Friday, June 10, 2011

The Presidential Race

The latest news item is that the Republican Party is scrambling to find a presidential candidate strong enough to take on Barack Obama.

Say what?

Now, so far I've been an uninterrupted Democrat in my voting.  Let me back that up, there was a vote a few years ago when I split my ticket, voting Dem for President but Republican for the representative seat.  I don't remember why but, in the words of Lucentio, my reasons must have been "good and weighty."  But even though I voted for the guy, I haven't been thrilled with Obama.

His Medicare plan wasn't well met.  To be honest, I don't think anybody Medicare plan is ever going to be well met.  That's just the way it is: you can craft a plan that covers everybody and nobody is left behind but the thing costs as much as buying Algeria, or you can craft a plan that is lean, tight and affordable, but doesn't cover anyone or covers everyone, but with next to no coverage.  Pick your poison.

Obama has one big advantage in his favor that has nothing to do with his politics: his skin.  In what has been purported to be the Land of the Free where all men are created equal, Obama did the one thing that really brings that truth home: he's a black man as President of the US.  Where this country once wallowed in the backwards traditions of slavery, where a man whose absent father was an African national and himself a native of the then-new state of Hawaii, Obama is the quintessential melting pot American.  After an uninterrupted history of white Anglo-Saxon presidents, Obama's presence in the Oval Office brings home more than anything else, the doors are officially open to anyone.

The Republican Party doesn't have anything like him in their paddock.  Their closest challenge would be Sarah Palin, who as a female steps outside of the old mold and almost meets Barack on a level playing field as far as breaking the mold of stuffy old white men running the show.  But that's where the level field drops off.  Sarah Palin has shown herself to be an increasingly uneven performer, certainly off the cuff when on her so-called "vacation" across the country with her kids in tow.  Word to the wise, Sarah: it's not a vacation when you give it a theme, an event name and take an entourage of cronies on a great big bus with your name on the side.

Newt Gingrich is out of the running.  Regardless of what he says, he's just done.  Most of his upper management team just upped stakes and left.  Bummer.  Well, maybe not - Newt is also the guy who held the line so hard on the budget, he shut the government down during the Clinton administration.  Being President isn't about getting your way, it's about finding the compromise that does the least damage.

They could field Tim Pawlenty.  He may be too conservative for the US at large: he would bring back the old abortion fights and the "don't ask, don't tell" rule.  As far as that last one goes, does anyone really care?  Can the soldier pull a trigger?  Take orders?  That ought to cover it.  As for abortion...well.  I have no valid comment.  I'm not the one that's ever going to be pregnant.

There's also talk around Texas governor Rick Perry.  Perry's pretty conservative too, at least as conservative as Pawlenty and probably more.  He's a hellfire-and-brimstone Bible believer.  While I support that on its face, it doesn't have much place in the governance of people.  Unless they're a congregation in your church and you're the preacher and they want you there, your religious beliefs are your own business.  They may guide you in your convictions, but you can't expect others to be guided the same.  Either respect your entire constituency, or none of them.

Perry has also spoken positively of the potential secession of Texas.  You read that right, the independent sovereign republic of Texas.  He hasn't advocated for the actual secession, he just speaks positively of the possibility, of the right.  He says Texas should be able to secede if it needs to, and speaks against the large, unwieldy and unnecessarily oppressive US government and its incessant meddling as one of the many reasons why Texas might conceivably secede in the future.

Yipes.  These are the people the Republicans might put up against Obama for the 2012 election.

Makes Obama's unwieldy Medicare plan look pretty good, doesn't it?

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