Question for Republican/Conservative Readers

You all know my thoughts on this year’s pack of GOP candidates, but then I’m a known pinko commie socialist and am deeply unlikely to be voting for any of them. So: Can you articulate for me your own honest feelings about this election cycle’s slate of candidates? I am genuinely interested.

So that the comment thread actually produces the results I am interested in, let me lay down some comment thread rules.

1. This comment thread is for people who are US potential primary voters who identify as Republican and/or conservative (libertarian is also fine, if you see your libertarianism more aligned with general Republican/conservative principles and/or intend to vote in the GOP primaries). If you’re not any of these things, don’t comment, please. Seriously. We have enough politics back and forth on other threads; this one is not about that.

To amplify this point I will also stay out of the thread except in my capacity as site moderator.

2. For the purposes of this thread, please take as given that you likely believe the policies and practices of the Obama administration to be varying levels of bad, so it’s not on point to go on about that. I’m interested on your take on the actual candidates running for the GOP nomination and your thoughts on their individual pluses and minuses as well as on the group as a whole.

3. If you are a Whatever regular but don’t generally discuss politics and/or don’t want (for whatever reason) to out yourself as a Republican/conservative, go ahead and use a different name when you comment. I don’t mind.

4. Commenting between the people in the thread (who have already identified themselves as Republicans/conservatives) is of course fine but in general I’m more interested in people’s individual opinions regarding the candidates/group than I am in people trying to argue to others in the thread for their favorite candidate. So if you’d keep campaigning to a minimum and focus on the actual question, I’d be appreciative.

5. If you’re coming here from elsewhere and you’re new here, and have never posted a comment before, it might be worth it to read the site comment policy.

Okay, then. Republican/conservative readers, please tell me your thoughts on the candidates!

Amazon, Local Bookstores, Me

The New York Times has a piece today by author Richard Russo about the recent Amazon stunt of encouraging people to go into bookstores, using their cell phones to read the prices of items for sale and then for their efforts receive up to $5 off things they buy at Amazon. Russo and the authors he talked to in his piece (which included Stephen King, Scott Turow and Ann Patchett) were generally not pleased with this antic, as you’ll see when you read the piece.

Nor am I, since it seems like an entirely unnecessary dick move. Yes, Amazon, you have lower prices. Point taken. But even in recessionary times such as these, not everything is about the absolute lowest price. I pay slightly higher prices for books at my local bookstore, but then I also help a local business, keep people in my community employed and make the place I live a nicer place to be. These are warm, fuzzy, altruistic things that are mockable if one lives by the creed that in business it’s not enough to win, everyone else must lose. But, you know, the hell with that. I can afford an extra couple of bucks on each book, and the return I get is worth it. Mind you, it’s not just a soft-hearted choice; it’s also a practical investment in the local economy and in a store where people can find my work.

This isn’t a reflexive hate-on for Amazon, incidentally. Amazon sells a lot of my books for me, including through their Kindle program, from which I’ve bought more than a few books myself (generally books I own but am too lazy to fish out of basement storage. Yeah, I know). I am appropriately grateful. Likewise, Amazon is, among other things, one of my publishers through its Audible Books division, and they have done an excellent job with the books I’ve done with them. I have an Amazon Prime account and I get lots of use from it, because where I live often the alternative to buying from Amazon is buying from Wal-Mart, and on that strata of retailing, I’m happy to let them go after each other, with knives and bludgeons. If there’s a locally-owned alternative, however, then I generally go there. I pay extra for what amount to intangibles for me, but what’s intangible to me means a job and a business to someone else. That matters, especially these days.

Jeff Bezos is doing fine, and lord knows he gets enough of my money. I like giving my book money to my local guys. I think they probably appreciate it more, right about now.


You Don’t Have to Be Murderously Jealous of My Awesome Official Redshirts Red Shirt

First, look upon the awesomeness that is the official Redshirts red shirt, replicating as it does the shirt on the cover of my upcoming novel. Yes, I stand proudly in the knowledge that this shirt is the best shirt that has ever existed in this or any other known universe. As if to make that point, second, look upon the John Scalzis from alternate timelines, intent on murdering me! Why? Because they know this shirt is so awesome that THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. One shirt to rule them all and in the darkness bind them! Thus the knife and bat.

Silly alternate universe John Scalzis! It’s too late for that! Because in this timeline, anyone can get an official Redshirts red shirt, because as we all know the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, or the multiple ones in alternate universes. And how do you get an official Redshirts red shirt? You follow this link to the Tor.Com Redshirts Shopping Guide, which will tell you everything you need to know for the purchase. And while you’re at Tor.Com, you can check out other, various red shirts, and red shirt-related gifts and objects. But just remember, while those are all very nice, the official Redshirts red shirt is awesome. And can be yours.

You’ll have to handle your murderous alternate universe versions of yourself on your own, however. I suggest attack cats. It’s what worked for me.