I'm a little ashamed to admit this, but I've never voted before. I actually really wanted to vote in the last presidential election, but I was just too lazy to fill out the absentee ballot thing. I think it's good to be sure and voice your opinion, and the fact that the government is now taking a very large chunk of each of my paychecks, I have added incentive to be involved in who's deciding how big that chunk is. But here's my thoughts on each of the candidates (I have to admit that Jenni's actually been the driving influence in becoming informed on the issues and where each of the candidates stand):
He's definitely a charismatic speaker, but he's just way too liberal on some issues. I also couldn't bring myself to vote for someone that smoked. I think that he's just a lot of talk when it comes to some issues too. Take for example the whole Iraq situation. He's very against it and says that he would fight to remove all troops from Iraq. I agree that it's an ugly war and a sad situation, but the sad reality is that we are all addicted to oil and if we leave now, we'll end up being screwed when Iran takes over. Basically, he's a lot of talk about pulling out of Iraq, but when push comes to shove, he'll stay involved to keep the United States from falling apart.
Bill Clinton is an amazingly likable guy, but he's a complete scumbag (who writes a book called "Giving" but then still collects presidential "retirement" check of $191,000 even though he's making an estimated $10,000,000 every year?). Hillary stuck with Bill just for the political power that he brings to the table, and I just can't respect that.
To be completely honest, I just don't know that much about him, but I just agree with him that lobbyist and big business interests have become too powerful.
I know that it's "cool" that he's Mormon and all, but he's just too much of a politician for me (sways with public opinion, jumps right into the mudslinging, and is trying to win the election by throwing money at it). I do have to admit that I like that he's a business man and all, but I just can't get past how fake he feels.
The thing that intrigues me most about Huckabee is his proposal of removing all federal income taxes. He would replace it with a federal sales tax of 30% called the Fair Tax. 30% probably seems like a lot, but I did some rough estimates and we would have actually paid a lot less in taxes under this system. Everyone would also receive a refund of about $200 a month to make the system be more like the current progressive system. Of course it would have it's own set of problems and challenges (like what would all the CPAs do for jobs?), but I think that it would be a MUCH better system. I also like his position and the other important issues and he's one of the two candidates that I'd actually consider voting for.
I really didn't know all that much about McCain (other than the fact that he's a senator from Arizona), but I saw him speak a few times recently and I was really impressed. He's confident and respectful, but not cocky or pompous. He has firm beliefs and stands behind them. He's not swayed by public opinion and is always willing to respectfully discuss the different opinions and explain why he believes in his. Right now I like him the best, but we still have a long ways to go and who knows who I'll finally end up voting for.