Most of us will never have a chance to meet any of the presidential candidates this year, and if we do, it will be at a rally or fund-raiser. So it's unlikely we can gain any sense of a candidate's personality or true character.



When it's time to vote, we can only rely on the positions they take on the issues or subjects that are important to us as individuals. That's why a new Web site named www.presidentmatch.com might prove valuable to you as choose your president.



The site requires no personal information, but it allows you to answer numerous questions about many issues, ranging from abortion and gay rights to free trade agreements and the war in Iraq. You'll be surprised at the number of issues out there.



After answering the questions on a scale that includes opposing, favoring and no opinion, the site asks you to weigh the various issues in their importance to you. It then provides you with a ranking of the candidates with percentage scores.



For fun, I answered the questions as a person who was liberal on social issues and conservative on economic ones. The top candidate was Democrat Dennis Kucinich with 100 percent. President Bush was at the bottom of the list but still scored a 60 percent favorable rating. The other Democrats Kerry, Clark, Sharpton, Dean and Edwards were between 80 and 100 percent.



I then basically flipped the fictional voter to be conservative on social issues but liberal on economic ones. As you might expect, the president was at the top with 100 percent, but all the Democrats dropped to 65 percent or lower.



The Democrats and Bush appear to be closer on fiscal matters and further apart on social ones.



The site also asks how important it is to you if the candidate served in the military or previously held an elected office. The site links users to a variety of election-related stories.



I'm not sure of the site's sponsor, but I believe it's part of America On Line.







The Republican National Committee has definitely decided John Kerry will be the Democratic presidential nominee. I've been receiving at least one or more e-mails daily from the RNC, blasting Kerry for one thing or another.



The campaign to succeed Zell Miller as U.S. senator from Georgia also is heating up on the Republican side with numerous e-mails from Mac Collins and Johnny Isakson, two Republican congressmen in Georgia who seek their party's nomination this summer.



With no contenders on the Democratic side thus far, it seems like the Republican primary in July could secure the seat for the winner. Not long ago, winning the Democratic primary in Georgia made a candidate sure to win in November. How times change.







Ron Wayne is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times. He can be reached at 244-3400, ext. 229, or e-mailed at ron.wayne@gaflnews.com.

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