They may cast a vote for Bush or Gore come November, but many IT professional say neither one has what it takes to effectively represent IT in the White House. In fact, nearly half of the respondents to an informal Web-based poll by TechTarget.com said IT issues should be kept out of politics.
"I think politics and IT should be like church and state - put it in the constitution," said Jason Angus, programmer, Ohio Valley Electric Corp. "I don't want the state telling me how to worship and I definitely do not want them running IT. What do most presidents know about IT in the first place?"
Few have little faith in politicians in general, let alone trust them to do what's in the best interest of information technology and technology professionals. Of the 473 respondents, 47 percent said neither candidate should represent IT.
"I don't believe either of the present candidates will do much for IT professionals," said Angel Martinez, network engineer, Programmer's Paradise, Inc. "Politicians by rote lack the common sense to see what is going on in the various industries. It doesn't help matters much that neither candidate has any kind of technical savvy."
While a handful of votes were cast for Bill Gates, the denial of service attackers and even Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert cartoon, the lines were clearly drawn between George W. Bush and Al Gore as to who was most qualified to deal with IT issues. Twenty-three percent of the respondents voted for Bush-Gore received 20 percent.
While Gore and Bush received just about an equal number of votes, there was little mercy for Gore and a remark he made several years ago about his role in the creation of the Internet. Many of the comments Techtarget.com received from poll respondents indicated that a vote for Bush was not so much a vote of confidence in the governor of Texas, but rather it was a vote against Gore.
"Any politician who is stupid enough to state that he created the Internet is too incompetent to run this country. That leaves Bush," said Marshall Hitch, senior network engineer for SST Computing.
"That is a no-brainer! Of course it has to be Al Gore because he said it himself said, "I invented the Internet'", said Scott Meyermann, a systems administrator. "They're both idiots!"
"Well, it sure wouldn't be the father of the Internet," said Craig Hopkins, a certified systems engineer. "Hell, we can get enough fiction on the Net with out that moron as president trying to screw things up even more. At least George W. hasn't taken credit for every aspect of our lives. I think we defiantly need a change at the top."
"I believe that Bush would be the best representative for myself as an IT professional," said Alan Warren, a senior network engineer. "He seems to be able and willing to allow professionals to function within their specialties without needing to claim any special knowledge of their jobs or how they should be done. As a long-time field service engineer and consultant, the last thing that I need is another "Drive over your Shoulder' network expert like "The Internet was my idea' Al Gore."
While many IT professionals acknowledged that Gore understands the technology better than Bush, it still wasn't enough for some to cast a Democratic ballot. Clearly, IT doesn't want government sticking its political nose into IT affairs.
"From what I've seen, Gore knows and understands the Internet and its potential better -- at this juncture -- than does Bush. But that is exactly why I prefer Bush and fear Gore," said Deryl McCarty, vice president, Creative Computer Sales, Inc. "While Gore understands the Net, he has a meddlesome government philosophy that could cripple the Internet by relegating part or all of it to privacy abuse (big brother) and taxation. Bush, while less well versed at this point, is prone to leave well enough alone and to avoid taxation of the Internet."
"I think Bush [would best represent IT]," said Allen Baker, an IT professional who works for the federal government. "Bush is for free market and Gore wants more government monopolies, government business. In other words government determines what's right for Americans since we don't know any better."
"George Bush would best represent IT professionals as president," said G. Richardson, software quality assurance engineer and Website developer. "He has a well-established track record of respecting the effort given by IT professionals in both small and large companies to the current technology trend that has greatly contributed to the prosperous economy. Al Gore, on the other hand, has either taken credit for or neglected to mention the effort provided by the IT professionals."
But, IT conceded that even they would not be the best group to represent IT in Washington.
"IT professionals won't make good presidents either. We by nature look at things from a logical perspective and not from the angle of who we owe and what lobbyists will think. It's an interesting dilemma we are in," said Martinez.
The poll was conducted by Dedham, Mass.-based TechTarget.com, which creates information technology web portals such as SearchDomino.com, SearchWin2000.com, Search400.com and SearchStorage.com.