In an effort to reach across the aisle, I'm going to spend a little time talking about the Democratic field and what I like about it. Sadly, I must begin at the top by stating what I don't like about it: Hillary Clinton.
I'm probably the exact type of Republican voter that Democrats may want to consider as they go through the process of making their primary decisions. I despise the Clintons and will always do so. Back in 1992 Bill proudly said, "If you elect me, you get Hillary." Well, the same is true in reverse order some 16 years later.
I can now look back at the 1990s and admit the Clinton adminstration was far from all bad. In fact, I admire the social moderation and fiscal responsibility that Clinton displayed during his time in office. George W. Bush could definitely take a lesson. I think Bill Clinton became a new president in January 1995 when he had to deal with a Republican Congress. And while it literally almost broke him, in the end it enabled him to leave office with a fairly decent legacy. However, I can never overlook the personal shame he brought upon his office. That Hillary Clinton could do so only reflects poorly on her too, in my opinion.
Now back to the spirit of reaching across the aisle. Aside from Hillary, I have been greatly impressed by the Democratic field. Now only Barack Obama and John Edwards remain. Yet I think each could make a good president. They both bring communication skills and the potential for leadership that the office of the American president has not seen since the days of Ronald Reagan. Almost sounds superficial to ignore the specifics of issues but we all know just how much of politics is compromise. I laugh when I see all these candidates brag about "their plan." As if there has been a Congress in our nation's entire history who wouldn't shred a president's specific plan in a heartbeat in favor of leaving their own pork-friendly imprint upon the final details. The executive's best chance is and has always been effective communication.
I also like the youth, Washington inexperience, legal education, and work experience that Obama and Edwards would bring to the job. In other words, they are both relative DC outsiders when compared to Ms. Clinton. Beyond these two, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden each impressed me in numerous aspects, aside from their ability to run a popular campaign, of course.
If Edwards dropped out of the race now in promise of another shot at the vice-presidency, I think Barack Obama would be a lock for the Democratic nomination. Conversely, if Obama wasn't in the race, I think John Edwards would be the leading contender. But sadly neither scenario if the case. And that's why I think the road is still very tough for Senator Obama. Clinton has the old-school status-quo base firmly on her side. And that's a tough crowd to fight. I saw it on the other side of the aisle in past campaigns such as the one that nominated Bob Dole.
So I go back to my original consideration. Hey Democrats, I voted for my first ever Democratic candidate in 2006 by supporting Florida's incumbent Senator Bill Nelson. That was largely due to the fact that the Republicans nominated a candidate I could not vote for in good conscience. Now this same description also applies for me to about half of the remaining Republican field. Here's hoping the Democrats offer someone like me a legitimate alternative in the fall. I just may be tempted to give that person a shot. Just for kicks, if nothing else. But if it's another Clinton....well, my 2nd ever Democratic vote will just have to wait!
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