Sizing Up The Field
Before I continue my contributions to Tom's pre-marriage education, amidst the hub-bub over presidential primaries and polls, here is my take on the candidates:
Barack Obama - If I were the president of a foreign country preparing to meet with the president of the most powerful nation on earth, and Barack Obama walked in through the door, I do not believe I would be able to stop giggling for at least 30 minutes. I just cannot take him seriously.
John Edwards - What I said about Obama, only more so. Something else for you ladies to think about, too: When Carter became president, the price of peanuts (Carter had been a peanut farmer) went up. When Reagan was president, the price of jelly beans (Reagan’s favorite indulgence) went up. If Edwards were to become president, the price of hair care products would go through the roof.
Hillary Clinton – Should I ever wind up in a vegetative state, the instructions (my Living Will) to Lynda detailing the circumstances for her to pull the plug are as follows:
1. Letters from 3 doctors stating it’s hopeless.
2. Letter from the Pope granting permission.
3. Come into the room and announce that Hillary Clinton has been elected president and Notre Dame has joined the Big 10. If I don’t immediately jump out of bed and pull the plug myself, then pull the plug.
While the thought of an Obama or Edwards presidency induces laughter, Clinton induces my gag reflex. Besides being a socialist at heart, she rarely misses an opportunity to remind me that she is completely full of crap. Did you catch her post-New Hampshire primary speech last night?
"Listening to you, I found my voice!"
So after 6 years in the Senate and a year of campaigning, a weekend in NH has given you your "voice"?
However, the line that really made me wonder "What in the hell are you talking about?" came about 3 minutes later:
"The oil companies, the drug companies, the insurance companies, the student loan companies....they've had a president (Bush) looking out for them...."
The "student loan companies"? Um, Mrs. Clinton, something like 90% (or greater) of student loans come via the federal government, the same institution whose federal loan programs you plan on pouring even more money into yourself.
Aside from the gaffe, her plan is just an escalation of an already out-of-control spending race. Terrific. Her plan for "change" is to do more of the same, except even more so. It hasn’t worked, nor will it. Much in the same way poverty can not be eliminated by printing more money, because providers of goods and services will respond by raising prices, increasing money for federal student loan programs will only allow colleges to further raise their tuition, an opportunity that no college will ever pass up. The federal government and colleges have been playing "tuition increase –> federal loan increase –> tuition increase –> federal loan increase..." ping pong for more than 20 years now, with the only real result being ever-increasingly-astronomical student debt. That Mrs. Clinton does not seem to understand this mystifies me, though it shouldn’t: The meaning of the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child", the title of her 1996 book, similarly escaped her – the community supporting the parents’ efforts in child-rearing was (in true Clintonian collectivist fashion) morphed into the community usurping the role of parents.
Quite frankly, Hillary Clinton as president scares the hell out of me. I heard Hillary's "voice" a long time ago, and it hasn't changed a bit. It sounds like Margaret Sanger channelling Karl Marx.
Rudy Giuliani – He’s a mile wide and an inch deep. The folks over at factcheck.org must love him, though, as he consistently provides them with false and misleading statements to chew on.
Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee - Watching these two on the weekend debates was like watching two car salesmen trying to sell me a Buick. Romney’s second on factcheck.org’s thank-you-for-source-material list; watching Huckabee imitate Bill Clinton’s "I feel your pain" shtick makes me think that there must be something in the water in Arkansas. If you think the media and the secular left have been somewhat unhinged by the figure of G.W. Bush, how do you think they’d like Mormon Romney or former televangelist Huckabee?
John McCain – I like the fact that he seems to understand that the military is "Point At What You Want Dead" force and not a peace-keeping diplomatic one. Other than that, I really don’t know what to make of this guy. He’s gone from "Reagan conservative" to "liberal enough for John Kerry to want him as a running mate in 2004" back to someone The Nation called a "dyed-in-the-wool conservative", all in the span of about 8 years. Which McCain would be president?
Fred Thompson – I really like him. He’s got a 100% pro-life voting record, he’s done terrific in the Republican debates, his statements are rarely found erroneous or misleading, his immigration policy is a conservative’s dream, he has stated that "We need judges who recognize their role in our democracy is to interpret, not make, the law", and I find his positions on other issues pretty sound. His acting career – basically a series of roles playing himself – give him recognizability and an ability to communicate his message.
So why is he getting creamed in the polls and in Iowa and NH?
1. He waited way too long to get into the race. The peak of enthusiasm for a Thompson candidacy was around July 4th. When he failed to make his highly anticipated candidacy announcement that week, interest in him began to steadily decline such that by the time he did announce a couple of months later, it was greeted with shrugs rather than interest.
2. The American people tend to respond to energy and enthusiasm in a candidate, and Thompson is more of a "speak softly and carry a big stick" kind of guy. It didn’t help that in his early speeches and appearances he stumbled and mumbled his way through uninspired performances. His supporters were hoping that America would see Arthur Branch; what they got was Arthur Branch on valium.
3. To quote Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post: "I'm not sure he's quite escaped the impression, brilliantly parodied by Darrell Hammond on "Saturday Night Live," that he sorta, kinda wants to be president but isn't as energized or single-minded in pursuit of the office as his opponents. That suggests a much healthier psychological makeup...." Perhaps, but it won’t get him elected.
Who will I support? Thompson until he drops out. Then I have no idea.
Who will win? I may have to update my Living Will to "Come into the room and announce that Hillary Clinton has been re-elected president......"