Sunday, July 22, 2007

Choosing the Next Prez: Part I

Now that I am officially out of the race, at least for now, I must begin the process of choosing who I will support for president in 2008. Of course I take this responsibility seriously because I know how much the president can effect how I feel for the years 2009 and after. I did not feel good for months after the Supreme Court elected “W” in 2000. And I wasn’t too happy after a second Liberal from Massachusetts blew the election in 2004. So this choosing a president thing is nothing I do lightly.

In fact, before even looking at the remaining candidates, I thought I would determine the qualities I want in my next president. What is most important? Do I care about a candidate’s views on the nation building in Iraq? Definitely not! How can you choose among 15 or 20 candidates who all want to bring the troops home. Besides, I am sure that our wily Mr. Bush will have an October surprise which will neutralize the war issue.

What about a candidate’s views on health care? Hell, everybody is in favor of health care. What about taxes? They’re all against taxes, at least until after the election. What about the environment? Come on, nobody would admit that they favor a degraded environment. And global warming? I don’t think many of the remaining candidates favor more heat.

I think that issues are pretty irrelevant in this upcoming election. For one thing, the issues that candidates raise now will not necessarily be the issues that one of them will have to deal with after January 20, 2009. Did George W. run on a platform of fighting the war on terror? The fact is that the crises that the next prez will have to deal with, we haven’t even thought about.

So, what about the candidates’ qualifications? What traits do they have that will make me confident that they can be the leader of the world’s only remaining superpower? (By the way, if we are the only superpower, how come we get no respect?) Do we want someone who has demonstrated great leadership? Do we want someone with experience in administering multibillion dollar projects? Do we want someone who actually does their current job rather than running around the country campaigning? Do we want a president who will not lie to us?

That seems like a good one: A president that tells the truth. At one time we prided ourselves on truthful presidents. George Washington couldn’t tell a lie, and Abraham Lincoln was known as “Honest Abe.” But among the more recent presidents lying is something we expect. Bill Clinton lied to us; he even lied under oath. And, I’m not sure I believe a quarter of what comes out of W’s mouth.

So, what do you think? Do you want a president that tells the truth?

Not me! In the words of Jack Nicholson, I can’t handle the truth!

A truthful president would have to tell me that in the Mayan calendar everything ends after 2011 except for a few scattered Mayas. (Don’t even try; I already found out that there is no way to convert to Maya.)

Even if the Mayans were wrong, a truthful president would have to tell me that somewhere in the solar system there is a 100 mile long asteroid that has its cross hairs locked on earth and will get here in 2023. Two billion people will die the first day. And the following nuclear winter will kill everybody else except for a few scattered Mayas.

Even if the asteroid misses, a truthful president would have to tell me that some day a volcano in the Canary Islands will tumble into the ocean and a super tsunami, more that 5,000 feet high, will inundate the eastern coast of America from Greenland to Tierra Del Fuego, crossing the Appalachians and creating an inland sea in the Mississippi valley, killing everybody except a few scattered Mayas.

I can’t handle the truth.

But I could use a national leader who will not deliberately lie to me. What if a candidate had the chutzpah to tell us, “Hey, I represent the ultra-wealthy? If I am elected, everything I do will be designed to benefit them. If you happen to get some benefit from trickle down, that's good for you. But I do not intend to represent your interests.” I wouldn’t vote for him (not willing to rely on trickle down), but at least he’d earn my respect.

But, seriously, shouldn’t we expect our president to be honest with us on the critical issues facing our country? How about a president who told us we have to cure our addiction to fossil fuels because in a few decades there won’t be any left? Shouldn’t he or she tell us that we are spending ourselves into insolvency; that continuing deficit spending of any amount will require our grandchildren to deal with crippling taxes (or a government that defaults on its obligations?). Why shouldn’t the president tell us that minimizing climate change will require us to make significant changes in our lifestyles? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a president who told us that winning the battle against international terrorism will require the American people to make some sacrifices? (Can we believe that this is really a war for national survival when only soldiers and their families are asked to pay the price?)

So, who among the uncountable Democrats, significant number of Republicans, possible independents and unannounced candidates do you trust is telling us the truth now and will continue to do so if elected? Let me know. It will affect my decision-making.

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