A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Friday, December 09, 2005

Straw Poll

Okay, audience participation time. I am at least semi-serious, and probably at least mostly nuts, about getting a legitimate alternative to whatever twits the Republicans and Democrats choose to foist upon us. But hey, being semi-serious, I want to select a candidate that A) I like and think would make a good President and 2) actually has enough name recognition to get elected and enough gravitas to be able to effectively govern once he or she wins.

So, here's my list. Please, take a few minutes in the comments section to give me feedback. Rate them 1-10 (10 being good) if you like, or just tell me which ones you would vote for and which you wouldn't. There's some good people here-- our job is to pick the best one. Well, actually, two-- since we'll need a VP candidate, too. In no particular order:

UPDATE: Three new possibilities:

11) Bob Costas. 53. Pros: Hig name recognition and appeals to both men and women. For that matter, he appeals to both liberals and conservatives. He's an appealing guy. Intelligent, well-read, thoughtful, and has a photographic memory, which seems like a good thing for a president to have. He also seems to have integrity. What a thought! Cons: Not sure what his political views are, and anyone that fills in for Larry King could well be considered a lightweight.

12) Zell Miller. 73. Pros: Either a moderate Democrat or a moderate Republican depending on your point of view-- either way, a centrist who can see value in both parties. Large quatities of political experience as a Mayor, Governor and a Senator. A marine and supporter of the War on Terror. Very fiscally conservative Cons: Prety old, could be seen as a flip-flopper, hard-core right-wing on a number of social issues, including wanting to ban any and all legal recognitions of homosexual partnerships, and a dixiecrat back in the 50s and 60s.

13) Denzel Washington. 50. Pros: High name recognition and well-regarded for his philanthropic work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as well as various other charities. Very telegenic and well-spoken, and a strong supporter of our military. Cons: Not much to be found on his actual political views.

1) Robert Duvall. 73. Pros: High name recognition, well-respected in Hollywood and elsewhere. Republican leanings tempered by social responsibility and a distaste for hypocrisy. Cons: A bit old. Doesn't seem overly interested in politics or the national debate.

2) Alice Cooper. 57. Pros: High name recognition, appeals to a broad range of people thanks to his rock career, Wayne's World cameo, and current gig as a radio DJ. Strong supporter of W., which may or may not be a pro, but his approach to the War on Terror is dead-on balls accurate (It's an industry term). Cons: He's Alice Freakin' Cooper.

3) Jon Stewart. 43. Pros: Smart, intelligent, funny, good name recognition and he has connections with a number of media and political people and institutions. Very telegenic. Cons: Attitude toward the War on Terror is worrisome, as is the fact that he does not see a problem with media bias. Not sure he brings enough gravitas to the position.

4) Clint Eastwood. 75. Pros: Previous executive office experience (Mayor), huge name recognition, libertarian views on social issues, more conservative views on fiscal issues. Brings tons of gravitas with him-- do you want Clint squinting at you if you're a Senator or Representative? Cons: Even older than Duvall.

5) James Woods. 48. Pros: He's James Freakin' Woods! Seriously, very smart (IQ of 180), majored in Political Science, gave the best MNF opening EVER, and supports the War. He also loves poker, and has high name recognition. Cons: He James Freakin' Woods! Not sure he has the right temprament to actually be President of the United States. And he has almost as much past baggage as Alice Cooper.

6) Ron Silver. 59. Pros: A lifelong Democrat, Silver has been a staunch supporter of Bush's stance on the War on Terror and appeared at the 2004 RNC. Probably the perfect age to be President, and quite telegenic. Has actually taught high school and done social work. Pragmatist who is willing to realistically access situations. Cons: Name recognition is poor to so-so. Might have trouble with the party flip-flop thing.

7) Heather Locklear. 44. Pros: Very high name recognition, obviously extremely telegenic, and smart as a whip. From all reports, a very focused, professional woman, and she favors a flat-tax system. A registered Republican, I had trouble finding out exactly what her stance is on issues outside of the flat tax (which I like). Plus, she's a woman (in case you hadn't noticed). Cons: She might be considered a bit of a light weight, and her position on issues isn't easy to find (I certainly couldn't).

8) Joe Montana. 49. Pros: High name recognition, known as a class act. Extremely telegenic. Unfortunately, I know nothing about his politics and couldn't actually find anything. I'm pretty sure he's a Democrat.

9) Oprah Winfrey. 51. Pros: Quite possibly the highest name recognition possible. Is there anybody who hasn't heard of Oprah? Millions of fans premade to lend their support to her presdiential campaign-- likely whether she wants to campaign or not. In general, her politics seem to lean left, but aren't knee-jerk Democrat, which is good. If she were elected, who would argue with her? Would you want to be the Senator or Representative that said "no" to Oprah? Can you imagine the public outrage directed at that politician? It would so totally rock if the first woman AND the first minority of the people ever elected was elected by the people, and for the people, rather than coming from one of the two political parties. Cons: If she really didn't want to run for president, she could probably have us all killed.

10) Dennis Miller. 52. Pros: Smart, already a political junkie, and enjoys good name recognition on both sides of the political aisle. He's well-versed in history, which I suspect most, if not all, of our recent Presidents have not been, and I thinks that's a big plus. His views are also pretty libertarian, which is also very much to the good. Cons: Might be too cerebral to be a good prez. The whole used to be a democrat, now a republican thing could be damaging. Would anyone take him seriously?

All right. There's thirteen. Please, let's get some serious feedback. Did I miss anyone somebody really likes? Are there more women that should be on this list? It seems there should be, but I came up mostly blank.

I'll stick in my two cents on who I like a bit later. Right now, I want you guys to kick in some thoughts, feeling and analysis.
Zell Miller: conservative democrat, supports the war on terror, knows the bible better than most, and one of the very few democrats who are actually sane. How many senators have spoken at both a republican and a democrat national convention?

Zell is from the south, and the south has controlled the last 7 or 8 presidential elections.

Zell could appeal to a cross party majority of voters. Plus he's not one of those entertainment nimrods you put in your list!
I don't think that you'll ever get enough people to vote for an independent/third party (ITP) candidate unless one of the two major parties is seriously weakened. At this point there are too many people who would see a vote for an ITP candidate as a wasted vote on a spoiler. If the ITP candidate was viewed as more right-of-center, and even if Republican leaning voters liked his platform, I think that many of them would still vote for the Republican candidate in an attempt to prevent the Democratic candidate from edging out a win. Reverse the scenario if the ITP candidate is viewed as more left-of-center.

If you are still intent on the experiment, however, then I think that you will first need to define positions on and/or solutions to the issues that you will want your candidate to take. When this is done, and when you can find a candidate who is willing to run and who agrees with about 75% of your positions on/solutions to the issues, then you will be ready to proceed.

I went into more detail about what I thought would need to be done to find and promote an ITP candidate back in May.

If I had to choose a candidate from your list, I'd choose Zell Miller, but I'm just too jaded to believe that there will be an ITP candidate who will have a realistic shot.
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