Monday, October 26, 2015

Reflections on a presidential campaign that started way too early

Friend and best-selling author Susan Wittig Albert reminded me today that she kept a year-long blog and published it as An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days. It was, she said, an election year. (Watch for her forthcoming fictional biography, Loving Eleanor, due in February, about the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, her assistant and confidante.)

Well, as I said earlier, I’m trying to do sort of “a year in the life of” with my blogs, though I don’t know what I’ll do when I’m done. But Susan jogged my awareness that already this is an election year—and since my year-long blog marathon runs from July to July, we’ll be full into it by the time I finish. So herewith some thoughts on the candidates, with the caveat that I am an avowed and outspoken progressive.

So let’s start with the conservatives. What is often called the clown car has two who don’t really seem to want to be president. Jeb Bush has said he’d rather do “really cool things” than be vilified and expected to do that to others. (Glad I don’t have to be anywhere near that Bush family meeting to be held in Houston, maybe this week.) Marco Rubio says he’s tired of his job as senator with all the gridlock and restrictions, and as a consequence he rarely shows up to vote. And he wants to be president? He doesn’t even know gridlock yet.

Then there’s Donald Trump, who said he was polite to the first protestors, more firm with the second. Some of the third were physically attacked by his supporters, and I heard him say today that any future encounters would get more violent. Also he’s on record as hating brown people. What has our country become that we would even look twice at a man like that?

Fortunately, or not, Dr. Ben Carson has pulled ahead of him in the polls, supposedly because of his calm, soft-spoken manner. I watched him on TV last night and was impressed by that gentleness. But he has shown a remarkable lack of understanding of history and international politics. I have no doubt he was a good surgeon and is a well-motivated, kind man. But he shouldn’t be president.

So now we get to the Democratic candidates—Hillary and Bernie dominate the field, though I think Martin O’Malley makes a lot of sense and has a good record. He simply doesn’t have the visibility—he’s young, and he may gain it another election year. Meanwhile, just my personal opinion, I love a lot of Bernie Sanders’ ideas but I think he’s volatile and doesn’t have the control or background to run a country. Yes, I have some grave doubts about Hillary, but I like when she called herself a pragmatic progressive. I think she has a good visions for America and the political background and knowledge to run things efficiently.

As a friend of mine says, “It’s early days yet.” We shall see. A year from now my thoughts may seem so irrelevant. Anybody want to comment?

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