This isn't a political blog. It never has been, and I don't imagine it will become one. However, the fact of the upcoming primary, with a wide open field of dissimilar candidates, none of whom is an obvious choice and half of whom have won primaries already, is making me do an awful lot of hard thinking about my choice. Because the day is coming way too soon when I have to make that decision.
I never thought I'd say that. I've been complaining since last spring about the fact that everyone was already out campaigning. "Leave me alone!" I said crossly, "I'll pay attention next winter." Yet here it is next winter and I am still horribly undecided.
There are such large issues at stake. Abortion. Taxes. Foreign policy. Torture and how we handle "enemy combatants" when they aren't in uniform. Illegal immigration. How we view the Constitution. What role faith has (and/or should have) in policy and presidents. Health care. Perhaps the vast number of candidates is simply a reflection of the vast number of problems we face and the myriad of views on how they should be solved.
People often deride "single issue voters". I can see their point, but until this year I have always been a single issue voter. I have always, always, always voted Republican because they were always on the right side of the abortion controversy. It was actually pretty simple to vote, back then.
I'm still a single issue voter - of a sort. The problem is that now I have a whole host of "single issues" on which I do not believe I can compromise. I can't vote for someone who believes abortion is ok. I can't vote for someone who thinks that torture is appropriate, ever. I can't vote for someone who thinks we should pull out of Iraq immediately, and to hell with the consequences for the Iraqi people.
Less important, but still central to my thinking: How can I vote for someone who wants to raise taxes, when our taxes are already 1/3 of our income (at least) and are subsidizing organizations like Planned Parenthood? I have no problem paying for roads and schools, but really, how many of my dollars are being used that way? How can I vote for someone who thinks enforcing our current immigration laws is impossible - so we ought to ignore the laws and let illegals stay? How horribly unfair to those who tried to do it right! How can I vote for someone who thinks a few thousand dollars in a tax credit is enough to take care of the health care problem?
How can I vote for someone who shares my convictions but hasn't a prayer of winning a general election? Am I not then functionally voting for the democratic nominee, who shares even fewer of my values?
How can I vote for any of the candidates running?