OK, so I bit off way more than I could chew with that "Election 2008" post series I was planning. It didn't help that I ended up having to do a lot of prepping for the AIChE Conference Of Doom next month. But I'll just briefly go over my votes for the big races here, along with some stupid platitudes about why I chose them.
One note. I suddenly find myself living in a battleground state (Really? North Carolina? Who knew?), and I feel for you Floridians and Ohioans who have to deal with this dreck on TV every four years. Of course, if I had the time or inclination I could have gone to see all three major presidential candidates and two of their running mates (Wayne Allyn Root, you're slacking, dude), so that's kinda cool.
President: Sen. Barack Obama, Democrat. I was tempted to vote for Bob Barr, even though I spent most of my adolescence throwing up in my mouth whenever I heard his name mentioned. Barr's the only candidate that might actually have the inclination to rein in the absurd reach of executive power we've gotten ourselves into the past few decades. But I chose Obama because in the most important area in which the President is supposed to act - foreign policy - he's clearly the best. McCain, for all his supposed experience, doesn't get diplomacy as well as I had hoped, and his failure to understand who pulls the levers in Iran (hint: not A-Train), among other things, hurts him there. Temperament is also, ahem, an issue. I don't want him suspending his presidency if there's a war somewhere or something. Barr's foreign policy is way too far the other direction - isolationism isn't an option for a superpower.
My wish was for a candidate who understood the limits of the presidency and campaigned accordingly. Wish not granted, however, I get the sense that Obama would at least respect the Constitution and some of the limits it places on Presidential authority. The same could not be said for McCain, who seems to believe that the President should be able to do whatever.
Senate: State Sen. Kay Hagan, Democrat. See the next post down.
House: B.J. Lawson, Republican. What the hell? I'm voting for a Republican? How did this happen - especially given my professed approval of his opponent, Rep. David Price? Well, two things. One, Price isn't losing this seat. It's a pretty Democratic seat in a Democratic year. But he has made some horrible votes over the past few years - the bankruptcy bill, the bailout, gutting FISA, the Patriot Act... I could go on. (And yes, I recognize Obama cast many of the same votes. I'll get to the difference in a second.) He's been cruising to re-election this whole time - a little shock from an opponent could do him good, as would two years back in Chapel Hill reading the Constitution. Two, Lawson's basically Ron Paul without the crazy. He's anti-war, pro-civil rights for gays, and a budget hawk. He opposes corporate welfare (of course, he probably opposes welfare in general) and earmarks. And most importantly, he's running as a defender of civil liberties. A Congressman with a spine in the face of Presidential power-grabs? I'll bite.
Governor: Michael Munger, Libertarian. The major-party candidates, Democratic Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, aren't particularly objectionable. But they're both panderers... and Munger is decidedly not that. The rare LP nominee who has his head screwed on straight, Munger presents remarkably coherent views on education (public school choice, expanding charter schools) and immigration (once they get here, we kinda have to treat them like everyone else). Munger opposes tax breaks for companies that relocate here, which is good since those kinds of giveaways have plagued our budget for most of Crash Easley's administration. Overall, he's the best candidate. Here's hoping he can get over the 5% mark so NC's ridiculous ballot access laws don't decertify the Libertarians again.
There you have it. My prediction is that Obama will hold on to win by the skin of his teeth, and Price, Hagan, and McCrory will win the other races. Of course, the Presidential election will be decided on Monday night when the Steelers come to Washington for the 'Skins' last home game before the election. So considering that I voted for Obama, do I sacrifice my fanhood and root for the Steelers? Or do I root for the 'Skins, knowing that a victory guarantees a McCain win?
Fuck it. Go 'Skins.