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Favorite president: George Washington. The man spurned being made king and stepped peacefully down from office.
John Perry Barlow
Barlow is a songwriter for the Grateful Dead and other bands, the co-founder and vice chair of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a Berkman Fellow at Harvard Law School.
2004 vote: I'm voting for John Kerry, though with little enthusiasm. This is only because I would prefer almost anything to another four years of George W. Bush. I don't believe the Constitution, the economy, or the environment can endure another Bush administration without sustaining almost irreparable damage.
2000 vote: John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. I discovered, in the voting booth, that a friend of mine was his vice presidential candidate. I couldn't bring myself to vote for Bush, Gore, or Nader and had intended to cast no presidential vote.
Most embarrassing vote: I'm embarrassed for my country that in my entire voting life, there has never been a major-party candidate whom I felt I could vote for. All of my presidential votes, whether for George Wallace, Dick Gregory, or John Hagelin, have been protest votes.
Favorite president: Jefferson, who defined, in his works and in his person, just about everything I love about America.
Bovard is author of The Bush Betrayal (Palgrave Macmillan) and seven other books.
2004 vote: I will probably vote for Badnarik, the Libertarian Party candidate. Both of the major-party candidates brazenly flaunt their contempt for the U.S. Constitution. Regardless of who wins in November, the U.S. likely will have a lousy president for the next four years.
2000 vote: I abstained.
Most embarrassing vote: I voted for Gerald Ford in 1976. He was not that embarrassing, compared to Jimmy Carter. And compared to George W. Bush, Ford was verbally graceful.
Favorite president: It might be a coin toss between Washington and Jefferson.
Washington set a magnificent example of self-restraint, protecting the new nation from both his own power lust and unnecessary wars (despite foolish popular demands). Jefferson masterfully reined in the federal government from the tyrannical Alien and Sedition Act persecutions that John Adams launched.