Sunday, September 07, 2008

All The Wrong Reasons

I find it hard to get up much enthusiasm for presidential elections anymore. What should be a serious discourse leading up to the selection of two of America's best and brightest to lead us has turned into a media frenzy with opposing "brands" being hawked to an ever more addle brained electorate like soda pop or feminine hygiene products.

Anyone who thinks that Barrack Obama and Joe Biden are the best and brightest of the Democratic party is simply deluded. Obama has almost no assets which recommend him to become the leader of the free world. Were it not for his race and almost hypnotic personal charisma, Obama would and should be the under qualified junior senator from Illinois, struggling to learn his job. As a matter of fact, Obama is so unqualified and in a word scary that the GOP base is now willing to enthusiastically support a candidate that has thumbed his nose at them for his entire career.

Which brings us to the GOP. Only the deeply frightening possibility of a Barrack Obama presidency could make John McCain a viable GOP candidate. And even then, he had to spring Sarah Palin on the party to get his foundering campaign off dead center. Sarah Palin is actually polling more favorably than either McCain or Obama. That says something profound about the process that gave us both presidential candidates.

The Palin phenomenon is a perfect illustration of the problem. Almost everything I learn about her is impressive. She is smart, decent and tough. But, she has a short resume in public life and unproven leadership skills on the scale that may be required of her. If she is elected, she will be a heartbeat away from the presidency because she is a woman, can make a great speech, is cute as the dickens and has managed to fire up a base that McCain has studiously insulted for his entire career. None of these are good enough reasons for her to be that close to being president of the United States and certainly not good enough reasons to elect McCain.

What should be a sober public exercise in due diligence for all concerned has become a combination of American Idol for the Democrats and a pep rally, complete with a drop dead gorgeous cheerleader, for the GOP. You have to ask yourself, is this really the best we can do? The margins in this election may be razor thin. One very astute commentator observed this week that shamefully, if Obama is elected it will be because of his race and if McCain is elected it will probably be because of the sex and religion of his VP choice. Standing alone, these are not good enough reasons to elect a president.

Though I hate to admit it, John McCain is the only marginally qualified presidential candidate in the race though, based upon his previous positions on many key issues, he should be running as a Democrat. Obama is years away from being qualified to be president and needs to be seriously vetted concerning his family history and past associations. Joe Biden is marginally qualified to run for VP but he should be running as a socialist. And Sarah Palin, impressive as she is, is still an unproven quantity. So, what we actually have is a defacto Democrat, McCain, who first triangulated against his own base and then bought their votes late in the game with his VP choice running against a completely inexperienced near Marxist with a family history and series of political associations that would probably prevent him from getting a security clearance if he were an enlisted man in the military instead of a candidate for commander in chief.

There are dozens of better qualified people on both sides of the aisle. What is the matter with the system that is keeping them from rising to the top? Which of course begs the question, what is the matter with us, the electorate, that we tolerate this American Idol, pep rally, Coke commercial system of selecting a president?


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