Lately I’ve only been following the primary election through the corner of my eye because it’s too painful to look directly into.  Sometimes I wish someone would wake me up after the conventions.

Duncan Hunter seems to be just begging for someone to pay attention to him, so I thought I would finally see what he was all about.  I visited his web site.  I noticed right away he’s one of those people who puts abortion at the top of his “Issues” page.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I care about the abortion issue as much as the next person, but I don’t like to see it taking center stage in a presidential election, when there is only so much a president can do in terms of the abortion issue.  Yes, a president appoints judges, and that’s pertinent to the abortion issue.  Judges are pertinent to a lot of issues.  So let’s talk about appointing judges, not (necessarily) about abortion.  That would be so refreshing.

But Duncan Hunter is by no means the only Republican candidate guilty of giving abortion the prime real estate on his Issues page. So I gave him that freebie.  I tried to get a sense of the man as a whole.  And I would hate all that research to be for naught, hence I give you the following presentation:

Let’s All Get To Know Duncan Hunter!  (He’s running for President of the United States, too!)

Day job:  U.S. Congressman from California since 1980.  Many years on House Armed Services Committee, chairman of HASC since 2002. 

Other pertinent career info:  Vietnam veteran.  Served in 173rd Airborne and 75th Army Rangers.  Worked in farming and construction while attending law school.  Opened store-front law office, offering legal services to many in Hispanic community before running for Congress.

Personal:  Married.  Two sons, one of whom served two tours of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Marine.

Where Duncan Hunter stands on the Issues!

Abortion and other “values” issues (e.g. same-sex marriage, parental rights aka homeschooling, etc.):  Impeccably conservative in the non-federalist sense of the word. 

Second Amendment:  He’s for it, and not because he hunts–though he does hunt, of course.  Wouldn’t want you to think he was one of those pansy New Yorkers afraid to handle a gun.  Am I mocking Duncan Hunter?  No.  Yes, a little.  Only because I hate hearing about how much politicians love to hunt, even if it’s only in a desultory fashion.  In this Duncan Hunter is no more offensive than John Kerry.  Except he gets bonus points for supporting the second amendment and not holding press conferences with his kill.  You all know this.  I’ll move on.

Taxes:  This is where he shines.  Anyone who says, “I do not support efforts to identify segments of our society that are more deserving of a tax cut over another and I believe political stereotyping in this area hinders the goal of providing efficient tax relief,” is my kind of right-wing demagogue.

Balanced Budget:  He supports it, as well as limiting growth in non-defense areas.  We all know what that means.  Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Property Rights:  He’s for them.  Sweet.

Obscenity:  Against.  (Duh!)

Gambling:  Against.  You know, me too, but I can’t remember the last time I asked myself whether a candidate supported gambling or not.  I think it was “never.”

NEA:  Disses the NEA but doesn’t say the magic words, which are “What the *#$(# are we doing spending tax dollars on the #$&*# (non-defense) NEA?”  Probably because he’s against the whole obscenity thing.  Still.

Health Care Reform:  This is a very long section.  Essentially, he favors allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, public disclosure of fee schedules (for consumer empowerment), and innovation of treatment protocols (to save money).  Well, that’s reasonable.  No, I’m not being snarky.

Middle East:  Israel good, Islamic dictatorships bad.

Security and Prosperity Partnership:  Not cool.

Illegal Immigration:  No amnesty.  Border fence.  No automatic citzenship bestowed on children born of illegal immigrants on U.S. soil.  I have just one question:  If being born here isn’t good enough, what should the criteria for citizenship be?  I anxiously await a response.

{I’m going to interrupt this Get-To-Know-Duncan-Hunter presentation to say that I am extremely weary of the illegal immigration issue.  That’s all.  Back to the program.]

United Nations:  Blah blah blah blah blah.

Free Trade:  Put same charges on foreign goods that they put on ours.  Not sure what that’s supposed to accomplish, but he’s no fan of China, that’s for sure.

So that’s Duncan Hunter.  I understand his appeal.  I just don’t understand why he’s still running for president, since so few people like him well enough to vote for him.  It looks a little desperate.  Not very presidential. 

Speaking of presidential, I’ve decided that if I had to vote for a candidate based strictly on personal dignity, I would have to choose Fred Thompson.  But I don’t think I will end up voting for Fred Thompson.  It’s kind of a non-issue, because by the time the Oregon primary rolls around, no one will be left standing. 

It looks more and more like Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee, which is not good news for Republicans.  I think we all know why.  Republicans used to put a lot of emphasis on who could beat Hillary in November.  Answer:  Who couldn’t?  (Besides Ron Paul, of course.)  I mean, fair or unfair, Hillary really just isn’t likeable.  I know some of you like her, and I’m not judging you for liking her.  I myself don’t mind her.  But lots of people really, really don’t like her.  And when you consider that a sizeable portion of the electorate refuses to decide who they’re going to vote for until the very last possible minute because they have no core political philosophy–well, would you buy Hillary Clinton on an impulse?  Would you?  Okay, maybe you would.  But not if you didn’t like her. 

But Hillary is passe now.  Now it’s all about who can beat Barack Obama.  So we have to put on our thinking caps because Obama actually has charisma, unlike some people I could mention.  (I’m talking about our guys, of course.  Didn’t I just say Hillary was passe?)  Regardless of who the Republicans put up, though, I think the election’s all going to hinge on us getting out the “anti-hope” vote.  Here’s hoping.  Doh!

I’ve always been a little miffed that Iowa and New Hampshire get all the attention.  What’s so awesome about Iowa and New Hampshire?  Why should we care what those cats think any more than we care about what, say, Wyoming thinks?  Wyoming had a (Republican) caucus, too, you know.  Oh, yeah.  Mitt Romney won it–as if it mattered.

It’s not often that I give Anna Quindlen an amen, but a few weeks ago in Newsweek she was lamenting how old-fashioned this primary system was, and I think in this same column she proposed something I found terribly reasonable.  I hesitate to say for sure it was her because, you know, Anna Quindlen, but the proposal, be it hers or someone else’s, was that we hold a series of nationwide primaries.  The top finishers from the first go on to the second, the top finishers of the second go on to the third, etc.  I guess we wouldn’t need to hold more than three.  It would certainly change the way people campaigned.  No, candidates wouldn’t be able to go in and get all personal and shake people’s hands, but heck, I’ve lived on the west coast my whole life and no politician’s ever shaken my damn hand, so ask me if I care.  And the bonus would be that we could all stop talking about ethanol as an alternative fuel source. 

This just occurred to me:  Who at the Luvs diaper company (which is Pampers, which is Proctor & Gamble) thought it was a good idea to put perfumes in their baby diapers?  Not only is it an unpleasant scent to begin with, but once you add human waste to the equation, it becomes an ungodly odor. 

So it is with our primary system.  I don’t know what that means, but I knew there was a political metaphor in there somewhere, and I thought I’d let you all fill in the poetic gaps.  (It’s still a free blog.  I can’t afford to waste my skills.)