January 11, 2008

Tale of Two Candidates

Kucinich wants to pay for a recount in New Hampshire. The reasoning he gives is what he calls a shrinking level of confidence in our election process, but the specific issue he cites is a discrepancy in machine counted votes vs. hand-counted paper ballots.

Whether the discrepancy has an explanation is almost beside the point if the assertion about voter confidence is true. Low confidence in the process contributes to apathy, which is a bad strategic situation for populist candidates, but also bad if you profess to like democracy. And there are certainly groups of vocal people in the world of online discussion who complain about low confidence, and they have many counterparts in the men on the street who shrug off the idea of voting, saying their votes don’t matter.

Will a recount ease uncertainty and raise confidence? I’m not quite convinced it would, though I believe it might stem further erosion of confidence if it quiets the most recent concerns.

Over on the Republican side, Ron Paul insists he should be taken seriously, trying to sell the idea of fiscal responsibility and civil liberties to the party of outrageous spending and authoritarianism.

It seems that his opponents have decided that the best tactic to take with Paul is to not take his issues seriously. Check out this clip. Look at the split-screen with Paul and McCain. Paul mentions we used to support Saddam Hussein and that we were once allied with Bin Laden. McCain maintains an amused smile throughout. Paul mentions that we’re re-arming hostile groups. McCain smiles.

Even if you interpret McCain’s smiling as “Oh, you’re so wrong, poor, misguided Dr. Paul.” it seems to me that there’s enough truth in what Paul says that you ought not find much to smile about.

Yet the Republican hopefuls find what Congressman Paul has to say amusing. And Fox, of course, seems to be in the debate to ask Paul whether he is electable. An interesting choice, considering you don’t hear Fox asking anyone else to justify their electability. Only one person will be the nominee. The rest will be judged, by the party members to be unelectable.

Reality is that folks like Paul and Kucinich are extremely unlikely to be elected. But if Paul weren’t on that stage to discuss his views, we wouldn’t get the opportunity to see McCain amused by the idea that we contributed to the rise of two of the figures most reviled by our current administration.

Posted by James at January 11, 2008 4:00 PM
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Both candidates bring valid, and valuable, points to the political arena. While it may seem odd for one person to say so, there are things about each of them that I like, even if they are politically at opposite ends of the spectrum. Kucinich dares us all to think about the good that government can do, while Paul dares us to assess the bad that government can do. Both dare us to pay closer attention to what our elected officials do in our name.

Since both represent extremes, in some regards, they probably are not 'electable' on a national scale. However, we all benefit from the courage and outspokenness these types of politicians bring to the fray. Both have to realize that there is no way they'll be their party's nominee. However, both feel that it is important to get their message out there.

And shame on McCain. If Ron Paul were closer to him in the polls, that knowing smirk would disappear when Paul speaks.

Posted by: Kitten Herder at January 13, 2008 4:07 PM

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