In a little more than a week, Georgia voters will head to the poll to make their choice for who they want to be president. There is no guarantee that who they choose on Feb. 5 will be on the ballot again in November.
The field of Democratic contenders taken seriously is down to three. The Republicans lost another one from their group who will still be on the ballot and may have had a good chance for a strong showing. There’s no telling who else may reach in and pull their hat back out of the ring by Feb. 5.
Barack Obama spoke in Bluffton, S.C., on Thursday. He has hit the trail saying experience doesn’t matter. If you want to be president, if you want to be the leader of the free world in a time where we are in a global war of terrorism, experience does matter.
Obama has been a U.S. senator for two years. He has not so much as chaired a committee. Obama said he has been against the war in Iraq since the start. When it started, he was a senator — in the Illinois state legislature.
He and Sen. Hillary Clinton are the main Democratic candidates. Former senator and one-time vice presidential nominee John Edwards is a distant third.
Sen. Clinton has committed a series of gaffes along the campaign trail, including her statement regarding President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act. She has revived universal health care after her flawed 1994 idea, when she was first lady, was killed on Capitol Hill. That proposal would have made it a crime for an American citizen to go outside the government system and get his own doctor. When our founding fathers continually struck blows for freedom and personal choice, that is not what they had in mind.
The GOP isn’t safe from scorn. Republicans held majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate for a decade and we got unprecedented deficits and spending for it, such as the “Bridge to Nowhere.” So much for financial constraint.
Let’s not forget what else was allowed to happen with no repercussion —Mark Foley and his proclivity for young House pages.
The Republicans do have candidates who have literally been tested under fire. Sen. John McCain was shot down over North Vietnam and spent years in a hellish prisoner of war camp. Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City after he broke up the Mafia as U.S. Attorney for New York. Giuliani steadfastly pulled the nation’s largest city together in the minutes, hours, days and weeks after the 9/11 attacks.
But McCain scares the jeepers out of the conservative wing of his own party, especially with his views on immigration. And don’t quiz Giuliani on family values — his own children don’t talk to him now. The former mayor also has been hard to find on the campaign trail.
The frontrunner after Iowa, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, has stopped paying the freight for the media to follow his campaign. That’s not a good sign and indicates his presidential push is cash-strapped, and money fuels the campaign train.
Mitt Romney, former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee and one-time Republican governor of very liberal Massachusetts, didn’t get an endorsement from one of New Hampshire’s bigger newspapers prior to that state’s primary. In fact, the paper excoriated Romney and lots of New Hampshire residents work in Massachusetts.
The reluctant candidate, Fred Dalton Thompson, dropped out of the race. His laid-back, folksy manner played well and he curried the support of more conservative Republicans. But the claims he lacked “the fire in the belly”necessary to run for president proved all too true.
It’s not as if the current crop of candidates inspires a great deal of confidence. For the large part, they sing the same chorus — change. Change doesn’t start from the top. Let’s look at the current machinations at the Capitol. The U.S. Senate had a series of short — one was only 11 seconds long — sessions during the Christmas recess. It only takes one senator to gavel in and hold a session, so Reid had Democrats who would step to the podium, call in the session, look at their watch and then close the session. Why? Just so President Bush couldn’t get through any appointments during the recess. Those appointments are good for a year without Senate confirmation. Shrewd political moves, yes. Cheap, also yes.
Reid also claimed the U.S. is losing the war in Iraq. Too bad the results of the troop surge have cut down drastically the number of violent acts in the last year. Such statements serve to embolden the terrorists and enemy fighters in Iraq.
Nancy Pelosi’s reign as first female Speaker of the House, right behind the vice president in the chain of succession, has been abysmal. The fervor that swept Democrats back into power now has Congress’ approval rating only slightly higher than President Bush’s. That’s bad versus really bad.
If the candidates really want to enact change, maybe some of them ought to keep the job they have and work to change things from within. Because that’s the only way it’s going to happen.