In the 2006 election cycle, I ran a series of posts detailing which candidates I thought would be best for public office at the federal, state and local levels. I'm doing the same this year based on information available about the candidates. I'm going to start with the federal offices as these candidates generally offered the most readily available information about themselves.
Anyone who's been reading for any length of time knows that my primary choice for president is and always has been Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. We're now whittled down to a handful of choices from several different parties, none of which include my favorite doctor. Given my disagreement with the principles espoused by the Green Party, I cannot offer any consideration for either Cynthia McKinney or Ralph Nader as an acceptable choice for executive office (or even dog catcher). Gloria La Riva, a hard-line socialist, receives about as much consideration. The four choices left are Bob Barr (L), Chuck Baldwin (C), John McCain (R) and Barack Obama (D).
I honestly do not see that either John McCain or Barack Obama will lead this country in a direction that I am comfortable with. McCain feels far too much like "Bush Lite", proposing solutions that sound far too much like party talking points rather than well-reasoned and nuanced answers. Obama, on the other hand, seems to have a plan that consists of little more than promising the voters every benefit and spending package under the sun to be paid for exclusively by the wealthy. Neither of their philosophies sits well for me when my primary concern is that the federal government divest itself of as much spending as possible and devolve more powers back to the states where they belong. In fact, Barr and Baldwin are the only two candidates who support this goal at all.
When coming down to a decision between Barr and Baldwin, Bob Barr receives my tip of the hat as the best person to lead the country. He has a well-reasoned approach to immigration that balances enforcement and humanity and proposes elimination of the vast majority of current federal spending. All of his solutions emphasize allowing local control, something I can really get behind. While Chuck Baldwin has picked up the endorsement of Ron Paul and has many of the same positions, the theocratic tendencies of his chosen party at large are cause for concern and serve as a tipping point in Barr's favor.
US Representative, District 2
As congressional approval ratings sink to all-time lows and we find ourselves looking at a gridlocked Washington that does little of use, it's more important than ever to ensure that we have the right people in there who will carefully guard the taxpayer dollar and work on solutions that will devolve federal control back to the states while preserving appropriate federal powers on immigration, national defense and transportation. In this race, we have a four-way contest between Bill Dew (R), Jim Matheson (D), Dennis Ray Emery (C) and Matthew Arndt (L).
Bill Dew, quite frankly, struck me as yet another talking-point Republican with few solutions and very little in the way of issue stances. His website provides party-line stances on four issues: drilling for more oil, drilling for oil means better national security, illegal immigration and continuing a policy of tax cuts. Unfortunately, he doesn't provide much beyond that even during a radio interview with KCPW. Similarly, Matthew Arndt, aside from a few Liberatarian talking points, makes his positions scarce as can be. I just can't vote for someone unwilling to articulate their plans for public office.
This whittles it down to Jim Matheson and Dennis Ray Emery. Mr. Emery, unlike his predecessor W. David Perry, is an invisible man with no website, no responses to media inquiries and just about nothing on Google. It's pretty hard to vote for someone you know nothing about. Though I have a few areas of disagreement with him (FISA? Seriously?), Jim Matheson appears to be the most-qualified man for this job.