Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Audacious hopes

It is early to be making decisions about a presidential primary. And really, it is too early for anyone to be talking about it, but thanks to the ridiculous American system, we are.

So, who is lined up so far? We have Democrats Edwards, uh... Kucinich... Vilsack... and of course not officially yet, we have Clinton and Obama. And there's the possibilities like Bill Richardson. (And how about Al Gore?)

If I followed American politics with the same persistence as Canadian politics, I would be able to make much more specific comments about each candidate. What I can say is that Hillary Clinton's "slide to the center" doesn't impress me and I'm not greatly comfortable with her as a candidate, both for her shifts on issues and for the fact that there is a fairly large bloc that isn't comfortable either.

I read Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, over the break. It certainly is not your standard political book. Obama has some good ideas, and I recognize a lot of my own sentiments in his statements of tolerance and working together towards a common future. I would have liked to see more from him as regards the environment, but he shows me that he understands both sides of most issues, something that is too rare in the prevailing atmosphere today.

Yes, Obama is inexperienced, and yes, experience is generally a good thing. But there's a lot of experienced people who don't know how to follow the Peter principle, and instead keep rising to incompetence. And he will of course face a rougher ride if/when he officially declares his candidacy. But look: Obama will appeal better than Clinton or any other candidate to that elusive "Middle America" (purple voters, I guess they are called).

If Al Gore joins the race (I would assess this "unlikely" at the moment), it would make the decision harder. But even were he in right now, I would still state that I tentatively support a Barack Obama bid for the nomination. It seems like the best hope for me to not have a vomit reflex whenever I hear about what's going on in Washington.

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