President Obama, Electoral College, and Where Republicans Went Wrong

barack-obamaUPDATE: This post was written shortly after Obama won four years ago.  If does not relate to the current election cycle.  Try this.

One year ago I was certain Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president, and there was nothing Democrats nor Republicans could do about it.  It’s 10:30 on the east coast, and if CNN is right then Obama will accept winning the 2008 Presidential race sometime between now and tomorrow morning.  This has been a historic election year in every sense.  Continue reading

Where’s the Middle?

I’m not the only one that has noticed the extreme polarization of our nation’s politics.  There used to be a middle.  In the primaries, Republicans leaned to the right, Democrats leaned to the left, but once the nominations were made by each party the candidates “danced” to the middle to attract voters.  The majority of our populace were not way over to the left or right, but somewhere in between.  Only a small percentage of people were extreme liberal or conservative, and there were several different degrees of each.  It seems to not be that way anymore.

The 2000 Presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore was decided by only a few hundred votes in one state.  Many are unsatisfied that we know the actual results.  Our Congress is split nearly 50/50 right down the middle between Republicans and Democrats, and nearly every vote is decided by a margin of 51 to 49% (or less).  There’s a lot of talk about “crossing the aisle” on particular issues, but when all is said and done there is often more said that done. 

We used to find middle ground.  There used to be shades of grey on issues, but that’s not what Americans are looking for these days.  We want everything black or white.  It’s right or it’s wrong, and not just a little right or wrong.  Each opinion, each decision we face is either a panacea of wonderful or the worst mortal sin every to face a legislative body.  It seems like extreme positions on every issue are the only positions acceptable.  This leads to a lot of finger pointing, name calling, and the application of labels that often don’t apply.  It has brought our political process to a near gridlock.  Just this summer the movie Swing Vote set the stage for an election that was to be decided by one single voter.  How close are we to that becoming reality?

The only solution is for people to work together and find some common ground.  We need a large number of Americans to realize that McCain and Obama have strong points, and that neither is the anti-Christ.  Both candidates have ideas to solve the same problems.  The election campaign doesn’t have to be Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.  Our Congressional leaders don’t have to cast a ballot for Y or N based on the R or D next to their name, and we as the voting public need to let them know that.  That’s not the message they’ve been getting.  We’ve been taking sides on every issue for years like we’re fighting a war, but in a sense we’re all on the same side.  I’m not proposing we do away with the two party system, we just have to find common ground somewhere.  In the words of Benjamin Franklin, we must join or die.

McCain/ Obama race in dead heat.

John McCain has a slight lead over Barack Obama in the latest polls, but it depends on which you poll you ask.  I’m getting my data from this site, which tracks the results of several different polls at once, from Gallup to Fox News.  None of the spreads are greater than the margin of error, so statistically the two candidates are in a dead heat.

So who will be the next president?  I predicted back in the spring that Clinton and Obama would continue dividing the Democratic Party by beating each other’s brains out, such that McCain was guaranteed an easy victory.  About one third of Clinton voters said at that time they would not vote for Obama if he was nominated.  It’s no longer a sure thing for McCain, but I’m still predicting a Republican victory in November.

What effect do the VP nods have on the polls?  Obama’s party line is about change, but Joe Biden has been in Washington nearly as long as John McCain.  His campaign doesn’t seem to be hurting any since adding Biden to the ticket, however.  Much more attention has been focused on Sara Palin.  She’s more conservative than McCain himself, and many Republicans feel better about the ticket with her on it.  There is some question if this will help get the vote from women.  Maybe women will vote McCain/Palin that were sad to see Clinton leave the race, but there is also the criticism that getting Palin as the VP candidate was a cheap ploy that women voters will see through.  I personally feel better about voting for McCain with Palin on the ticket, because if he dies in office I’m okay with Palin being the first woman president.  McCain’s wishy-washy on abortion, for instance, but Palin is as conservative as the come.  She’s pro-life, pro-NRA, but most importantly has crossed the isle and gone against her own party in the name of good common sense.  I hope that appeals to all voters, regardless of the color of state they’re in.

What about the faith issue?  This topic has been done to death.  No I do not believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, no matter how many right-wing Christian bloggers and spammers say so.  And what if he was?  You don’t bring down the nation by serving in Congress and then running for president.  Obama loves this country, and wants to change it for the better.  ISLAM IS NOT A RELIGION FULL OF TERRORISTS.  That’s a misconception.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I will not allow comments that attack anothers faith, so don’t leave them.  I’m not voting for McCain because of his Christian testimony.  Having a person of faith in the White House makes me feel better, but we’re not electing the Pope here.  In the Republican primary I voted for Mitt Romney.  Yes, he’s a Mormon.  Again, I’m not looking for a Sunday School teacher, but a person to run the administration of our national government.  I think the values of Christian character – honesty, integrity, work ethic, etc – make any person a better worker, including the President of the United States.  But the issue of faith has gotten way too much press in this campaign.  Let’s let it go people.

What’s the bottom line?  I think the bottom line is that the economy is headed down a long road that’s a little scarey, and I’m not sure how long it will take to make it back.  Neither candidate will be able to do half of things they promise, no matter which one is elected.  I’m disappointed every four years by who our choices get narrowed down to.  Are either one of these guys the very best we can find in the U.S.A. to lead us?  I don’t think so, but that’s who we have to pick from.  So much of what people complain about has to do more with Congress than with the President anyway.  Neither man can do a blasted thing without the 535 members of Congress backing him up, and it’s nobody’s fault but our own that we have split Congress 50/50 down the middle on party lines.  Diehard support of one’s own party is destroying this country, and we’re all responsible.  I called the race a dead heat.  Gridlock may be more appropriate.  The political process bears an eerie resemblance to I-75 traffic at 4:30 p.m. in Atlanta to me.

Also read Where’s the Middle?, a post about how there used to be political middle ground.

Rantings about “stupid” Christians

If I was writing a book on theology, I couldn’t just go off on a tangent and rant about whatever comes to mind. That’s the benefit of a blog. A good blog entry is almost bite sized; just enough for a mouthful in one sitting. Some of my online friends post 3 or 4 times a day. Some of them have no unpublished thoughts. I don’t often rant, but if you want to know what just burns my grits, it’s stupid Christians that make us all look bad. Continue reading