How I Decide To Vote: Would I Like To Have A Couple of Beers With the Person: Part One

2010-10-18 10.21.44I’m a registered Democrat. I started out that way. I could never change. To do so would be akin to changing my religion. That doesn’t mean I vote as a Democrat all the time. When it comes time to vote I’m a mugwump. When I read Felix Frankfurter Reminisces I was happy to read that he too described himself as that. By the way if you are interested in American history especially from the viewpoint of a brilliant lawyer then that book gives a candid insight into some of the major players of the first half of the 20th Century.

In looking back over the years I’ve voted the person more so than the platform. In trying to determine what standard I’ve used for the most part I’d have to say it came down to deciding when all other things are close to equal it who is the candidate I’d like to have a couple of beers with. I suppose that’s why so many clever rogues get elected. You feel if you went out to a bar with them you’d have an enjoyable evening.

In the early 20th Century I have little doubt I would have voted for Republican Teddy Roosevelt. I know Ken Burns’s documentary on the Roosevelt’s was on PBS last week. That had no effect on my thoughts since I didn’t watch it. I’ve always admired the little trust buster and would have enjoyed sitting and listening to TR’s stories about some of his adventures.

Then there’s Democrat Woodrow Wilson. What I have read about the man convinced me I’d never have voted for him. Frankfurter who had met him said: “He believed in democracy in the abstract, but didn’t care for people. That’s true! And he’d cut off their heads with equanimity.”  He also described him as cold and dogmatic. I usually avoided that type person. Being with them is more like attending a dry lecture than relaxing and enjoying one’s self.

I think a lot of people have the beer test as a built-in measuring stick when it comes to voting. Take the five recent presidential candidates with connections to Massachusetts. Who would you like to sit at a bar table with for an evening: Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, Dukakis, Kerry or Romney?  Then look at who got elected. You understand when you go out for a drink you go out to be entertained and have fun and not to listen to a sermon. I guess it is only in Massachusetts those losers could ever have gotten elected in the first place. We do have a tendency to go for scolds and preachy types.

Using this test for our recent presidents, you know the one you’d most enjoy having sat down with is Ronald Reagan. His infectious smile and penchant for telling a story would have one lingering long after last call. Then there’s Obama. That man can move me with his speeches having in him a little bit of the African-American magnetic preaching style. But I don’t get the sense that he’s a warm person. I’ve mixed feelings on whether he’d be enjoyable company for a few hours but when it came down to it I’d probably pass. I did vote for him both times though. The overriding factor in doing it was my fear that his opponents John McCain and Mitt Romney would have brought us into war with Iran. I’ve got a visceral reaction to oppose anyone Sheldon Adelson supports.

In Massachusetts off the top of my head I liked Republicans Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci. An evening with either would be well worth picking up the tab. In the present Massachusetts governor’s campaign this year we have smiley Charlie Baker. He’s not my cup of tea or I should say glass of beer. Which brings me to his opponent, Martha Coakley. You know my son’s a big supporter of hers. I try to stay out of politics on this blog so I won’t go on any further. But it does bring up for me something else that is relatively new to our election choices that must be taken into account, the female candidate.

(Continued tomorrow.  Next week is FBI Agent John Connolly week.)

9 thoughts on “How I Decide To Vote: Would I Like To Have A Couple of Beers With the Person: Part One

  1. Dems gave us Vietnam (JFK and LBJ). 2. DEMs support the unfettered killing of innocent human beings—i.e. abortion. 3. REPubs favor killing of duly convicted egregious killers —Capital punishment. 4. DEMS favor Euthanasia. 5. Both parties have got us into wars. 6. There are just wars and just killings in self defense and just killings in defense of others. 7. The DEMs favor unjust killings of innocents, and rightly deserve the epithets the Party of Death, and the Party of the Culture of Death.

  2. Bill is right. How can you vote for the Culture of Death? One party is pro life the other is pro death. ( national platforms) Bin Laden mocked the West in saying you love life but Jihadists love death. Which party is akin to Al Qaeda? Which party has disregard for human life? Why isn’t the right to life protected? The most salient point to remember about Whitey is that he was a government employee. His killing spree didn’t start until after he encountered some real bad apples in the government employ. 2. You are correct about the Sunni Shia conflict. It has lasted centuries and that struggle doesn’t impact America’s interests. This isn’t the 70s where we were oil dependent on that region. Thanks to private business ( energy companies) and their innovations ( fracking and directional drilling) our dependency has ended. Free at last. Anything we do over there is a war of choice.

    1. NC:

      Would you suggest the party that advocates the bombing of Iran is a culture of life? The so-called pro-life party seems to be that in name only. Is the party that brings us to war after war a party of life? Sometimes I think people forget there is life after birth also. True, Whitey was a government employee when he was in prison – he got paid for doing the LSD experiments. But for that he would have turned into a model private sector employee.

      2. Now the other party that tried to keep us from war has now joined the party of the first part in becoming a war party. So all of them are together and the generals are walking around with smiles as are our good friends the Saudis and Assad and Iraqis all who love to see America get trapped into taking sides in a religious war that has no effect on us and the war they should be fighting; amazing that we discover newer enemies everyday that must be murdered. Who the hell are the 50 member group of the Khorasan that now perceived as a deadly threat. We just entered into the war without end – how do you defeat people with strong religious beliefs? Didn’t the Romans try to throw them to the lions at one time and look at what happened to that group.

  3. Unless you intend to run for office or to become a convention delegate, party registration for any party only represents an opportunity to vote in the primary for candidates of that party. Independents like to think that they are above all that nonsense. That leaves two strategies for those who are not Independent and wish to vote in primaries. The first strategy is to register for a political party that you support so that you can vote in a primary for what you think is the best candidate to represent that political party. The second strategy is to register for a political party that you do not support so that you can vote in a primary for what you think is the worst candidate to represent that political party. It sometimes appears from the quality of candidates that the second strategy has been implemented more than we care to admit.

  4. I started as a Dem; from Reagan on through Bush, I registered either as a Republican or Independent; Today I dislike most Democratic and Republican Politicians. I liked Joe Moakley, Bill Bulger, Paul White, Steve Lynch, Rand Paul, Reagan, both Bushes, and I like Clinton’s economic policies (Welfare Work) and international especially helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland; I like Obama’s internation policies, his restraint on war, and his decisions to use force; McCain I used to like until he joined the NEOCONS and became a war monger. I always vote Pro-Life. Abortion is the killing of an innocent human being. I like Libertarians and Free Speech Advocates and Nude Dancing. I’m against censorship, Big Government, and intrusive, oppressive FEDS, and IMperialism, American or British. Surgical strikes and killing ISIS and the killing of .Bin Laden and the terrorists is just

    1. William

      Good comment but the ISIS thing is a looming disaster even though you think it is just. ISIS a radical Sunni group is in a war against the Shiites and Sunni royal regimes. The Sunni royals are in a war with the Shiites. Attacking ISIS we are helping Assad which the royals do not want; you don’t get into a religious war – that’s what we have done.

      1. Matt, like Libya, McCain and the CIA blundered in trying to overthrow Assad, who didn’t persecute Christians and maintain some semblance of Normalcy in Syria, as Mobarek did in Egypt and Ghaddaffi did in Libya. The FSA is our foolish invention. ISIS’s weaponry, you’re correct, came from US. We should cut down on interventionism, nation building and imperialism—-after we obliterate ISIS.

  5. “I suppose that’s why so many clever rogues get elected. You feel if you went out to a bar with them you’d have an enjoyable evening.”

    I bet we can all relate to that.

    As I read the above, I am inclined to add one thing, namely, how do I feel about the person one week after that night out?

    Doing so might give me a decent chance to take a pass on voting for any clever rogue.

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