Election 2008 – Opting Out

Your friendly neighborhood Amoeba keeps hearing about how the US Presidential elections in November will see one of the highest turnouts in American electoral history.

Those voter number figures are not likely to include mine. Because I cannot, in anything resembling good conscience, vote for any of the current candidates, major or minor. Here’s why.

Executive Ability. To me, that means proven ability to lead an organization, including all the petty details like filling sub-under-associate-assistant-secretary-of-housing-for-flood-relief positions. Presidents over the past few decades have, for the most part, scored poorly on this most critical aspect of leading a country. Ask anyone in New Orleans, or Houston.

McCain has been a thorn in the side of his party for practically all of his years in Washington. I rate his ability to rally his party behind him – what’s left of his party, that is, or what should be left of it after November – at near zero. Mavericks are notorious for lacking sidekicks (just look how far down Party ranks he had to go to get someone to run with him), and he can’t do the job by himself.

Obama is a face. A pretty face. A Winston Noble face. Speaks pretty, too … and one of the prime attributes of speaking pretty is the ability to sound great while saying nothing. He is likely to lead his party to a landslide victory in November … with not a shred of evidence to suggest that he has the managerial team lined up to do anything with that victory.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0.

Policies. These are the ones for which I would be able to cast my vote without retching.

1. Doubling Taxation. We the People are in the habit of demanding ever more services, and then screaming when we’re actually asked to pay for them. This must stop. I will gladly vote for any candidate who will tell us so, and demonstrate the mana to make it happen if elected.

I heard cut taxes from the lips of both candidates this morning.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0, We the People -1.

2. Flat Taxation. Meaning, that every person, corporate as well as flesh-‘n-blood, in these Untied States pays the same rate of taxes on income. Yes, I know that all the dodges built into the tax codes are supposed to stimulate business here, investment there. I say, “support businesses directly, not through the subterfuges of the tax codes”. I argue that nothing, nothing, in this day and age is more important than the perception, backed up by sound evidence, that my proportional investment in Our Government is the same as Bill Gates’s. I suppose such a policy will bankrupt large numbers of accountants. And this is different from current events how?

The candidates? See above re: cutting taxes. McCain for the rich, Obama for the “working class”, whomever he includes within that group. More, not less, tax code complication. More, not less, separation of We the People into slaves of our individual, and mostly phantom, deductions.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0, We the People -1.

3. True spending reform. Means, to me, telling We the People “no you can’t have your cake and eat it too”. Means saying that no program, no matter how popular or necessary, can be added to the Federal portfolio without something else of equal price tag being taken away. Means no more Congressional earmarks to keep local constituents from throwing out the incumbent in favor of a pretty face with outrageous promises.

Talk to McCain about what he promises about things like congressional earmarks versus what he’s actually done about them. Mostly, what he’s done is hack off the party he needs to tap for managing his administration while doing next to nothing to stop the building of bridges to nowhere.

Don’t bother talking to Obama. He got an entire youth generation behind him by stripping “No” from his vocabulary.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0, We the People -3.

4. True education reform. That means, to me:

* Shutting down all private schools as enforcers of social stratification (if you’re poor, you stay poor, because we’re going to make sure you can’t afford anything else).
* Nationalizing all primary, secondary, and tertiary schools.
* Retooling, and fairly compensating, the teaching corps – I actually think No Child Left Behind would have been a good idea, if it had been used to improve teaching instead of as job security for bureaucrats and bean-counters.

And, above all:

* Replacing Our “brick in the wall” attitude towards education and educators with the attitude that “a failed child is Our shame”. Assuming we all don’t wish to see what’s left of Our money going to China, Japan, etc., where that is exactly what they think – and where, unlike in these Untied States, it’s both easy and socially acceptable to fail a child. The maintenance of our technological society demands nothing less.

The candidates at least recognize that the American education system needs fixing. I have heard no specifics. I’m not surprised. To speak the truth would probably cost them any chance at the election.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0, We the People -5.

5. True campaign reform. Means, to me, no campaigning until 90 days before the election. Means that candidates from parties which got more than 5% of the vote get taxpayer funds to run their campaigns. Means equal funding for all candidates, and the same funding for each one, no less, and no more. Means that candidates who currently hold offices serve in those offices during the campaign, or resign from them to campaign. (Did you know that Abraham Lincoln said not one word on the campaign stump between his nomination and his election? And that this was the norm for candidates for major office from the founding of these Untied States until after the Confederate Revolutionary War Civil War? Party campaigners were expected to do the stumping while the candidates actually performed the jobs for which they had previously been hired/elected?)

As you know, both Obama and McCain opted out of the current system of public campaign finance. After pledging not to. At a time when the financial structure of the nation is tottering, both of them are out raising money for attack ads that could be put to far better uses in both the public and private sectors. And I wonder how many seconds either one of them has spent representing their States in the Senate since, oh, 2006.

Score: McCain 0, Obama 0

I would say that We the People deserve better. If we weren’t constantly demanding the moon with cream cheese from Our elected officials. And bankrupting any media outlets that dare tell us real facts about us and our position in the world, because we’re all sitting in front of the television watching American Idol and eating Cheez Whiz.

  – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.


  1. Brian, I didn’t consider 3rd party candidates because (a) they have no chance of winning; (b) it’s a good thing they don’t, because their policies are even wackier than those of the major candidates – often, they’re single-issue policies that don’t stand them a chance of being prepared for the a-little-bit-of-everything that would hit them as Prez.

    This is an odd time for you to be up and about …

  2. Nancy, OC said said, “Thankfully, that’s true.” Unfortunately, majority rules, and any more the majority of people just don’t seem to care. It’s scary.

  3. Hi!

    Ok I have never thought about it this way! Not that I am an American, but I found it rather unusual to read things that we argue back home here in India, to mirror back in the US too. I thought the dilemma is much lesser for you because at least your politicians are educated and sans any criminal records. Well I guess though grass always seems greener on the other side…

    I thought Obama was a good choice, but now that I read your post, it is funny I got so swept by his rhetoric and like you said speaking pretty is about saying nothing but sounding convincing! I dont know politics and politicians are just an extinct phenomena. What are left are just power hungry individuals running countries like corporations…

  4. Welcome, amsirakrian! I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting India, but I have gotten around a bit, and everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been amazed at the impact of America and its so-called culture. On Our behalf, my apologies for inflicting it on you.

    It’s sad that our politicians seem educated to you. Yes, Our current President went to Yale, and graduated. Mainly because Yale can’t afford to flunk even the dissipate sons of oil magnates, lest their endowment (and hence their institution) go the way of Lehman Brothers.

    And as for “power hungry individuals running countries like corporations”: if you said “for corporations”, I think you’d be nearer the mark. Isaac Asimov had today’s circumstances pegged – in the early 1950s. For, in the third Foundation novel, Asimov has one member of a quartet of merchant princes tell the others, “We can afford to remember here that we are the government.”

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