This is an archived article that was published on in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I didn't run for public office this time. Too many personal things got in the way of my desire to become a public servant.

A sensible wife, lack of money, and time better spent with grandkids are the most significant of those impediments, but there's also my new boss.

My former editor — a woman of whom I was legitimately frightened — left the paper for another job. She swore it wasn't my fault.

My new editor is nice and polite and has never resorted to profanity to remind me about deadlines, but she's also a true journalist. Her heart is filled with that darkness known in this profession as "ethics."

Her: "Absolutely not. A congressional race would be a conflict of interest."

Me: "Give me a break. I can make deadlines and still have time to legalize weed."

We debated the matter for 30 seconds before I understood that the only conflict she was interested in was whether to have the sports writers beat some sense into me.

Anyway, I didn't announce. I didn't run. And I won't bother you now with why I would have done a better job than any of the other candidates.

However, I do plan on voting for other candidates less qualified than myself. Just because I'm not running doesn't mean I can't support them.

I can also offer you the criteria by which I choose these less qualified people. Politics is a confusing place and can be almost impossible to figure out, so here are a few tips that will help.

First, never vote a straight ticket. Voting all Democrat, Libertarian or Write-in is just plain wrong. The larger the group, the greater the odds that you'll be voting for a candidate with the political acumen of a turtle.

Monitor the debates. Watch to see which candidate comes closest to an outburst regarding the legitimacy of his or her opponent's birth. This will tell you who the meanest one is.

Honestly, we need more volatile politicians to break up Capitol Hill gridlock. Barring that, maybe we'll get some YouTube clips of them jumping the aisle to punch opposition members in the groin.

I'm serious. Never underestimate the importance of entertainment in politics. If we can't get them to make us proud the next best thing is to give us something to laugh at.

This next one is tricky but I can't stress it enough. Closely monitor the color of the candidate's skin. If you see even a hint of green, the candidate is probably an alien life form.

Do NOT vote for a space creature. The IRS, NSA, FBI are bad enough. The last thing we need in America is a law permitting warrantless and idly curious probing of our behinds.

Never vote early with your pocketbook. Campaign contributions are like flushing your money down the toilet and hoping that some of it will come back. It won't.

So vote for the candidate who spends the least campaigning. If she's careful with her money, she'll be more likely to be careful with yours.

Finally, just vote. Be smart about it, but vote. At least then you'll know who to partially blame for how things turn out.

Robert Kirby can be reached at or