Okay, here's my last-second coming-out political endorsement. As well, and probably necessarily, here's a small-ish nutshell version of my presidential political thinking this last however long. Basically, McCain kind of lost me along the way. He wasn't compelling in the debates, and I don't like the way his campaign has been run. He's been small-ish-minded and churlish and occasionally quite inconsistent (which I really don't like). Borrowing a notion from Hitch, he just seems not quite to be the man he was in earlier years. And, actually, it was Hitch's acrobatic jump from the ship which nailed that coffin for me. (And for which, by the bye, Laura Ingraham tore him, or certainly endeavoured to tear him, a variety of new orifices.) Anyway, these two articles here, Vote for Obama - McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president. And Palin is simply a disgrace not to mention "Sarah Palin's War on Science The GOP ticket's appalling contempt for knowledge and learning" are the polemics in question. Of course I won't say Hitch changed my mind; but he definitely validated what I was already feeling.
As for my Palin-mania, by the way: I'm irrationally pleased to point out that I was just about the first person on leap on the bandwagon like, hours after the announcement and now I'm just about the last person off. Her public appearances, particularly the interview with Katie Couric, which Erin rather pointedly pointed me toward, pretty bludgeoningly convinced me that this woman simply doesn't have the firepower. She simply, and rather palpably, lacks the knowledge, skills, and experience for the job. I still think she's cool as hell. But, of course, I know quite a lot of cool people probably most of them, in fact who shouldn't be let anywhere nuclear weapons or multi-billion-dollar budgets. Live and revise.
One last point before my actual endorsement: I'm starting to get kind of excited by a (seemingly imminent) Obama presidency. Don't get me wrong, I still disagree with an awful lot of his policies and philosophy (and background), often in profound ways. But I'm starting to appreciate the upside. For one thing (admittedly slightly trivial), I'm savouring the symbolism and basic effect this is going to have on the world. I mean, I don't really give that much of a damn what the European intelligentsia think. Seriously. But there are also, like, billions of people there and in other places who have profoundly wrong, and in many cases totally paranoid and freakazoid, notions of the U.S. government and society. And when we elect a black man with an Arab/Muslim middle name these guys are going to have some big, bloated, paranoid fantasies seriously, whooshingly pricked. And that whoosh may echo around the world. (I don't think this is a reason to vote for a presidential candidate, but if he's going to be elected anyway, it will be an awesome benefit.)
Also, rather more importantly, I'm pretty convinced he has an extremely fine mind, and a first-class temperament. And these two in combination can go a long, long way. (Already have, in fact.) I'm hopeful he can transcend his limited experience, questionable associations, liberal/no-show voting record etc. I know that sounds back-handed, but I really do think there's a perfectly good chance he could go on to be a really great president. (You know, Truman looked kind of like a joke when he took office. And he sure showed us.) He seems to learn fast, and adapt well, and surround himself with really top people. I absolutely wish him well, seriously.
Oh and he'll also be our first Basketball-American President. Nice. (More here in The Audacity of Hoops.)
What an Obama administration, partnered with a Democrat-controlled Senate and House, will do to our pocketbooks and economy and already horrendous government bloat, are totally other questions, of course. And questions which lead handily into the point of this dispatch:
The fact that McCain lost me has now freed me to vote my conscience: to vote Libertarian the Party of Principle. This dispatch won't be a comprehensive advocacy of Libertarianism, or even a primer. But I will provide a link to A) a nice primer on lp.org, and also invite you to take the World's Smallest Political Quiz which is surprisingly likely to demonstrate that you (yes, you) are a lot more libertarian than you realise. (Most Americans are.)
Moreover, I will point out that the Libertarians are the only party with a philosophically consistent platform; the only party that genuinely respects individual liberty as a founding principle of the country; the only party that has any likelihood of implementing a government that is not extra-Constitutional and, believe me, the current one is, egregiously; and the only party with any plan to let you spend your own money and live your own life free from undue government interference. Moreover, they are the leading third party in the U.S. and were growing quite robustly before 9/11, which is the kind of event which marginalizes already marginal parties and you might profitably familiarize yourself with them. You might consider their arguments and consider that you do have an alternative to the Republicrats.
Finally, I will provide a speech by the Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr, in four bite-sized parts. This selection, from a recent appearance at the University of Florida, is basically arbitrary, but I saw it recently, and it's good and entertaining and compelling and a pretty good entree into the whole Libertarian worldview. Incidentally, the whole "Let's give a trillion dollars of the peoples' money to a bunch of failed bankers" thing has provided a good opening for Barr and the party to highlight their message.
Oh, as final coda Santa Clara County, where I'm registered, actually now accepts absentee ballots by e-mail! So I've spent the last hour or so taking high-res digital photos of my marked ballot, and cropping and reducing them in P-Shop, and shooting them off to someone called Sue in the county government. All very California. And they even sent me an American flag "I Voted" sticker, which I will proudly wear to an election party tomorrow.
Don't forget to vote!