Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the front page of the Sunday Times & P-I...

What do you is finally my day to be on the front page of the state's largest newspaper - the combined Sunday Seattle Times & Post Intelligencer:

Snapshot of Seattle Times story on matchmaking quizzes

The story, by reporter Ralph Thomas, is about presidential matchmaking quizzes, which - as he writes - "claim to identify the candidate who best fits your own beliefs." I was asked to be a volunteer, and though the quizzes were just issues-based (and didn't take into account my values or my actual feelings), I had a lot of fun participating. My thanks to Ralph for the opportunity.

I guess the whole Seattle metropolitan area now knows that I am undecided between Barack Obama and John Edwards. (Readers, if you support either Edwards or Obama, feel free to make your pitch to me in the comments!)

My Quiz Results Versus My Actual Favorites

Here's a background on all the volunteers, myself included:
The Seattle Times enlisted four people from across Washington's political spectrum to put three games to the test. Their results were all over the map.

Tom McCabe, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of Washington and an outspoken conservative, said his favorite candidate right now is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. But none of the games listed Huckabee as the best choice for McCabe.

Alex Hays, head of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington, is a big supporter of Republican Sen. John McCain. While one game matched him with McCain, another said he aligned with three Democratic senators — Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

"Good God," Hays exclaimed when a third game suggested Ron Paul, the former Libertarian nominee who is now running as a Republican. "Now that's a kick in the head."

Logue got similar results: all conservative Republicans on one game, all liberal Democrats on another.

Only Andrew Villeneuve, a liberal blogger and founder of a think tank called [the] Northwest Progressive Institute, found any consistency among the games. All three said his closest match is Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio and a Quixote-esque candidate for president. Villeneuve said he agrees with Kucinich on a lot of issues, but is torn between two other Democrats, Obama and John Edwards.
I wasn't surprised that Kucinich repeatedly showed up as the top result, given that the quizzes only consider issue positions. My views are squarely populist and progressive. Nobody in the Democratic field is better at plainly stating and defending most of those views than Dennis. He says what he believes.

But a candidate's positions on the issues are not my sole criteria for picking a candidate. In fact, they're not all that important, not to me or most Americans. As I observe in the Times article:
Villeneuve said the match games do not factor in a candidate's emotional appeal.

"Most Americans don't pull out a scorecard and run the math on a host of issues when it's time to vote," he said. "People vote who can they identify with, who they feel they can trust."
More simply, authenticity matters. Dennis Kucinich is great at amplifying the strong stance of Americans fed up with the failed right wing agenda (which is most of us). But that doesn't make him qualified to lead this country. In my eyes, his odd behavior certainly doesn't make a positive impression. I don't sense that Dennis necessarily shares all of my values, either.

After months of following the presidential race - watching debates on television, listening to the YearlyKos forum live in Chicago, and attending events featuring individual candidates here in Seattle, I know who my final choices are. It's either John Edwards or Barack Obama.

Each brings different strengths and makes a compelling case, though both are strong communicators and refreshingly closer to the people than Hillary Clinton. But only one can be my primary selection. I've got about a month and a half to decide before the precinct caucuses arrive - and I welcome your help.


Blogger Maximus said...

I found myself in a very similar situation to you. I was a Dean supporter in 2004 and my views definitely align more with Kucinich than anyone else, but I seriously doubted if he had a chance of winning, so I was looking to see who would be the most electable alternative. I found myself torn between Edwards and Obama.

I liked what Edwards has been saying in this race and his focus on poverty. I also admired Obama for his stance on the war and on most other issues. Both men are outstanding speakers who would be equally electable in a general election according to the polls.

In the end, after doing some studying of their records, I settled on Obama. After reading his book and seeing what he did in the Illinois State Senate, it seemed to me that he was actually much closer in his gut to Kucinich. He's just moved closer to the center in order to become more electable.

Edwards on the other hand struck me as someone who was much more conservative in his gut, but is now moving to the left in order to appeal to the more liberal Democratic primary voters. He's always been a populist and that's genuine, but on social issues and foreign policy, I just don't trust him as much as I do Obama.

Another factor is who's more likely to win. Obama is well-positioned not only in Iowa, but New Hampshire and South Carolina as well. He has the opportunity to build upon a win in Iowa and get the nomination. Edwards, on the other hand, will probably end up losing to Clinton even if he wins Iowa. He just doesn't have the base of support in those other places that Obama does and Kerry had in 2004.

If it was just between Obama and Edwards, I'd probably just stay out of the primary. But knowing that Clinton will win if one of them doesn't, I've got to get behind one of them. It's not that I think Clinton would be horrible, but I think we can do much better with Edwards or Obama.

December 23, 2007 4:53 PM  
Blogger rjones2818 said...

Odd bhavior by Dennis? What odd behavior?

Also, if Dennis supports what you support, why would you vote for someone who doesn't support your positions? Sounds daft to me.

December 23, 2007 6:10 PM  
Blogger IMPatriot said...

Ralph, brother, thank you for your article. It is refreshing to see an honest portrayal of personal politics.

I want to challenge you though. You stated that Kucinich meets your own standards on all of the important issues, but you don't want to vote for him because you 'feel' closer to other candidates. This indicates to me that you have an internal disconnect with yourself, with your desires.

Why would you vote against yourself? Is it more important, really, to align yourself with the 'popular kid' then the smart one? What was high school like for you? Is there some old trauma you are working out through your political decision?

Vote for yourself my friend. Vote along the path of your heart. You will find this action is far better then voting for the cool kid.

In Peace.

December 24, 2007 11:47 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

IMPatriot, I don't think you read my post very carefully. First, it looks like you're confusing me with Seattle Times reporter Ralph Thomas.

Second, as I wrote, I don't vote for a candidate because I've done the math and found that his or her positions on the issues align the most closely to mine. I know of hardly anybody who does vote that way. Like most Americans, when I vote, I'll vote who I identify with. Who I think is authentic and up to the challenges of the office.

Kucinich is not the only candidate in the Democratic field with strong progressive views, either.

I'm not sure why you're having so much trouble understanding what I wrote. What is this nonsense about an "internal disconnect with yourself"? Or asking what high school was like for me? That has nothing to do with my choice for president. This isn't about "cool kid vs. smart kid". If I wanted to get behind the "cool kid", I'd be supporting Hillary Clinton, the front runner, favorite, and establishment candidate. But I've ruled her out.

I'm very disappointed that you would suggest, in your comment, the possibility that my student life was traumatic. Try to be more thoughtful with your word choice in the future.

If I vote my identity, I'm not voting against myself. Now, if I trusted the results of these matchmaking quizzes against my own judgment, that would be voting against myself.

I don't think Kucinich is qualified for the job and I don't believe he is capable of governing that effectively. He hasn't earned my trust. So I'm not going to support him. I've narrowed my choices down to Barack Obama and John Edwards - it's going to be one of them.

December 24, 2007 12:39 PM  

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