Saturday, February 03, 2007

Horse Race Too

February 3, 2007

I've been called to task on the blog for talking politics, which apparently I know nothing about (as if anybody did), but let us look at the upcoming Presidential campaign not as politics but as a horse race.

First in the race was John Edwards, a personable Southerner who made a good showing in the 2004 Democratic race, and ended up as the Vice Presidential nominee in the campaign of John Kerry. Edwards is bright, upbeat, and arguably a better candidate than his running mate was. He is less dour, less apt to misspeak, and comes down well in the mainstream of his party's positions. What he lacks in gravitas, he more than makes up in at least the appearance of reasonableness. Whether this is what the country, or even the Democratic Party, will be looking for in a 2008 candidate remains to be seen.

There is also Senator Hillary Clinton, who is a different colored race horse altogether. Her hat has been in this ring for years. You might say it has been sailing this way forever. I have a friend who knew her in grammar school where she was known as "the smartest girl in school," and I recall a PBS documentary, Hillary's Class, which put forth the information that he Wellesley classmates assumed she would be the first woman President. She endured the difficulty of being First Lady to a man she wanted to replace in office, and here she is, presenting herself as not only the woman candidate, but the candidate for all women, meaning those who do not choose to support her will be traitors to their gender. Is there a "women's candidate," and if so, would it necessarily be a woman? I happen to be one who doesn't think so, and I still would like to see something substantive coming from this candidate before I make up my mind. Sure, I'd like to see a woman President, but whoever I vote for must be someone who clearly stands for something I believe in, and who will be brave enough to come out from behind the handlers and the line of advisors so carefully framing her answers to position her as a centrist and earth mother rather than the real person within who must have something to bring to the table on every political topic. Is voting for the war, and then blaming the President for that vote without ever owning or explaining this stand, really a "woman's" position? Not this woman.

Which brings us to the least-known, most hopeful candidate on the scene at this point. One comment about Joe Biden's remark calling Barack Obama "clean," does no one remember Richard Nixon's contemptuous anger at his former boss Dwight D. Eisenhower, "All he ever cared about was, 'Is he clean?'" referring to the vetting process. It was in this sense, of course, that Biden described Obama as clean -- the sense that there was no tinge of wrongdoing anywhere; nothing was going to be dredged up out of his past, as it is with so many politicians, to rule him out of the running. Whether he is up to the job or not remains to be seen, but he has the quality of being viable through his ability to arouse support. If he, in the sense that Mrs. Clinton is the women's candidate, is the black candidate, he will have to do something specific to deserve that constituency. He has traveled comfortably in the white world for most of his life, and although his skin is dark, he doesn't look black in the way that, say, Denzel Washington as the President would. Let us see if he is as brilliant as we have been told. I for one am eager to see how he'll run this race and conduct the business at hand.

If I knew anything about politics I would be able to make some predictions here. If I even knew anything about horse races I probably could. When I have made such predictions in the past I have been wrong as often as I have been right. There is always this for me and my readers to ponder: No candidate I have voted for has won, so I am better off not naming my choice here. So far I'm just observing the pre-game show.


Officious Oaf said...

Why do you persist in swimming waters over your head? The political waters of any region is anything but shallow, and the political waters on a national level in the US are enormously deep and treacherous. Even experienced swimmers have been know to drown and those write on such things have been known to be so off base that one can help wonder why they got out of reporting on county sporting events. Too, I notice no one has risen to the bait one your presidential horse race blog. Only your oafish friend, so here goes.

Let me make a comment or two about presidential candidates. To begin with, the only person truly qualified for the office is a former president. All the others, were they to be elected, would submit the country to a great deal of mismanagement while they go through their OJT- that's On the Job Training- which in some cases continues long after being out of office. Jimmy Carter comes immediately to mind.

The electorate essentially cast a negative vote. It is not so much who they are for, but rather who they don't want as president. The last presidential election is a typical example. The one before that it was split right down the middle on who the voters liked least. You gotta admit that was a tough decision to make.

By the time the electorate gets to select from the menu of candidates with their ballot, the real choices have already been made at the national conventions. As a voter in the election, what you are doing is ratifying or rejecting a previously made selection.

A serious analysis of the voter behavior would quickly show that it based on myths, especially when it comes to blocks of voters. Women, blacks and those of a particular state do not necessarily vote for one of their kind. Al Gore didn't even carry his home state of Tennessee the last time. Black candidates lost to white candidates in predominantly black regions. Assuming half the population is female, that in no way means women candidates will get half the votes.

Now to the horses you have chosen to talk about in your blog. John Edwards will not be president of the United States…this time around anyway. He doesn’t look like a president what a president should look, nor does he act like one…he smiles too much, and his speeches lack substance. Maybe with a few more wrinkles, graying temples and an air of seriousness about him things might change for him.

If there ever was a candidate qualified to be president without ever having been one, it is Senator Hillary Clinton. All those years of telling the president what to do in political affairs paid off for husband Bill, for he ended up as not a bad president. It was clear, however, that he wasn’t listening when it came to advice extramarital affairs. Oh well, nobody is perfect.

Finally Barack Obama. He is a candidate that will not massively capture the black vote. Why? Notwithstanding his race, he is not one of them. He is far better educated than most. He is vastly superior to most when it comes to articulating his ideas, and he is not a demagogic drum beater for the supposedly trodden on. In other words, it is a question of identification, besides, the blacks aren’t convinced that with Obama in the White House, their cause will be better served. They would rather work with known influence Democratic peddlers. Too, he has yet to pass through the filter of the Democratic convention, where there is still held the notion that the U.S. is not yet ready for a black president. No Jewish aspirants need to apply either, so you, Michael Bloomberg, probably the best mayor the city of New York has ever had, there is no need to form an exploratory committee even though you could finance your campaign without any help. With women making their respectable place on the political scene the filters aren’t so fine come convention time. Hillary would not be a bad bet, but then again the political waters are always filled with unseen currents, so it is not a sure bet.
...Alright already, I'll go back to writing on the shuffleboard constest coming up this weekend down at the community hall.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Gee, somebody actually knows something and does not swim in waters over his head! But it sounds as if you're saying just what I said, except that I don't think Jimmy Carter is still in the picture.

And the news of the moment is that Guiliani (wonder how to spell it?) is in the race, so we may not have Democrats to kick around at all.

I don't see any winners on the Dem side, and the fact of the matter is that almost all Americans think we've hit rock bottom with the guy we've got and there is no candidate being mentioned that would do a worse job.

This looks like a job for Bert Bananas, who declared his candidacy on his blog a couple of weeks ago.

oldphilosopher said...

In my day we found it admirable to jump off the deep end, Sir Oaf, and sink or swim on the merits of our arguments...don't discourage the little lady (sorry feminists) from the waters of political observation about which she tells us at the outset that she has no profound knowledge. That's more than most of the self-proclaimed pundits who get paid for pontification do.

Anonymous said...

The democrats better get it together for the solidarity of a candidate and back whomever it is because the low life republicans will do whatever is necessary to maintain the fleecing of our country for the benefit of their few. All else I have to say starts with the idiosy of the statement , "I do not eat broccoli!" and goes on the the debated 'brazillions' of tax dollars and young lives wasted for the making of the rich richer and the assimilation of the middle class into the rest of the population. Be it known that the republican tacticians are busy at work roiling the democratic waters. And remember that the vote that won the current powers camr from the state of 'brotherhood'...why did they even count the ballots, ya know.

Benedict S. said...

I'm for a real dark horse, Jim Webb. Second choice, Al Gore. Gore-Webb, or Webb-Obama would be my ticket.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Webb will be on Hardball tonight. I'll check him out and decide. How about Webb-Gore?

Benedict S. said...

I doubt that Gore would be interested in second place again, but if he would go for it, not a problem.

Finding Fair Hope said...

I would have said Webb-Edwards, but I figured John Edwards wouldn't be interested in running for second place again. Now that I think about it, the Democrats have a lot of great candidates for Vice President, but none who could win as President! I think it will be someone who we have not yet seen...

Benedict S. said...

I dunno. The cuckhold lady seems to be running hard and fast. Question: Did they cancel that TV show that starred that tall actress as a lady president? Could be an omen.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Commander In Chief starring Geena Davis, was said to be sort of a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton, or at least a device to prepare the country for the possibility of a serious woman as President. It was a well-crafted drama series, with some heavy hitters (including Donald Sutherland as the adversary)in the cast, but whether or not it cleared the way for Mrs. Clinton I don't know. It was hardly a runaway hit -- and any resemblance to any of the Clintons was absent.

Benedict S. said...

Thanks, ML. My memory cells were not firing this morning. I probably would never have remembered the name of the series, but Geena Davis is one of my favorites so I suppose with any luck her I would eventually have remembered name.