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September 29, 2008

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David E. Petzal's Guide to the Presidential Election

Fellow Americans, bloggers, and bitter gun clutchers: In the past tumultuous weeks, I have been asked:

"How does an educated man like yourself, a person of taste, culture, and intellect, a registered Independent since 1964, support the Republican ticket over the Democrat? How can you be a one-issue voter?"

Or, more directly: "Have you lost your f*****g mind?"

My friends, I am paid to write about guns, hunting, and politics as it applies to guns and hunting. My mandate does not extend further. Because of this, I'm a captive of circumstance. The Democrats nominated an atrocious pair of anti-gunners, and the Republicans nominated one neutral and possibly the strongest pro-gun candidate ever. All I can do is report on what they say; however, this does not mean I've ignored their other qualifications, or lack thereof. So, lest I be thought shallow and superficial, here is how I rank the four candidates, quite apart from firearms.

Overall, the situation was summed up by Carl Hiaasen, who said of another election that you could throw a net over a park bench and do better. In a time when we stand in greater peril than ever before, the men and women who really could do the job are not stepping forward. What persons with an ounce of self-respect would subject themselves to being a presidential or vice-presidential candidate in the year 2008?

But, my fellow Americans, lest I be thought superficial, here is a brief summation of each candidate as I see him or her:

John McCain: A mid-20th-century man trying to get a handle on the 21st century and failing. Sort of like me. However, I know how to send an e-mail. He is about as interested in gun legislation as he is in acquiring a third wife with no money.

Sarah Palin: I would go moose hunting with her any day, but as for the rest of it…

Barack Obama: Our best orator in years, provided he has a teleprompter. He ran a fine campaign against Hillary, who ran a terrible campaign. His major qualification seems to be the 143 days he has spent in the Senate.

Joe Biden: I had thought of him as merely one more spavined Senate hack. However, he is proving himself to be a major buffoon. I expect that any day now, he will claim he owns the laptop on which Lincoln composed the Gettysburg Address. Biden has it in him, if elected, to take his place alongside Dan Quayle and Spiro Agnew in the pantheon of Truly Embarrassing Vice Presidents.

And so, my friends, let me close by borrowing a page from blogger Clay Cooper, and present you with three quotes that sum things up with an eloquence far greater than my own:

"The party's over."—Willie Nelson

"Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."—Thomas Jefferson

"And in that time shall men seek death, and shall not find it, and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."—The Book of Revelations

"Things fall apart. The center cannot hold."--W.B. Yeats

Thank you, and good night. And will the last person out please turn off the lights?


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i haven't seen a GOOD presidential candidate in so long, it makes me sick. but who can blame anybody. if you decide to go for it and run, they drag you through the mud, examine every aspect of your life, and put you under a microscope to try to find anything from which to crucify you with. if you have an unpaid parking ticket from 1972, they would make you out to be just slightly better than Charles Manson. never mind your good points, they are totally unimportant. and once elected, if you get that far, every decision you make will be scrutinised by the media. get a bad haircut, and you would think it was a matter of national security. about the only good thing i can see about becoming president, is the retirement package. the absoloute best in the world. so, here we are again, stuck vorting for the lesser of two evils. only in this election, as i see it, you can vote for a venomous snake in the grass, or a decent man, who stood up for his country. while he (like all men) has made some mistakes, at least he will stand up and take responsibility for his actions. instead of blaming it on every tom, dick, and harry out there.


I thought we lived in america the land of the free where peoples rights were up held by the consitution. This no longer seems to be the case every year we loss more and more rights and they will need to pry my guns from my dead smoking hands. sorry for the quote from a shirt I saw once but just look over the years they have slowly but surely been stealing our rights. I do not smoke and agrree its bad for your health but this still is america where you are supposed to have freedom of choice yet they are sistimatically taking away the rightr to smoke by banning it every where. And rasing the costs to almost an asurb level if what you guys say is ture and they start taxing the guns and ammo so nuch that the avergae joe cannot afford it thats just plian socailism not a decomcarcy please excuse me spelling never been good at that if you take time ot think about it I am sure you will find allot of rights we once had we no longer due. Its really a shame that money rules this country and most likley always will he who has the most money will be exempt for the laws governing the average people.
And I agree with one of the other posts no average guy meaning no one that is not well off or rich will every make it to the white house no matter how smart or qualified he or she is and once there would not last long if they did not go with the flow look at pres kenndey he did not last long people in power finicail power are running this country always have and always will no matter whos eleceted I am voting for mcain the average person I am feeding 7 people 5 kids and I need to hunt espeacally the way the current ecomny is prices keep going but my pay dose not.




as a former vietnam vet i used the 1911 45 it was a man stopper.if you hurry you republicans can get in the war before obama can stop it.


Having had first hand experience with the Vietnamese, I tend to be sceptical that any offer they made would ever have been honored.
Propagandized, yes indeed, but honored? Very doubtful.I have the
highest regard and respect for Senator McCain in that he was a POW and did refuse the North Viet's offer, underwent horrible torture and conditions, and ultimately survived. I respect the fact that he served his Country in an honorable manner. I will, however, reserve the hero status that seems to be a bit overworked these days for the grunts that went, fought, and sometimes died, close up and personal, and came home to an ungrateful population and a left wing media determined to criminalize and condem their service to this great Country.

Renny Seymour

I refuse to vote for the giant douche or the turd sandwich. One of the independents, probably Ralph, will get my vote. Petzel, why not post his views on gun ownership?

Renny Seymour

Petzal, please forgive incorrect spelling of your name.


At the risk of being mercilessly flamed by those who don't read my whole post. Gman I beg to differ with you on your point that there aren't any good reporters out there. I disagree with his point of view more than I agree but must say that Thomas Freidman of the NYT and syndicated does his homework; has more frequent flyer miles in the last year than a big Irish family could use in a lifetime and generally makes life uncomfortable for spin doctors from BOTH parties! He is also no 'One-trick pony' writing as he does on economics, international business, politics and the war in Iraq.
I know some will say Freidman is left leaning or even polemic. I can think of at least one peice he did in the NYT very critical of the NRA. He is still a good read, breaks down complex situation in ways that are understandable yet doesn't dumb down his work.
There may be other scribes plying the laptops with equally good skills and incite, you mention Broder, hopefully American Journalism isn't dying.


I forgot about Friedman, SA.

He works hard to balance, yes, and when he was in the trenches he was damn good.

But since he's become FRIEDMAN he's become sluggish. Case in point: From a tech journalism standpoint, The World Is Flat was at least 6 years behind the curve.

But because he's FRIEDMAN and the NYT is the NYT, that's the be-all and end-all.

I'm not beefin' personally. I ain't starving. I'm just not that impressed.

Will Becker

If you think things are bad now vote those two liberals in,and watch helplessly as our country becomes The United Socialist States Of America. Think about that real hard.

Jim in Mo.

8:35CST: Sarahs doing damn good, JB looks like a blabber mouth liar.


You might be right on The World is Flat being behind the curve from a 'tech journalism' point of view. From the perspective of a general audience the book was eye opening. Friedman made understandable this inexoriable march to a global economy and did so in a way that kept it interesting enough to finish the book. Bill Gates' 'The Road Ahead' foretold many of the same 'advances' but was almost unreadable. Prodi is too much politician, provincial and elitist to be taken seriously and Bhagwati is -- paradoxically -- evangelical and boring as he defends globalization. As a primer on the issues surrounding globalization I don't know one better than 'The World is Flat.'

Is Friedman resting on his laurels now? Perhaps. Does he still give politicos and their handlers Maalox moments? You bet he does!



Gates's book wasn't even good if you re-booted it!


Forget that old 1911 horse-pistol Get yourself a Glock 21 in 45ACP. It never breaks, it never jams, it always fires when you pull the trigger, you don't even have to clean it.
1911's are pretty, but are of a really old design with lots of fragile, highly-tuned moving parts. 1911's take a lot of 'smithing and fussing to keep them running reliably, and hitting accurately.
OK, I know that a Kimber,or Les Baer starting at $2000 will run pretty good, but the Glock will only set you back about $500 or $600, it holds 14 rounds, and it's more left-hand friendly. You will never wear it out, not even if you shot a box of ammo each day for the rest of your life.


C'mon Gman, the reboots were the best part of Win95 and 98; on some of them you could have sex twice and still get back to the computer before it was all the way back on!

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