At this point, I am starting to have trouble imagining myself feeling particularly excited about any of the 2008 presidential candidates. The Republicans are fairly easy to rule out because I'm neither wealthy nor a Christian extremist. Their three front runners are embarrassingly inept, and it makes me wince to hear Internet sensation Ron Paul talk about getting rid of virtually every federal department or agency. Since I align myself much more with progressive politics, the Democrats seem to be the natural choice. Unfortunately, I'm not sure their leading candidates are much more appealing.
Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are now falling over themselves in a mad scramble to win the Christian vote. It is hard to blame them for seeking the support of such a large majority of voters. The sad truth about modern America is that a presidential candidate can not remain competitive without pandering to religious groups. Our elections are determined by people who would never vote for someone they did not perceive as being Christian enough.
Clinton certainly has experience, political connections, and know-how. I suspect she would do a good job of picking advisers and would probably have the easiest learning curve. Still, she strikes me as being more the product of ambition, focus groups, and political advisers than as a person who stands for much of anything. I'm not saying that this is an accurate appraisal - in fact, I hope it is not, but I do think it is a common perception that she's going to have to find a way to overcome. However, Clinton seems to have the hardest time wanting to broadcast her absurd Christian faith than Edwards or Obama. I suppose that is a plus.
Edwards has so far been the Democratic front runner who I think I'd have the easiest time supporting. I appreciate his willingness to talk about poverty. I know it is hard to take his commitment seriously when he lives in a mansion and blows $400 on his haircuts. Still, he was one of the first of this group to make poverty an issue, and it seems like he has done some good work in that area. I detest listening to him discuss his ridiculous Christian faith. Christianspeak plus a Southern accent always makes my skin crawl (and I hear it constantly here in Mississippi).
Obama can be an inspiring speaker, but I think that the common criticism that he's inexperienced is valid. I was least impressed with his performance in the first Democratic debate, but I certainly favor his opposition to Bush's crusade in Iraq. I feel like I know less about him and what he stands for than the others, but I'm certainly not crazy about his recent proclamations about religion and politics. He's wrong, and the implications of his views are worrisome to say the least. I think many Americans are thinking of him as something not unlike a modern Martin Luther King Jr., and yet, his expressions of his ludicrous Christian faith strike me as dangerous in our modern world.
I'm still a ways from deciding which (if any) of these three candidates I can support. I'd like to here more about the candidates' views on reality. Of the Democrats, Kucinich probably best reflects my political inclinations, but I harbor no illusions about his chances. I'll probably end up doing what I usually end up doing - voting for the lesser of two evils.
Tags: politics, election 2008, Republicans, Ron Paul, Democrats, progressive, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich