Posted Wed, 01/16/08
For some reason I couldn't sleep last night – unusual for me – so I started watching an encore broadcast of the table debate in Las Vegas between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. The panel consisted of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and Meet the Press host Tim Russert, along with a few questions from NBC News journalist Natalie Morales via citizen e-mail.
If I had to cast my ballot today, there is no question who would receive my vote. I made my decision a few months ago, actually, and unless something out of the ordinary occurs to change the situation my vote will remain the same come election time in November.
I happen to like all three front contenders in the Democratic race, one more than the other two obviously. I have no interest in any of the Republican candidates because we desperately need change, not more of the same.
Race or gender is not a consideration in my mind, and never has been.
While credible and well-intended, I think Barack Obama is simply not hands-on qualified to lead the country. He doesn't have enough experience to take on the highest job in the land. Maybe in ten years time he will have the savoir faire to undertake the office, but not right now.
I think John Edwards feels the wants and needs of the country most profoundly, which would probably make him an excellent President. He knows how to fix problems, and would do well by America. However, I don't believe he has the popular backing of his own party and therefore is seen as a third runner-up, behind Clinton and Obama. It's a shame because I really like the guy, despite his tiresome southern drawl.
Hillary Clinton is another matter. The woman is perhaps the savviest politician on the public stage right now, in small part thanks to her husband, our former president Bill Clinton. To have slogged through eight years in the White House already – without becoming the "little woman" behind the man – Hillary has her own style, her own sense of panache. She knows her way around Washington better than any of the candidates, she doesn't let the "big boys" intimidate her, and she takes a no-nonsense attitude when it comes to the welfare of the American people. Our issues are her issues because she understands that's why public service exists in the first place, not to further political careers or win elections just for the sake of it.
The sad part about presidential elections is no matter who gets to the Oval Office, their hands will most likely be tied by the mess left behind by Bush, and by members of their opposing parties in the US Congress. Rather than taking their promise to work for the people seriously, as they should, those in Congress rarely put their necks on the line unless it entails putting forward something from their own personal agenda or from the agenda of a generous benefactor. The system stinks, but there you have it.