Monday, January 16, 2012

Whom would you vote for if the election were tomorrow?

Sorry for the late posting; I've been battling a migraine today that has made it even more difficult than usual for me to be coherent. :)

Did you watch the South Carolina debate tonight? Me neither. But I did read some of Rod Dreher's liveblogging of it:

UPDATE.9: Great line from the Economist’s live blog:

This is Jon Huntsman’s best debate by far.

UPDATE.10: Romney had a couple of good zingers against Gingrich on the Super PAC thing, forcing Gingrich to admit that Romney can’t do what he wants him to do, and for calling Gingrich’s anti-Romney Super PAC ad “the biggest hoax since Bigfoot.” I still don’t understand why Romney is not tearing into Gingrich about that ad, unless he figures that he’s got more to lose by drawing attention to it.

UPDATE.11: So, who won? Well, look, it was depressing. But aren’t all these debates depressing? I’d say Gingrich had the best night, followed closely by Santorum. Romney, bland and robotic, for the most part. Biggest disappointment was Ron Paul. As for Perry, well, he’s a cartoon, ain’t he? He’s dragging bottom in the polls, and seems to exist now to throw bloody chunks of flesh into the crowd for effect. I must say that I thought Newt was over after Iowa, but to give him credit, he’s kept this thing alive. True, he’s something like 11 points behind Romney in South Carolina, but after tonight’s savaging of Romney by both Santorum and Gingrich, it’s conceivable that Gingrich might pull off an upset — but only if the Santorum vote coalesces behind him. To be fair, Santorum had a pretty good night too; conceivably the anti-Romney vote could coalesce behind him. Tonight’s debate did not clarify who the anti-Romney will be, however. There’s one more debate in South Carolina, two days before the January 21 vote. That showdown is going to be decisive. [Links and emphases in original--E.M.]

If you did watch the debate--what do you think? Does Rod have it about right? Or is somebody already shaping up as the one who is going to give Romney a run for his money?

Okay, unscientific reader poll time: if the general election were going to be held tomorrow, whom would you vote for? Gingrich? Paul? Perry? Romney? Santorum? Obama? Or a dq3 candidate/none of the above? Explain who and why in the comment box, please.

Anonymous commenters--please remember to use a nickname!


Diamantina da Brescia said...

As you know, I am a left-wing Democrat who is also a practicing Catholic. I voted for Obama in 2008, and if he were consistently pro-life I would vote for him again.

I have told you and others that I am voting a blank ballot when it comes to elected positions (as opposed to ballot initiatives and the like), but as a faithful viewer of "The Colbert Report", I am intrigued by Stephen Colbert's proposed entry into the presidential race. Yes, he is a comedian and his candidacy is largely a protest and a joke, but he is also a practicing Catholic and has some very good and provocative things to say. I just don't know if he is consistently pro-life, for I have decided to vote only for candidates who are consistently pro-life across the board.

Anonymous said...


~ Ann Marie

freddy said...

Didn't watch the debate. Prefer to read what people say. Looking at the current field, I'd vote for ... Stephen Colbert. :)

Jacque said...

Hi Erin!,

I hate to admit it but I'm an "anyone but Obama" voter for the general election. A few years ago I threw my vote away on Ross Perot, who ran on a third party ticket and I will never do it again.
I hope Gingrich wins the nomination but he wont. My reason for Gingrich is he at least knows how to work the system. The rest of them will be in "on the job training" for a couple of years. We don't have that long to wait. At lest I know Gingrich's down side already.

That's my opinion not that it matters much... but I will be casting a vote!


Anonymous said...

My feeling is that a vote for any DQ3P candidate is neuter than a vote for one of these guys. My full reasoning is here but the short story is that we need to do something drastically different, and be willing to "lose" one election, if we expect things to change.

Barbara C. said...

No clue. I don't really start paying attention to anyone until about a week before I'm expected to vote. Keeps me from wasting my time and energy on people who drop out before it's even my turn. Then I research their platforms on various issues and compare that to the candidate guide by the local pro-life committee which rates all candidates for all races on a scale of 1 to 5 based on stated abortion platform and past voting record (if applicable).

Anonymous said...

I get migraines too. Do you find anything effective? Goody's powder seems to take the edge off for me.

Anyway, not Romney, obviously not Obama. And I don't need to contemplate the tomorrow part, because the answer will still be the same Nov. 4th.

Scott W.

Geoff G. said...

I actually watched this particular debate last night.

Perry: If this guy isn't actually stupid, he's doing a convincing impression of it in an effort to appeal to somebody. For instance, his comments on Turkey were completely and totally off the wall. There is a massive difference between a democratically elected moderately Islamist political party and Islamic terrorist organizations. Don't mean to insult Texans, but really? You voted this guy into the highest office in the state multiple times?

Gingrich had the best night out of the group, but only because he's a pro when it comes to slinging the red meat. Nothing wrong with that; all political parties need good barnburners. But barnburners don't generally get the nomination.

Santorum: what to do with this guy? His inherent humanity came through when discussing, of all things, restoring the voting rights of felons. He's picked up Ron Paul's arguments about how the Drug War is implemented in racist ways. And I think his concern for the working class and lower income people generally is genuine. I totally get behind his arguments about how to lift people out of poverty, including marriage. If he didn't have such a huge, gigantic blind spot when it came to dealing with people like me—and I've really come to believe that it is a blind spot, not any kind of genuine animus—his domestic policy is something I could probably get behind. His foreign policy, Bush-era neoconservatism on steroids, not so much.

Paul: So much to love here, especially on civil liberties and his take on the drug war. I liked how he was willing to stand up to the field and to the crowd over his complaints about his concerns about how we killed bin Laden. He knows darn well he's up against the emotional satisfaction of getting the guy behind 9/11 and yet still sticks up for the right answer. Lots of people are having trouble with the defense/military distinction he was making, but it made perfect sense to me. A lot of Pentagon spending has very little to do with defending the US itself from outside invasion, which is really what the DOD is supposed to be limited to. But we've gotten so used to "advancing American interests" around the world over the past 60+ years that we've lost sight of this.

Romney: The more I see this guy, the less I like him. He is so obviously faking sincerity it actually hurts to watch him. Referring back to the back and forth about restoring voting rights to felons, someone pointed out that you could visibly see Romney trying to figure out which side of the issue he should fake support for. And that's Romney to a T. He's a complete and total cipher.

Who would I support if the general election were tomorrow? Not Romney. Not Gingrich. Not Perry. Paul's an interesting guy, and I think if I wanted to vote for complete and total gridlock, he'd be my man. But gridlock would be a recipe for disaster right now. I still say that he's the Republican in the race I most respect.

Santorum's a special case. I want to like the guy. And I really hate to sound so much like a single-issue voter. But when the single issue involves not just marriage but also my ability to hold down a job or even keep from being tossed in jail, I'm sorry, I just can't go there. I've got more self-respect than that.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

"Romney, bland and robotic" -- that's enough reason to vote for Obama, even if I didn't appreciate that he stopped the bleeding of the economy, staved off Great Depression 2.0, and has been doing a reasonably good job, even if he picked a notoriously conventional bunch of advisors in a vain attempt to stave off the accusations that he is a socialist.

The rest are a pack of fools -- although I give Santorum credit for honesty, and Paul for asking a lot of good questions. Either would be a disaster as president. The debates are simply setting up a clear vision of how little the Republican Party has to offer.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Siarlys! Obama the economic savior of America? We could debate the usefulness of various economic approaches, but I'm left wondering what Obama has done economically that Bush Jr. didn't also do. Obama and Bush are six of one, as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

*better, not neuter. Stupid touchscreen/spellcheck.

Geoff G. said...

You know, I think this was a good idea holding off on approving any comments for a day so we couldn't see what everyone else was writing. I know it was a bit of serendipity in this case, but it's an experiment you might want to repeat.

Red Cardigan said...

Yes, Geoff, I had a busy morning as it turned out. :) But you're right--everyone got to say their own piece, so to speak, without fear.

And, Scott, Excedrin seems to help somewhat, but I think it's the same ingredients as Goody's. :) The men I've known with migraines seem to get them much worse for some reason, so you have my deep sympathies.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

"I'm left wondering what Obama has done economically that Bush Jr. didn't also do."

Not enough, obviously, but I prefer spending on infrastructure to sending everyone a check for $600. There was actually a bit more to it than that. My mother grew up during the last Depression, and points out frequently that people don't realize how close we came to another. To the extent that elected officials make ANY difference at all, President Obama did something right, and suffered the fact that people are never grateful over the depth of pain they never had to feel.

My mother is a life-long Republican, a loyalty she inherited from her grandfather, a member and local organizer for the United Mine Workers of America. (Yeah, union workers used to be Republicans -- John L. Lewis was too, and so were the La Follettes). She's voting for Obama again this year.

Of course he should have broken up every bank that needed a federal bail-out, spinning each off into five or six smaller chunks that would NOT be "too big to fail." But so many loudmouths were calling him a socialist that he thought he couldn't risk it. If he had gone ahead, the Tea Party would never have come into existence.

Anonymous said...

When I feel a doozey of a headache coming on, I wrap my head in a large bath towel that I've steamed in the microwave (preferably liberally laced with menthol or lavender or lemon grass --something that works for me--some friends get migraines from the aroma of lavender), inhale a sniff of nasal corticosteroid, take a whiff of oxymetazoline, 325 mg acetaminophen and go to bed). As I've gotten older, I've not had one of the pulsing headache lightshows in a few years, but sinus congestion is an issue that is treated by keeping my head warm and hydrated (which means a constantly dripping nose, but obviously less pain involved.)

If the election were held today or tomorrow I would definitely vote for President Obama. I am not a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Tea-partier, Whig, or any other party-member.

My immigrant relatives were Democrats, the first-generation were Republicans, and the ones that owned businesses and large acreages as well as retired to Arizona were all Republicans. I am a healthcare worker not an owner of a business.

I don't have a well-developed argument or rationale for straying from the track of ensuring some of the task at hand is completed. If Mr Santorum and President Obama were members of the same party in the past election, I might have had a real decision to make, but my knowledge of the candidates is only superficial. It scares the bejeebers out of me to know that ex-President Bush was basically a mouthpiece for his party, that a certain portion (more that 45%) of the citizens were fully supportive of what his plans represented when he was elected two times. It wasn't like we were getting a pig in the poke the second time around.


Onepony2002 said...

Nobody perfect has ever run in my lifetime, or ever in history. Even I wouldn't satisfy ME, because I know I don't have enough experience.

So I try to find the one who comes closest. I've watched the debates and like and dislike something (or several somethings) about each of them. But I seriously abhor almost everything Obama has done, with just a couple of exceptions, which Bush has already put in train. I am not sure this country can survive much more of his "improvements". So I will vote for whichever of these candidates survives and gets the nomination.

Anonymous said...

I realize that part of the problem with talking about the economy is that there are so many factors at work that pretty much anyone can claim that a certain economic situation was caused by Factor A and happened in spite of Factor B, while anyone else can claim exactly the opposite with equal credibility. Also, comparing what President A has done while in office to what President B "would have done" is similarly tricky.

But in this case, we actually have two presidents in succession whose foreign and economic policies were pretty much the same, and the evidence of very recent history to show it. Economically, both Bush and Obama have borrowed huge amounts of money and thrown it at wars and bailouts of large banks and insurance companies.

And you tell me that Obama stopped the bleeding of the economy and staved off Great Depression 2.0 by not sending out tax refund checks?

Blind party loyalty, man. It never ceases to amaze me.

petrus said...

As a Virginia resident, I choose Paul over Romney. Romney has too many failed socialist policies to consider. If it weren't just between the two of them here, I'd go for Santorum, followed by Ging. I love Santorum's (mostly)considerate responses. At least he credits his audience with more intelligence than a soundbite.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

"But in this case, we actually have two presidents in succession whose foreign and economic policies were pretty much the same"

Let's see... one president got us into two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan... the next president got us out of one, recognized that we couldn't just walk away from the other AFTER making explicit and implied promises to people who would be in considerable danger if we did... but has been winding it down as best circumstances permit...

One president based a phony "tax cut" on massive debt and a bubble that popped just as he was going into retirement... the other pushed for legislation to get the banks back under control and tried to get the phone "tax cut" at least partially repealed for those who needed it least... one president mortgage our nation to the Bank of China during GOOD TIMES... the other president pushed some necessary deficit spending during a RECESSION created by the bubble in the preceding administration...

I guess some people have a political version of red-green color blindness, and it makes all administrations look alike to them...

And on top of that, this person who has hijacked the name of a convict laborer from Virginia can't tell the difference between "free money" (which is OUR money to begin with, OR, borrowed from China to offer us as a blandishment)... and a genuine tax credit, like the one's President Obama put through???

I don't have any more party loyalty than our gracious hostess does. I end up voting for Democrats, because the many thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate, capable Republicans in this country are simply NOT the ones running for office... but I never give money to the DNC, because they just waste it on nonsense.

So, John Henry... what do YOU stand FOR?

P.S. If Romney were a socialist I would vote for him. He's no more a socialist than Obama is, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Siarlys, my apologies for the delayed response. My last one seems to have been eaten by the blogger gremlins. At first I thought Red had deemed my response unfit for approval, but that didn't make any sense, so I wrote her and found out that I'd have to type the whole thing up again. Sigh.

As for Obama's wars, here's what really happened: Bush got us into Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan, and took credit for Bush's exit agreement in Iraq. He raised him a "kinetic military action" in Libya, drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, and has deployed troops to dozens of countries as his personal contribution to the neverending war on terror. This on top of appointing himself judge, jury, executioner, and indefinite gaoler of those accused of terrorism. If a Republican had done half the things Obama's done, America's Democrats would be screaming bloody murder. The only reason I can think of for the deafening silence I hear from them is that it's cool when the guy who's doing it has a (D) after his name.

You admit that both presidents borrowed money and spent it on foreign adventures and bailouts for companies deemed too large to fail (without, of course, bailing out the individuals who owed money to these companies.) The one, I suppose, is guilty for doing it when it looked like we could afford to do so - the other gets a pass for doing it when we clearly couldn't. Colorblindness indeed.

And I confess that I see no difference, in the final analysis, between a tax cut and a tax refund. How is cutting my tax liability by $600 "real" while refunding $600 to me after I've paid it "phony?" Enlighten me.

What do I stand for? I stand for a country in which Congress coins money and doesn't sit idly by while a privately-held bank drives up investor profits while driving down the value of the dollar. I stand for a country in which the same Congress, realizing it is the sole body invested with the power to declare war brings treason charges against any Commander-in-Chief who decides, on his own authority, to take unauthorized military action against other nations. I stand for a country in which private businesses are promoted above international corporations or government entities wherever possible. I stand for a country that presumes innocence, protects the lives of the weak from the depredations of the strong, and welcomes the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses to its shores. Since none of the clowns likely to win the presidency in November even come close to representing my interests, I am encouraging everyone I know to take this opportunity to vote third party.

I have no use for socialists or capitalists: both are only interested in concentrating power and wealth, and I think more men are made happy when both are distributed more evenly. (Obama's mandated health insurance initiative is a great example of the worst aspects of socialism being wedded to the worst aspects of capitalism.)

PS: If you must accuse me hijacking anything, accuse me of hijacking the likeness of my namesake (the drawing in my profile is of someone else) or of hijacking the thread (Sorry, Red!) but know that my name was a birth day present from my parents.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Ah, then you didn't pick your name as a statement or a nom de plume. Nothing more to say about that -- although the more famous John Henry may have had different views than your own -- or mine for that matter.

Your description of war policy is plausible, but mostly you simply point out that it is difficult to either credit or debit ANY president with what happens on their watch. There is so much inertia and carry-over and things really beyond any president's control. Still, voters think like the old tribes who considered the king a suitable sacrifice to the gods if the rains didn't fall, or floods swept away the crops.

Bush didn't have much choice about Afghanistan, but he made a deliberate and avoidable CHOICE to go into Iraq. He also CHOSE to make Afghanistan a prolonged engagement in state-building, rather than go in, kick butt, and get out. It is true the Iraqi government had already forced the Bush administration to either commit to withdrawal, or flagrantly turn Iraq into an occupied colony. The fact that this happened before Obama came in is neither to his credit nor his shame.

Our president didn't want to push a surge, but after hearing from all concerned, he seems to have considered it the least evil available. I'm not sure he was right, or wrong. Libya was a very different scenario: a mostly unarmed (at that point) popular protest was about to be subjected to slaughter with advanced military equipment. We didn't commit boots on the ground. We did blow up the weapons and cripple the military machine. People in Libya did the rest. I have no problem with that.

I agree that Congress should not "sit idly by while a privately-held bank drives up investor profits while driving down the value of the dollar." Having grown up during the Vietnam era, I generally agree on the war-making powers of congress, but we are not dealing with the same response time as we were in the era when declarations of war took months to cross the Atlantic. Unfortunately, international corporations ARE, technically, "private business," and are quick to launch massive publicity campaigns over the liberty of Joe's Groceries, in order to protect the privileges of Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts and Empire. We can agree on "a country that presumes innocence, protects the lives of the weak from the depredations of the strong, and welcomes the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses to its shores."

Unlike many of those who share some of your values, it appears you are not anti-immigrant. At some point I think we have to limit immigration, simply because we don't have the same wide open spaces we used to, after we first stole the land of previous title holders.

Socialists often HAVE concentrated wealth in a manner very parallel to capitalism. That's why, when the Soviet bloc transitioned to a free market, party apparatchniks simply appropriated most of the resources and became leading capitalists. But that is not the only path available.

I lean toward distributism, as show-cased at Front Porch Republic, with perhaps a bit more of a working class flavor. In a modern world, some enterprises are going to get big. The bigger the enterprise, the more socialized should be its administration. However, we now know from bitter experience that a manager of a socialist enterprise can be just as ruthless as the manager of a capitalist enterprise, if we falsely assume that the label "socialist" makes him or her a "tribune of the people." It does not.

Anonymous said...

I won't argue back and forth with you about the merits of Bush's vs. Obama's policies. I doubt very much whether either of us will be able to change the other's mind. As you and I have both said at different points, there's no real objective way to compare the two. It seems to you that Obama has been a better president than Gingrich or Romney would be, and it seems to me that Democrats and Republicans (including Obama and the stable of losers the GOP is selling) are simply two sides of the same dirty coin. Heads they win; tails we lose. Neither will I argue about the hypothetical political views of an American folk hero. And we can agree that big businesses do tend to appeal to public support for small businesses when seeking to advance their interests.

Regarding God's children as unwelcome burdens is profoundly contrary to Christian charity, which is why I feel the way I do about abortion and immigration. American politics makes for some pretty idiotic contradictions, but that doesn't mean I have to embrace them.

To pick a few nits: First, publicly-traded companies are not private businesses. Second, response time has nothing to do with any of the wars in recent history - only one of which was (sort of) legitimately declared by Congress. When you launch a decade-long war, you can't pretend that you just couldn't wait for Congressional approval. Third, yes, concentration of political and economic power is not the necessary consequence of Socialism, any more than it is the natural consequence of Capitalism. But such is the tendency of both systems.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

So, we have a basis for peaceful coexistence. Should you ever move next door to me, you will be welcome to come over any time we are having a barbecue, and hopefully we could spend hours comparing our rose gardens (if I ever obtain the space to grow one).