While I am still hoping that the new primary schedules will actually diminish the importance of states like Iowa and New Hampshire in our election process, I have to say that I am glad to see the results from the Iowa Caucuses. Even though Kucinich
is my ideal candidate and my first choice, Obama and Edwards have been close seconds for me. I like Obama's freshness and desire to get beyond the partisan games of Washington culture, and I really
like how Edwards has put poverty back on the table as a key election issue. That's why I'm excited to see the reports
that Obama has won the Iowa Caucus with 38% and that Edwards has finished second with 30%. Clinton (whom I'm really not a big fan of at all) finished third with 29%.
On the Republican side Huckabee finished first with 34%. The next closest was Mitt Romney with 25%. That concerns me a bit since I think Huckabee will actually be far harder to beat in a general election than any of the other front-running Republicans.
And before anyone accuses me of being too partisan, let me just say up-front that I do not consider myself a Republican or a Democrat. However, I just don't think the nation or the world can take another four years of neo-con policies in the White House, and so far all of the Republican candidates seem to be trying to out-Bush President Bush on that score. In my mind the Dems are definitely still just the lesser of two evils; but in this case, the first evil is pretty bad.
posted by Mike Clawson at 2:00 AM | Permalink
At 1/04/2008 11:54:00 PM,
Then, in the end, why don't you think they are just as evil as the Republicans? IOW, why would you cast your vote for either?
At 1/04/2008 11:56:00 PM, Jake
Mike - A friend and I were talking the other day about the whole lesser-of-two-evils things. If you honestly believe you're only choosing between the lesser of two evils, isn't it better to just opt out and not vote? After all, even though it's the lesser of two evils, it's still, by definition, an "evil," isn't it?
I still plan on voting for Obama b/c I genuinely believe in his ideas and support them, but if it comes down to Hillary against any Republican (possible exception being McCain) I'll probably just opt out b/c I can't in good conscience give my support to any of the other Republicans or to Hillary.
At 1/05/2008 10:24:00 AM, Mike Clawson
BradM - I didn't say they were "just as evil". I still think the recent track record of the Republican party, as it has been hijacked by a neo-conservative agenda, has been so overwhelmingly negative that something has to be done to stop it. While I don't put a lot of hope in the Dems to actually do a lot of good things, I can at least hope that they will do fewer bad things than the GOP.
Jake - I often do try to opt out of voting for the two major party candidates if I ever have a decent third-party option (I've voted for Nader in the last two Presidential elections.) However, I don't think it's wrong to sometimes cast a pragmatic vote against someone that you really don't want to win. Not voting at all seems like it just makes it that much easier for the greater of two evils to get in. If, in the end, I can't do all the good I would like to do, I will at least do the little bit that I can to prevent an even greater evil.
At 1/05/2008 12:13:00 PM,
I know you didn't say they were just as evil - I didn't say that you said that. You said they were the lesser of two evils but you also said that in the end they seemed to be just as beholden to big corporations as the Republicans. So my question was, in the end, why don't you think they are just as evil as the Republicans? I guess my confusion lies in how you can call Obama and Edwards "close seconds" to your "ideal candidate" near the beginning of your post but only "the lesser of two evils" near the end of your post. I definitely agree with the latter, but not the former.
And, to offer my unsolicited opinion ... I think Christians should be very cautious about doing anything pragmatically. When we cast a vote, we are not merely voting against somebody, but also voting for somebody. And, as a Christian, I don't think I can in good conscience vote for any of the candidates. If I could actually vote against candidates without voting for other candidates, that would be great. Eugene McCarraher, writing shortly after the 1994 elections, has a nice quote on this,
"I didn't vote last November 2nd. Not that friends and colleagues didn't beg me to perform my "civic duty." To them, Every Vote Counted in an epic conflict between the forces of light and darkness; to me, it was Imperialism, Plutocracy, and Capital Punishment versus Imperialism, Plutocracy, and Abortion."
At 1/05/2008 12:29:00 PM, Mike Clawson
I'm sorry, I was unclear. I didn't mean that Obama and Edwards were "close seconds" to Kucinich. I meant that they were close to each other in my choice for second place, though still well short of my ideal.
As for not voting, I just don't see what good it will do. How does refusing to participate help anything except to make myself feel good for "sticking by my principles"? To me voting is simply one more tool to be used. It's not the the most effectual tool, and I have no illusions that it is ever the solution to all our problems, but it's still something. If candidate A is even slightly less evil than candidate B, and it is inevitable that one or the other will get it, then why not help reduce evil by at least that little bit by voting for A over B?
For instance, I don't know who ran against Hitler back in 1933, but I sure hope that I wouldn't have sat it out back then just because I didn't like that other guy much either. (I know, it's not a perfect example, especially since I don't think Hitler was actually elected, but you get my point.)