American Elephants

Last minute guidance for voters. by The Elephant's Child

Most websites that include politics have last minute advice, but it is noticeable.  Everybody’s exhausted.  Too many polls, too many ads, too many mailers, too much spin, too many lies and too much emotion.

Voting is far too serious a matter to be done on the basis of emotion. This is not a popularity contest, or it shouldn’t be.  There is a lot of trouble on the horizon, and we are electing people to deal with it as our representatives.  To be our servants.  They are going to work for us. Have you considered their applications carefully?  Have you studied their resumés and looked for the real meaning behind the carefully chosen words?

Here is the best Election ’08 Backgrounder I have seen, from Investors Business Daily.  A checklist, if you will, of things you should consider before you go to the polls.  And there are links to further information if you want it.  I hope this helps.

Maybe it’s better if they just stay away. by The Elephant's Child

The Wall Street Journal reports today on the 110th Congress’s finest hour. They have passed fewer laws than any Congress in the last two decades, a mere 294 laws. On the other hand they took time to consider 1,932 resolutions favoring such notable causes as National Watermelon Month.

This is good. We want them to do a lot less. Particularly in an election year, politicians want to DO SOMETHING, and that something is usually ill-advised and done in haste. There is a tremendous incentive to tack nice little earmarks for their districts onto any available bill. Legislators are busybodies by nature and must be restrained.

The things that they managed to get passed were ill-advised, and will probably weigh on taxpayers in the future. The college loan fiasco, and the mortgage bailout are strikingly bad examples.

There is something in the air that suggests to legislators that it is their duty or pleasure to regulate the most minute parts of our lives. Who would have ever dreamed that Congress would take it upon themselves to decide what kind of shower heads we may have, or that we must abandon the kinds of light bulbs we use in favor of a more expensive imported kind that, if dropped, requires us to call in the Haz-mat team. And toilets, for heaven’s sake! Where in the Constitution does it suggest that they regulate our toilets? Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

Much of this lunacy can be laid at the base of the environmental altar. Much is done in the name of “saving the planet”, when the planet is just fine, thank you, warming and cooling as it has always done. All in the name of carbon dioxide, a harmless, colorless gas that has no influence on global warming but does all sorts of good things like making plants grow. It stopped warming about 10 years ago, but Congress is still anxious to legislate its demise.

If we get very, very lucky, perhaps members of Congress will extend their vacation, and so do nothing, nothing at all.

Run, Ralph, Run! by American Elephant
January 22, 2008, 5:41 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

I can already see the veins popping and heads spinning over at DailyKos if Nader were to run and the Republican were to win by a small margin. That alone would be worth a contribution to his campaign.

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Consumer advocate Ralph Nader said on Monday he will decide soon on whether to make a another bid for the White House in 2008, eight years after playing a key role as a third party presidential candidate.

“I’ll decide in about a month,” he said in an interview broadcast on CBC Radio’s Daybreak show in Montreal. [read more]

So Why Do You Want to Be President, Anyway? by The Elephant's Child

Haven’t you often wondered just what it is that impels a person to seek the office of President of the United States?  Admit it.  You have looked at one candidate or another and snickered and wondered “what were they thinking?”

There is ambition, of course, and we can all identify the candidates with burning ambition.  But what makes them think that they are up to the challenge? Do they want to do, or do they want to be?  Hillary claims vast experience, since she lived in the White House with the President — which is about as plausible as a wife replacing a retiring C.E.O.  It may have been interesting and fascinating, but it wasn’t experience, at least as we usually define experience.

John Edwards had one term in the Senate, and one campaign for Vice President, and apparently fell in love with his ‘two Americas’ theme.  Barack Obama was in the Illinois State Senate, but no sooner did he take his seat in the Senate than he began campaigning to be President, and hasn’t been in Washington much since.  Thin resumes indeed. 

 Occasionally a candidate will be selected by a group of others who seek him out and urge him to run.  But every one of the current candidates on both sides is self-selected.  This, I think, makes our job of learning about a candidate harder.  Why do they want to be President, and why should we agree?

Here’s how I think you do it.  First, go to a candidate’s website, print out what you can find under ‘Issues’ or some equivalent title, and go over it with a fine tooth comb.  Make notes.  Do they seem to know what they are talking about, or are they just pandering — promising to give you stuff if you vote for them?  Do they have a grasp of the current problems in foreign affairs?  Do they understand the current threats to the security of the United States?  This, after all, is the primary job of the President.  Do they have a clue about economics?  They can ask Congress to pass laws to accomplish other items on their to-do list, but Congress doesn’t have to agree, and probably won’t. 

Second, look carefully at who the candidate has selected as advisers.  Do these people have good resumes on their own?  Obama, for example, speaks of hope and change and unity, yet his advisers are from the Carter Administration and advised what many consider the worst presidency in history. 

Third.  Pay far less attention to the candidate’s looks, what they say on the stump (after a while they all turn into demagogues, promising goodies and avoiding the really serious questions). 

If I had my choice, I would do away with the debates.  It’s silly, waiting for someone to sweat, or get angry, or trip over his own tongue.  I’d like to see a relaxed conversation about the state of the country and the world with all the candidates and an interesting, scrupulously non-partisan host, rather than a Sunday show host who is trying to get the candidates to embarrass themselves.  No stage and lecterns, but comfortable seats around a table.  I want to get to know the candidates, not trick them into saying something they didn’t intend.  Much of the mischief on the campaign trail is committed by the media — who are ever ready to pounce on anything that might make a more interesting story.

How would you  prefer to choose a candidate?  Are you satisfied with the way we do it now?

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