!

Kristen said...

Hey! I wrote a comment on here yesterday, but it must not have published. :( I'll try to reiterate:

Bridget, you should have reserved the title, "Down to the wire for this election" for this apt post.

I would have agreed with most of the Finke's statements back when I was undecided as well. But one area where I differ is that my opinion of Obama has steadily declined over the course of the campaign.

My opinions resonate very strongly with lilianne and jason wright's, so thank you for allowing me to save my "breath."

I appreciate the perspective on why socialism does work in societies that were originally founded on its principles. While I see the negative implications for socialist reform in the US, I had not considered that difference.

Another quick correction to hareega's comment, Obama does indeed intend to impose higher taxes on the top 1% of earners. But those people don't deserve to keep the money they have earned as much as the middle-class, do they.

Good luck, Bridget! You have many smart friends, and I don't know if their brilliant analyses will make your choice any easier.

Teresa said...

Wow, Dave is very smart... anyhoo, it IS election day and I still am confused. People say that Obama will be assassinated if he becomes president and that McCain will die naturally while in office. So do I look at the candidates for VP? And none of the candidates support all of the things that are important to me. I think that I like McCain's plan for health care and smaller government (in comparison) but I think that I like Obama's plan for Iraq. McCain says that we should stay in Iraq until we have helped them orchestrate a perfect and smooth democracy. That seems too long for me. I wonder what would happen if we left and let them have some free agency... I am just thinking out loud here, I hope nobody thinks me ignorant or stupid for these formulated views. This is my first time voting so I am new to all of this. Politics have never been my favorite thing. I love history and America with a passion. I hold infinite respect for the means by which we fought and formed this country, as well as for the constitution in it's purest form. (It reminds me of the 6th article of faith, "as far as it is translated correctly...") But I reluctantly feel that no matter who is elected, they are just puppets acting for the elite behind the curtain. Isn't government supposed to become corrupt in order for there to be a second coming? It's not just the church that needs Christ to come again, it's the world. And we see that pattern in the Book of Mormon as well. I just wish there was a candidate that I agreed with on EVERYTHING so I wouldn't have to compromise the quality of my vote. And I only have a few hours left...

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Even though I'm a registered Republican, earlier this year I felt it would not be impossible for me to vote for Obama. In March he gave a speech here in PDX that turned me off in a big way, and since then his ideology has repulsed me further. It's all about entitlement. Briefly, in his March speech he told stories of some 'hard luck' Americans who 'need' our help, and how he would be the instrument in our hands to provide just that. Just one example he gave was of Kathy ----, who has $80,000 in student loans, AND NO ONE IS HELPING HER PAY IT BACK! He said we must help people like Kathy carry their burdens [none of this is an exact quote]. He went on to describe a few others who we are 'obligated' to assist.

I believe in assisting people who are in a temporary fix, or providing some basic opportunities to end the cycle of poverty [as in "Rescue Ronald", a Katrina victim who worked hard to make the most of the aid money that was given to him] but Obama wants to equip half the population with a bucket and line them up on our doorsteps for a handout.


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