Sunday, January 21, 2007

'08 Part Five: Also Runnings

For the Democrats Al Gore is currently the only also-mention for president. I don't think he will run, but if he does we will have to hear from idiots who voted for Bush yet have the audacity to pick on Gore for his "I invented the internet" comment which, while a dumb thing to say, was linked to something in reality (though it is a reality which other US Reps and Senators can claim). I like Gore lots more now than when he was VP or running for President. I think he can do more (not inter-) net good with less stress by not running (while it is possible he would be the best president, there is no one on the ballot who can replace him in his current endeavors). Wes Clark is also mentioned a bunch on the net, but I think he had his place in the last election, and there are too many superior candidates to him already running in this one. Note for him though: he is a very strong supporter of the sciences, and is both knowledgeable and curious about scientific issues. The other candidates are mostly a collection of "whos" and "whys": Baya, Biden, Dodd, Kerry, Kucinich, and Vilsack, though Vilsack will do well in his home state of Iowa.

On the Republican side McCain and Giuliani are the apparent front runners. I think the former will be dead thanks to Bush's support for his troop surge (which will fail). The latter is probably the most likely nomination, but he's still a bit of a dark horse. He's from New York, which makes him not a favorite son of the party, and there is a perception that he is more liberal than others which is probably true. Of course he is also a huge supporter of big buisness and heavy handed crime prevention, so he'll probably manage it. Brownback is a likely GOP spoiler. He is the type of candidate to do well in a GOP primary and tank in the national. If he wins, pretty much any Dem short of Kucinich would coast to the White House...probably. He also has a fair chance of winning, especially if McCain's support dries up before the primary. Dem spoiler potentials include Giuliani, but also Romney and Pataki. Probably the only Republican who would be a favorite in Nov '08 would be Colin Powel, and there is no chance he will run after the shit storm surrounding this administration that he was part of. Giuliani and currently McCain are probably even at best, and McCain certainly won't stay there.

'08 Part Four: John Edwards

Former Senator John Edwards is probably my current top choice for the Democratic nod for President. Two chief reasons for this, and neither is related to his alma mater (UNC). One: he is a staunch supporter of the poor and working class in this country. Maybe an odd thing to say about a man who made millions as a trial lawyer--though not an odd thing to say about the son of a miner who worked hard to get through college and law school--but he is. Under Bush, and in fact since the republican takeover of congress in 1994, the wealthy in this country have had it great while the poor and working classes haven't even gotten a boost in crumbs from their plates. Poverty leads to crime, disease and poorer education, that last often leads to more poverty. Universal health care, functional social security, affordable higher education, and a better welfare/unemployment system are necessary. I believe that Edwards will work harder for those and other things to support average citizens than any of the other candidates (maybe save Richardson). That belief leads nicely to the second thing.

The second thing is a bit more gut less intellect, but I. believe. John. Edwards. speaks. for. me. For whatever reason, every time I see, hear, read about Edwards I get the feeling that if he and I spoke, that he'd listen to my ideas, give back some of his own and that we'd get along well. More, if we had gone through school together I feel as though we would have ended up friends. It's that projected persona that resonates with people. Many celebrities have it. Regan had it. Bill Clinton has it. Obama may have it. Edwards definitely does. I still don't know if he'll get my vote in the end, and it isn't his to loose, not yet, but John Edwards is currently my top Democrat candidate for president.

I should note that Edwards also voted for the war, but that is often seen as less relevant. I'm not sure entirely why. Maybe because he was willing early on to say it was a mistake, and not try and pass it off as a good vote that the president screwed up by mishandling. Maybe because he had been a senator for less than one year before the vote and would only remain one for a total of two years. That vote, however is the reason that he is not a strong favorite of mine, and could easily be replaced at the top by one of the others mentioned.

'08 Part Three: Bill Richardson

New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is arguably the most qualified candidate on the Democratic ticket (I'd probably rank Hillary and Edwards behind him, in that order). Problem is he does not have the name recognition in a crowded field with an unusually large number of credible candidates that do. There is strong support for him online, but it seems to be mixed with the feeling that he is running for Vice President.

He has executive experience as governor of a border state (immigration). He has DC experience as a former congressman. He has been U.N. ambassador and Energy Secretary. He has experience in all critical areas for a president, plus he is hispanic (fastest growing demographic in the country which is becoming increasingly blue). Everything about this guy says "winner." Except that his name will follow Obama, Clinton and Edwards. At present I do not expect him to receive the nomination. This could change come November/December. I don't know much about him, myself--in particular with respect to the economy and social programs (including education), which I consider key as most/all candidates support: bringing our troops home, increasing domestic security, reinstating our civil liberties...

I believe Bill Richardson is the candidate to watch, kind of an X-factor. If he can become better known by debate time and stand out in those debates then he could be a real contender. Even if not I think he would still be a strong choice for VP.

'08 Part Two: Hillary Clinton

I really like Hillary. I think she would make an excellent president. Just two little problems. One, about half of this country hates her. There is no reason for that hatred but it exists. I tend to think that it's driven by insecure men who fear powerful women. The same ones who have been hating on Pelosi who has had, possibly, the most productive (start for a) speaker of the house ever. That type of hatred, however, isn't something to be won over. It is not rational, and therefore cannot be overcome by rational means. Short of some moderate, popular republican going public with a dream that Jesus told (him) to support Hillary, I don't see her as being able to pick up as many swing votes. That said, I still believe she would win the general presidential election as the Democratic nominee though it would be very close, and could be 2000 all over again.

Of course she would have to be the Democratic nominee. This brings us to problem number 2: she voted for the war in Iraq. Yes, yes, we were lied to by the administration, we had faulty intelligence, et cetera, but here's the thing: lots of people heard all of that same bullshit and still didn't support the war. The country was split almost even on yes/no to go to war in Iraq with some unsure. After the vote to go to war the support jumped due to patriotism. Plenty of Congressmen and women voted against the war. Hillary didn't, and her vote, along with those of other Dems, smacks of political maneuvering, not sound judgment. Much of the driving factor in the Democratic wave last November was anti-Iraq war. In 2004 Kerry sounded the idiot with his "for it before I was against it," statement, and it generally seems a bad idea to nominate anyone who voted for this war.

I like her, but she is going to face to very difficult fights to get the position, having to win over Dems who do not approve of her Iraq war vote, then having to win over at least a few of those with an inexplicable hatred of her. The last note is: 24-28 years with a Clinton or Bush in the White House could well turn off many who want cange but don't see it in her name. It is not a fair judgment as Hillary is an actual independent, intellectual, capable, human person, while Dubbya is nothing without daddy, but it is one that will occur.

2008 Already?

No, that's not a misprint. I'm referring to the '08 presidential election. Edwars, Obama, Clinton, Richardson and also runners. This is part one: Barack Obama.

Obama seems to be the upcoming superstar candidate that people feel good about themselves for supporting. I really like 2016. It isn't the inexperience, it's his talk about the evils of partisanship. He sounds too much like Lieberman (whom I can't stand). Thanks to Commander Codpiece and the do-nothing republican congress we are going to need at least 4-8 years of partisan Democratic leadership to get this country back to even keel. They didn't try to play nice and just screwed the nation over. Dems can't start capitulating and expect things to get better. Further, Dubbya's (and the GOP's) notion is compromise is for Dems to agree with whatever he decides, compromise and true bipartisanship are not possible with that man in the Oval Office, so don't talk about it. The people in this country are about as united as they were right after 9/11...against the president and GOP. Dems don't need to compromise. They are what people want. If Barack can stop talking about being friendly, appealing to others, and striving to compromise with republicans, and start talking governing this nation to a better tomorrow, then I'll look to him as a good candidate. Of course, he can win without making me happy.