Saturday, January 26, 2008

Special Primary Edition

Nothing like an election to bring out the know-it-alls.

So let's get straight to the handicapping:

The Democrats

  • Sen. John Edwards (D-Waffle House): ever since the 2004 election cycle, I've not been able to muster up any kind of connection with or respect for the gentleman from NC. He's just...well, he's too slick. He may be smart, he may be sincere, he may even be a true populist, but I could just never trust him underneath the $400 haircut and slippery used-car-salesman smile. His wife is sicker than they're letting on and I can't believe his true focus is going to be adapting to the larger Washington stage he claims to be an outsider to. On the other hand, he's perfectly passable VP material and I'm not even sure he wasn't just running this time to try to grab the 2nd spot again. But he'll hang in past February 5th and hope his delegates will make a difference this summer in Denver. Unfortunately, they won't.

  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-Carpetbag): The junior senator from New York, by almost all accounts, is a woman of grasping ambition, rivalled only by that of her husband.

    Let's talk about the Bill factor for a second. I will be the first guy to say that if ol' William J. were to run again, I would vote for him in a heartbeat. He's a true genius, who if he hadn'ta let his dong lead him around DC, would have left office with veneration status close to that of an assassination victim. It was basically all the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy had on him, if you think about it. But here's my problem: Hillary is not Bill.

    I know she saw how to run the country firsthand. Sharing your morning coffee with the President 4 days out of 7 will give you a really good idea on what you can expect in terms of the day-to-day. But she's just not as smart as he is. She's nowhere near as charismatic as he is. There's already a giant segment of the country that just plain LOATHES her and would never vote for her in a general election. Her nomination would so galvanize the right to mobilize for the eventual Republican nominee in key battleground states like Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey that it would be like losing all the momentum built up from resentment over the war, the economy, and Republican arrogance.

    She'll probably win the nomination, because the "establishment" seems to be falling in line behind her. But she's not getting my vote. No, this time around, my Democratic primary vote goes to:

  • Sen. Barack Obama (D-ivisive). I know. He has neither the insider view of the White House nor the connections built after years of public service. But that may not be such a bad thing--I mean, look what years of baggage-laden Administrations have done to this country. Senator Obama represents a new start, a fresh perspective outside the box, and a new face that simply will not have to work as hard as the other candidates to build consensus or earn respect from people who've initially opposed him.

    Imagine what it says to the world about the American people when we elect a non white male with the middle name "Hussein" after 8 years of the current Chief Executive--a vindictive, brittle, jingoistic xenophobe with far too much unfounded confidence in his ability to run a country. "We've realized our mistake and gone the other way," it says. "We ARE tolerant enough to be good world citizens and still show the strength of resolve we need to defeat our enemies." Now, more than ever, that's a message we need to be sending.

    Big win in South Carolina aside, Sen. Obama faces an uphill battle at this point; party faithful sentiment is strong for HRC, and I'm pretty sure he'd rather go back to the Senate than over to the Old Executive Office Building for a VP's schedule of attending funerals in Estonia. So as long as Dennis Kucinich is out of the running (NEVER discount the "hobbit who married a hot wife" factor), he'll get my vote. But I'm afraid it's just bad timing for the 46-year-old Senator from Illinois.

    The Republicans

  • Mike Huckabee (R-Walmart): You know, I don't generally think that Senators are good Presidential candidates. There's a big difference being one member of a legislative delegation and actually having RUN something as an executive. Plus, the longer you're around, the more they can twist your voting record around. You remember the emails you got about John Kerry voting against body armor, tanks, and planes? You were supposed to think that he was ready to hand the entire Lousiana Purchase over to Pakistan. I know it's ridiculous. YOU know it's ridiculous. But there are a lot of people who believe--very strongly--in the ridiculous, as a matter of course.

    In fact, the last sitting Senators to win a Presidential election were John Kennedy in 1960, Warren Harding in 1920, and Benjamin Harrison in 1888. Not a great track record for the Upper Housers.

    But THIS guy? Ugh. Please. This guy is the "Left Behind" candidate. People who look forward to nuclear annihilation in the Middle East to pave the way for Jesus' return to Earth want this guy running the United States. He plays bass in a band and spouts Bryan-style populism and is the only candidate in the race with a vestigial sense of humor, but is just totally the wrong candidate for the electorate at large at this point in history.

  • Mitt Romney (R-Loathsome Pandering Empty Suitville): No. Friggin. Way. Next:

  • Sen. John McCain (R-The Nursing Home): The best of who's left. A war hero who was totally jobbed by the Bush machine in 2000. A champion of campaign finance reform. Very electable in a general election, especially running against Hillary Clinton. I suppose this'd be the guy I'd vote for in a primary, but he's too hawky in the Middle East, too socially conservative, and worst, he failed to lash out against the Rove/Cheney machinery that sunk his battleship eight years ago. Took it in the shorts, smiling and gritting his teeth all the way. Very disappointing. But still, he's an honorable guy and you can't really fake that. And he'd certainly be doing a better job than whoever is President NOW.

  • Rudolph Giuliani (R-What Happened): Oh, man, the opportunity this guy frittered away. What a TERRIBLE candidate he turned out to be. Such awful strategy, ignoring Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and anything resembling early momentum. "I've got an idea," someone must have told him. "Who pays attention during the first four weeks of primary season anyway? So, we'll poll below Stalin in a few states, but once February 5th comes along, we'll win it ALL!" And he believed it, too. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh.

    His message ("9/11! 9/11! Squaaaaawk! 9/11!") was crafted by morons and is now a punch line. I'm wondering if this whole thing is a blatant attempt to end up as the VP candidate. Still, I'm pretty sure the country won't have Big Rudy to kick around any more. He can just move back to NYC (where he'd live on the corner of 9th St and 11th Ave, which doesn't really exist but would be really funny if it did. Well, not REALLY funny. You know what I mean), collect big speaker money, and wait for the next opportunity to stand atop a smoking pile of rubble with a bullhorn.

    So it's shaping up as Clinton vs McCain in November (interestingly called as such by ABC News back in March 2006), which is pretty much a dead heat as of the current poll data.

    God help us all.