I have spent most of my adult life as a registered Republican, and I have learned that the central challenge posed by that status, cycle after cycle, is to find a Republican candidate to whom I am actually willing to give my vote. Finding Democratic candidates to oppose has been easy; finding Republicans to support has been hard.
I cast my ballot twice for George W. Bush, both times because the Democratic candidate drove me to it. In 2004, John Kerry was simply awful as even many Democrats admit. In 2000, I was fully prepared to vote for Al Gore, until he threw my vote away with his blood-and-thunder "people vs. the powerful" tirade at the Convention.
With fewer than 24 hours remaining, I have decided this year to give the Presidential slot a miss. Because this is California, there has never been any doubt that the State's electoral votes would go to whoever was the nominee of the Democratic Party, short of Satan himself (and even he might stand a fighting chance). Senator Obama does not need my help to collect those votes, and I could not swing them to Senator McCain if I tried.
It is odd that I would choose not to vote for President this year, because the major parties gave me exactly what I wanted: each candidate was my preferred choice to receive his respective party's nomination. Neither, however, will have my vote.
Senator Obama has been sufficiently forthright for me to know I cannot vote for him because I disagree strongly with many of his central policies, but I will shed no tears when he is elected, as seems inevitable. I wish him well in office, and I feel more than a little sympathy for his supporters: anyone investing that much Hope is bound to be disappointed in a world that sadly, campaign rhetoric aside, does not in fact operate on wishes, good feeling and pixie dust.
I expected at this time to be preparing to cast a ballot for Senator McCain, but he managed to throw my vote away every bit as effectively as Al Gore once did. The McCain campaign has been, to my surprise and sorrow, an horrific display of every trait that has caused me to despair for the party these past years: the snippiness, the nastiness, the fear-mongering, the embrace of sentimentality in place of thought, and so on. Not at all what I expected from this Senator, and a depressing spectacle that cannot end soon enough.
And, of course, there is the final deal breaker: Governor Palin. Readers of this weblog know that I am a firm fan and supporter of that mighty creature, the North American Moose. I will endorse moose whenever possible. The Governatrix of Alaska is well and proudly known for her hunting of moose, which puts a severe crimp on our relationship even before we begin to inquire into trivial matters such as knowing the first thing about the public policy issues of the day.
More electoral moosery:
- The anonymous but all-seeing Editor of Blawg Review -- who encourages his stable of law bloggers even when, as in my case, their rate of posting has fallen to near invisibility -- knows of my moose-fancying tendencies and forwarded along this Language Log post: "Sarah Palin’s Favorite Meal." It includes a detailed explanation of moose taxonomy, how to distinguish the moose from the elk, and other useful matters. It also includes -- WARNING! -- a graphic photo essay on Governor Palin's particular skill: field dressing a moose. Not for the faint of heart.
- Back in September, when the dew was just beginning to fade from the Palin rose, author Paul Theroux took to the Sunday Los Angeles Times to cite the example of Henry David Thoreau, who in The Maine Woods appreciated and defended the moose -- and disdained those who enjoy carving moose in to bite size morsels.
Through Thoreau, Theroux threw a thorough thrashing at the McCain-Palin ticket. (Say it three times fast, I dare ya.)
So, while I believe that we should all emulate this fine, free, franchise-exercisin' creature --
-- I will be leaving my Presidential ballot blank tomorrow.
I will be voting on an array of other races and issues on the ballot. In particular, I will be voting "No" on Proposition 8, so as to ratify the California Supreme Court's decision recognizing same-sex marriage. I mention this mainly so as to have an excuse to link one more time to my versified thoughts on the subject.
Now, go out there and vote your conscience, why don'cha?
To send you on your way, return with us now to Those Fabulous '80s -- and look ahead to January's Inaugural Ball season -- with the decadent Cocteauviana of "Election Day" from the Duran Duran spinoff known as Arcadia:
[Politically active Moose illustration via Wonkette.]