I consider there to be five hopefuls: McCain, Giuliani, Romney, Clinton and Obama. Talk about darkhorses and underdogs should be reserved for the Final Four tournament, not presidential politics. Yeah, I know, it’s not fair that they have to raise so much money to even be a contender but that’s the reality that we’re living in so we’re not going to discuss that here.
First of all I have to mention that I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. Talk to me about an issue and I’ll tell you where I stand, but because I happen to agree with one Republican or Democrat views I’m certainly not going to accept the rest of their pre-packaged ideas. As a teenager when I was confronted with an issue I would first think, “what would the Republican view be?” and then assumed that position. Now it’s, “what do I think?” and then I don’t care what the Republican or Democrat position is.
On with the show:
I have no problems with Hillary at this point. I don’t know enough about her and her views to actually form an informed opinion (unless you consider my formative years full of hearing Hillary-bashing “informed”).
Similar to Hillary, I don’t know too much about Obama’s positions on issues. He’s pretty charasmatic, seems like a smart guy, but I kinda think of him as the Paris Hilton candidate, wondering what he’s done to get him in the powerful position that he’s in. I mean, everyone else has their hook (Hillary=Bill, experience in the White House, woman; McCain=experience, popular, war vet, already tried the presidential thing; Giuliani=America’s mayor, 9/11; Romney=Bain Capital, Olympics, Mass. health care/budget reform) Obama’s just seems to be that he’s black and charasmatic.
My least favorite of the five. I don’t know exactly why, perhaps it’s that he’s old and he’s been a politician for too long. Perhaps it’s that I kinda feel like since he’s tried once and failed (at the presidency), that I don’t want sloppy seconds (a la Nixon). Maybe it’s that I just don’t see him really changing the status quo, I mean he’s the whitest, oldest guy of the bunch. I don’t really know, I just don’t care much for the dude.
I hate the America’s mayor thing. And I hate that he’s basically running on the fame/recognition he gained from 9/11. And I hate that he’s a Yankees fan. That being said, I kinda like the guy. I like that he had a lot to do with the clean up of New York City, both the stripclubs and the mafia. He also seems like the kind of guy who will get stuff done. (It’s just too bad that our current Mayor Bloomberg isn’t running for president, I’d probably vote for him over any of these five…)
I’ve read more about Mitt than any of the other hopefuls combined, and this is likely because I’m interested in how the Mormon element plays out. I guess that’s more of a fascination with the way the media deals with the Mormon issue than how he does.
Upsides: 1) Homeboy is smart. The dude knows how to work the system, any system and make it work for him. Not only in Bain Capital but in campaign finance and the Olympics and Massachusetts budget/health care and whatever else he touches. I have more confidence in him than anyone else (by far) that he’ll get stuff done. 2) He’s an effective politician. Four words: Massachusetts universal health care. I’m sure there are problems with it, but the fact that he pulled that thing together with Ted Kennedy screams brilliant politics. Anyone else who has pulled that off while not raising taxes please step forward. Exaclty. 3) He just seems like a good man. We obviously share similar moral values, he’s sacrificed in his church service, shown fidelity in his marriage for decades, I just couldn’t imagine that he’d be the nexus of a scandal in his administration.
Downsides: 1) I don’t care much for his flipping on the abortion issue, his recent membership into the NRA and readjusted position on gay rights. Not that I am necessarily opposed to his new positions, I just think that these recent changes are opportunistic and not sincere. Yeah, I know it’s purely political, but I don’t like it. It might be that I just hate that abortion isn’t really a real issue anymore, that it’s only used as a wedge issue, trotted out only to divide people, not to actually get anything done. Roe vs. Wade is not going away any time soon. Same as a gay marriage amendment. So anyway, I don’t like that. 2) This isn’t really an issue with Mitt, but I’m not a fan of our religion being run through the ringer every time someone brings up his candidacy. It bugs the hell out of me that people think the fact that Mitt had polygamist ancestors or that he wears garments it will somehow influence his decisions in office. As if he’s been waiting this whole time, those things never having influenced his behavior before, but now that he’s president he’s going to become the prophet’s mercenary. The fact that any intellectual uses this argument baffles me.
So, those are my thoughts so far. They are subject to change (and most likely will) as I become more informed. But I’m in no big hurry to make a decision, I’ve got plenty of time.
What are your thoughts on the candidates?