The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

What will make someone choose a candidate?

Sometimes it puzzles me what will influence someone's thinking in deciding whom to vote for. A case in point: My wife is a nominal Democrat, but more correctly described as an independent, as she has voted for candidates of both parties for the Presidency.

Four years ago, my wife voted for John McCain, primarily on the basis of character; in particular, she recalled that in 1996 she had voted for Bill Clinton over Bob Dole because Dole seemed too conservative for her, but Clinton's behavior in the Presidency had convinced her that character was important. In retrospect, she was sorry for her 1996 vote, and might possibly have (if there had been such a thing as turning the clock back) changed that vote to Dole. The 2008 election seemed even more a case of character counting, since she considered McCain an honorable man (and cited his Vietnam War experience), while Barack Obama was anything but. (I think the Alice Palmer episode was the major factor in her evaluation of Obama's character.) When the economy tanked in 2008, she briefly considered voting for Obama, but in the end, her estimates of the character of the two major candidates won her vote for McCain. (Her mother accused her of being too influenced by me; but I really had no hand in determining her vote except to bring her attention to what Obama had done to Alice Palmer in 1996.)

This year, although Obama was the same Barack Obama as he had been four years ago, and if anything carried more baggage now (she could see the effects of his Presidency: she had a job in 2008, but except for some temporary positions, has been unemployed since Borders closed her store in April 2011.), it has been hard to convince her to vote for Mitt Romney. Romney's favorable comments on Ronald Reagan's downsizing of the Federal Government have scared her. When Reagan did that, she had to compete with many ex-Federal employees for jobs, and it was a hard time for her. She has been afraid Romney might do the same.

It took a Romney television ad featuring Obama's July 13 Roanoke speech to convince her. She never owned a business herself, but she worked in some places where she could see the hard work the business owner was putting in. And she felt that if Obama could not understand this, he was the wrong person to get our economy going again. And currently she is leaning toward Romney. She still hasn't committed. But this one remark by Obama — in a prepared speech, not an off-hand remark to a reporter — has done a lot to convince her.

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