Bipartisan? and some other junk.

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I read some blogs of others, which I rarely do before writing my own, and I noticed that a lot of people were talking of the bipartisan nature of Sen. Kukovich's visit.  I did not really see things that way.  First of all, he is currently serving under Gov. Rendell, so that diminishes the bias of the presentation in my eyes.  Secondly, and this I really noticed when he was speaking of the labor, it seemed like many of the figures that he employed were just tweaked slightly in favor of the current administration.

I also did and did not find his answer to the question of financial aid favorable.  On the one hand, giving capital to both public and private universities sounds good, but he would not go into specifics about what that would entail, as every good politician does.  I also think that it is not a wise decision to putt all of our economic eggs in the basket of manufacturing and blue-collar jobs.  Don't get me wrong, we need more of an emphasis in those fields than what we have now, but if we focus solely on them while neglecting the financial needs of our college students is a recipe for disaster.  All of our teachers had to go to college for at least four years at one time or another in their lives, and I'd be willing to bet that many of them received many grants and loans from both the state and the federal level of government.  I don't necessarily think that Sen. Kukovich was talking about entirely removing loans and grants at all, but I think he tends to place a higher value on the manufacturing jobs than I do.  And he would be unwise to do anything else considering the constituency he deals with.

I also disagree with his statement that you can understand the candidates' positions by watching the news every night.  Over the summer (I obviously do not have the time now) I watched a lot of the news every day.  I do not know that I could tell you the differences in candidates plans for 'change'.  They all have positions, but they do not tell you exactly what it is they are thinking  of doing when in office.  I think that it why so many people are apathetic towards voting.  We want to hold our public officials accountable, but they speak in the vaguest of terms so that anything that occurs, be it accidental or purposeful, is spun out of control on both sides of the aisle. 

These are some of the things (along with finding a ride to the polls) that I am struggling with as a first-time voter, and I do not know how well Allen Kukovich did in helping to resolve these issues.

Here we go again!


Jackie Johns said:

Your ideas about apathetic voters hit the nail on the head for me. In my blog about Kukovich (which I just posted), I center my thoughts how I, as a first time voter as well, have considered not voting just because I feel that it's impossible to become informed about any candidate's stance on any issue. I have resolved this issue in my own mind just by making the conscious decision to sift through information on my own, from various sources, and try to figure things out. To some extent I guess candidates have to "play the game" of politics, but it is a little ridiculous how ambiguous their messages have become. But I see my right to vote as a right to cast an informed vote, so if I have to work a little harder to figure things out...I will.

I have to agree with you, Jed. Politicians don't really give us a reason to vote; all they seem to do is "play the game" as Jackie said, to win over uninformed votes. But when you have both candidates doing this, who are you supposed to vote for? If both are just out there trying to get the most votes, than who is really stepping up to talk about the issues? Who is really making a difference? And who is really changing anything?

I did the same as you, I've been reading other responses to this speaker first and then I'm going to go back and blog about it myself, so I'll probably discuss this all further on my own, but honestly, I think our generation is the one that has to start turning this election and politics in general, around. We're the ones that need to stop letting the ones that already have a lot of power keep taking the power from us and ACTUALLY make some changes, if we want progress and change, we've got to do it ourselves. And the first step in getting there is doing what we can now and at this age, that's simply voting.

Daniella Choynowski said:

Yanking financial aid would certainly put more employees in manufacturing and other blue collar jobs. That's something to think about. Maybe the senator was heading in that direction?

This election has been getting nasty. I have no idea what Sarah Palin's policies are, but i sure as heck know all about her daughter, son, haircut, glasses, and beauty pageant background. To me, the whole think has become about image, which is why I sometimes tune out. I just want to yell at the tv sometimes and scream "GET TO THE POINT!!!"

Jed Fetterman said:

There is a lot to think about on this page.
First of all, I think that an informed vote is one of those catch phrases that we all throw around now, and no one knows what it means. Is it gaining information beyon the campaign ads? The evening news? The newspapers? I think it is a real tragedy that we are so uninformed as a country that we would not know if an informed voter walk in the room and hit us on the head with a baseball bat.
Then there is the fact that I do not care about being an informed voter. I just want some recourse if my elected officials fail in their office duties. I want one politician to say "I am devot $X of the budget to this program if elected," so I can pat him on the back if it does happen, or sweep him out of office if it does not.
Finally, and this is where I will catch a lot of flak, I think that Sarah Palin was a poor choice of a running mate because she has so much personal baggage. The only problem Biden has had so far is his former criticism of Obama. What kind of message does it send to voters, when you choose a woman as your running mate regardless of all the problems she has had outside of office?
Please, no death threats anybody.

Kevin Hinton said:

We would like to think that we as American have an perfect understanding of democracy. Because we think this way, we what to "share" it with others around the world. I propose that we give them our Constitution, since we are not using it.

Kukovich had stated that with all the powerful influence in DC, we might as well have auctions. I disagree due to the fact that it is already the case. Look at all of these groups like the NRA, who fight against anyone who doesn't want to get shot by a gun.

This democracy is being snatch away from us and that is why it doesn't work.

Jackie Johns said:

To me, being an informed voter means synthesizing and analyzing all the information presented by mass media sources (those you named, like campaign ads, newspapers and TV news) in addition to outside sources (for me, mainly online news articles) in order to infer your own opinions. Informed voting has to do with forming opinions from several sources of available information, not passively accepting a message from one medium.
Also, I think the citizenry should leave a little slack for elected officials. They are still human. I'm not sure if every single slip-up would warrant a boot from office, but then again everything must be examined in context.

Jed Fetterman said:

That is a good argument, one that I would vouch for if I had more faith in those messages. I do not believe that the candidates truly believe in the crap they are spewing about everything, they are just saying stuff to get my vote. When in office they will just do what they want anyway, and we will all sit around with our hands in our jeans pockets and shrug and say, "Oh well, I guess I should have known better." I want to get to the bottom of how each candidate wants my vote and what he is prepared to do in office, so I can hold either one more responsible.
Which brings me to my second point. I think that we should do the opposite of what you said, and raise the bar of what we expect out of our politicians so that it is just one level above what is reachable. That way they are never too comfortable and are always striving to do better, not looking to fill their own pockets which I believe they will do, whether we ease up on them or not.
I sound like I am out of the sixties. Never trust anyone over thirty.

David Wilbanks said:

I'm not a first time voter, but I've got to say that every election I've been aware of has been predominantly about image and pretty words, and little about policy. Interestingly enough, when Ross Perot ran for president as an independent he spent a whole bunch of money on a block of primetime television an simply laid out his plans for policy. He gave a very detailed explanation for his plans. Unfortunately, more people were upset about missing their favorite shows, than were swayed by his honesty and rationality. Had he spent that money on lots of flashy ads in battle ground states he would have had a far better shot.
Unfortunately, when trying to appeal to more than 50% of a massive population you really have to watch your mouth and stay vague. Offending people is dangerous, and boring people is even riskier. By having no plans or ideas, you don't have to worry about anyone being confused or disagreeing. Being direct and honest while running for president is like trying to break the home-run record without taking steroids. It happens once in awhile, but not often.

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