Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pataki and the 2008 Election: Early Thoughts

I read yesterday that New York Governor George Pataki has decided to sit out next year’s gubernatorial race, a step most pundits say points to a presidential run.

Although I have followed George Pataki's career no more closely than Corey Feldman's, I have to admit that the Republicans could nominate someone worse. Much worse.

Like Rick Santorum, who continues to flirt with a run in 2008 despite barely registering in national polls.

Like Sam Brownback, whose hair scares me nearly as much as his views.

Like Newt Gingrich, who justifies the old adage that a country should not elect a leader nicknamed for a slimy amphibian.

What do these others have in common? All are—or are seeking to be—poster boys for the religious right. And it would be good, IMHO, for the elephants to avoid moving any more to the right.

Let’s recall that the Republican creed includes the belief that the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people. Last time I checked, that didn’t involve US senators telling us that the Supreme Court is way out of line for “allowing” consensual sex between couples in their homes (Rick Santorum’s opinion).

Readers here already know that I’m a fan of moderation in politics and political discourse. And I do not know enough about Pataki to become a fan. What I am saying is that it would be nice to have the chance to consider candidates for president—Republican or Democrat—who want to stay out of my life.

Tax me to help defend the country, yes. Maintain a robust police force, yes. Tell me what I cannot say in a classroom because it might offend somebody, no. Tell me what to do (or what not to do) in my bedroom, no.

Let us have candidates who are socially mainstream (if not—gasp!—liberal), tough on crime, and interested in cutting taxes. If Pataki is indeed like that, he does face a tough climb—he’s nowhere near John McCain, or even fellow New Yorker Rudy Giuliani, in the early polls—but what a welcome relief.

On paper, that’s the kind of candidate we should see more of. I’d like to see the democrats, too, get reasonable folks in the running, if nothing else to reduce the knee-jerk partisan demonizing that is all too easy when the donkeys’ front-runners in early polls are Hilary Clinton, John Kerry, and Howard Dean.

Assuming that Dick Cheney’s “Hell, no” replies to questions about his potential candidacy stand firm, this will be the first time since 1952 that a sitting president or VP has not been in the running. This gives us a chance, starting now, to learn as much as possible about prospective candidates.

I may find out, for example, that Pataki is an ass-clown who has no more business being in the White House than Elvis Presley on an anti-drug visit. That is exactly what this time is for (the discovery stuff, not the bloated hypocritical singer stuff).

If faced with a choice between the far right and the far left, will it be any surprise if the US political climate continues to deteriorate—or if we see increasing numbers of rational Americans becoming even more disenchanted with national politics?

And because nobody else is saying it yet, let me be the first: Jim Cantore for President!


At July 29, 2005 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous replied to my musings ...

"this will be the first time since 1952 that a sitting president or VP has not been in the running"

Wonder who Truman's VP was? And why he didn't run for President?


At July 29, 2005 12:14 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Alben Barkley did briefly seek the Democratic nomination, but he dropped out quickly after many within and without the party supported other candidates due to Barkley's age (into his 70s) and lack of a deep or wide constituency. "They" say that Barkley was the end of an era; unlike his successors, he did not have an office in or near the White House, and he was presiding over the Senate more often than playing reindeer games with his executive branch colleagues! Thanks for reading -- David Amulet


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