Pondering the 2008 Presidential Candidates – Democrats

Democrat symbolContinuing my previous post on “Pondering the 2008 Presidential Candidates – Republicans”, I now focus on my take on the Democratic candidates.

As I said in the last post, my inclination towards Republican views are a bit on shaky grounds based on my growing social and environmental concerns. In many ways, I wish there is a third major political party but for now, I am a realist. I am “forced” to make my choice from the current base of political candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties. Quite simply, I am not afraid of admitting that I am making choices based on the philosophy “the lesser of many evils”. I wish I had someone that I really wanted but for now I cannot say that.

The Democratic Presidential candidates have been very interesting to watch. For me, more interesting than the Republicans thus far.

Joe Biden – He has not had as much press coverage as some of his Democratic peers. Most of my impressions have been based on the two debates where I saw him speak. I think he is very experienced in Washington and the political process. My concern with him is that he has been in public service almost too long. From what I know, he started at a very young age. I tend to think that people who enter public service should spend some solid time as a private citizen in the private sector to better understand what “normal” citizens go through in life. In that regard, I think he has lived the “public life” for many years shielded and never having experienced the uncertainly of being a private citizen.

In any case, Mr. Biden seems to have very little momentum or popularity and he may be a non-issue.

Bill Richardson – Like Mr. Biden, he doesn’t get a lot of air time except for the Democratic debates. The biggest problem I have with Mr. Richardson, is that he lives in la-la land where the Iraq war is concerned. Quite frankly, I am not a big fan of the war but I also understand why it needs to happen. What has shutdown my consideration of Mr. Richardson is not that he is against the war. I can live with that. What he said in one of the debates is that he would bring almost every soldier home within a year. That is simply unrealistic and would have extreme negative consequences. Terrorists would have a field day and Iraq would likely fall into anarchy affecting the neighboring nations by plundering the area into a volatile hotspot. If he has other redeeming qualities, I am willing to listen but for now, his extreme views on foreign policy just does not suit me.

John Edwards – There is something about John I really like. I want to support the guy, I like what he says. I think his family keeps him grounded. He came from humble beginnings and became a self-made man. Without a doubt, he has made some mistakes during his campaign like moving into a huge mansion and getting a $400 haircut. But there are worse things he could do. He has the money, he earned it, so why shouldn’t he enjoy it? He wants to be President and it won’t be for the money. His chances of winning seem slim this time around but I can definitely see him become a VP for someone. John Kerry was a terrible candidate in 2004. I don’t blame John for distancing himself from Kerry now. I would like to see John Edwards do well.

Barack Obama – This guy is very charismatic. I saw him speak for the first time on the televised 2004 Democratic Convention. I was stunned by his speech then. I thought to myself, this guy is going to go places one day. How the heck would I or anyone else know that he would shoot for the Top Spot in only 4 years? And with the Oprah factor backing him, Obama is a serious force to contend with. I like that he is a bit of an outsider with a fresh perspective. But I think him being a first-time Senator might make him a bit naive of what he can actually do if he can become President. I also don’t think he has a very wide view of the world or foreign policy. Like John Edwards, I find Obama likable, passionate, and inspiring. I respect what he has accomplished thus far in his relatively young political life. I would also get behind him as President if the people were to elect him. But would I personally implore people to vote for Obama? I am not sure. I don’t dislike him or what he brings to the table. But I have some concerns of his naivete. Like Edwards, I think Obama would make an excellent VP if he did not win the nomination.

Hillary Clinton – Ok, here we go. The big elephant in the room. I think she is very smart and has worked hard since she was young. I think life has hardened her and it affects her. From an intellectual point of view, I think she definitely has the presence and brains for the job. Being a prior First Lady and Senator definitely puts her upfront in experience. Having Bill Clinton as an advisor is a huge plus. Hillary has built up a huge financial war chest. There really is so many things going for Hillary and it is hard for me to ignore.

However…. Hillary brings baggage on a personal and emotional level. She is like Joe Biden in that she has been involved in government for a very long time. I don’t think Hillary is all that innocent of the things that came up when Bill Clinton was running for and was President. She is not spontaneous and she is very strategic. It isn’t all bad but it does make me think everything is scripted with her. It is hard to tell who or what the true Hillary is. I could easily see her getting caught up in some government cover-up or scandal and being dishonest about it. I am not saying she would be immoral but I could she where she might become ethically challenged based on her past incidents.

All in all, the triad of Obama, Hillary, and Edwards makes the Democrats so interesting to watch. I can get behind all of them if I had to. I lean towards Edwards but I just don’t think he can win. That is the problem I have in supporting Edwards. My view of Obama and Hillary is even. They both have pros and cons they bring to the Presidency.

Be the first to comment