So, some of you may have noticed that there's a presidential campaign in progress. More to the point, it's getting exceedingly hard to ignore. That's an annoyance, and I often wish for something more on the British model of "hey, guys? let's have an election next month." Perhaps they should move the first primaries back to August, rather than January. It would certainly make the campaigns cheaper and much less annoying. I'm not helping by writing about it, but, well, I'll pretend that I'm doing so because of the First Amendment.
But that's not what I wanted to write about. I've got two other election related topics.
The first is an interesting online flash app I stumbled upon that analyzes your real political standing. Take a look Electoral Compass USA...it's a pretty reasonable set of questions, and the results worked for me. Your answers are analyzed on two axes - your economic leanings, and your social leanings. The horizontal axis represents left or right economic tendencies, while the vertical axis has traditional or conservative values at the bottom, up to liberal or progressive tendencies at the top. To no real surprise, the centroid it produced for me was a bit above center, but generally pretty much in the middle. Within the uncertainty radius that their analysis provides, there are precisely zero candidates.
Somehow that doesn't surprise me. I suspect that's true for a large fraction of the electorate. That's really quite sad.
The other thing I wanted to discuss is candidate selection criteria. Even though it's now one week to the California primary, I don't have any idea who, if anyone, I'll vote for. I do know who I won't vote for, which annoys me a bit. I'd really like to find a candidate I can vote for, rather than a set of candidates to vote against. My selection criteria are, thus far, pretty simple. I'd like to find a candidate that actually believes in science. I don't mean some sort of faith-based belief - they are free to practice whatever faith they like as long as it's not the driving force in their decision making. Please, no goat entrails in the Oval Office. What I do mean is that I'd like to find a candidate that understands how science works. Pushing "intelligent design" in addition or as a substitute for evolution education is a guaranteed way to not get my vote.
Thus far, that means Huckabee is a definitive "no", given his direct expression that he doesn't believe in evolution. (Wasn't real impressed with him anyway, but that seals it. Oh, and I guess all of those scientists that actually use science to find ever-increasing evidence of evolution are all just horribly confused. Better send them to some re-education camps.) None of the remaining likely candidates (Obama, Clinton, Edwards, McCain, and Romney, as of this writing) have any sort of reasonable statement on the topic...just a bunch of platitude-laced sound bites. If one of them were to where this shirt (sorry, original link unavailable), I think they'd get my vote.
Obviously, other criteria will be necessary to identify a useful candidate. I'll have to think about that at some point. Can I avoid that until late October? Sigh.