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Choosing a Candidate = Dancing with the Stars
by Del Albright

About 60 million Americans watched the Presidential debate the other night – about the same number that watch a good episode of Dancing with the Stars. In my view, there are a lot of similarities between the two “shows.” More importantly, I think it’s critical that we separate the TV stuff from the reality of voting for leadership in our country.

What candidates say on a TV show, at a podium, in front of a large audience is not the way to gauge your vote. It’s TV, for goodness sakes. But yes, it can help you decide, when you add the showmanship in with the other key factors in deciding your vote. Let’s look at those key factors.

Key Factor #1: Written Platform and Position Statements – what they have put in writing about what they belive in and stand for, as well as what they will fight for. If you can’t find this info easily, write them and ask.

Key Factor #2: Voting Record – not always accurate either because these can be skewed or mis-interpreted. The voting record probably will not show all the “add-on” or “rider” bills that may have been attached that have little or nothing to do with the original proposed legislation. A congress-critter may have voted down a supportive gun bill because it had riders attached to it that called for more Wilderness, more taxes and more restrictions on spitting in public. You just never know the whole story without a lot of homework. You can always check your organizational score card (voting records) or Party recommendations.

Key Factor #3: Public Debates and Speechifying – remembering that things said under pressure may not always be accurate or long-term. What is in writing is more viable and believable. Showmanship should be ignored; yet we do want someone who can handle a good speech if they want to be our leader. For President, for example, I personally want someone with some “command presence” as we used to say in the military.

Key Factor #4: Party and Organizational Recommendations -- this is where you trust those groups (like the NRA, the Party, VFW, some union, etc.) or your favorite volunteer group that has the time to dig into all the candidates qualifications. Honestly, that is the value of large, organized groups; they can usually find the time to research a candidate/politician.

Be sure to check out the indepth advice from our own Trail Political Action Committee (TPAC) at http://www.thetrailpac.com

Key Factor #5: Priority Issues – those two or three things (guns, abortion, economy, landuse/access, Wilderness, environment, oil dependency, resources, growth, military strength, etc.) that you just can NOT give on. Use them to weigh help your decision.

Then the trick is to find the formula that works for YOU by combining all the above. Only you can decide how to best combine the 5 Key Factors (and perhaps more in your book). Just whatever you do; please VOTE.

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