Two things came up this week that make me question the judgment of Democrat Presidential candidate, Senator Obama. First, he used a old phrase that has caught fire in the news.

“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

People say that he was talking about the Republican Vice President candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin, but Obama maintains that he was only using a common phrase, and not targeting her at all. I question Obama’s judgment because I see two possibilities behind this phrase:

A) Obama really meant to call Palin a pig, which is sexist language, even for a Democrat, and certainly poor judgment.

or

B) Obama really wasn’t thinking of Palin, but it is easily misconstrued by others to refer to her. He should have the good judgment to recognize how his words could be viewed by others.

In either case, Obama shows a lack of judgment in the use of this phrase.

The second thing that came up this week comes from Senator Biden, Obama’s Vice President candidate, as he was singing the praises of Senator Clinton.

“She’s a truly close personal friend, and she is qualified to be President of the United States of America. She’s easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America, and, quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.”

I love how Ace of Ace of Spades HQ summed up Biden’s comment:

Barack Obama’s judgment was that Joe Biden was the best possible vice presidential candidate.

Joe Biden says he’s wrong.

This was Obama’s first major decision as a would-be president.

He got it wrong.

Yes, Obama got it wrong. He got it wrong with his Vice President pick, and he got it wrong with using the lipstick on a pig comment. And if he is making bad judgment calls at this point in the election, what sort of judgment will Obama have in the midst of a high-pressure crisis while President? I shudder to think about it.

So, yes, I do question his judgment.

The political buzz is not about Senator Obama’s nomination by the Democrat party last night. Instead it is about Senator McCain announcing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his Vice President candidate today. I don’t know what the polls will say, but I’ll bet that there won’t be much of a bounce for Obama as there will be for McCain.

Gov. Palin is younger than Obama, and has served less time as governor of Alaska than Obama has served as Senator, but there is a difference: Palin has seven years of executive experience as mayor and governor, while Obama has none.

Yes, liberals will bring up her inexperience, but that is a two-edged sword that can cut Obama deeper than it will cut Palin. If she is asked about her inexperience in a debate or news conference, she could respond in this way: “While it’s true that I am younger than Senator Obama, I bring seven years of executive experience to the position as compared to Senator Obama’s none. I would say I am better prepared for an executive position than he is.”

While I was completely wrong in my guess 20 months ago about who the Democrat and Republican candidates would be, I still stand by this paragraph:

Since the office of President is an executive position, it makes sense that people elect proven executives to that office. This could explain why so many state governors have been elected President (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, F.D.R., Coolidge, Wilson, T. Roosevelt, McKinley). That makes nine the last time I counted them — nearly 50% of our Presidents since 1900. And whether the state is large or small, the office of Governor is an executive position. With all else being equal, I would prefer a candidate with proven executive experience over a legislator any day (but when do we ever have two candidates that are close to equal in belief and position?).

Of the Democrat and Republican candidates, only the Republican ticket brings executive experience to the job.

When my brothers and I were kids, we once had a conversation shortly before Christmas that ran somewhat like following:

“I’m not going to tell you that I’m getting you a fire truck for Christmas.”

“Well, I’m not going to tell you that I’m getting you a Batmobile for Christmas.”

Funny thing, when Christmas came around, we weren’t all that surprised at the toys we got, but that’s the sort of immature logic you get with little kids. That is why I was surprised to see this same silly logic used by a Presidential candidate, former governor Mike Huckabee.

The television spot, which calls Republican rival Mitt Romney “dishonest” for airing ads that distort Huckabee’s record, ran in the afternoon in Davenport, at dinnertime in Cedar Rapids and during a 9 p.m. newscast in Davenport, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

The on-again, off-again ad has been at the center of one of the oddest events in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. After days of withering attacks by Romney, a former Masachusetts [sic] governor, Huckabee took a day off the campaign trail Sunday to fly to Arkansas and film a 30-second counterattack ad, which was prepared for release in Iowa the next day.

But Huckabee changed his mind Monday morning and announced at a noon news conference — which was scheduled to launch the spot — that he would not air it because he did not want to run a negative campaign and risk alienating Iowa voters.

“I pulled the ad,” Huckabee said at the news conference. “I do not want it to be run at all.”

But no sooner did he make the pledge than he proceeded to show the spot to reporters while cameras rolled, ensuring that it would be aired in news reports and spread across the Internet.

The move drew criticism, as Huckabee was accused of trying to backhandedly attack Romney and claim to take the high road.

OK, so he isn’t talking about toys, but he’s claiming the moral high-ground by not showing the commercial, but in the same soapbox press conference he used to pat himself on the back, Huckabee airs to the press the very same commercial he won’t show. And that guaranteed that it would be shown by the press. When Huckabee told the press that he was going to show them the very commercial he was pulling, the press recognized this as a silly stunt and laughed. But that didn’t stop them from participating in this stunt and airing the commercial.

I was either six or seven when I “didn’t” tell my brothers exactly what they were getting for Christmas. And in our defense, we learned not to do that again. But this is not what I expect in an adult.

I won’t tell you that I’m not voting for Huckabee in the upcoming primary.

I don’t base my choice of political candidates based on a quiz on the Internet, but sometimes they are fun to take. I saw a link to a political quiz on Instapundit.com, and I decided to go along. Here are my results.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where he was known as a centrist. He reformed the state healthcare system, and would pursue reforms at the national level as well. Romney supports oil drilling in Alaska, but also alternative energy sources. He claims to be conservative on issues like abortion and gay civil unions, and he supports the Iraq war. Romney supports fair trade, as well as a greater focus on math and science in our schools.

Ron Paul
John McCain
Rudy Guiliani
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

It just so happens that at this point, I’m leaning more towards Mitt Romney because of his positions and comments than any of the others, but I’m still not completely won over by anyone. I did noticed that Fred Thompson is not in the list, and I have no idea how the questions are measured, so this is far from scientific. I file it along with other “gee whiz” type of activities. Feel free to take it, too. I do find it funny that I have no matching positions with the four Democrat candidates.

Since anyone can create a quiz without showing the logic behind the score, the quality of the quizzes do varies. I took several quizzes for fun. You can try these three:

In order, I got 100%, the West, and 100%, not that the scores are all that important. But the American accent test appears to have mapped nicely to another one I took.

We have an early crop of Presidential hopefuls springing up, but none all that exciting. Since Vice President Cheney has already said he won’t run, there will be no clear leaders for either the Democrat or Republican presidential candidates this year as we normally would with an incumbent President or Vice President running for the office.

What makes a good President? Well, the Constitution explains that the President is the chief executive of the country, so the President had better have good executive skills. There is no way any one person could juggle all the responsibilities of a modern American President, so a successful President ought to be able to delegate responsibilities to competent staff. But regardless of how few or many people there are to help with duties, the President is the chief executive who has to make the really tough decisions.

So what is the best way to prepare to be an American President? For the rest of this article I’ll look at the last 19 Presidents — the ones who have served from 1900 to the present — and take my calculations from their numbers. Of these 19 men, six were Vice Presidents first (G. Bush, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge). So is being a Vice President the best way to train for the job of President? I guess that would depend on the President. Some Presidents have included their V.P.s in the day-to-day workings of the Presidency, and others seem to have tolerated the office of V.P. as a necessary evil. John Nance Garner, twice Vice President under FDR, is reported to have said that the job of Vice President was “not worth a bucket of warm piss,” although the newspapers substituted the word “spit” to protect the tender eyes of their readers.

Of the six former Vice Presidents, four gained the office of President via death or resignation (Ford, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge), while two were elected President after having completed two terms as Vice President first (G. Bush, Nixon). Going solely by these numbers, you’re twice as likely to become President because of death or resignation than you are by showing how much you have learned in the Vice President slot.

What about being a Senator before running for President? Judging by the number of Senators who have announced their candidacy or who are expected to do so, you’d think the Senate would be the best place from which to launch a Presidential run, but recent history doesn’t back that theory. Only five of the last 19 Presidents had served in the Senate first (Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, Harding), but of these five, only two left their Senatorial positions to become President (Kennedy, Harding). The other three served as Vice Presidents first. Ignoring the long odds, a Senator is a legislator and not an executive, so serving as a Senator doesn’t necessarily train one to be a good Chief Executive. This fact alone could explain the relatively few modern Presidents who were formerly Senators, and it also explains why I’ve not been excited about any Senator who runs for President.

Since the office of President is an executive position, it makes sense that people elect proven executives to that office. This could explain why so many state governors have been elected President (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, F.D.R., Coolidge, Wilson, T. Roosevelt, McKinley). That makes nine the last time I counted them — nearly 50% of our Presidents since 1900. And whether the state is large or small, the office of Governor is an executive position. With all else being equal, I would prefer a candidate with proven executive experience over a legislator any day (but when do we ever have two candidates that are close to equal in belief and position?).

And now to prove how badly I cannot predict elections from 18 months out, I will now give my predictions for 2008. This prediction assumes (and it’s a big assumption) that there are no major upsets such as a shooting war breaking out with Iran or anyone else, another major terrorist attack on the U.S., or new revelations about the candidates popping up between now and Election Day 2008. Looking at the current crop of Democrat candidates for President, I have to give the nomination to Senator Clinton. Of the current crop of hopefuls, she has the greatest capability to raise money for her campaign, and she has the best name recognition. On the other hand, I think her biggest obstacle to being elected is her name recognition.

Of the current Republican candidates, I think it will be either Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both candidates have more executive experience than the Republican Senators who aspire to be President.

I can’t predict who would win if it came down to a race between Senator Clinton and Mitt Romney. She would have to overcome the large group of people who actively dislike, if not outright despise her. He would have to overcome the “I can’t vote for a Mormon!” hang-up some people have, although the argument sounds so 1960s to me. But I have to believe there are fewer people with a Mormon hang-up than there are with a Hillary hang-up.

I know I’d be much happier with another Republican in office, so maybe that’s coloring my prediction.

Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) said the following about the prospect of confirming John Bolton as U.N. ambassador permanently:

The American people have spoken out against the president’s agenda on a number of fronts, and presumably one of those is on foreign policy. And at this late stage in my term, I’m not going to endorse something the American people have spoke out against.

Sen. Chafee just lost his Senate seat to a Democrat challenger, so I could see his reluctance to confirm Bolton as sour grapes at losing. But while that is a possible motivation, I am more convinced that Sen. Chafee is just being Sen. Chafee. He failed to support Bolton earlier, “citing concerns at one point about Bolton’s tie to a government investigation into faulty prewar intelligence on Iraq.” The Fox News report continues to say that Sen. Chafee promised to block Bolton’s nomination “until the administration answered questions about its policy in the Middle East, which in effect delayed any vote until after the elections.” With Republicans like him, who needs Democrats?

While I don’t relish the thought (or reality) of a Democrat-controlled Senate, the knowledge that a RINO (Republican In Name Only) like Sen. Chafee has lost his Senate seat makes me feel better. Voters in Rhode Island have a better chance of electing a real Republican the next time around. Hopefully they will do so in 2012.

But did you notice how quick Sen. Chafee was to to bow to the Democrats’ “mandate” and use that as the excuse not to confirm Bolton? I find it interesting that he was so very quick to accept their mandate, but the press and the Democrats claim President Bush and the Republicans didn’t have a mandate despite being elected the previous three times in 2000, 2002, and 2004. Sen. Chafee has talked about leaving the Republicans before, and he’s not ruled it out even now. He should go ahead and make the official change to the Democrats, just to reflect what his real party affiliation has been for years.

Personally, I’m having a hard time deciding whether Sen. Chafee is more of a giant douche or a turd sandwich.

Well, Election Day 2006 has come upon us. Regardless of the outcome in local, state and national elections today, I’m looking forward to one good result: no more annoying telephone solicitors calling me and urging me to vote, or to vote for their specific candidate. I will be most happy when they stop calling us multiple times a day.

And speaking of voting, I have a standing guideline that if ever somebody is running unopposed, and I do not know that sole candidate’s position, views and history, I will always check the write-in ballot option and put someone there rather than leaving that section blank. This prevents my ballot from being easily tampered with by anyone. This does mean, however, that my wife has had votes cast for her before, and she occasionally votes for me. She has also admitted to writing in “Mighty Thor, God of Thunder” for the local electric board. (Obviously he would be the perfect man for the job.)

Politics, like sports, is boring unless you know the players and have picked a team to root for. I read that in a book, but for the life of me, I can’t find the quote! But I think there is some truth to the phrase. Unless you care about one team or another, there may not be much there to inspire you to vote. And contrary to what some people may say, I don’t believe that everyone should vote. But that’s just me.

And as a humorous aside, you can watch the South Park episode satirizing the 2004 election as a vote between a giant douche and a turd sandwich here at allabout-sp.net.

And now here are both graphics and text from the duo of Cox and Forkum:

Election 2006

However, I do know this: The enemy is already actively waging war against us, and absent a Democrat alternative for waging the war better, a retreat in the face of that war seems to me more suicidal than half-fighting. Half-fighting itself is no doubt encouraging the enemy, so it’s not much better than not fighting at all. It could even be argued that in some ways it’s worse. But to the extent that half-fighting has encouraged the enemy, it has done so because it’s taken as a sign of weakness. And I can think of no stronger sign of weakness than a retreat motivated by a desire to disengage from the battle.

UPDATE (11/7/2006 11:13:43 PM): Well, the cheering you hear is the combined voices of Democrats celebrating that they have taken control of the House. I’m not one for making predictions since I am so often wrong, but I’ll make the following three predictions: 1) the Democrats will begin serious discussion about impeaching President Bush, partially because they hate him in their BDS way, but also as pay-back for the impeachment of President Clinton. It will require a simple majority of the House to pass articles of impeachment, and now they have those votes in their Democrat majority. It won’t fly in the Senate as long as there are not 60+ Senators willing to confirm the impeachment. 2) The Democrats will claim their taking back the House as a validation of their anti Iraq war stance. Much will be ballyhooed about their “mandate.” It will be the catch phrase for the rest of the week at least. And 3) the Democrats will use their mandate to shaft the military currently serving in Iraq. Last time this happened, the Democrats stopped funding the Vietnam war, and we know how well that region turned out after a strong U.S. presence left.

The Ornithophobe wrote her take on what every vote for Democrats meant:

If the dems have their way and we pull out of Iraq, then we will have delivered a clear message to those who want to kill us. It is an engraved invitation to another 9/11, more bombed embassies and ships, more hijackings, and more beheaded Americans abroad. When Bush1 pulled out after the Gulf War, he left our allies to be slaughtered and dumped like garbage into mass graves. Hussein is one part on a multiheaded hydra; we cut him out and more grew in his place. They will carry on his atrocities. And anyone who has helped us fight this war has a deathmark. When we leave, they are as good as dead. We promised our soldiers and our allies that we would stand by them, we would support them.

And every vote for the democrats today was a vote not to keep our word. It was a vote for Sharia law.

Read the whole thing.

Contrary to what some people may think, I don’t agree that every vote should count, and I don’t think that everyone should vote. In fact, there are some very good reasons why you should not vote this election year:

  • Illegal aliens should not vote
  • Legal residents who are not U.S. citizens should not vote
  • Felons who have lost their franchise should not vote
  • The dead should not vote
  • People should not vote in races in a state where they do not reside
  • People who are not registered should not vote
  • People who lie about their identities should not vote
  • People voting multiple times should not vote
  • People who choose a candidate based on which one looks prettier/more handsome should not vote
  • People who choose a candidate based on whether he or she gives out free cigarettes should not vote
  • People who don’t know the candidates, their platforms, and/or their history should not vote

That’s quite a list, don’t you think? Some of the above actions are illegal, but some show a severe lack of understanding. And I, for one, don’t think you should vote if you don’t know what or who you are voting for or against. Yes, I know that voting while ignorant isn’t illegal, but that still doesn’t change my opinion that voting ignorantly is worse than not voting at all. Bottom line: know why you are voting.

Notice that at no point have I said that you shouldn’t vote if you lean toward one political philosophy or another. I really don’t care whom you vote for as long as you know why you are voting for that candidate. But I will say that voting for someone just because that person is a member of your party is not a sufficient reason. To illustrate my point, lemme mention two (in)famous political names: Dan Rostenkowski and Mark Foley. Neither of these two should have been voted into the House.

Some people get mad at the candidates in their party, and so they decide to cast a protest vote for the other party. I’ve heard it explained that “if the people in my party can’t do the right thing when they’re in power, then tossing them out will teach them a lesson.” I’m hearing this from Republicans this year, and I heard it from Democrats in the ’90s. Not to be negative, but do you really think anyone cares about your vote in particular? Hah! It would be far more effective to get involved in the workings of your party than to cast a vote for someone outside of it. But that’s assuming that you are interested enough to become involved.

And speaking of involvement, my Church doesn’t tell its members which political party to vote for, and it pretty much stays out of elections and measures unless there are moral issues on the ballot. Our leaders will speak out against measures dealing with gambling and abortion, for example, because these measures deal with moral issues. While not taking a stand on political parties, my Church does tell me what type of men and women I should vote for:

“Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” [D&C 98:9-10]

And that is why I need to know the individual candidates, what they stand for, and their moral character.

There is good and bad news about the upcoming election. The good news is that there are only a few more days until the election, which means the campaign ads will go away soon. The bad news is that we only have a few days before the election, and we’ll have to live with the results for the next two years. I’m more than ready for the constant polling calls to stop:

Annoying pollster: “If the election were held today, would you vote for the Democrat or Republican candidate for governor?”
Annoyed me: “Neither, because I’d be unaware that the election had been changed from Nov. 7th.” *click*

[As the person fielding most of these calls, I'm getting reeeeeeally tired of 'em. My response to a recent call:
Clueless shill: "Hi, I'm (name) from (annoying organization) and I know you've been getting a lot of political calls, but--"
Me: "You're right, I have. Goodbye." *click* --TPK]

Speaking of things annoying, Oregonians mail in their ballots. There is no going to your local precinct to vote for the people you want to represent you. Instead, we vote by mail for our candidates of choice, hoping that our votes are not overshadowed by those of illegal voters. And it’s trivially simple for someone to register illegally here in Oregon. Here are the options you can use to identify yourself as an Oregon voter if you don’t have a valid Oregon driver’s license, ID, or Social Security number:

If you do not have a current, valid Oregon DMV Driver’s License/ID or a Social Security number, you must affirm this on the voter registration card, and if you are registering by mail, you must provide a copy of one of the following:

  • valid photo identification
  • a paycheck stub
  • a utility bill
  • a bank statement
  • a government document
  • proof of eligibility under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) or the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (VAEH)

And all these documents prove U.S. citizenship and Oregon residence? Hardly! But these are the “new laws” that require people to identify themselves with one of the above by mail. Previous laws were even less stringent, if I can use that word to describe this lax law. Saying there is voter fraud in Oregon is like saying there are hemp products at Burning Man. It’s not a question of “if,” but a question of “how much.”

But not all the voting news is bad. The Supreme Court has allowed an Arizona law requiring photo ID at the voting booth to take effect for the 2006 election day. Proposition 200 was passed in Arizona in 2004, but the 9th Circus Circuit Court of Appeals put the kibosh on voter ID for two years. Requiring a photo ID is too much of a hardship for the poor and/or elderly, don’t you know. But is it really? Here’s the final paragraph from the news article summing up the Supreme Court’s action:

In order to cast a ballot at the polls, voters must show a photo ID with current street address or two forms of identification, such as a utility bill or car registration, with name and street address.

So if you don’t have a photo ID with current street address, such as a driver’s license, then two forms of identification are good enough. Pray tell, where is the hardship in providing a utility bill? I guess it’s a difficult thing if you are an illegal alien, but it’s not that much of a hardship for a legal resident.

And legal voting should be something we encourage.

It doesn’t matter what the results are in the Nov. 4, 2008, presidential election — President Bush will not hand over the presidency to the next elected President on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2009. That’s what my co-worker told me this week. If he’s able to swallow that idea whole, I’m sure he is equally convinced that the Twin Towers collapsed due to controlled demolitions. His basic argument relies on President Bush being an evil power-hungry megalomaniac intent on gaining control of the entire government. You can tell this is so by the number of high-ranking Democrats he has had arrested and executed.

If you can’t tell from my sarcasm, I’m not a big believer in this theory. I do believe that, come Jan. 20, 2009, someone other than George W. Bush will be standing there with one hand on the Bible, swearing to defend the Constitution. I remember that some conservatives were likewise worried that President Clinton might use some legal pretext to invalidate the inauguration of 2001, but the reins of power were handed over.

What prevents President Bush from being elected to a third term? Well, for one thing, the 22nd Amendment — which limits any given President to two elected terms of office. I can hear ‘em now: “Yeah, but Bush was selected, not elected in 2000, so he can still be elected in 2008!” Oh, puh-lease! Comments like that make me want to check for the presence of tinfoil under your hat.

The final argument I was given to support the idea of President Bush staying in office suggested that, because we are at war or due to emergency, there might be some exercise of the War Powers Act. I don’t buy this either. We have changed Presidents in the middle of war before. We did it in 1945 near the end of World War II and in 1963 during the Vietnam War. Granted, both of these changes occurred because of the death of the previous President. But President Eisenhower was elected during the Korean War, and President Nixon was elected in the middle of the Vietnam War.

So what, other than an advanced case of BDS, makes you believe that President Bush won’t hand over the Presidency in 2009?

[The only way a Bush could be sworn into office in 2009 is if someone else with that surname were to run for President. At the moment, I can think of only one potential 2008 candidate related to someone who was previously a President of the United States. Hint: it ain't Laura.] –TPK