OK, I confess I just can’t help it–my dream ticket

I don’t talk politics with friends. It’s just easier that way. But a day or two ago, Ben commented in this space that he thought this was the first interesting political year we’ve had in a long time, and I’m inclined to agree.

Clinton fired her campaign manager today. If she is determined to preserve her position as candidate presumptive, I can’t imagine a worse move. Even if she wanted to get him out, the right strategy would have been to promote him to some high-level, do-nothing position and have someone else of her choice actually pulling the strings. So apparently she is going to milk the underdog position, if she can manage that, for all that it’s worth. Which may not be much.

There was a terrific cartoon in The Christian Science Monitor this week. A pollster at the door of some suburban house was asking, “So, are you going to vote for the first woman president? The first Black president? The first Mormon president? The first POW president?” And so on.

The woman at the door responded, “I’d be happy to vote for the first honest president.”

I’m just tired of seeing only politicians running for office. I think the founders of this country envisioned a situation in which the most upright of our citizens put his/her life on hold for some period of time to go off to do the country’s/state’s/county’s/city’s business and then returned to live with the results.

It’s been decades, at the least, since we had that circumstance. What we have now are egoists determined to earn a living from the public trough while imposing their opinions on the rest of the world. If I am as apolitical as I think I am, that’s why.

Hilary shed “tears of passion” for public service. But it’s not so long ago (20 years, maybe?) that a terrific Congresswoman from Colorado, Pat Schroeder, was pilloried for weeping in public. It effectively ended her political career. I somehow find Clinton’s tears a lot less sincere.

This is the first election since 1960 that I can imagine myself actually voting “for” someone instead of “against” someone else. It intrigues me and makes me want to learn as much as I can about the someones running for office.

Like the woman in the cartoon, I want honesty. I don’t think that means I need to know all of the secrets of national security. But I want to believe that when my elected leader tells me something is in my best interests, I can trust him/her.

I find McCain interesting. I wish he were 10 years younger, and frankly, a lot will ride on who he selects as his running mate. It doesn’t bother me that he occasionally loses his temper. The world is so screwed up that it would be unbelievable not to lose one’s temper at times. He reminds me a bit of Harry Truman (which George W. doesn’t), a president who could be downright testy but was the right man at the right time. He was also a man who didn’t really want to be president and did not run for re-election.

Obama is inspiring. He is inexperienced at many things. But given my feelings about career politicians, this is not necessarily a handicap. However, given my assumptions about the state of the world and the U.S.’s place in it, it concerns me. If I knew that he would surround himself with a group of pragmatists like McCain and philosophers like Princeton’s Kwame Appiah, I might feel stronger.

The other candidates who have presented themselves interest me not at all. They are either old-time pols or just plain out-of-the-mainstream folks. I don’t think we can afford either.

I was impressed with Ted Kennedy’s “time to pass the torch” speech. I’ve never been a great Ted fan, but I thought he had something useful to say here. I’m part of the Vietnam generation, and I think there comes a time to let the past be the past. One of the things that impresses me about McCain is that after years as a POW he was among the first to lead the charge to reconcile with Vietnam.

So here’s my dream ticket: If I were presented with a ballot with McCain for president and Obama for V.P., it would be a no brainer. It’s not an unprecendented occurence in this country for the P. and V.P to be of different parties, although admittedly it has been rare.

But it’s not unthinkable. And it’s not even impossible. This year the Democratic Convention comes first. If the Democrats are so stupid as to use the power of the extra delegates to freeze out the most interesting candidate they’ve had in decades (the whole reason, BTW, that these delegates exist), they deserve what they get.

I can’t see Obama playing second fiddle to Ms. Clinton. But I can see him partnering with McCain to get things back on track and in the process seasoning himself.

Just my thoughts. If it ends up being McCain vs. Obama, I’ll have a lot of thinking to do.

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4 Responses to “OK, I confess I just can’t help it–my dream ticket”

  1. Barbara Says:

    I’ve often wondered if the runner up should be the VP, and that would usually mean they were from another party. It could be a good thing.

    I’m with the woman who wanted the first honest president.

  2. MoskerVenice Says:

    McCain’s temper doesn’t bother me–his voting record on social issues does. And while I find he’s too eager to pander to the fear element driving the electorate, I’m glad that at least he realizes that Guantanamo and waterboarding are not really helping anyone.

    But frankly, the biggest strike against McCain for me is Joe Lieberman’s endorsement. I my dislike of the man going back two decades has turned into passionate hatred I feel for no other politician–if it weren’t for the supreme court I probably would have sat out 2000 or voted independent.

  3. Marianne Says:

    Barbara, the occasions in the past when the P. and V.P. were of different parties come from exactly the situation you describe. I look at European countries’ multiple-party systems and think, “That’s not so bad.” At least the minorities get some input.

  4. Marianne Says:

    David, thanks for the response. Lieberman doesn’t raise any strong feelings with me except that I hate the sound of his whiny voice.

    I understand your point about some of McCain’s votes. He appeals to me because I think that a) he’s his own man and not afraid to act like it, and b) I don’t feel that my agreement with every one of a candidate’s points is necessary for supporting that candidate. I just want to think that the candidate is honest, moral, and relatively fearless. On those grounds, I find McCain interesting.

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