I don’t get political too often here at Life of Ando, mostly because I don’t get too political in the real life of Ando. As I’ve mentioned a time or two before, I stay informed enough to cast a resonably responsible vote and to not look like a total ignoramus when the conversation turns political, but I’m not one of these politics junkies that hangs on every soundbite and has every policy position of every candidate memorized by heart. My level of engagement ebbs and flows with however I happen to feel at any given time. When a particular event or issue does grab me, like this years nominating process did, I’ll follow it with the passion of a rabid sports fan. But that passion eventually fades and I return to my laid back, more abstract method of observation.
Part of the reason for this approach is that it keeps me sane. The whole 24-hour news cycle and endless analsysis and disection of every uttered syllabul is as overwhelming as using a tidal wave to douse a match. If I had spent every waking moment worrying about how much someone spent on a suit, or who lives in who’s neighborhood, or what shady character contributed to so-and-so’s campaign, I’d probably have to drop a piano on my brain and be done with it. Not to mention all the distortions the candidates themselves toss out there. So for the sake of my own sanity, I temper my engagement. Maybe this is cowardice, but to be honest, and I’m not saying politics isn’t important, I have other things to worry about and life is too short.
All that said, here is my quick take on things before we all hit the polls tomorrow.
Barack Obama – Come Tuesday evening–and farily early I think–we can no longer say the United States has never had a black President. Other than John McCain and maybe his kids, I think everyone in America expects Obama to win. Though I won’t be voting for him, for a number of reasons, unlike the two previous Democratic nominees (and most of their other hopefuls) I can see his appeal. As hollow as his words may turn out to be, they are eloquently delivered and send a message that is vastly more positive than has come from a Democrat in a long, long time. With Gore, Kerry, Edwards, Hilary, et al, the tune was the same, “America is in trouble and if you don’t vote for me its going to get worse.” Americans don’t respond well to doom and gloom. Ronald Reagan knew it and and Obama is the first Democrat to figure this out in a long time. He offers hope to those who previously had little. Now, whether that hope will become a reality or not is anyones guess, especially since Obama has virtually no record of doing anything. Which is why even though I understand his appeal, I can’t understand the massive lovefest. Yes, he says nice things, but has he done nice things? Or any things? Its a little like those highly touted college athletes that are drafted and given ginormous contracts before they even step onto a professional field. Do you really know what you’re getting?
John McCain – To follow through on that sports analogy, McCain, like a seasoned veteran, is a (relatively) known quantity. Yes, he is known for maverickness, but that’s the point: he’s known for maverickness. He might not be my first choice, in fact I had no first choice this time around, but at least I have some idea of what I’m getting. Maybe that’s not the most sophisticated method for choosing where to cast my vote, but what other choice do I have (Pipe down you Ron Paul-ites! I’m being serious here)? Unfortunately, McCain ran a lousy campaign, focusing too much on Obama’s ties to undesireables (William Ayers & “Rev.” Jeremiah Wright) and other “he-said-she-said” type personal stuff, and not enough on his “spread the wealth around” economic plans. I’m not saying the Ayers/Wright thing isn’t important–its a concern for me more as showing a lack of judgement than as some underlying Obama radicalness–but I just don’t think its the kind of thing that is going to really resonate with people who are undecided and may well work to turn them off. Of course, you can’t talk about McCain without talking about Sarah Palin. I’m kind of on the fence with her. She’s no doubt a talented and accomplished woman, and many of the attacks on her have been absurd and even sexist, but I do think the experience question is legitimate. And from a purely campaigning viewpoint, is it really a good idea to choose someone with so little experience when that is the exact argument you are making against you’re opponent? Doesn’t seem too logical to me. But this is politics, so, to paraphrase Tina Turner, what’s logic, got to do, got to do with it? But the most egregious mistake the McCain-Palin campaign made was not taking advantage of the obvious and incredibly awesome name combination that would have resonated with voters: McPain. Just think about TV spot that went something like this: “Which would you prefer, Obama vs. Osama or McPain vs. Osama? That’s what we thought. McCain-Palin in 2008. They’ll bring the McPain to the terrorists.” Tell me that wouldn’t lock up the national security vote.
Anyway, I guess you could say I’m throwing the coveted Life of Ando endorsement behind John McCain. I’m sure this is just the sort of late breaking November Surprise he needed to propel him to the White House. Whoever ends up winning, I hope they do right by America, because all parties and colors and ideologies aside, that’s what we all want. Except for Noam Chomsky.
Here’s a video that hopefully will show you how important it is to register to vote (sorry couldn’t embed).