I guess it's time for another discussion about who's the best candidate for president in '08. I have a feeling that whoever gets elected will be far superior to what we've had for the past eight years. On the Democrat side:
My favorite was Joe Biden. He has decades of experience, is a great orator, is well-versed in both history and constitutional law (teaches a class on the subject at a university I believe) and I always find his interviews on Charlie Rose and Meet the Press honest, intelligent and insightful. Oh well, now on to who is still in the race:
I haven't made up my mind yet. Obama obviously has great charisma and is also a great orator and can deliver great speeches. He has a great intellect, but most candidates this year do anyway. I don't honestly know how good of a cabinet he will form though and am afraid he will be playing too much catch-up when he enters office. I remember that similar concerns were present when Bush Jr. was first elected and those concerns were allayed by mentioning how he would be surrounded by experienced officials. Ummm, yea, I don't think many people are going to bite on that in the general election (with very good reason). If he were to appoint Joe Biden as Secretary of State or Vice President I may consider it.
The big problem with Clinton is that she is so polarizing in the electorate. I know at least one person who would vote for anyone other than Clinton. Why? I'm not sure, but I know many others feel that way. Personally, like Bush Jr, I'm afraid she would have a rather secretive administration without enough public insight on how decisions are made. Generally speaking, I view her as being much too hawkish as well and have no doubt that she would be as willing as Bill Clinton to send our troops into skirmishes around the world at the drop of a hat (remember Black Hawk Down anyone?). I don't think Bill would now as he has surely learned from his mistakes, but I don't think he will try to overly sway her decisions on specific events around the world. As for getting bills through Congress I'm sure she would be rather effective as she has been a moderate senator and has been able to get support from Republicans on various issues. I'm not against making compromises, but I'm afraid she would be too willing to allow earmarks and other provisions to keep lobbyists happy.
I don't have much of an opinion on Edwards either way. He comes off a bit phony to me and it's difficult for me to believe that he cares as much about the poor as he proclaims. Both he and Clinton are hedge-fund managers (I believe, need to double check...) and I really feel that those funds need much stronger regulation. I guess I'll need to revisit the debates now that Biden is out and get more informed.
For the Republicans:
It's hard for me to imagine voting for a Republican this time around given how they handled the legislative and executive branches for so long. Why anyone would trust them now is almost beyond belief. Now onto the specific candidates (can't hold their party against them too much):
I think Ron Paul is interesting but not qualified to be president. If he were elected I doubt that he would be able to get much passed through congress given his almost complete lack of support in Congress. I think people tend to overrate the power of the President. Regardless of what he says he's going to do when elected, if he can't get the bill through Congress it simply isn't going to happen. I agree with him that earmarks need to be curtailed but I suspect his sincerity since he has been applying for (and receiving) many earmarks for his local district.
I used to have a lot of respect for McCain. However, he has brown-nosed the Bush administration in recent years so much that I've nearly lost all of that respect. I don't think he would be a bad president per se and would probably be much more reluctant to go to war than Clinton, I just am upset with how much he has changed since he first ran for president. Still, if it comes down to a vote between McCain and Clinton it will be a difficult choice for me since I really don't want to vote for a hawk (while McCain doesn't want to abandon Iraq, I strongly doubt he would have placed the troops there in the first place had he been president at the time).
Mike Huckabee would probably be the only other Republican I would even dream of voting for. We simply disagree on too many issues for him to be a viable candidate for me. I respect his intelligence and at least he has some years of experience being governor (although so did Bush Jr). I do find it funny that he keeps mentioning how the roads in Arkansas improved under his governorship. Umm, any road work AT ALL would have been an improvement--I've driven through most states in the country and Arkansas had, by far, the worst roads I had ever seen (back around '90-'93). And I think claiming the schools improved is kind of silly too since they were required, by LAW, to fund their schools more. That's like saying 'well the crime rate dropped because I was forced to keep criminals in jail'. Yea, props to you for following the law. Unfortunately for him, it seems to be next to impossible for a Republican to win the primary without promising to not raise taxes, ever, for whatever reason (or even re-establish taxes for rich oil companies that had recently been reduced).