To some folks it will doubtless appear to be nothing but hindsight, but it sure looks to me that the nominees sent up by the Republicans and Democrats are sometimes incredibly predictable losers.
Yes, there were times when certain polls showed John Kerry ahead in the numbers, yet I never saw even one poll where folks expected him to win. Bush started ahead in that category, never really trailed, and frankly it was because everyone figured out pretty early that Kerry was a loser. Why, exactly, the Democrats tabbed him for their mantle is one of those unexplained mysteries.
Not that the Republicans have a perfect record. I mean sure, Bob Dole was a very honorable man with a solid record, but like Kerry there was never a serious sense that he would beat Bill Clinton in 1996. The GOP had other, better, names they could have chosen, but they went with Bob anyway.
And some guys who almost won still lacked those qualities of charisma, wit, and energy that we all look for in a potential President. Al Gore, Gerald Ford, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale … these were “right stuff” guys? Again, I’m not attacking their honor or accomplishments, but really, when did these guys look like they should be leading the pack?
Old news, I know, but it’s relevant when we see the choices we have now. The Democrats are pushing Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Al Gore (again), and Barack Obama as their top tier choices. Of those, only Obama can claim anything like freshness, and he does that because he’s done nothing in his one term in the Senate. Yes, John Kennedy was young, but at least he could and did answer specific policy questions.
And the Republicans? John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani and so on remind me of a bunch of stereotypical politicos – former notables past their prime, wannabes who never had a “prime” on the national level, and screamers like Tancredo who can’t manage a single thought beyond their one core issue – and that issue is not the defense of the United States. Sorry, but that is a recipe for losing, not leadership. While these men each have their strong suits, there’s not one of them that reminds anyone of Dubya’s caliber, let alone Reagan.
The current state of the Democratic Party makes me slow to suggest that I could vote for any Democrat to be President, but the Republicans had better think long and hard about what we are selling to the American people. Because what we have right now, doesn’t pass the smell test.