My 2008 Favorites List
I needed a little break from that talk I have to give this week so I figured I'd jot down my favorites list for 2008.
- 1. Wesley Clark. I don't have Clark '08 buttons for nothing. I think he is the least polarizing of any potential candidates, which is a big plus to me. He is also bright, having won a Rhodes Scholarship and taught economics at West Point. (He's currently a lecturer at UCLA.) He wowed me in 2004 by the depth of his position papers--he had put out more position papers in his short run than any of the other candidates. Hell, I'm not sure if all the candidates could find Puerto Rico on the map, but he had a position paper on Puerto Rico. He knows his stuff, even though he probably wasn't the best communicator last time around. When it comes to experience, he's way up on the list. He has experience working with leaders from around the world while Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR). He's well respected internationally and was invited to the 4th Arab Strategy Forum. His prestige on the international scale would be an asset. Little noticed or appreciated is that, as SACEUR, he was responsible for the living conditions (education, health care, etc.) of 150,000 troops, their dependents, and some 50,000 civilians. I find that executive experience more relevant than most people in Congress.
- 2. Al Gore. I've been following the controversy in the last FL-13 election and am now convinced that Gore really did win enough electoral votes in 2000--not to mention the popular vote. He's got Senate experience and executive experience. I like the combination of both. As VP, he helped make the federal government leaner and meaner (or, in other words, more efficient). I don't have a knee-jerk aversion to taxes like right-wingers, but I loathe government waste. He was part of an administration that generated surpluses and put us in a fiscally sound direction. That's pretty amazing. He is a generally respected leader on the international scene. I rank him behind Clark on this because I think Clark has more first hand experience with international leaders and diplomacy. But I proudly voted for him in 2000--the first Dem for president that I ever voted for!--and not just "against" Bush. We missed out by having the Supreme Court rule on a case that will live in infamy as one of the worst rulings ever. His work on global warming has also been heartening. I hadn't considered Gore before because I didn't think he'd run, but since this is a favorites list, I have him jump up to number two.
- 3. Bill Richardson. He has a great resume. Former cabinet official. Internationally recognized diplomat. He's called on to talk to North Korea and negotiate for hostages (or captives) in Sudan. As governor he's been involved in a lot of practical solutions. He helped get paper ballots in New Mexico, worked for health care, education and economic development. He also has some street cred on immigration. Unlike Schwarzenegger, he's for solutions that don't involved vigalante groups. I see him more as a VP than a top ticket, but he has surpassed my current number 4 for top of the ticket. I hesitate to include a minority at the top because, I'm not sure I want to find out whether or not racism--which I've experienced first hand--is better or worse than I think it is. In 30 years I don't think this will be much of an issue.
- 4. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Previously my number two, she's now down to four. I think she's electable and can win both the nomination and the presidency. I'm not concerned about that. I think she's experienced enough and respected internationally. I align with her a lot on the issues and have very little bad to say about her. She's dropped on my list for two reasons. The first is that she's polarizing. I really want to have the country move away from divide and conquer politics. Not that she would do it, but that she gives the GOP ammunition. The second is that she's a Clinton. Don't ge me wrong, I think Clinton was a great president. But in the last 20 years we'll have had only Bushes and Clintons in the White House. I'm ready for a change. This is a hard choice for me because I'd have no qualms about volunteering for her or donating money. I'm more excited about her than Gore. But I am ready for a change. Sorry, Senator Clinton, I really, really like you, but...
Right now, I'd like to see a Clark/Richardson ticket.
- 1. Chuck Hagel. I've already mentioned that I have respect for Senator Hagel. I don't agree with him much, but so far he has demonstrated the least amount of sleeze of potential candidates. Unfortunately, that probably makes him less viable. I think he'd be a disaster if he had his way, but I think he'd be one of the most willing to work with Democrats. His experience in the military and his efforts for veterans are a plus. He seems less hawkish than most--perhaps his military experience doesn't require him to spew testosterone to look tough. I also happen to think that his candidacy would elevate the dialogue instead of cheapen it. My praise is more for his demeanor and level headedness than his position on any issue.
- 2. Mike Huckabee. I don't know much about him, but he seems to be the most moderate of the potential candidates (now that Romney and Giuliani have sold their souls). He used to be very conservative in Congress, but as Governor he's had to abandon some of the unrealistic positions of conservativism, or at least incorporate moderation into his conservativism. If he had international experience, he'd probably jump up to number one for the GOP. Sadly, his level headedness seems to be a liability for the GOP nomination. I probably agree with him more than I would Hagel, but that's not saying a lot.
I'm interested in others take on GOP candidates. I have an aversion for wealthy people to buy their way into power so Bloomberg--whom I'd LOVE to see win the GOP primary if that were possibile--is almost disqualified. Powell? Would that he'd run and bring some sanity to the GOP. I really want Powell to make up for his UN speech. I had a lot of respect for him until that day. *Sigh*