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February 2007

Time for SelectSmart Again

As the 2008 presidential campaign is heating up, time once again to visit my favorite candidate selector site. This is of course the SelectSmart Presidential Candidate Selector in which you answer a series of questions about your views on various issues and how important each is to you, and it matches you up against the stated views of the various candidates who are in the race (or at this stage, also other people who are considered somewhat likely to get in the race). I tend to do this quiz every few months for the couple years before the election to see how things change as my views change over time, and as the range of candidates changes.

Last time I took the quiz was back in October 2004. You can see my results and my thoughts at that time here.

As for this time arount, at this EARLY stage, and without any third party candidates in the quiz yet, here are my results:

(100%) 1: Rep. Ron Paul (R)
(86%) 2: Sen. Barack Obama (D)
(86%) 3: Sen. John McCain (R)
(84%) 4: Retired Gen. Wesley Clark (D)
(78%) 5: Sen. Sam Brownback (R)
(76%) 6: Ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)
(75%) 7: Gov. George Pataki (R)
(73%) 8: Gov. Mitt Romney (R)
(72%) 9: Ex-VP Al Gore (D)
(72%) 10: Sen. Christopher Dodd (D)
(70%) 11: Sec. Condoleezza Rice (R)
(70%) 12: Sen. George Allen (R)
(69%) 13: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D)
(64%) 14: Rep. Tom Tancredo (R)
(64%) 15: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D)
(63%) 16: Gov. Bill Richardson (D)
(63%) 17: Sen. John Kerry (D)
(61%) 18: Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)
(60%) 19: Ex-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R)
(60%) 20: Gov. Tom Vilsack (D)
(60%) 21: Sen. Joseph Biden (D)
(58%) 22: Ex-Sen. John Edwards (D)
(55%) 23: Sen. Chuck Hagel (R)
(49%) 24: Rep. Duncan Hunter (R)

My thoughts on this… first of all, 100% Ron Paul. Great! He a former Presidential candidate for the Libertarian party (1988) and unlike that party’s more recent candidates is not a COMPLETE crackpot. He’s in congress as a Republican right now, although the Republicans don’t really like him that much cause he votes against them on a lot of issues. Looks like he is going to be running in the Republican primaries though, which means he will probably not make it onto the ballot in the end as the Libertarian party will quite possibly nominate another crackpot. I so much want to vote Libertarian. That is where my sympathies really lie, but they have to nominate someone who is not insane for me to do that. I could definately vote for Ron Paul.

Number two also surprised me. I have been very excited about the Obama campaign, but more because he is a great speaker and is exiting to watch and it will make great theater. I got both of his books for Christmas. I haven’t cracked them open yet, but will definately read both before the election season comes around next year. My full expectation is to like him a lot from the point of view of being a good person, feeling I could trust him, liking his backstory, and generally thinking he could do a decent job, but then disagreeing on lots and lots when it came to actual issues, and therefore not being able to vote for him. I am somewhat surprised that he comes up as an 86% match for me on this quiz. I’ll definately have to read more about his position on the issues.

As for McCain… I used to like him a lot. But he lost all credibility to me in the years since 2000. He seems to have given up most of the “independant” cred he had back in 2000 by either sucking up to W (once his mortal enemy) or just pandering to better “position” himself for the Republican primaries with the religious right and such. And after putting up a good fight on the torture issue for a little while, in the end he just caved, agreed to some ambiguous language that let him say he got his way but in actuallity let W do whatever he wanted… Anyway, I may be a pretty good match on paper on some things, but I no longer trust this man at all. So he’s probably a non-starter with me at this point.

Also interesting is looking at the mix I get. If you look at everybody with more than an 80% match, you see an even split between Republicans and Democrats. I mean, Obama and McCain are tied! What’s up with that! I’m guessing the “normal” patern would be for someone to see mostly one party at the top, then mostly the other party at the bottom. Since I tend to just generally have the principle that in almost all things the right answer is for government to do nothing and stay out of things, and the Republicans and Democrats both seem to be in favor of heavy government involvement, they just disagree on which things to interfere in and exactly how to do so, I end up semi-randomly matching up with one party or the other based on the specific issue…

Which always makes presidential elections fun. Generally during the primary season I can find a few candidates that I agree with a lot, but by the time it gets to the general election, everybody sucks.

Anyway, I of course always think through these things in more depth as the actual elections get near, but I’ve found over the last several election cycles that despite its simplicty, this quiz tends to match very much what I end up feeling about the candidates ON THE ISSUES. The one thing it does not take into account that I do take into account when actually choosing my vote, is my trust and faith in the candidate. I’ll vote for someone I agree with less on the issues over someone I agree with more on the issues if I feel like the person I agree with more is not someone I would want from a purely personality and trustworthyness perspective.

In anycase, it would be very interesting if this time around there was actually a major party candidate come election day that I could actually feel decent about.

Anyway, post your own results in the comments if you want. It will be fun and exciting. Really.