I found this candidate calculator (via Sisterblogger JustRandi) which promised to tell me which 2008 candidate “best aligns with my beliefs.”  I don’t usually put much stock in such things, and this particular “calculator” just reaffirmed my belief that voting must and should involve more than just plugging your public policy variables into a particular formula and solving for Candidate X (or if you prefer, Candidate Y).  Why do I say this?  Because the Candidate Calculator just told me that my guy for 2008 is…Rep. Tom Tancredo of California Colorado!  (Thanks, JustRandi!)

I seriously did physically recoil from the computer screen when I saw this because, to be perfectly frank, although I don’t really “follow” the campaigns of the lower-tier candidates, I’ve always been under the impression that Rep. Tancredo is a little nutso.  No offense to him.  He has some admirable libertarian tendencies, and I can see–I guess–why the calculator would say that his beliefs line up largely with mine.  Except that I’m a reasonable person who doesn’t tie every social and economic ill to the issue of illegal immigration–and therein lies the problemo.  There’s nothing in the Candidate Calculator to account for reasonableness versus unreasonableness. 

To illustrate my point, there is no way in hell I would vote for anyone who says, as Rep. Tancredo did in yesterday’s GOP debate, “I am absolutely tired and sick and tired of being forced to go to the polls and say I’m going to make this choice between the lesser of two evils.  I really don’t intend to do that again.”

Rep. Tancredo said this in response to a question about supporting his party’s eventual nominee (assuming that it would not be him)–which just goes to show that the man may have it “right” on certain questions of federalism, but he lacks the fundamental quality most important in any candidate who wants to be leader of the free world, and that’s a desire to engage reality.

In the real world we don’t get many choices between totally evil and totally good.  If that’s what life were about, we wouldn’t even need the political process because the solution to every problem would be so obvious.  I would be scared to death of having a president who refused to choose between Bad and Not As Bad.  What on earth would happen to him the first time he had to make a decision about something consequential?  Would he spontaneously combust?  Or would he just sit there and fold his arms until he was miraculously presented with an option that didn’t require him to “choose evil”?  Thanks, but I think I’d prefer a lesser evil.

Ron Paul was another candidate who said that he wouldn’t support a GOP nominee who wasn’t willing to end the Iraq war and brings the troops home.  “You won’t want me then, pal,” said John McCain.  I try not to vote for a candidate strictly on the basis of personal charm, but I have to tell you, Sen. McCain continues to grow on me.  I can’t help it. 

Speaking of Sen. McCain, here is a candidate whose views certainly don’t match up perfectly with mine, on a few issues I consider relatively important.  (For one, I wince every time campaign finance reform comes up.  First Amendment, anyone?  Anyone?)  And yet I would be much more comfortable with President McCain than President Tancredo because I think John McCain strikes an acceptable balance between principles and pragmatism.  After he lost the GOP nomination in 2000, some floated the idea of McCain running as an independent or possibly as the Reform candidate.  McCain, of course, didn’t do this.  Instead he campaigned for George W. Bush–because he thought W would make a better president than Al Gore.  Better, not best.  That’s the way a grown-up thinks.  A third-party run by McCain would have been pure vanity on his part, and at least McCain had sense enough to realize that.  It gives me hope that he would have similar sense about a host of other choices, even if he didn’t choose perfectly. 

I don’t have similar confidence in Rep. Tancredo.  Refusing to support your party’s candidate is called “voting for the other guy.”  Which is fine, if you think the other guy (or gal, as the case may be) is the better choice, but I don’t think that’s Rep. Tancredo’s reasoning.  He just doesn’t want to choose the lesser of two evils; he’d rather have the evil chosen for him–in which case he is either too silly or too dangerous to be president, and that Candidate Calculator can just kiss my Inner Libertarian’s big toe. 

You all will be relieved to learn that reports of my favorite saucepan’s demise were premature.  I was able to save it last night with a combination of elbow grease, S.O.S pads and the ever-popular love.  Yes, I’m sure you’re relieved, but probably you also feel a teensy bit used, after all that fuss I made–if you wanted a ride on that emotional roller coaster, you would have just followed the link to the ferret post.  Well, I’m sorry.  I promise not to blog “wolf” again.  Okay, maybe I shouldn’t promise.  I don’t like to lie so blatantly.