MAKING THE CHOICE IN 2008
As an independent, I, too, straddle the fence on several issues.
It was readily apparent, after reading a book on the eight candidates, that there was a great discrepancy in qualifications. I could not see how it would make any sense to vote for the by far least qualified, Obama. Romney was heads and shoulders above the others in overall capability and qualifications.
Kooky Primaries - Republicans
Then the primaries started - and there was alot of kookiness. The Republicans nominated John McCain, a good guy but not qualified to run a government and a bit odd in some of his stances and workstyle - plus it seems obvious that death before finishing the terms would be very possible, as he would start at age 73! So he needed a strong Vice President at least. But, nothing against her, he chose a governor of a state with 750,000 people, having been the mayor of a small town before that. That was incredible.
The Republicans were not acting rationally in my opinion, although we tend to think of Republicans as being older and perhaps wiser - but they appear to be emotional and to not weigh the qualifications of the candidates. [This year, the Republicans appeared to be ready to make the same mistakes: Cain (no governing experience, then Perry (not even close!), Santorum (limited), Gingrich (brilliant, never ran anything, erratic), even Bachman (no experience running anything substantial). We cannot afford to do "on the job training" again, given the Obama problems based on that.]
I would prefer that all voters use "critical, fact-based thinking" and follow a clear criteria of what is needed to have the right President - not letting the "monkey mind" make the choices.
Emotional, Appealing Democratic Primaries
The 2008 election left us with no good choice on the Republican side, so now we were left with Hilary Clinton and an inexperienced Barack Obama. I liked Barack better. He reached me on the basis of intellectually being smart enough to at least use smart people to run things and to develop a balance set of values for the Federal Government. I thought he would do more of what he said, and at least have an influence that would drive us more to enlightened government.
Promises, rhetoric, and slogans - but it turned out he could not fulfill those at all.
He is a good person, of course, but politics have been too great a factor in making nonsensical decisions and his lack of experience (and need for on the job training) has created huge problems. Even those working with him say things like "We're home alone. There is no adult in the room." He covers this up well, but posturing is not the same as performing.
Of course, there were some correct choices, in my estimation, but many harmful ones, that he may not have realized because of his lack of understanding and/or his agenda.
I read with interest Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, giving factual quotes from people working with him and an interesting history of the campaign and the "education of the President." At the end he identifies the key point: Obama is a "brilliant amateur".
And we failed to adequately be realistic enough to identify that even the brilliant Einstein would have not been qualified, as there is no substitute for the wisdom one can gain from experience.
So, I made a mistake, though my choices appeared to be limited to choosing the least worst of the candidates.
We have to admit the mistake, but not to repeat it. The only really good choice is Romney - who could be the best CEO of the United States ever in history - as he is a problemsolver, consensus builder, informer, user of the top brains, a planner, and an indisputably great implementer.