Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Journey To the Center of the Caucus
Four years ago, I decided to support Barack Obama over John McCain in the 2008 Iowa caucuses, thus resulting in me voting for Obama for president. I wish I could say that in my regret over supporting him that I was at least foolish enough to buy into the whole "Hope and Change" slogan, but being usually skeptical of all politicians I merely thought he was a decent enough politician worthy of my vote, unlike the others running for office at the time. Things change, however, and by this year I had decided that Obama not being reelected was not a bad thing, provided the GOP field had some halfway decent candidates. After doing some heavy research over the span of a year, I decided to caucus for Ron Paul.
Mostly I was attracted to his stances on civil liberties, and the fact that he advocated cutting both taxes and spending, something that this country needs to do to emerge from a rather bad period of low economic growth, a higher deficit, and less optimistic outlooks on the future. While Mitt Romney appears as a merely decent/sub-standard option (the rest of the GOP field being rather laughable, unfortunately), I will admit that him rather conveniently changing his positions on some issues to be off putting, to say the least. Yet, when compared with President Obama I would probably consider voting for Mitt Romney instead if he is the nominee for president, or just writing in Ron Paul. Although one can argue that doing such a thing is "Wasting One's Vote," I have always been under the mindset that the only way someone "Wastes" their vote is by not voting.
Now the Republican caucus turned out to be rather different from the Democratic caucus in some regards. Regular party business was discussed, and from my memory I do not think the Democratic caucus in 2008 had planks (issues that people could choose to support via their signatures), although I could be wrong. Unlike the Democratic way of choosing candidates, which involved people forming into different groups, with the process ending with the top three groups who got the most candidates, the GOP caucus was a bit less chaotic. People were actually invited to stand up at the podium and speak in favor of their candidates, and then after more party business was discussed everyone in the audience was given a piece of paper and told to vote for their candidate, which is more of a secret ballot process.
Both styles of caucus are rather interesting, although I must say that the GOP process is a lot faster although less entertaining. Since I am usually a registered Independent, there is a decent chance I might be participating in either caucus depending on the candidates each election cycle, although maybe I'll finally choose a party in the next 10 years and stick with it.