The current election race for the 2008 Presidency has introduced a new term into our political lexicon, "electile dysfunction," and I am a victim of this malady. I define it as "the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for the Presidency put forth by both the Democrats and the Republicans."
As a nominal Democrat, I am naturally underwhelmed by the candidates for the Republican nomination. I shudder at the thought that the likes of Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, or Mike Huckabee could make it to the White House.
Romney is a slick, smooth-talker whose ideological views depend on whether he's running to be governor of Massachusetts or President of the United States. Giuliani is a petty, vindictive man who has exaggerated his role in 9/11 and made that tragedy the keystone of his career. Huckabee, a likable fellow best known until recently for losing 100 lbs., would have been a more appropriate candidate in the 18th Century.
And then there's John McCain, who I believe is most likely to win the Republican nomination. He is an admirable man whom I have respected in the past. But his insistence on sending still more troops to Iraq and his belligerence on foreign affairs in general lead me to fear that he would repeat George W. Bush's policy blunders and accelerate our nation's loss of international influence and power.
If either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton emerge as the Democrats' Presidential candidate, I am convinced that McCain, assuming that he is the Republican nominee, would win the November election. Until now, I have felt that John Edwards would be the most electable Democratic candidate. Sadly, I think the American electorate is still unprepared for an African-American or a woman as President. But despite his impressive talents, Edwards seems to have been eliminated from the race.
Obama is a refreshing political personality. I do not believe, however, that he is ready for the Presidency. Perhaps it's because I'm an old grouch, but I feel that he lacks the gravitas and experience to lead the nation.
Of course, an argument could be made that the importance of experience is overplayed. Not many men, e.g., have had more government experience than Vice-President Dick Cheney. But imagine him as the nation's commander-in-chief! (Actually, he has probably served as such during much of the past seven years, and look at the results.)
I have a high regard for Obama, but I find his political agenda still obscure and his record of accomplishment limited. Hillary Clinton's credentials are at least as impressive, and I have been puzzled why she is plagued by such pathological hatred on the part of so many people.
I am turned off, however, by the dynastic quality of her candidacy. I voted enthusiastically for Bill Clinton, but I do not relish the idea of the dual Presidency that would result if Hillary were elected. Moreover, the Clinton camp's tasteless tactics to defeat Obama in the Democratic primary campaign have tarnished the ex-President's legacy.
Where is Al Gore when we need him?