Tuesday, February 13th, 2007...12:57 am

2008 — The Year I Will Finally Vote….maybe

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I’ve never voted. I’m not really proud of this but I’m not really bothered by it either. Chalk it up to apathy, thats the term people use to explain why more than half the country passes up on their right to vote. My parents and people of their generation seem to be appalled when I mention that I don’t vote. I didn’t see how uninspiring candidates could spur me on to make a symbolic move. I used to think it was a drama act in which adults pretend that each vote counts because it is the socially correct thing to do. But I’ve changed my tune recently and now I eagerly await the the opportunity to vote in the 2008 presidential election.

My interest in the next election stems from the current presidency. I’m not a George Bush hater. In fact, I think he has done his best to try and serve his country and that deep down he had pure intentions for America. I do realize that our nation and the world took a distinct path over the last six years specifically because Bush was in the White House. That makes me a bit uneasy. The President should not be allowed to create his own agenda. I would like to see a president who is a leader of the people and is able to do that in an honorable, prestigious and admirable fashion. I want my president to be a role model. I want to have my own FDR, Lincoln or JFK.

Despite what many pundits are predicting I think the 2008 race has some intriguing and charismatic candidates. The frontrunners Hillary Clinton and John McCain both carry a prestigious history and have been in the spotlight for years. Clinton has a chance to be the first female president and I think that can do more for gender equality than any other event in the past century. A little girl would be able to claim she wants to grow up and be President and nobody can tell her otherwise. McCain is a decorated war hero and a political maverick who speaks his mind in a distinctly bipartisan era of politics. It’s going to be interesting if he lives up to that persona or if he will compromise his beliefs to better his chance of a victory with support from the far right.

Another candidate that peaks my interest is Barrack Obama. He is young, charismatic and spews confidence and leadership. His main pitfall is that he is unexperienced. I believe that term is only used when no other negatives can be found. It seems like Obama has been preparing for this his whole life. A few years before he was President, George W. was enjoying Texas Ranger games and was the CEO of a Carlyle portfolio company. Obama is qualified in my eyes. Obama is of mixed race, but like Derek Jeter, has a special aura about him that allows him to bring people together and view him as a man instead of a color.

Other interesting candidates include Mitt Romney (a Republican Mormon from the east coast) and good old Rudy. Giuliani actually belongs to my father’s golf club in Sag Habor. It will interesting to see if he gets as many rounds in as a presidential candidate as he did last summer. Giuliani has his fair share of dirty laundry in the hamper and I wouldn’t be surprised if he decides not to run. I think he had his moment in the spotlight and don’t see him as a leader who can bring a nation back together.

I easily grow frustrated by politics because I believe the media distorts the story. I feel as though I am a sucker for heavily edited spin with little ability to make my own decisions in evaluating the candidates. The entire process leaves me disillusioned.

I’ve decided the best way to combat this information gap is to read the autobiography of each candidate. This will be my initial way of getting to know each one on a more intimate level. I am starting with Faith of My Fathers by John McCain. Next I will read the Obama book and will take it from there. I’m excited by this plan because I believe it will allow me to form my own opinions on candidates based on their own words. I’ll be able to better sort out what information I want to process and separate it from the layer of bull that clouds and dulls campaign messages.

I’m still worried that following the election process will leave me more disenchanted than ever. I’ve heard that this election might be all about which candidate raises the most money. Top candidates will collect over $500 million dollars each. This bothers me. The election shouldn’t be about who yells the loudest. If a candidate raises $500 million that means there are probably corporate interests associated with each candidate that expects at least that in return on their investment. Even the most righteous candidates might have to compromise their morality and beliefs when they are in that kind of hole. By the way, wasn’t McCain a staunch supporter of campaign finance reform? What happened?

Now I understand why somebody like Ross Perot was so well received back in 1992. He wasn’t playing anybody’s game but his own. Wouldn’t it be cool if Mayor Bloomberg ran on his own terms. If Hillary wins then two families will dominate for at least a 25 year period in the White House. Instead of electing the most qualified candidate it seems like America falls into the hands of the most connected?

If things go well I will find a candidate to support and won’t forfeit my right to vote for all the money in the world. If things turn ugly quickly I might try and sell my vote on eBay. I figure that a candidate needs around 50 million votes to win the nomination. If they raise half a billion dollars that breaks down to around $10 per vote. I bet I can charge a premium and get a pretty decent price for it. I know it’s a sick thought, but hey, I’m only playing the game.

  • Sweet P

    Now you wanna vote hoops? 2008 will be the first year you can vote when Bush can’t win either way. Who needs you now? My first election was 2000 when I voted for Gore and then watched the judiciary fail this country and let Bush steal the election. So I too am a bit disillusioned by the process.

    I always find it hard to believe when anyone says they aren’t a Bush hater. Regardless of how you feel about the administrations (failed) policies, the lack of character and leadership represented by Bush/Cheney is so glaring I find myself embaressed to be an American at times. The past 6-7 years we have sat and watched Bush and Cheney promote a neo-conservative agenda while personally profiting off of their own defense and oil businesses. Not to mention that Haliburton was the company that stood to profit more than any other from Katrina relief.

    This administrations lack of accountability, clear use of fear tactics, and constant misrepresentations of intelligence in order to manipulate support has ushered us into a new era of propaganda that rivals that of Nazi Germany. Kind of interesting that the day after Bush was re-elected was the first day since 9/11 the terrorist alert system was lowered from orange to yellow.

    Hillary Clinton and John McCain are political whores who will say or do anything to get their respective nominations. This can already be seen with McCain’s support of evangelicals like Falwell and his keynote speaker appearance for creationists coming up. Clinton will waste her time trying to win the right and ultimately lose her base.

    Obama is a fresh face who will inspire the youth of the country. Those naive idealists that have yet to be disillusioned by it all. For the rest of us, Im hoping he can restore the belief that the President is supposed to represent the best in all of us. At the very least, a little fucking integrity wouldnt hurt.

  • http://littyhoops.com Litty

    I agree with most of what you have to say. I think Bush is unqualified to be President of the free world but for some reason I don’t blame him for it. I’m not sure if he personally profits from any of his decisions. He definitely represents the interests that put him in power and I’m sure they have profited but that happens more often than not these days. I hope he did this not just to make people/companies rich but because his administration believed that empowering these parties was best for our nation. Perhaps I’m being a bit idealistic but that is just me.

    Yup, Clinton and McCain will do almost anything to be President. Clinton will run a safe campaign that is 100% rehearsed and have the greatest political strategist of the generation calling the shots and putting his old team in place. Obama has promise but in many ways he is still a rookie prospect with more potential than accomplishment. Hear’s to hoping he turns into Ken Griffey Jr. and not Alex Ochoa.

  • Sweet P

    I’m posting this late addition to this post because I just watched John Edwards on Bill Maher and was pretty intrigued. He could wind up sneaking up on people as the consensus number 2 pick for the democratic ticket while Obama and Clinton split the top spot. He has that Kennedy aura in terms of youth, charisma, and good looks and I got the distinct feeling that he wasn’t full of shit. He is making his campaign about Universal Healthcare(in which he honestly states will require a raise in taxes), a structured withdrawl plan for Iraq (he said if he were President now he would withdraw 40,000 – 50,000 troops immediatly and the rest over a 12 month period in order to maintain stability…he also mentioned engaging Syria and Iran versus instigating), and his final point was to restore honesty, accountability, and morality to the commander-in-chief (he recently wrote an editorial “I Was Wrong” regarding his vote to empower Bush to invade Iraq, while Clinton maintains “I Was Mislead”). I do not know a great deal about Edwards other than the fact that he should currently be our Vice President but I tend to have a very decent bullshit detector and in his brief appearance on Real Time I felt no need to hit my bullshit button.