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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Smelly cat or cool cat: Why our voting system stinks

Jakarta   /   Sat, November 15 2008   /  07:42 am

One big difference between the U.S. and Indonesian presidential elections is that while U.S. citizens were well informed about their candidates before voting earlier this month, it’s likely we won’t know our candidates at all when we cast our votes in July.
Voting for a president in Indonesia is an exercise of “buying a cat in the sack”, to borrow the popular Indonesian expression. We know they move and meow, but not much else about them. There remains the big risk of picking the wrong cat.
By contrast, the U.S. election is like a cat beauty contest, where the candidates are paraded before voters who scrutinize them right down to the smallest of details. The risk of picking the wrong cat is virtually eliminated.
Americans get the Cool Cat, while Indonesians will likely end up with the Smelly Cat.
Obama underwent close public scrutiny...