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Breaking down the candidates

Published 9:41am Monday, September 17, 2012

I wish I could be like some of my friends when it comes to politics. That may sound flip, but, trust me, I mean it sincerely.

Many of the people I know feel like they have a party that believes exactly as they do. They relate to the Democratic Party, Republican Party or Libertarian Party 100 percent and voting is easy for them.

I haven’t been able to find that group for myself. That makes voting sometimes a complicated and, oftentimes aggravating time. You have to decide what you can live with and what you can’t.

Such is the case with the coming Presidential election. I have to choose from a group of folks, none of whom I feel really represent what I want. For better or worse, what follows is my thought process heading into the November election.

President Barack Obama

Positives: four years of experience in the job; position on gay rights; pleased with choices at top levels of the cabinet; likeable.

Negatives: subpar performance in first three-plus years; not sure of economic recovery plan; will not have Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in second term.

Overall, I have been less than impressed with the president’s first term. He has been average on the job at best, though there have been sparks of brilliance. I’m also not sure that he will be able to govern with a Republican congress.

Despite that, I do find the President likeable and he’s a guy I’d have a beer with.

Governor Mitt Romney

Positives: experience as a governor; position on abortion; change could be good.

Negatives: don’t believe anything he says; not sure he can handle the job; just don’t like him.

I’m not convinced that Gov. Romney can successfully serve as President of the United States. I get a real George Bush (the older one) vibe and we all know that didn’t work out. I’m also concerned about the lack of clarity on some positions, including abortion, which is a key voting issue for me.

It bothers me that I don’t like the guy, but that isn’t a deal-breaker when it comes to voting. I voted for Mike Easley when he ran for Attorney General in this state because I thought he was good at his job, even though I had little use for him.

Governor Gary Johnson

Positives: Libertarian candidate and I more closely agree with that party than any of the other three; experience as governor.

Negatives: certainly not a point when a Libertarian can win; some of the party platforms goes too far.

I’ve come close to changing my party affiliation to Libertarian many times, but there are things that I strongly disagree with. I do, however, think that a third party is a must in this country and the Libertarians are more likely to be that party.

I don’t think Johnson can win, but my friend, rrspin.com Editor Lance Martin, convinced me that shouldn’t be the primary focus of voting.

Dr. Jill Stein

Positives: closely aligned in beliefs; party is strong on environmental issues.

Negatives: would be a write-in in North Carolina, no experience in any political arena.

I took a survey some weeks ago that said my beliefs are most aligned with Dr. Stein’s, but I doubt that’s true. It is only a small sample of issues and I’m not a true environmentalist.

I do, however, have some environmentalist tendencies and I do like the thought of a woman president.

Overall, I’ll be waiting until longer in the calendar to make a decision. There are a lot of things to consider and I want to see what happens in the campaigns over the next couple of months.

I will say it is the first time I’ve ever truly considered voting for a candidate not affiliated with the two major parties. Maybe more of us should consider that.

Thadd White is Managing Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached via email at thadd.white@r-cnews.com or by telephone at 332-7211.

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