Are You Undecided This Election? A No-Spin Guide

In this tight election cycle, undecided voters could push every race either way. Here's how to cut through the noise and decide for yourself where you stand.

On the cusp of my 40th birthday, here is how I came to realize that I am, in fact, old:

This past Thursday, I ordered pizza, grabbed a beer (Oktoberfest!) and sat down to watch the Republican National Convention (more Condoleeza Rice, please!). Not only was I excited to watch it (Clint Eastwood!), I had been looking forward to it all day long. 

Not content to wait until the network news hour of 10pm, I flipped between cable channels in anticipation of the Grand Unveiling of Mitt Romney, Human Being. 

It felt like a party as my husband and I sat on the couch and eagerly awaited Mr. Romney’s official acceptance of the nomination for president from the political party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

We weren’t disappointed, although we felt sad at how Mr. Eastwood demonstrated his age through his sometimes-funny but often-rambling extemporaneous comments. The personal testimonials from the friends and colleagues of Mr. Romney, who noted his reserved, generous and humble nature again and again, made us proud that he hadn’t trumpeted these accomplishments himself.

(Of course, I guess that wouldn’t make him very humble or reserved.)

Even though my libertarian nature is often at odds with the “official” platform of the Republican Party, I felt so proud that these accomplished speakers spoke to my own values so personally. Regardless of your politics, the Romneys and the Pauls and are fine American families who demonstrate clearly what happens when hard work and strong beliefs meet in the greatest country in the world.

As is our habit, following the Convention we switched channels to watch liberal-leaning commenters to see what they had to say. It was a fait accompli that Fox News would praise the Convention adoringly, but we already knew what we thought – why waste time hearing it repeated?

So, we turned the boob tube over to MSNBC and CNN.

Predictably, MSNBC’s hosts enjoyed their evening’s red state meat. CNN did a marginally better job toeing the line. And even The New York Times printed a nice photo in Friday’s edition of the newly-minted Republican ticket, smiling and waving to the Tampa crowds – a nice contrast from the photo they ran earlier in the week, which showed Paul Ryan’s head floating against a blood-red backdrop filled with forbidding-looking, darkened figures.

As we drifted off to sleep, it occurred to me how dangerous it is to only get your news from one source. 

Prior to this week’s Democratic National Convention – which I will also watch with great interest – most national polls indicate a very tight race. Apparently, very few voters remain undecided. Right now, Mr. Romney holds a slight lead, but the race is really too close to call.

My deepest wish for these undecided voters is that they secure their news from a variety of sources. If this describes you, don’t only watch MSNBC or Fox. When you read a Times editorial, follow it up with one from The Wall Street Journal. When you’re finished reading CNN.com, click over to the Drudge Report. And don’t forget that the Associated Press and Reuters operate independent news sites, too.

When candidates make pointed and outlandish claims or accusations, check the facts for yourself from FactCheck.org or OnTheIssues.org. Are you a Republican? Make the Democratic convention must-see-TV, at least to gain a little more perspective as to why they appeal to so many reasonable voters.

Even voting records and "facts" conceal. Yes, Paul Ryan voted against a recent balanced budget bill, but that was because it lacked spending limits and stood little chance of ratification. And yeah, Mitt Romney inherited a lot of money – but he gave it away to charity, in addition to millions more, because giving is a key part of who he is.

Question everything, because politics is built on lobbyists, money, soundbites and headline journalism. There has never been nor will there ever be a perfect-fit candidate from either party as long as we are human beings. You’re going to have to compromise somewhere, so figure out where our candidates stand on the issues you care most about.

The point is, dig a little deeper. Learn, decide and vote.

Mr D. September 05, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Well said. Too many voters only drink the party kool-aid from Fox News or MSNBC.
MAC September 05, 2012 at 07:08 PM
The Romneys and Ryans embody traditional American values, but beyond that--the stark differences in the values and Principles of the D & R parties are brilliantly highlighted by the obvious old-fashioned goodness and patriotism omnipresent at the GOP convention last week. That is in vivid contrast to DEM speaker (and HHS Sec.) K. Sebelius' comments about "motherhood as a liability" and womanhood as a "pre-existing condition." The DNC "abortion fest" is revealing, to Americans paying attention, exactly why "GOD" was taken out, this year, of the Democratic platform!! Shameful. In contrast, the GOP convention featured dozens of exciting speakers of all ethnicities, backgrounds, and superb accomplishments! Especially the women, such as governors Susana Martinez, Mary Fallin and Nikki Haley, Condoleezza Rice, Senator Kelly Ayotte, and congressional candidate Mia Love, whose parents immigrated from Haiti, and who graduated from the Univ. of Hartford and is now a mayor in Utah, as well as mother of 3 children! Here is a link to her rousing and patriotic 5 min. speech last week, challenging Obama that "Mr. President, the American people are awake; and we're not buying what you are selling!": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfop5TeDnZo&feature=plcp http://www.youtube.com/user/gopconvention2012/videos (links to all other speeches and other events)
hank jr. September 05, 2012 at 07:25 PM
E.V. September 05, 2012 at 07:33 PM
The choice in this election is very clear. You have the Democrats, the party of class warfare, class envy, government control and dominance and dependance, unlimited taxation, proponents of the murder of unborn and born babies, opponents of religious liberty and freedom, the weakening of our national security, and finally in many instances the out and out hatred of this country and what it stands for. While they are not perfect contrast that with the Republican platform and the choice should be clear to everyone. Vote Republican to save this country.
MAC September 07, 2012 at 04:44 PM
If you are undecided, or planning to vote for Obama,see the movie "2016: Obama's America" and you will know why Barack Obama's wants a DIMINISHED USA. www.2016themovie.com/theaters/ (over 20 theaters in CT) You will also understand why most of what he said last night is the exact opposite of what Obama believes--that he believes in "the collective" rather than rugged American individualism! Did you notice that he actually said the words "Providence" and "Endowed by our Creator," which latter he has heretofore refused to utter when citing the "Declaration of Independence"? That was part of his massive deceit again last night, as O really believes in "One nation under Obama," with UNLIMITED power for him!!! As in unrestrained by anything in the U.S. Constitution, by Congress, or by "We the People." Obama's "greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people" was to get elected, as a totally unprepared "community organizer" whom well-intentioned (but uninformed) voters put all their "hopes" on to be the "change" he promised in his oratory in 2008. Those "hopes" have been completely dashed by an unqualified masked man. Americans are waking up, and are going to vote in "America's Comeback Team" of Romney/Ryan!!!


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