Archive for October, 2008

The choices: tough and tougher

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Here’s what I’lI be doing this weekend: Trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do when I finally have my ballot in front of me.

I’m an honest to God “undecided” right now. On one hand there’s the aged jet jockey who alarmingly approaches governance with the same swooping, crazy, seat-of-the-pants style that served him well as a fighter pilot, right up until the moment a missile took him down. On the other hand there’s the untested greenhorn whose single greatest accomplishment in this campaign has been to promise both tax cuts and hundreds of billions in more spending — and not be laughed off the stage. Standing in the wings are a cranky conservative-turned-libertarian, and a once-respected consumer activist who’s turned himself into a joke candidate by having his name on various ballots in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — thus making a serious run at Harold Stassen’s record of futility.

I have voted in every presidential election since 1972. This is the first time I’ve ever been stumped by the choices before me. I suddenly understand why some people simply sit out the election, and let others make the call. I won’t do that, because I want to preserve my right to second-guess the next president on a daily basis, and I need to vote in order to have the moral authority to do so. But every choice feels wrong, for different reasons. I don’t lean toward anyone — only away.

I envy those of you who are convinced of the absolute rightness of your chosen candidate. I think you’re deluded, not to mention willfully blind to his undeniable (and scary) shortcomings — but at least you’re doing something fun this weekend.