Well, it’s almost time for the Super Bowl.

No, I don’t mean the actual Super Bowl. The only time I’ve watched that was when Prince played the halftime show. Prince totally won that game.

I mean *my* Super Bowl–the election season. It sounds like Hillary is about to break the shocking news that she’s running for President any day now, and Romney has already indicated that he is going to serve his reheated Mittsie stew to a conservative base which wasn’t that crazy about it the first time around.

Politics is my hobby and my spectator sport. Yeah, I realize that the question of which party wins the 2016 election will likely not make a huge, earth-shaking difference in my life. The country is too divided for any drastic changes to happen, and both the Democratic and the Republican candidates are too beholden to their wealthy donors, so…. But I won’t lie–I like rooting for a team. I don’t care about muscles and the ability to throw a ball around, so teams of jocks fail to interest me. I’d much rather root for the nerd who does the most eloquent job of explaining economic policy. My games take place on C-Span.

So I’m getting ready. I’m checking out the horses which might be running in the race. I’m doing finger stretches for the hardcore blogging to come in the next couple of years. I’m preparing my finest witty jabs for my online conservative friends. Yep, this is our time, my fellow political junkies.

Oh, and since I’m in the Northwest…go Seahawks. I guess.

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So it seems we are now deep in the doldrums of a presidency. I guess this is what people mean when they say the second term is always a problem.

And a problem it is indeed. I’m not happy about a lot of things. I’m not happy about the situation with Russia. I’m not happy with the IRS losing e-mails. I’m not happy about the flood of kids coming across our border, although in that case I’m unhappy with both sides for a muddled immigration policy. And I’m very unhappy about the conditions at the VA.

And, with all that being said, I still don’t regret my vote for the President’s re-election. With all the things I’m unhappy about, would I have voted for Romney/Ryan? Nope. I would not have voted for someone who would’ve done his best to repeal the ACA–definitely not voted for someone whose budget plan would have cut Medicare and Social Security. And I would not have voted for someone who would possibly have gotten us involved in another war with Iran.

Politicians are flawed, so they will not always make me happy. As long as I’m less unhappy than I was during the W years, it’s all good. Happiness, after all, is the absence of pain. It will remain to be seen what Obama’s legacy will be in the end, and we will not be able to determine that until his presidency is over and some time has passed. All I know is that one day, when we have a Republican in the White House again? I will miss this guy soooooo much.

So at least one new poll shows that Mitt Romney would win the presidential election if it were being held today.  There is obvious frustration with the healthcare.gov mess, and rightly so.

I have a slightly different take.  I still wouldn’t vote for Mitt–I don’t like his policy positions any more now than I did back then–but couldn’t we put him to work helping with Obamacare?  After all, he was in charge of the same plan in Massachusetts.  He should be great at helping iron out the glitches.  And what is he doing with himself these days, anyway?  Earning more unnecessary billions?  Taking rides on his car elevator?

Okay, so the above proposal isn’t serious, and I realize it’s for the best that it won’t happen.  But it was so nice to imagine Mitt being useful to this country…for once.

So beyond the economy, beyond the contraceptives and bayonets, there is one question on my mind today:

Are we going to go to war again in the next four years?

I know Mitt has not explicitly indicated that he is planning to attack Iran, but with all of the back and forth on his views, how do we know to trust him?  Republicans do seem to enjoy the war thing, and there is a lot of pressure from Israel to help them out with this.

Unless we are directly attacked, I don’t want war with Iran, North Korea or anyone else.  I don’t want anyone I know to be in harm’s way for the sake of our grandstanding around the world.

I’m casting my very first Presidential election vote as a US citizen this year, and it is as much a vote against another war as it is a vote *for* anything.  I don’t actually believe Mitt will be that starkly different from Barack on the economy or social issues.  I even think Mitt is a smart enough politician–and one who wants to get re-elected–not to try to repeal all of healthcare reform.  But I don’t know what to expect from him on the foreign policy front. 

I guess all that is left now is to wait and see what happens.  But I cannot say it enough–your vote really does matter.  It could determine our future in the next few years, maybe even our very survival.  Go vote everybody!

Well, I know what I’ll be doing at midnight EST tomorrow.  I’ll be watching for the voting results from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.  The ten registered voters of the town are the first in the nation to vote at the stroke of midnight.  They will have one minute to cast their ballot, their votes will be counted within a couple minutes, and the results will then be announced to the country.  The Dixville Notchers will do their voting at a ski lodge.  Interestingly, the resort where the voting has usually been held is closed due to being renovated with the assistance of a sizable federal grant–I have no idea whether or not that might influence the results.

In 2008, Dixville Notch voted for Obama fifteen to six–the first time they voted for a Democratic candidate since 1968, according to Richard Wolffe’s “Renegade”.  This year, things sound a bit more dicey.  New Hampshire Republicans appear more fired up about Romney and the Democrats less excited about Obama.  (Also, the population of Dixville Notch has clearly declined–did the younger and more liberal voters move away?)

Early and absentee voting has probably stolen some of the thunder from Dixville Notch’s midnight vote, but I’ll still be waiting to see it.  Let’s face it, I live in a non-swing state on the West Coast, so anything the ten residents of that town do will be more suspenseful than my predictable Barack vote.

Okay, so this thing is literally just a few days away, and it is entirely possible that Romney could win.  So dammit, I’m going to indulge in some shameless, pathetic nostalgia.  Remember that moment four years ago?  I have lived in this country for over twenty years, but had never experienced an election like the 2008 one before.  What an amazing feeling that was.  Our first African-American President.  A man who promised to change the country.  It really was a bit like having fantastic sex.  I won’t say “like having sex for the first time”–since, let’s face it, the first time usually bites.  The 2000 election was more like the first time–painful and messy, and with an unsatisfying ending.

Yes, before he was smeared by the crazies as the Kenyan love child of Hitler and Stalin…before our own progressive disappointments in him…before that goddamn first debate with Mitt…there was this.

Now go vote!

As the election approaches, I find myself once again pondering the inconsistencies of our political philosophy.  The message of this election–like that of most American elections–is all about America remaining “number one”.  But how serious are we really about keeping our country at the top of the list?  (And this, naturally, presumes that we’re still there.)

Conservatives are proud of our powerful and technologically advanced military, with its intelligent soldiers.  They brag on achievements like the Curiosity Mars rover.  “We’re still the best!”  But they despise the idea of giving money to an educational system which could teach people needed technological skills, and they are fine with cutting unnecessary frills like financial aid to college students.

President Obama is portrayed by his opponents as the man who will make America slide down that global list.  But would a President Romney be more helpful?  Not that I’m in favor of excessive debt, but will debt really be the thing which causes our demise?  Or the more appropriate question–will it contribute to our demise more than a lack of investment in science and education will?

So let’s not make rash assumptions about who will keep our country stronger and more powerful.  And this might be a good time to rethink what makes for the best place in the world.  Maybe we don’t *need* to be number one…just decent to our own citizens.