Monday, May 5, 2008

if you need me to tell you how to vote, i'm totally there

We have primaries tomorrow in this state, so here are the candidates that I am humbly suggesting you go vote for if you're registered as a Democrat. If you've registered as a Republican, hope that these people all win so you can vote for them in November.

President: Barack Obama

I've gone back and forth on this one plenty in the months since it became evident that John Edwards just wasn't going to get a fair shake and it was going to come down to either the person who was my 4th choice or the person who was my 5th choice when the field of Democrats running for the nomination was announced. With the primary tomorrow, though, I'm pretty much locked in for Obama.

I like Senator Clinton on a lot of issues(her healthcare plan, for example, is cleanly the best option proposed by the three "viable" candidates) and won't feel the least bit bad about voting for her in the general election should she manage to hijack the nomination. At this point, I'm very concerned about some of the people that Clinton has aligned herself with and subsequently owes favors to in the process of just getting this far into the game. I'm also really turned off by some of the tactics she's used in this campaign. While that shouldn't be a major issue for one base a vote on, everything counts when you've flip-flopped on where your vote is going as much as I have.

Obama, in the meantime, is still a very sound candidate from a policy standpoint. What pushes him from "very sound" to "I'd like him to be president" with me is his promise to change the tone in DC. Sure, the last guy that promised to come into DC and be a "uniter, not a divider" turned out to be the most divisive president we've had in my lifetime by leaps and bounds; but that guy just promised to change the tone where Obama has already started acting on that promise even in the campaign stage. The other thing Obama has done to change the political discourse in the country is gotten new people into the process. The old guard will expect the same stuff, but maybe bringing people into the mix that maybe have a little more idealism will be just the thing the country needs for its politicians to take notice and do something new.

Senate: Jim Neal

I mean, you've been paying attention to this blog, right? Kay Hagen more closely resembles Senator Dole(who, if you're keeping score, is TERRIBLE) than she does a true progressive. Jim Neal, on the other hand, is entirely the real deal. Honestly, I'm really excited about him as a candidate and you'd be doing more than well to give him your vote.

Governor: Richard Moore

Neither of these candidates is great. They're both pro death penalty. Moore opposes the de facto moratorium we've got here in NC while Perdue is on the record as saying that the death penalty should be "painful and torturous" (this was in an interview with The Charlotte Observer 13 years ago, but that's still way too horrible a comment to go unnoticed even now). They've both done their parts in increasing the cost of getting an education on a UNC campus. Both claim to be pro choice, but Perdue has a voting record that isn't quite consistent with that claim. So based on that and the fact that the tuition increases Moore supported were at least much smaller than Perdue's, I'm giving the slight edge to Moore. Again, though, I'm not happy about either of my choices. If I had money and a snowball's chance in hell of winning I'd be running as a third party candidate. I'd call my party the Awesome Party, if you must know.

Lt. Governor: Hampton Dellinger

I'm not crazy about his name, but he's a progressive's progressive by all accounts. The Lt. Governorship would put him on a nice track to be NC Governor down the road. We'll need that if the current US Supreme Court makeup manages to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion a state decision.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: June Atkinson

Eddie Davis' signs with the giraffe on them are amusing, but June Atkinson has Planned Parenthood's endorsement. Supporting comprehensive sex education is pretty vital for someone in this office.

Auditor: Beth Wood, Insurance Commissioner: Wayne Goodwin, Labor Commissioner: Mary Fant Donnan, Treasurer: Janet Cowell

The bottom line here is that my research on these candidates didn't churn up nearly as much as my research on the bigger, sexier offices did. But I also found nothing that suggested I should go against The Independent's endorsements for these offices, so here we are.

NC Court of Appeals: James A. Wynn, Kristin Ruth

Same as above, honestly.

***note: from here, I'm not going to be much help if you don't live in Durham***

House of Representatives: David Price

He's running unopposed, so this is beyond a no-brainer. Still, I thought I'd throw in a mention that I'm quite pleased with Representative Price and will be very pleased to vote him in for another term in November.

Durham County Commissioners: Ellen Reckhow, Michael Page, Don Moffitt, Becky Heron, and Brenda Howerton

Durham School Board: Leigh Bordley, Durham District Attorney: Tracey Cline

Again, I'm comfortably leaning on The Independent as my guide after not finding anything to change my mind. Honestly, I spent too much time digging around for what I was going to do about picking a Governor. This makes me a pretty lazy voter, but I like to think that some basic picking around The N&O's website has at least bumped me up to the level of "reasonably informed lazy voter."

I'll be out at the polls starting early tomorrow doing what I can to get people who showed up to the dance just to throw down an Obama or Clinton vote to maybe give Jim Neal a look. So if I'm at your polling place, say hello. Or perhaps loudly tell me "No sir, there's no need for you to give me that information. For I already came here with the full intention of voting for Jim Neal. He is easily the best candidate and I encourage any of my fellow voters who happen to be listening in on this conversation to follow my lead!"

Seriously, vote for Jim Neal.