Trying not to vote stupidly

The two main Democrat contenders for the presidency Barak Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton have both attracted much of their support because of their identity. Most of Obama's support is because he is black. Much of Clinton's support is because she is a woman. If either is nominated I expect thousands of arm injuries at the Democrat convention from delegates patting themselves on the back over being enlightened enough to pick a woman or black man. To my way of thinking choosing a president because of the color of their skin or their sex is a pretty stupid way of picking someone for this important job. However it does have one major advantage over picking a candidate because of policy proposals and experience. If you pick a candidate based on who you think has the best policy, you could be wrong. If you want a candidate who will improve health care policy and you end up supporting the wrong candidate your choice has had the exact opposite effect as you intended. Instead of helping to fix health care, you have screwed it up even more. If you had picked a candidate based on race, there is no chance for you to find out later you actually voted for a white guy instead. No matter which issue your vote is based on, the other candidate will have a smart, well respected person who had studied the issue much more completely than you ever could supporting them. Both sides have experts much more knowledgeable than I that will say their candidate is the one. Is it possible for me as a layperson to actually choose the right side of an issue, so my choice isn't any stupider than picking by race or sex? Probably not, but my ego is big enough that I think I can and so have voted in every federal election since I turned eighteen. These are the issues that determine who I vote for, my reasons for picking these issues and my certainty about the issues.

I want a president who will keep fighting the war on terror until we win. I want someone who will keep trying tactics and generals until he finds one that works. The reason is that I think that the only way to make the world safer is to violently oppose those who would attack us. The terrorists think that we are a paper tiger. My reading of history says that people rush to join the winner's side and abandon the loser's. If we abandon the war in Iraq before it is won, we will have confirmed the terrorists idea of the US as a bully with a glass jaw. On the other hand my concern is that the war in Iraq is unwinnable, and like in poker, the moment you don't think you can win you should get out rather than throw good money after bad. Civil war in Iraq may be inevitable because it does not have a tradition of good government and is filled with people who would crawl over broken glass to spit at each other. On the whole I think the war in Iraq is winnable and must be won. I put the likelihood of my being right at 60%. Thus even though it is the top issue I use in evaluating candidates it is the one I am least opitmistic about being right. If I am wrong the price would be hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of American casualties to delay the inevitable by a year or so. However, if I am right hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved by preventing an all out civil war in Iraq. Also dealing the terrorist a decisive defeat in Iraq would be huge victory in the war on terror and save trillion of dollars and tens of thousands of lives in the long run. Because of the stakes involved the war in Iraq is my number on issue in choosing a candidate.
This is already a long post so I will post on my other issues later today.

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