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 10 p.m., 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.

Jeff September 05, 2012 at 11:31 AM
It's not about just news either. Read our founding documents and keep in mind that they were written as the perpetual laws and morals we are to follow. Does our present status and direction follow what they layed out? And if it is still news you want be sure to read some international news too from all corners of the planet from nations who are our friends to all the various hell holes you'd never consider stepping foot in. Decide if this is still the grandest place man has ever built and whether or not it has a future to continue as so.
Lisa Bigelow September 05, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Jeff, I agree that international matters are the swarm of piranhas waiting to bite us while we're not looking. I hope the Democrats spend some time this convention talking about their foreign policy plans, especially with regard to China, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and Europe. The economy is #1, but this is a strong #2. Thanks for reading. Lisa B.
Robert Rickman September 05, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Lisa, I'm really becoming a fan of your honest and straight forward writing style. Truly no spin.
Lisa Bigelow September 05, 2012 at 05:16 PM
thanks, Robert! Much appreciated. lisa b.
MAC September 05, 2012 at 09:14 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)
Concerned Parent September 06, 2012 at 12:31 PM
@Jeff, those foundational documents drafted by this country's forefathers established ideals which are unable to be met by the leaders of today. In our evolution as a nation, if you call it that, we've become a country in fear of itself...Fearful of our freedom of speech, expression, religion, etc. Fearful that what we say will be taken out of context by someone who was never part of the situation to begin with. Our leaders, if you call them that, do not possess the leadership skills to drive change and overcome these fears. Although I respect our President, these past 4 years have shown that he is unable to control his party and as a result unable to gain consensus from the REP party in Washington. It's this single observation that has determined my decision on who I will vote for come Nov...talk is cheap and that's all I've read/seen, not only from Washington, but also from special interests and social media.
MAC September 07, 2012 at 12:36 AM
The "thrill up the leg" over Obama is so over that The Hill poll found only 40 % want him in the WH for another term. Also so "over" that the DEMS had to use a phony thunderstorm threat to move his speech to a 20,000 seat stadium, rather than show most of the 74,000 seats at the B of A stadium empty for "the One's" speech tonight. The more people follow the DEM convention, it will make a Romney Ryan "America's Comeback Team" victory a sure thing!! 1) There was a video the DEMS showed, which talked about everyone "Belonging to Government" of all preposterous notions!!! No, you statist radicals! The government "belongs" to "We the People"; and Obama, congress, Malloy etc. WORK FOR US!!! 2) There was the fiasco over the DEM party platform, with their appalling removal of "GOD" from their platform--and inserting Obama's name OVER 100 TIMES--and denying recognition of Jerusalem as the Capitol of Israel. Obama told them they needed to "fix" this problem--so they took a voice vote on amending the platform to reverse those stands, which were so upsetting to the American public. In order for the amendment to pass, the rules dictated a 2/3 majority. The outcome was pre-determined and on the L.A. mayor's teleprompter, so he had the voice vote done 3 times, which clearly showed the "No" votes at least as loud as the "Yes"! Shockingly, he declared it passed, amidst boos from the delegates! 3) Sandra Fluke's "gimme free birth control" rant was moved to prime time.
MAC September 07, 2012 at 04:49 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. "2016: The Movie" takes off that "mask" Obama wears! Americans are waking up, and are going to vote in "America's Comeback Team" of Romney/Ryan!!!
Carol September 07, 2012 at 06:37 PM
@Mac...saw 2016 over the Labor Day weekend and also bought the Atlas Shrugged Part 1 dvd. The similiarities (spelling???) of the current administration are SCARY!
Yooper September 15, 2012 at 04:37 AM
It has taken you a while, but you have finally dropped your "fair and balanced" facade (I don't recall your exact phrasing). You are absolutely entitled to your opinions. At least you are no longer pretending that you are objective and unbiased.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »