The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Hampshire Debates

First of all, I think all of the candidates deserve a lot of credit for their ability to answer questions on the spot in a live broadcast. As I experienced (in a much friendlier/easier setting) a couple weeks ago, it's very hard to do that kind of thing. I would love to have the talent they all have. Anyway, my thoughts on the candidates and their performances tonight:


Mitt Romney: Never been a big fan. As usual, tonight he reminded me a lot of John Kerry a few years ago. Slick, politician-like, and difficult to trust. Got zinged pretty good by the other candidates. But I think he scored some points on the immigration issue.

John McCain: Was my favorite candidate 8 years ago but didn't give him much of a chance this time around. He had the best line of the night, saying to Romney: "That's one thing we can agree on. You are the candidate of change." (hilarious if you know about Romney's record). I think he'd be a very good president.

Mike Huckabee: I've always liked him, especially after his brilliant response to the evolution question in a previous debate (I loved that answer, even though I believe in evolution). He also had a great line about Romney tonight: when Romney said not to characterize his position on Iraq, he replied: "which one?". I liked how tonight he complimented Obama and talked about working together with Democrats.

Fred Thompson: Is this guy really running for president? He sure doesn't look like it sometimes. Maybe that's not a bad thing. At least during this debate he seemed more awake than usual.

Rudy Giuliani: He was my early favorite on the Republican side, but he's starting to annoy me by always saying exactly the same things. Tonight was no exception.

Ron Paul: I like him and think he's an interesting candidate. He had some very good points tonight. But sometimes it's hard to take him seriously, and I can't imagine him being President.


Bill Richardson: I've always liked him, and he's probably the most qualified on the Democratic side. But tonight he just didn't seem like he belonged in the same league as the other three.

Barack Obama: I like him, but he never impressed me very much. He always seems to speak in vague generalities. Tonight was a little better in that regard, but he didn't come across as very strong or passionate this time.

Hillary Clinton: Still my favorite among the Democrats (not just because of my personal connection with her). Tonight (as usual) she seemed more "presidential" than the other three, and I was very impressed by the way she subtly zinged two of the other candidates in one sentence. I really respect her intellect and think she'd be a good president, but don't like how she's such a politician.

John Edwards: I've never liked him because he comes across as a phoney. And this video sure doesn't help! But he really impressed me tonight, maybe more than anyone else. He seemed very passionate and even genuine at times, although he did play the same note over and over (like Giuliani).

If I had to rank all of the candidates in order of my preference, it would probably be something like this: 1. Huckabee, 2. Clinton, 3. McCain, and then at a distant 4th would be a tie between Giuliani, Paul, Obama, and Richardson.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

God: Bowl game MVP

As most of you know, I am addicted to college football and have been watching a lot of bowl games lately. I've noticed at the end the games, when they interview a player who made a lot of key plays, they often say something like "I give all the glory to God."

I guess it's a good sentiment, but it always gives me a weird feeling. I have a hard time understanding it. I don't want to get into the discussion about God favoring one team over another (though it's funny that losing teams never thank God for it). I'm just wondering, what glory does God get from one player having a good game instead of another?

As I was flying back home from CA, I was amazed at how big the earth is. To think that there are trillions of stars, many of which are billions of times larger than this earth... wow, I can't even fathom it. So how am I supposed to be amazed that God can make someone rush for 200 yards in a college football game? (especially a non-BCS game!)

Are they patronizing God when they do this, or is it just a humble way of giving thanks?

[note: after seeing a few Tim Tebow plays yesterday, I understand a little better. But still...]