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I won’t pretend that I don’t have a favorite; if you’ve been reading my bloggerations, you know who I’ve endorsed.  This article is a look at the relevant attributes of the remaining presidential candidates of both parties, as I see them.

Democrats first:

  • Barak Obama has a tendency to be pompous and windy, but people don’t seem to mind…yet.  When properly directed Obama can be a charismatic script reader, but when left to improvise (as in a debate) he inserts long undramatic pauses…and…torturous…moments where…for some reason…he can’t…seem to decide…to determine…to assess…to decide what exactly he wants to express, or convey, or to to tutu communicate.  You get the idea.  Obama’s camp has cultivated the popular image of a genius wonderkid, almost – but not quite – too good to be true.  He appears to be an amazingly bright, worldly, charming, refined, incredibly handsome, absolutely idealistic-and-yet-pragmatic family man (with a beautiful family, to boot).  The image doesn’t hold up all that well under scrutiny, although there doesn’t seem to be much of a compulsion on the part of the press to scrutinize it at this time.  What one can say of Obama with some certainly is that he is smart, he is savvy, and that on the scale of idealistic-to-cynical he is far more idealistic than his main competitor, Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Clinton is the old pro, smart and experienced…and cynical.  Hillary is used to the harsh glare of the spotlight, and has long since made peace with the indignity of the profession.  Her attitude is professional, and she shows up prepared for every appearance and every interview.  But all this comes at a price, and that price is the death of idealism.  Hillary doesn’t seem to be the thin-skinned, contemptuous rager that she (allegedly) was back in ’93 when her husband first took office, but she isn’t the same energetic ball of fire, either.  What drives her now?  It must be ambition, otherwise it can only be described as an unexplained compulsion – and that would suggest that some therapy is in order.
  • Mike Gravel?  What can one say about Mike Gravel?  Most of us don’t even know anything about Gravel!  He had a real political career in the ’60s and ’70s, but it ended badly when he lost a re-election campaign for his seat in the US Senate.  After years of retirement, he declared for president on a lark in 2007.  Gravel has a sense of humor (positive), but his experience in politics is mainly on the legislative side (negative).  Gravel is old, and not in the endearing way that Reagan was or in the gritty way that John McCain is; he’s just old.  He looks old, he acts tired, and at this point in his life he doesn’t seem to have much drive or imagination.

And now the Republicans:

  • John McCain is about as unconventional a politician as one can be, and yet he has the establishment backed into a corner.  That’s not an accident; it’s the result of his drive to accomplish and his unexceeded patience.  McCain has a well-earned reputation for being a loose cannon and a bully.  On the positive side, McCain has political capital that can only be earned the hard way, and I’m not just talking about his five and a half years as a tortured and disfigured prisoner of war in North Vietnam.  I’m also talking about seven years of sucking up his disappointment at losing to George W Bush in 2000.  McCain not only put the episide behind him, he campaigned enthusiastically for Bush in 2004, and for other Republicans across America in other years since.  The “straight talker” reputation McCain has among the media isn’t an illusion; he really is a loudmouth, and that can work for him or against him, depending on the circumstance and how much sleep he’s been getting.  McCain is tough, both mentally and by reputation, and the press loves him.
  • Mike Huckabee, the record shows, is a brilliantly intelligent man with great personal charisma and a gift for speaking.  How does this make him different from Jimmy Carter?  Actually, that isn’t my question; it’s Mitt Romney’s, and that question is a simple yet brilliant strategy for defeating a candidate whose single greatest weakness seems to be that the wrong people are supporting him.  It’s true, Huckabee is popular among Evangelical Christians in America.  And it’s also true that Evangelicals are viewed with contempt by much of America.  What’s been surprising is how many of the people who view Evangelicals contemptuously are members of the Republican party.  Back on topic, Huckabee does have one other significant flaw, and that’s his penchant for speaking extempraneously.  Huckabee, unlike most politicians, can speak at length and with great specificity on a variety of subjects, without notes.  Unfortunately, in those circumstances he has so far shown a tendency to say things that reflect poorly on him – only on rare occasions, but often enough for some people to think he’s a half-wit.
  • Mitt Romney is both the beneficiary and the victim of his own background.  The same things that make him a formidable political foe – his looks and his polish and his money – are at least partially a heritage from his famous father George Romney, a three-term governor of Michigan and briefly a candidate for president in 1968.  Romney has a tendency to come off stiff and awkward when speaking extemporaneously, but when properly prepared he makes a very attractive candidate.  Couple his deceptively youthful good looks with some polish and good preparation, and it isn’t difficult to imagine Mitt Romney running successfully, up to a point.  One negative that I cannot fail to mention is his willingness to give his approval to strategies and advertisements that deceive, but Romney isn’t facing any evident scrutiny on the subject, and that makes the issue almost irrelevant.  Romney’s Mormon faith also is a non-issue to most Americans, and it is to me as well.
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One Comment

  1. Umm I think you left a canidate out. Where is Ron Paul at ?


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