Or, Who’s Circle is Filled In On My Ballot

If you have read much of this blog, there is probably little doubt who I have voted for. A friend asked if I would vote for Obama because he’s black. I told him no, although I strongly suspect that aspect would (1) go far toward restoring the trust and confidence of the rest of the world in the US which has been so badly lost and squandered and (2) finally offer indisputable proof this country actually means what it says in the Declaration of Independence (certain opening words anyway) and in the Constitution (certain amendments anyway).

Actually, my first choices for President might surprise you. Early on, I wrote to Bill Moyer, a former Republican speech writer and currently PBS journalist, trying to persuade him to consider running. His insight and apparent honesty has always attracted me. My second choice, someone I tried to encourage back more than a year ago was New York Mayor Bloomberg, a former Republican, now officially an independent. My next fallback hoped for candidate was among those who initially announced, the very experienced New Mexico Governor Richardson. And, fourth was former VP candidate Edwards (although he like too many politicians subsequently let his testicles fry his brain). Still, I liked what he had to say. And, at least his was hetro-stupidity rather than what several across the aisle seem to want to indulge in.

I might even have considered the McCain if he was still the vintage 2000 McCain. Sadly he isn't. His choice of Palin really bothered me, but that was long after he had seemed to abandon most of his early principles. Wanna know why that particular decision rather irrevocably turned me against McCain, even if I had not already been so disappointed in him over the last year?

Most Americans and most of our allies in the World would welcome a female US Vice President or even President. Many would prefer it after what has gone before in the past few decades. Me too. Female Heads of State have been quite successful elsewhere (although no panacea) in both war and peace.

And, there are probably hundreds of thousands of very talented, exceedingly bright, highly educated, well experienced, extremely strong American women McCain could have selected. They include judges, attorneys, professors, CEOs, diplomats, politicians, career administrators and bureaucrats. Most are mothers. Most are married with socially acceptable spouses (read: males). A huge number of the possible choices no doubt are registered Republican. Many are fiscally and/or culturally conservative. Some believe intensely in preventing or restricting most abortions.

Yet, McCain chose Palin. Palin of all people. Palin despite the incredibly long list other females he could have chosen. Worse, despite months of opportunity to search, he appears to have insultingly pulled her out of his (hat) after mere days or maybe just hours of “vetting” her supposedly “qualifications.” Was that mere impulsiveness? Was it crankiness, reckless indifference, outright stupidity or a more sinister disregard for the risk to this country which Palin and her “First Dude” hubby may present?

Why did McCain force us voters into such a questionable choice, even for those of us who have supported McCain in the past? Unfortunately, it makes us think of “Heckofajob Brownie” that Bush picked to head FEMA thereby seriously exacerbating the Katrina disaster. Choosing Palin sure speaks ill of McCain’s decision making capabilities as far as I am concerned given the myriad of alternative choices so much better. Who will he select for all the other critical jobs?

We can disagree how good or bad Obama might be, and maybe if Obama is elected we will have to turn him out in 4 years. Frankly, given how badly the Republicans have hamstrung us with debt and sunk us in the Middle East quicksand, a reincarnated Thomas Jefferson himself probably could do little. Nevertheless, of the two Hobbesian choices we have in November, the combination of McCain picking Palin, plus his tar baby adherence to continuing the Iraq War, plus his being a member of the particular party that must be held primarily responsible for the astronomical financial mess we are in, makes me want to insure that there is at least a change of which parties get to appoint people to the regulatory agencies for the next election cycle. And, as a matter of general principal, I firmly feel there needs to be some penalty for what went wrong, something along the lines that the Captain of the ship always ought to take responsibility whether he personally caused the wreck or not. It might make future Captains more careful.

Unfortunately, we no longer have the useful Custer Concept where the leader in charge bears the burden of the bad decision along with all the others he harmed in the process. Now sadly, the person who screws up is the one least likely to suffer.

There is one opportunity available in this fiasco to do something really helpful if we are smart enough to seize it. Let’s use this opportunity to enact new laws that would put on the ballot for each office a choice of “None of the Above” so that if that button/oval/chad is pressed/darkened/punched winning the most votes, a new election is held shortly thereafter. In that new election, the only people ineligible to run again would be those who wasted our time the first time. It might cost more, but maybe there would be savings in the long run since maybe the parties would start giving us better first choices.

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