So Primary Season.
I want to first say that I am very happy with our Democratic Party candidates. Any one of them would make a great president, and we are very lucky to have such a field. We could be like the Republicans, having to hold their noses and pick the best of the bad lot.
I am an Obama supporter. There are a lot of reasons, and I will be totally honest, a lot of them are hard to articulate. I don't support him because I love his policies, honestly they are similar except in details to all the major Democratic candidates. I mostly support him because he inspires me.
I was won over by Obama the first time I heard him speak, back July 28th, 2004 when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention. I blogged about it then (you can search for the word Obama and you will find it on my blog) and I was stunned and won over by his sense of optimism, and his articulation of all the reasons why I am a Democrat. Hearing him subsequently in many speeches (and once live) I have never been disappointed, and my support for him just grows. I want that man to be our leader.
I think the main reason is that he reminds me of what it is that the Democratic party stands for. It is more than just doing whatever it takes to get power, it is about standing for fairness, for those who are less fortunate, for ensuring that every child has equal opportunities and can fulfil their potential. It is about each of us realizing we are our brother's keeper, and we, as a society, have a responsibility to help each other out. That is why I am a Democrat.
That is also why I have a hard time with Hillary Clinton. She doesn't differ greatly on her policies from Obama, and she would make a good President, but I worry that she is too entrenched with the special interests, too tied up in the political morass that is Washington, and I think she often forgets why we are Democrats. She simply doesn't inspire me.
Other than the inspiration effect, Obama also has some other incredible intangibles he will bring to the Presidency. We need to heal our relationship with the world, and I think he can do that. What better way to calm moderate Muslims than to show that the American people have elected as their leader a black man whose father was a Muslim! I think he will be able to do a lot of good.
That leaves John Edwards as the last of the major Democratic candidates. I like him, and he too would make an excellent candidate. Back in 2004 I was a delegate for him, he was my first choice, and he still would be if Obama hadn't burst on the scene. He is a man who will stand for equality and fairness, and I think he would do a great job. He is not my first choice, mostly because I don't think he has the personal magnetism and charisma of Obama. A President needs that, as it greases the wheels of his job, just look at how far Bush has gone with nothing but charm and "charisma".
As for the Republicans, all of them have major flaws in my book. Guiliani just has fallen into self parody. How can you mock the man anymore, when he can't stop himself from mentioning 9/11 in every sentence. He would make an awful President, he would be authoritarian, he would ignore the law, and he would invade any country that looked at him twice.
Romney is someone who is roundly criticised for changing his positions to fit the political need. Funnily enough, that is why I wouldn't be too horrified if he won the Presidency. He was a reasonably liberal Governor, and I think he would probably be a similar President. I get the feeling all this current posturing and conservatism is mostly what he feels is needed to get elected. I don't believe that is who he really is.
McCain drives me crazy. I actually have respected him a lot in the past. Is work on campaign finance reform has been flawed but well intentioned, and his willingness to do what he believes is right even if his party doesn't agree has endeared me to him in the past. However he has morphed into the strange war monger that he is today, positioning himself as probably the staunchest supporter of Bush's war on terror of any of the candidates except for maybe Guiliani. Basically he disappointed me, and went from maybe the only GOP candidate I might have considered voting for, to one I wouldn't vote for if you paid me.
Huckabee would scare me to death if he was elected, however I don't think he will do well in the general election. My biggest fear with him is that he genuinely makes decisions primarily based on prayer and inspiration for guidance. I want someone who takes a really good hard look at the facts before they turn to prayer. That and the fact that I suspect that he believes the primary role of the next President will be to ignite the flames of Armageddon so that the Savior can return makes me a little nervous.
On a non religious vein, his tax proposal (the only policy proposal I have heard from him) is disastrous, and would mean another major move of the tax burden from the rich to the poor. I will have to discuss that some other time.
So there you have it, my 5 minute analysis of the candidate pool. It is going to be a fun year, and I am looking forward to November. Unless the "September" surprise terrorist attack occurs like some have predicted, Edwards, Obama or Clinton will be our next President, and I couldn't be happier.