Saturday, June 30, 2007

The horse race

I'm wondering how much attention those of you assembled here have been paying to the early jockeying for position for the Presidential primaries? It seems like it's a long ways off, but with the number of states that have moved up their primary dates, odds are that the Democrats and Republicans will both have their nominee by early February, for better or worse.

I confess that I haven't been paying much attention to the early debates. The debate formats don't portray the candidates in their best light, and I can pick up the highlights from the political blogs and the print media.

Myself, I'm not sure whether the best choice for the Democrats would be John Edwards or Barack Obama. Edwards seems to have the strongest domestic platform of all Democrats, having some well thought-out ideas left from his 2004 run. Some of the statements I've heard him make towards the Arabs, particularly the Palestinians, seem harsh, though. Obama can make the claim of being against the war from the beginning, though it must be said that he wasn't in the Senate when the war votes were taken. A lot of people will knock Obama for his lack of experience, but as an Obama supporter I know says, "What better place to get experience is there than the White House?"

A lot of people I respect, particularly in the blogosphere, support Bill Richardson. Richardson does promise swift action to end our occupation of Iraq, and his views on health care and the economy are in line with most progressive Democrats. He may earn my vote yet. But if ideology were my sole consideration, I'd be out there behind Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich would move boldly on Iraq, universal health care, and campaign finance reform. With Kucinich, it's the old Catch-22: he's such an ideal liberal candidate that we worry he's too left-wing to be electable.

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate I'm least enthusiastic about. I feel that she'd be that candidate least likely to end the Middle East debacle. Yet if you look at her stands on the issues, she's in agreement with most of the progressive agenda. She's still held in high regard by the 98% of likely Democratic primary voters who don't read Daily Kos. A Hillary Clinton presidency probably wouldn't be the disaster many progressives fear.

Of course, the Republicans are going through the process at the same time. I don't have a lot to say about the Republican contenders right now except I won't be voting for any of them. All of the Republicans are deeply flawed on their approach to the Middle East, the exception being Ron Paul, whose minimalist view of government is not to my taste.

Kick this around amongst yourselves while I entertain the in-laws for the next few days.