Apparently there is a presidential election coming up. I've heard something about it. Anyhow, so far I've been most impressed by Barack Obama and John Edwards. This is after watching one of the first YouTube debates and reading newspapers, so take it for what it's worth.
I think Edwards might actually be a little too populist to win a general election. It's part of what I like about him, but the pragmatist in me doesn't like his odds. Senator Clinton does not excite me for some reason. It's not a strong woman thing; I just don't believe her. The words coming out of her mouth have no truthiness. She is too scripted and playing not to lose. And I think a Clinton candidacy gives the Republicans the best chance to win in 2008. That said, if she wins the nomination she's better than any of the GOP field save that wacky Ron Paul - the gold standard monetary system is crazy enough it just...might...work (sarcasm).
So I've been leaning toward Obama, without really knowing too much about him other than he was opposed to the war in Iraq from the beginning and has a charisma and hopeful message that seems to bring people together.
Since I hadn't really researched their positions thoroughly I thought I would do one of those online candidate quiz things. I chose the McNews (USA Today) quiz. It's not a bad quiz. Only asks you a handful of questions, and the best part is you can weight the issues that are more or less important to you with the slider bars on the right.
Apparently I've turned into a left wing wacko. Let's hope Mom doesn't find out - not until after Christmas at least. After answering the quiz and adjusting the weighting (experience not as important, Iraq and health care more important, etc.), my top three candidates are Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel (who?!), and Barack Obama. Edwards didn't even rank in the top 5. Good hair was not a criteria, a clear flaw with this quiz.
I had strong agreement with Obama's positions on tax reform, global warming, and Iraq. I don't think he's as bold as he needs to be on health care or same-sex marriage (that's where Kucinich and Gravel got lots of points from me). But maybe incremental gains are the way to go in those hot button areas.
As a pragmatist I'll stick with Obama for now. Of course there's lots of time between now and next November to waffle and flip flop and be generally indecisive. But I hope Obama does well in the early primaries/caucuses. It's nice to be a little excited about a candidate, and I hope Obama gives us reason to remain excited. If you are so inclined, take the quiz and let me know your results in the comments.
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