ACTION: Picking our next president systematically and with data

Cross posted at dKos. This is my first diary here, but I'm fairly prolific at dKos. I wrote this primarily for that audience, but I'd love to have the help of anyone here as well.

I have a major project I'd like to undertake here, but I'm not at all equipped to handle it myself. I'm not even the best person to take charge of it -- I can easily think of several dozen kossacks who would do a better job than I could. But I have this idea to make things easier for all of us and help with the 2008 election effort, and so I would like to ask for anyone who is willing and able to contribute to the effort. I can't even offer much incentive (other than the improved prospect of electing a Democratic president, which ought to be enough for anyone), but since I'm known around dKos for my recipes, there will be one in the tip jar for anyone who gets that far.

Like it or not, even though the next presidential election is still nearly 22 months away, the campaign is already upon us. The first Democratic debate of the campaign is just over three months away, and we have a number of declared and undeclared candidates.

We know that John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Vilsack, Chris Dodd, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden have filed papers with the FEC, declaring themselves likely candidates. We also know that Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Bill Richardson are more or less likely candidates as well.

On the Republican side of things, John Cox, Richard Smith, and Michael Smith have already filed with the FEC, and we know there is serious interest from Sam Brownback, Tommy Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, John "Surge" McCain, Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter, Jim Gilmore, Chuck Hagel, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, George Pataki, Ron Paul, and Tom Tancredo. There has also been some speculation that Condi Rice or Mike Pence might run, but let's ignore them for the moment.

Of course, there are also, as always, a number of third party candidates, but let's ignore them for the moment as well; some of them would make appealing candidates and some would appeal about as much as a permanent BushCo government, but realistically, none of them have any chance of winning anyway, so they're of lesser import for my purpose in this diary.

So here is the major undertaking I want to propose.

The dKosopedia has a page dedicated to the 2008 US presidential election. So far, it's just an outdated list of candidates, with links to other pages with information on the candidates. These are basically standard wiki bios, which means they don't serve our purposes. But suppose we kept the presidential election page updated and added information about each of the potential candidates?

I did a little research into which issues matter most to us for next year's presidential election. To reiterate, the following table shows the results of a straw poll I conducted here:

RankItemVotes1Abuses/desecration of the Constitution652Healthcare553Environment (including climate change)534Energy independence/policy505Election integrity486Foreign policy/the US's place in the world467Iraq408Corporate kleptocracy389Torture3710Equal rights3311Economy and economic policy3212Education3113Stem cell research2814Corruption (in government)2715 (tie)Reproductive rights2015 (tie)Social Security2017Sustainable development1918Federal judiciary/Supreme Court1819Food/food policy1420National security/terrorism1221Iran1022 (tie)Leadership (transformational, inspirational)822 (tie)War on drugs824Immigration5

Wouldn't you like to know where each of the candidates stands on these issues (and others)? Wouldn't you like to have an easy-to-navigate record of every speech they've given, every vote they've cast, every bill they've sponsored related to these issues? If you haven't already jumped on some candidate's bandwagon, wouldn't having access to such records make it easier for you to decide who to support?

As for the Republican candidates, all that information would be useful, but I have something slightly different in mind for them. I want every skeleton in every Republican closet exposed. Now, I'm not talking about swiftboating anybody. I don't want a repository of lies. I want nothing but honest, truthful, accurate information about all of the Republican candidates. Every Republican who talks about family values while cheating on his/her spouse or neglecting his/her children, I want the evidence posted on the dKosopedia. Every Republican who claims to be for law-and-order, then calls in favors to get his/her son, daughter, brother, sister, spouse, parent, friend, neighbor, or multimillion dollar campaign contributor off the hook for anything from jaywalking to serial murder, I want it posted on the dKosopedia. Even relatively good things -- for example, Romney's old position on reproductive rights -- that would be anathema to the Republican platform, I want it posted on the dKosopedia.

I want us to turn the 2008 US presidential election page on the dKosopedia into a one-stop informational database on all the candidates, both Democrats and Republicans. (I think we should also be doing this for Senate and House candidates, but my focus here is on the presidential race.)

Some words of caution: let's not let this turn into another means for supporters of some given candidate to propagandize about their chosen hero, or to trash all the other candidates. Let's be completely fair. Let's provide all the information we need to promote<u>all</u&gt of the Democratic candidates. Let's highlight their good points and use these pages to strengthen them where they are weak. And let's have all the dirty truth we need about the Republicans to hit back every time they lie about their own records.

Over the next few months, as time allows, I'll be updating the 2008 US presidential election page on the dKosopedia to reflect whatever information I come across. Obviously, I cannot do this alone. I have neither the time nor the resources to track down all the information that would be required; indeed, these days, I get most of my news about the candidates on dKos. This needs to be a community effort -- all of us together have the ability to track down all the information we could ever possibly need about any and all of the candidates. Some of you are experts on one or more of the candidates, both Dems and Republicans, so I ask you to post relevant links with appropriate contextual information on the dKosopedia pages in addition to your diaries.

I mentioned in my last diary that the 2008 election is nothing less than a battle for the soul of the United States, and we cannot afford to lose. We did well in the 2006 elections, but it is time to prepare for the 2008 elections. Failure to prepare adequately leaves us open to Republican attacks and endangers everything for which we worked so hard last year. Kerry lost in 2004 in part because he and his campaign were unprepared for the swiftboaters, liars, cowards, and traitors who attacked him, and took far too long to hit back. Let's not repeat that mistake. Let's have every piece of information we could ever possibly need at our fingertips. We'll be better activists for our collective knowledge, and we'll be better advocates for our nominee as well.

So... Who's with me? Will you track the news about your favorite candidate (or your most hated Republican candidate) and update the dKosopedia page?

Tags: 2008 elections, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd, Chuck Hagel, Dennis Kucinich, duncan hunter, George Pataki, Hillary Clinton, jim gilmore, joe biden, John Cox, John Edwards, John Kerry, John McCain, Michael Smith, Mike Gravel, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, newt gingrich, Richard Smith, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Sam Brownback, Tom Tancredo, Tom Vilsack, Tommy Thompson, Wes Clark (all tags)


1 Comment

Tip jar
Over at dKos, I'm known for posting a Recipe of the Day. This was tonight's, which was also in my tip jar:

American Flag Cake

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

2 pints of strawberries
1 recipe of your favorite white or yellow cake (mix or from scratch, your choice)
1 1/3 cups of blueberries
1 tub of whipped topping

Mix up and bake your favorite cake mix or recipe. Let cool. Slice 1 cup of strawberries, set aside. Halve remaining strawberries, set aside. Top cake (in pan) with 1 cup sliced strawberries, 1 cup blueberries and all of the whipped topping. Arrange remaining strawberry halves and blueberries on whipped topping to create a flag design. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
by wiscmass 2007-01-18 05:51PM | 0 recs


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