Friday, October 17, 2008

Not just another presidential debate

I've been watching all the political goings on. I'm not voting for either of the two annointed candidates, so I've not been talking much about them. It's a case of "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." The presidential debates, especially the VP debate, were purely entertainment for me. Frankly, they haven't even been good entertainment. I got more out of the various bloggers (Vodkapundit, Reason) liveblogging the debates then I did from the questions and answers on the television. Not just because I like my substance served with a garnish of snark, either.

It's not that I don't like either Obama or McCain. I think they are both charismatic men with incredible personal stories, and I would gladly sit down for a beer with either one. They both have ideas. Good ones, bad ones, and ideas that aren't even theirs, but make an interest group swoon in supportive fervor.

On many issues, I'm completely neutral, mildly opposed or mildly supportive. I know that should put me in with the elusive undecided voter group that gets all the attention in focus groups, but I'm not undecided. There are issues about which I hold strong opinions, but neither candidate addresses those to my satisfaction.

I'm very decided. I will not vote for either Obama or McCain. McCain might be a little closer to my economic and smaller government views, but only in the way that a gentle snowfall is closer to a July afternoon than a blizzard. Same goes for Obama on social issues. With McCain's support of the financial bailout and general economic rescues (a.k.a meddling), I don't trust him to protect my wallet. I agree with almost nothing Obama has said about our economy, but that's nothing new. I do expect better from democrats on protecting my individual rights. I don't see the conviction from Obama I need to give me any confidence he'd start rolling back the invasions of privacy and lessening of freedom on the slippery slope of the Patriot Act(s). One or the other might be better on particular issues, but there's no choice when you look at the big picture. Each would be disasterous, just in different ways.

Which brings me to Sunday night. The 3rd party candidates will be taking to the stage for a debate, sponsored by Free and Equal. Ralph Nader (Independent), Cynthia McKinney (Green), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution), and maybe Bob Barr (Libertarian). Bob Barr's a maybe, because he says he'll only debate Nader. That's rather hypocritical of him, as he bitched about not being included with the big boys in the official debates, but has no problem trying to snub the lesser known 3rd party candidates when it is his turn.

It should be a load of fun. These three (or four) folks won't agree on much of anything, and they will argue. I expect politeness, but there will be claws. There is no carefully chosen tightrope for them to walk, in order to fall in line with the highest number of voters possible. They will talk about what they actually think and believe, sans focus group approval.

I'm not voting for any of these presidential hopefuls either, but I'm going to watch their debate with something I've missed in the debates thus far. Genuine Interest. Maybe even a bit of enthusiasm.

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