Polls show that between 4 and 8 percent of voters are undecided about the presidential election. In the past, pundits have said that these so-called "late undecideds" are just stupid, don't care, or haven't been paying attention, and probably should do the country favor and stay home on Election Day. I used to agree with that viewpoint, but recently, while meditating at home with my friend Jim Beam, it hit me: Maybe they're just waiting to hear from someone they like better than Obama or McCain. If that sounds like you, I'm here to help.
More than 100 people have filed to run for president this year, so if you're waiting to hear from a candidate who suits your style or beliefs more than the two big guys, here is a brief summary of some of the alternative choices available. In North Carolina, independent Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr will be on the ballot. You may still cast a write-in vote for other candidates.
The "major" alternative candidates also include Green Party candidate and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Charles O. Baldwin, candidate of various splinter parties including the Alaskan Independence Party, which boasts GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's husband Todd as a former active member.
If you think those guys are underdogs, take a look at the following mega-longshots:
• John Taylor Bowles, 51, is running for the National Socialist Order of America. In other words, he's a Nazi. He was the candidate for the actual Nazi Party (or rather, the "National Socialist Movement"), but he had a tiff with them and quit to form his own more ideologically pure group.
• Jackson Kirk Grimes, 56, is single, a pagan, has his GED, and once portrayed Hitler on Star Trek. He's director of the United Fascist Union (having apparently ousted Dick Cheney in a little-publicized coup).
• Megally Z. Megally, an auto repairman from Houston, says he's "willing to relocate" if elected. Megally's beef is with "enemies of the United States," and says he'll save the United States, but with a caveat: "Not me alone, Jesus Christ and myself will save this country."
• Jeff Brown, an independent from Ohio, says his mission is to create a better-educated, affluent society. He also thinks it's ridiculous that you can be arrested for driving a riding lawnmower while drunk in your own yard. Brown also has a two-word plan to rescue Social Security: chain letters.
• Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, 43, isn't just a Satanist, he's also the founder and commanding general of the 1st Vampyre, Witches, Pagans Party Regiment, as well as a former U.S. Army soldier. He promises to only impale lawbreakers and terrorists.
• Claire E. "America, Peach" Cruise, 42, is a Mormon from Florida who wants to make Mexico a U.S. territory and give homeless people a place to stay with at least one bedroom per adult, a kitchenette and a full bathroom (including bathtub).
• Keith Russell Judd, 49, who also ran for president in 1996, 2000 and 2004, says he's an aircraft engine inspector and salesman at Grandma's Music & Sound in Pasadena. Actually, as astute reporters found out, Judd is an inmate at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas. You're free to vote for Judd, but remember that he won't be free to take office for another 7-10 years.
• Gene Amondson, 64, is running for the second time on the Prohibition Party ticket, and hopes to outlaw alcoholic beverages in the United States. Amondson often dresses up as the Grim Reaper with a scythe in one hand and a bottle of booze in the other.
• Jimmy Carter is running again. Not the former president, but a Florida optician and goat rancher who is the candidate of the Real Food Party. His top priority is to make it legal to sell unpasteurized goat milk.
• Eric Creviston is a history teacher at Highland High in Anderson, Ind., who wants to be president in order to pursue a hawkish foreign policy. His fellow history teacher at the same school, Ralph Robinson, is also running for president, mostly to oppose Creviston, with whom he disagrees about politics.
• Don Cordell, 81, of California, makes John McCain seem like a spring chicken. His sole issue is to reduce the price of gasoline to $1.29 per gallon. He says he'd be happy to speak to your group if you'll pay for transportation (coach), budget lodging and fast-food meals.
• Jeff "Petro" Petkevicius, 46, a Christian conservative chemical delivery man from Louisiana, tops Cordell's platform with a promise to lower gas prices to $1.25 a gallon, which he says he'll do by executive order.
That's all we have room for, but I also want to let you know there's a Lake Tahoe, Nev., guy running whose legal name is Santa Claus.
Is this a great country or what?