If one of the primary topics here is going to be politics, I suppose I should lay out my own views, if only in a general sense, right at the start.
I am current registered as a Democrat, though I have in the past (and almost certainly will in the future) voted for Republican candidates. I think of myself as fairly moderate, and I'd like to think that I listen to the opinions of the other side, so long as they're supported by some kind of facts. Honestly, my biggest problem with Republicans right now is that they're no longer standing up for conservative principles. George Bush has taken the party off a cliff, and almost every Republican member of Congress has been content to vote for whatever the President says, because he's a Republican, and the leader. What we need is people who can think for themselves.
I've been politically classified as a libertarian-socialist. Specifically, I think that less government involvement in day-to-day life is better. Privacy from government intrusion, especially into our homes is important to me. If you can imagine, I'm not much of a fan of the Patriot Act. I'm not going to go into all my policy positions here, I'm sure that over time they'll mostly be brought up.
I suppose one of the more current barometers for political position is the US Presidential race. I'm supporting Barack Obama. He's been my candidate from the start, and despite what's approaching 10 years of interest in politics, this is the first time I have made a donation to a political candidate of any sort. At the start of this whole mess of a primary, the two candidates I was most worried about were Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani did his best to out-hawk George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton was horribly divisive, and watching how she has worked ever since the 90's, she would seem to offer the same style of governing we've seen from George Bush, if somewhat more intelligent; lots of unnecessary secrecy, people appointed for loyalty over ability, abuses of power, etc. I actually liked Romney and Huckabee initially. Romney has an excellent resume, and I felt that even if I didn't care for many of his policies, he could at least likely be trusted with the budget. Mike Huckabee had a populist message that I liked a fair portion of. He kind of lost me when he suggested that the US Constitution should be changed to match the principles of the Christian Bible. Ron Paul...well, he's Ron Paul. Half of what he had to say made a lot of sense, the other half was kind of crazy. The only other candidates I liked on the Democratic side were John Edwards (who was my second choice after Wesley Clark in 2004) and Bill Richardson, who certainly had the experience argument down.
In the end, I had to go with Barack Obama for his inspriational message, and his honest attempts to reach out to younger voters. He's the first national-level politician that I've felt honestly cares about issues important to us. Admittedly, we don't usually vote, so caring about us is not normally something that gives returns. I also really like Obama's policy papers on technology and transparency in government, and his history of actually reaching across the aisle and working with people who don't always agree with him initially in order to actually get things done.
My second choice was John McCain, right from the start. He was the candidate I was rooting for in 2000, and I was rather upset that he lost the primary. It essentially left the 2000 election as a choice between Boring (D) and Stupid (R). I supported Boring, because there are worse sins, though I never expected the level of damage that was to be dealt by Stupid. In any event, while I disagree with John McCain on many policies, I at least respected him greatly for standing for what he believed in , rather than simply following party lines (not that he often diverged). He was someone who would say what he thought, and that counted for a lot with me. Then he seemed to lose his way. He sought out endorsements of Evangelical preachers spouting hate speech, ones he would have labeled "agents of intolerance" back in 2000. He abandoned the idea of a balanced budget in favor of Bush's tax cuts.
At this point, I don't think I could support John McCain anymore, but if Hillary were to snatch away this Democratic nomination, I don't think I could support her, either. Likewise, I would lose a good deal of faith in Barack Obama were he to select Clinton as his VP. She runs so counter to his idea of what government should be that an appointment of her as VP would be a betrayal of what he seems to stand for.
I refuse to be swayed by fears of potential terrorist attacks. I refuse to be influenced by personal attacks on the candidates. This year, I am going to vote on the issues that truly matter to me. I'm going to vote my hopes, rather than my fears.
Listening to: Powerspace - Sleep, Everyone