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Spherical Cow 2008-01-03 21:52

[QUOTE=R.D. Silverman;122088]Yep.

Don't blame me. I *AM* from Massachusetts. And I did vote for McGovern.[/QUOTE]

I guess I'm the other one that voted for McGovern. And some years later, undeterred, voted for John Anderson.

This year, though, looks to be particularly confusing...

Norm

tha 2008-01-03 21:57

One of the universities of Amsterdam developed a "compass" that can help voters pick a candidate of their choice based on a number of propositions. The compass is in both Dutch and English. It was developed originally for European continental elections such as the Dutch elections. You than have the choice between candidates from all over the spectrum and the most prominent parties tend to fight over the political center. In two party systems you tend to get two opposing forces at a further distance from the center.

The voters compass can be found at [URL="http://www.dag.nl/Nieuws/kieskompas.htm"]voters compass for the 2009 US elections[/URL]

It can never replace long time study and personal analysis by educated voters. It may be helpful to someone who has little time and knowledge and wants to cast his vote in a more meaningful way. However, we experienced a lot of people casting their vote for populist parties instead of casting their vote in a trivial way on one of more established parties. These tests therefore can be really very influential in unexpected ways.

ewmayer 2008-01-03 22:08

[QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122097]Wish me well. I'm off to caucus here in Iowa this evening. We'll see how that goes.

ewmayer, you present an interesting criterion for picking a president. I've never heard that one before. Do you really feel that not being a millionaire makes one a better candidate?[/QUOTE]

In general, not necessarily - much more important is how they got to where they are. However, so many of the multi-mega-richies in this year's crop got their dough from family connections, marriage, engaging in lucrative business practices I despise [e.g. Edwards was a tort lawyer, a.k.a. "ambulance chaser"] and so forth that Obama - who is by no means poor - strikes me as the only candidate satisfying the following three criteria:

- Self-made, got to where he is by way of talent and drive;
- Reasonably well off enough to demonstrate good financial habits;
- Not filthy rich by way of connections, marriage, or despicable business dealings.

But I admit that I formulated the 3-points checklist in post hoc fashion - my original motivation was as much visceral "Sick of hearing sleazy moneybags like Edwards talking about the problems of 'the poor' while making millions from tort lawsuits and subprime-mortgage-invested hedge funds" as anything else.

[rant]
[In Edwards' case, it's especially annoying because not only is he slime, by way of his investments in Fortress Group hedge funds which made money by peddling subprime loans to - get this - Hurricane Katrina victims, when he got busted for it, he of course made a big show of divesting, as it happens, just ahead of the start of the subprime-related hedge-fund implosion which would have deservedly cost him some of his millions in ill-gotten gains. In other words, not only is he slime, he actually is the lucky beneficiary of getting busted for his sliminess. So much for karmic justice.]
[/rant]

Zeta-Flux 2008-01-03 23:00

[QUOTE]- Self-made, got to where he is by way of talent and drive;
- Reasonably well off enough to demonstrate good financial habits;
- Not filthy rich by way of connections, marriage, or despicable business dealings.[/QUOTE]

Those are good restrictions, except I wouldn't rule out riches due to family, if the candidate has used them wisely and clearly didn't marry for money. (We don't get to pick our parents, after all.)

By the way, you seem to be restricting yourself to the Democratic nominees. Is this because you are a democrat or because you don't believe any republicans meet all of these criteria?

ewmayer 2008-01-03 23:32

[QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122115]Those are good restrictions, except I wouldn't rule out riches due to family, if the candidate has used them wisely and clearly didn't marry for money. (We don't get to pick our parents, after all.)[/quote]

True, but whether one uses the family money and ties to get ahead or "goes it alone" is a choice one can make. [Well, maybe not in some families. ;)]

[quote]By the way, you seem to be restricting yourself to the Democratic nominees. Is this because you are a democrat or because you don't believe any republicans meet all of these criteria?[/QUOTE]

The latter. I used to like McCain but he sold his soul to the Christian Right and the Republican money machine. Giuliani seems to have actually earned most of his money, but that whole "I was there on 9/11 [well, duh!], facing down the evil terrorists and personally rebuilding my city" routine has gotten sufficiently old to where it turns my stomach. Got anything useful to say about the 364 other days of the year, Rudy? Mitt Romney is a double-talking, religious-government-is-the-American-way-blathering moron. [Ex-candidate Mike Dukakis came right out and called him a "fraud" on c-span recently, and I respect Dukakis' opinions]. I could go on, but what's the point...

On the Demo side, only Shrillary and Barack "My Middle name is Hussein but I'm not related to Saddam - really!" seem viable and qualified, but the whole Clintonian power axis and money machine, and Hillary's using Bill and a strategic residence move to get a NY Senate seat puts me off. She may be well-qualified, but if she weren't married to Bill no one would have ever heard of her.

Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 00:08

One thing Mitt Romney is not, and that is a moron. Also, I'd say he (at the very least) meets your qualifications regarding money. He didn't marry his wife for money; his father's wealth isn't what ultimately led to his personal wealth. His success at the Olympics wasn't an accident, or his success at Bain, etc...

Having followed the race from Iowa has been interesting. Everyone claims Romney is a "double-talker" and "flip-flopper". I don't want to argue whether this is accurate or not (I'll leave that for later), but what I've found interesting is how the media deals with him. These labels, along with "dishonest" and "attacking" seem to be media driven, for the most part. For example, Mitt clearly admits he changed his position (once) on abortion. And he has clearly made a few gaffes (such as with regards to being a hunter, and not being clear about seeing *the affects of* his father marching with MLK rather than the actual circumstance). But when compared with the other candidates these are ridiculously small issues. Is anyone really worried that Romney will not live up to his campaign promises? Can the same be made of Guiliani or Thompson? If we compare the issues that McCain has flip-flopped on or made gaffes with, how does Romney look.

Did you see the republican CNN utube debate? That was when it became clear to me that the MSM was out to get Romney. (The confederate flag? All the words in the bible?)

By the way, I respect Obama. I might be tempted to vote for him depending on how the nominations go. Hillary...my friend went to listen to her (and he was open to her) and came away not willing to vote for her. She seems to me too much of the "spend all the money on government programs" kind of person.

Anyways, one hour til caucus time.

-----

P.S. When I listened to Romney's talk about religion in America, it struck me (and my wife) as odd that he left out atheists. I think this was a mistake on his part. Some have interpreted this as Romney specifically calling atheists non-moral, or not for freedom. (I'm sure you can google, and find specific sentences seeming to say this.) Romney later talked about this issue; saying he was using the words of the founding fathers, in terms of the body of Americans, and that it is obvious that atheists and/or agnostics can be moral people, and he includes them in the American body. His point, which should have been more clear, (and is just the restatement of what some of the founding fathers taught) is that America needs religion (loosely defined) for the body of its people, or they will be (as a body) immoral. I think this is a defensible position, although some will disagree. However, I don't think anyone need be scared that Romney believes that *discussion* of religion belongs on the stage, but not advocacy of any doctrine (or persecution of those who don't believe in any God). Mormons are one of the few religions that doesn't have any sort of counter-ministry.

ewmayer 2008-01-04 00:36

[QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122121]One thing Mitt Romney is not, and that is a moron.[/QUOTE]

I should have been clearer: in re Romney I used the term as a general pejorative/expression-of-dislike, not in the usual "low intelligence" sense.

[QUOTE]However, I don't think anyone need be scared that Romney believes that *discussion* of religion belongs on the stage, but not advocacy of any doctrine (or persecution of those who don't believe in any God). Mormons are one of the few religions that doesn't have any sort of counter-ministry.[/QUOTE]

How about persecution of non-whites? After all, until not terribly long ago Mormonism was an officially racist religion. This was still so when Romney reached adulthood - strangely I didn't hear him mention that little bit of sorry history in his speech about "religion as a basis for morality." And I don't think his non-mention of atheists was an accident - I believe that [like most religious folks, apparently] he believes one cannot be a moral person without faith [and preferably "the right" faith], hence one cannot be a good person without same. That is not at *all* reflective of the Founding Fathers' views, at least those of the Jeffersonian freethinking mold.

I think we've had far too much of "religiously inspired government" in the past 7 years, and the results have been neither moral nor good, quite the opposite in fact.

Hey, what are Romney's views on Evolution?

Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 02:22

ewmayer,

Romney believes in evolution. I think the only *semi*-credible candidate who doesn't is Mike Huckabee (who I'd never vote for).

Do you believe that the Mormon religion persecuted non-whites? They restricted the priesthood from those with African descent until 1978 (so about 30 years ago). (They still continue to restrict the priesthood to male members.) However, unlike many churches, they have always had mixed congregations. They never segregated. Mormons were one of the few groups to actually treat Indians as human-beings when they came west. The restriction on priesthood was never based on any sort of ideology concerning inferiority; but rather was viewed as a restriction given for unknown reasons, and people in the church looked forward to (and prayed for) the day when it would be removed. Mormons have always viewed all mankind as literally children of God, born pure into this world. Regarding Romney's personal stances in this regard, again this is a non-issue. He rejoiced when the ban was removed, and outside of the church he (in the footsteps of his father) worked for civil rights. Does anyone really think Romney will be racist in his policies?

Small disclaimer: I am Mormon, so am both biased in some regards and in a position to clarify misconceptions in other regards. I have seen racism only very occassionally in my church, but on the whole my experience has been very positive in this regard. I was born in 1977, so only remember things after the ban was removed. I served a 2-year mission in Alabama and Mississippi, where I could see the affects of segregation and racism first-hand. Our church was one of the few which was actually integrated [except some of the big churches in big cities, some pentacostal churches, etc...--I went to a black church once, pretty fun, but definitely felt out of place until they came up afterwards and said thanks for coming]. Every member I know was glad to see the ban removed, and many of those old enough had been praying for it to end. One of our books of scripture, the Book of Mormon, pretty much outlines how NOT to judge a people on their color.

By the way, I too don't think it an accident that Romney left atheists out of his speech. It was definitely a mistake (in an otherwise excellent speech). He later clarified that *of course* atheists can be moral. I'll take him at his word on this, but you can continue to read it the other way if you wish. But I would invite you to carefully listen to it again, and look to see if he is attacking atheism or secularism.

Best,
Zeta-Flux

P.S. Went to the caucus. Standing room only. Boring speeches. Voted and left.

P.P.S. "Shrillary"! Love it!

P.P.P.S. If we are going to attack Romney, let's make it be on something that might actually affect his presidency for the negative; like his comment about doubling Gitmo.

jinydu 2008-01-04 03:43

[QUOTE=Zeta-Flux;122128]and look to see if he is attacking atheism or secularism.
[/QUOTE]

How would you define the difference between the two?

P.S. I can see (partial) results here: [url]http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21229206[/url]. Strange how the number of Republican votes is well over an order of magnitude larger than the number of Democratic votes.

Zeta-Flux 2008-01-04 05:08

jinydu,

As I understand it:

Atheism is the belief that there is no God (or probably isn't one, or undecided).

Secularism (in this context) is the view that all religious talk/practice should be taken out of the political sphere. No "In God we trust" on coins, no commandments in courtrooms, etc...

I'm pleased that Obama did well. Probably my favorite democrat candidate. I'm also happy to see that Romney, Thompson and McCain did well. Huckabee is the sad part of the evening.

jinydu 2008-01-04 06:32

The way I learned it, atheism is believing there are no gods and agnosticism is being unsure about that question. Of course, by logic, it doesn't matter what definition you use, as long as your definition is clear, precise and you use it consistently, just as the properties of any function do not depend on whether you call the variable x or y.

I'm also quite sad that Huckabee won; although based on the recent news it was not unexpected. As for the rest of the results, I'm not so sure what to think... I'd rather not say much more than that on a public forum.

I'm still perplexed with the results from that link I gave. Could it be that less than 3000 Democrats and more than 100,000 Republicans voted?


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