Hey, undecided voters: Time to decide already

The Baltimore Sun

You are an undecided voter.

In eight days, you go to the polls to vote for the next president of the United States.

But you still can't make up your mind.

The pollsters come knocking at your door. Or call you on the phone.

"Barack Obama or John McCain?" they ask.

"Gee, I don't know," you say. "It's so hard to choose."


Can I be honest here? You scare the rest of us. You really do.

The polls say you represent between 5 percent and 12 percent of the electorate.

The pundits say you could have a major impact on the election.

And that's the really scary part.

Do we want this election decided by someone who walks into a voting booth and flips a coin to fill out a ballot?

Or someone who picks a president by the time-honored eenie-meenie-minie-moe method?

I don't think so. But that could be where we're heading.

The wonder, of course, is how anyone could still be undecided after a campaign that's dragged on for almost two years.

Let's look at a few numbers, shall we?

There were three presidential debates and a vice presidential debate this fall.

There were 26 debates between the Democratic candidates before that party's primary.

There were 21 debates between the Republican candidates before the GOP primary.

The campaign has been covered by every TV and radio talk show, newspaper, magazine, Web site and blog in the entire universe.

The candidates have talked in excruciating detail about their positions on everything from the economy, health care and the environment to the war in Iraq, education and Social Security.

They've even shared their feelings on Joe the Plumber.

Yet you say you're still undecided.

"Don't rush me," you say.

"I need to know more about the candidates," you say.

"I need to study up on the issues."

Which raises the question: What in God's name is wrong with you?

OK, sorry. That was out of line.

Didn't mean to hurt your feelings. We're all under a lot of stress with this economy tanking.

But how could you possibly need more time to ... nevermind.

Actually, Mr. or Ms. Undecided Voter, let me ask you another question:

When exactly will you know that you've settled on a candidate?

Are you waiting for one of them to say something so incredibly dumb or provocative that you can cross him off the list?

(Good luck with that. In the last days of a campaign, candidates are practically hit with cattle prods if they veer off-message.)

Are you waiting for a sign from above?

If you looked in the mirror one morning and found "Obama" or "McCain" etched in blood on your forehead, would that do it?

If you spilled coffee on the floor and it pooled into a shape that vaguely resembled the silhouette of one of the candidates, would that do it?

Or do you need a personal sit-down with each candidate to go over their position papers?

(Believe me, when they come screaming up to your house in a convoy of Chevy Tahoes with tinted glass, and 15 Secret Service agents take over your house while you and the missus serve tea and grill the candidate at the kitchen table, you'll be sorry.

(Plus, think of how much that'll tie up traffic. Your neighbors will hate you.)

Let me leave you with something that was on The Daily Show not long ago.

I don't bring this up to be cruel. But ... OK, actually it was cruel.

But it was pretty funny too.

Jon Stewart had the show's "senior polling analyst," John Oliver, answer the question: Exactly who are these undecided voters we keep hearing about?

Oliver broke out a pie chart. It showed undecided voters broken into four segments: racist Democrats, attention-seekers, the chronically insecure and the stupid.

The stupid, he said, represented 45 percent of the undecided voting bloc.

No, I am not calling you stupid.

Nor am I saying you fit any of those other categories.

I'm just saying it's time for you to get on the stick and make up your mind.

Have you looked at a calendar recently? Nov. 4 is almost here.

And this is no time for eenie-meenie-minie-moe decisions.

Even though, yes, that can be an awful lot of fun to play.

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