I’m personally torn on the current mess of candidates. There are very few that I like, and most of them fall into the “crazy” category. i.e. Paul, Kucinich and Gravel.
Paul really appeals to me, if for nothing else, his willingness to speak truth to power and call his own party on its bullshit. There was a time when republicans weren’t fundamentalist neo-conservatives. Apparently Paul is one of the few in his party that remember that. He’s also one of the few candidates that actually supports shrinking government and constraining federal powers. I’m pretty wary of his stance on abortion however. I understand the states’ rights argument, and mostly agree, but I think abortion is really a public health issue given recent research that abortion numbers stay steady regardless of legality, and what changes is the number of mothers dying as a result. I personally think that the public need in this case outweighs the rights of the states who want to mindlessly pursue prohibition.
He is also in favor of ending our useless drug war. Anyone who knows me knows that I couldn’t be considered a substance abuser, but I think it’s insane that pot is illegal, and it’s even more insane that people are serving jail terms for it. Research has shown the drug war is ineffective at ending substance abuse, costs an insane amount of money, and actually drives other criminal behavior as a result of pushing individuals into an underground market for obtaining drugs.
Paul is pretty shaky on the environment, which I’m not really comfortable with. And there are a lot of social issues that we don’t agree on, but one of the things I really like about him is that he’s been pretty stable with what he says now, and what he’s voted for over the past few years. He’s a republican that I could live with in office (probably because he’s closer to a libertarian)
There’s a lot to like about Kucinich, and we pretty much agree on everything. I just wish he was a little more outspoken, and showed stronger leadership in congress. Though you have to admire him for being one of very few willing to tackle the sore thumb issue plaguing the house and senate. Impeachment. In a recent poll, over half of Americans want to see Cheney impeached, and almost half want to see Bush impeached. Unfortunately, democratic leadership hasn’t developed enough of a spinal column to even resist Bush’s continued push for wiretapping Americans, let alone pursue impeachment.
This is where Barak and Hillary seriously fall down in my book. They have refused to take a strong stand against the Bush administration (note that I’m not saying the republicans), and their ongoing illegal hijinks. I get the feeling that they’re worried about appearing overly partisan, and instead think that democrats have the election locked up anyway, so just wait until they’re elected, they’ll fix everything, and launch the appropriate investigations. They also have failed to take a strong stand against the war. An incredibly and increasingly unpopular war, that the american public elected them to stop. They’ve also made no strong commitments to ending the war once elected president.
The republican candidates aside from Paul, seem completely lost. When Mitt Romney is your strong front runner, something is really wrong. When I saw Giuliani speak, I really liked him as an individual, but it’s clear that he wants to be Bush Jr. He’s got the godfather of neo-conservativism as his foreign policy advisor, and we all know how great neo-conservativism has been for us. 24% approval rating. McCain seems to have lost all his wind. And Fred Thompson is a fucking joke, mostly for his insane foreign policy, i.e. he still believes that Saddam had WMDs.
Now, I’m pretty much a libertarian, but beyond that, I’m for evidence based decision making. Not pandering to your party, not blindly following public opinion, not listening to corporate lobbyists. Republican or Democrat aside, Bush has eroded the constitution, stripped our civil rights, and violated the law on numerous occasions. There is ample evidence that he began warrantless wiretapping and his preparations for invading Iraq well before 9/11. It is well known that the administration used false and misleading evidence to get us into the war. The war itself has been ill-conceived, ill-managed, and completely disastrous. It has lead to a build up of terrorist activity in the world, and there’s little proof that any of the concessions that we’ve made to our civil liberties have lead to improvements in American safety. Instead we hear story after story of incompetence and hubris. There is zero accountability, and zero responsibility.
Any of the republican candidates who think this administrations policies are working and worth emulating are living in a fantasy world, and deserve the crushing defeat they will receive next November. Republicans and democrats alike should be preaching a return to sanity, not a never-ending war with “islamofacists”.