Well, I guess, barring any major changes in direction between now and the election, I've made a decision.
It wasn't easy. As I referenced in my earlier notes I actually like both of these guys. That's a pretty major departure from the last few elections where I didn't like anyone. They're both straight shooters - or as straight as our screwed up system allows them to be. As hard as they've tried to disagree, they actually agree on more of the core issues. As different as they are, they're a lot the same. They just come at the world from two completely different places. Under different circumstances, I have a feeling they might have liked each other.
My vote won't count for much. I'm a registered republican in a democrat dominated region. When I go to the polling place on primary election days I don't have to wait in line, so there's an upside. I call myself a Lincoln republican. I guess I kind of take pride in that. In knowing what that means.
The truth though, is that I'm not sure Abe would recognize this republican party. Lincoln didn't exactly feel that the best way to ensure wealth, fairness and happiness was to leave everything up to the people. That's a misnomer. He felt that the best and most efficient way to govern was local. He wanted less power at the federal level and more power at the local level. He was neither terribly religious, nor terribly conservative. The plays he attended were usually pretty bawdy for the time. He loved to laugh and he was slow to condemn, even when he vehemently disagreed with an other's position. He freed the slaves, but he extended a free hand of reconciliation to the South. If he'd lived a lot of things would have been easier for folks below the Mason/Dixon line.
I think either John McCain or Barack Obama could make a good President. My democrat friends will sniff and look down their noses at me for that. McCain has made a career of being honorably centrist. His best friend in the senate is a democrat. He looks upon the Bush administration with real disdain. He would govern in a different way. I don't know if Obama is experienced enough to be President. Some of his statements seem very, uh, 'hopeful.' That said, he's damn smart and he's clearly a leader.
I think Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are also both good people. I hate Biden's politics. He is everything I've always opposed about the democratic party. Backed into a corner he attacks the person rather than the idea. He's done it for years and it's a part of his character. I think he was a horrible choice for Barack. Sarah Palin seems pretty straight forward. I believe her when she says she wants to work for reform. Like McCain, she's bucked the party line when she thought it was wrong. People scoff at her taking on big oil, but they shouldn't. In an oil state that took real courage.
In the end though, unless I get even more worried about a liberal landslide, I'll likely end up voting for Obama. I like his hopeful ideals. I like what his election would mean to black America and to the world. I don't vehemently disagree with most of his positions. None of these is the reason why I'd vote for him though. I'd vote for him because if John McCain dies Sarah Palin would be President, and she's not qualified. I may hate what Joe Biden stands for politically, but there is no question that he would be a capable standin in the event of a tragedy in the oval office. I admit that I worry about congress and a massive unprotected overreaction in the event of a landslide. I'm tired of being characterized as foolish by the mass of new democrats and their tide of change. I may end up voting for their man, but I do it with less enthusiasm because of the people who will also punch that ticket. That might be something to work on ...