Midterm IV: Presidential Election Reactions in the Friendly Neighborhood

Presidential Election Produces Mixed Feelings in Friendly neighborhood

Citizens’ voices a grab bag of concerns, favorites, candidates and issues in the Friendly neighborhood.

By: Aaron Marineau

Eugene–With the Republican presidential primaries in full swing, citizens of the Friendly neighborhood are beginning to weigh their options in the United States’ much awaited countdown to the 2012 presidential election.

The Friendly neighborhood is well known for it’s diverse array of local parks, schools, and beautiful rolling hills but as the search for the Republican candidate who will challenge President Barack Obama in the November presidential race rages on, its political opinions remain equally as divergent. Yet, even as the GOP continues to whittle its field of potential leaders down, the options make some residents nervous.

Local small business owner Stuart Phillips, who voted for Obama in the 2008 election and plans on voting for the incumbent again, feels that of the remaining Republicans Mitt Romney poses the biggest threat to Obama’s chances of a repeat of four years ago. “Since he’s more moderate [Romney] would probably siphon off more moderate Democrats who aren’t extremely happy with Obama,” said Phillips.

Stuart Phillips, owner of Red Wagon Creamery and long time resident of Eugene's Friendly Street neighborhood, speaks fluently about politics on Friday.

Still, while Phillips doesn’t find Romney himself to be objectionable he worries about the “baggage” that comes with electing a Republican candidate, referring to the policies candidates endorse in order to appease the base that got them there.

Phillips, who co-owns the Red Wagon Creamery, feels that regardless of who is selected by the GOP the economy will be the main focus of candidates on both sides of the aisle. But Phillips’ sentiment isn’t echoed by everyone in the Friendly area, including John McGinty.

“All the entitlements need to be overhauled,” said McGinty, referring to social services such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, “because they are dragging our economy down.” McGinty was one of several conservatives who took issue with “Obamacare,” the health care packages that President Obama and the Democrats passed in March 2010, and wants to see them repealed.

Of the remaining GOP frontrunners, McGinty who favors Ron Paul believe that Rick Santorum, who swept Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota’s Republican primaries on February 7th, would provide the best chance at handing the presidency over the the conservatives come election time.

“Ron Paul has a great platform but I don’t think he is going to be electable when you look at President Obama’s base,” said McGinty.

But even as older citizens, such as Phillips and McGinty, consider their choices from both parties, some members of the younger generation aren’t quite as invested.

Aine Kennedy, on a walk with her dogs, remembers the 2008 election well.

Aine Kennedy is 16 and goes to South Eugene High School. Even though she is two years away from legally being allowed to vote, she still would like to see Obama be re-elected, but is the first to admit she isn’t an expert.

“I don’t even watch the news or anything,” said Kennedy.

Even though she hasn’t been paying as close attention to this year’s race, Kennedy still recalls the 2008 race with fondness.

“I remember watching it on TV with my Dad, the election, and we were both really excited about it,” said Kennedy, showing that whoever wins this year’s election it will be a race to remember.

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