Our national legislators are not dealing with the many matters that cry out for attention and redress now, including the nation’s failing infrastructure and worn-out highways, jobs and the economy, the minimum wage, immigration controls, our foreign policy, public education, climate change, and, among others, corporate welfare and corporate tax evasion.
President Obama has not yet completed one-half of his second term in office during which time he and Congress could work on the most demanding matters that remain pressing and crucially important to millions of Americans.
What can one do but surrender to the will of the American public as led by the loudly obstreperous pundits and prognosticators. Among them are those who believe Hillary Rodham Clinton is a shoo-in to represent the Democrats and that Mitt Romney will serve as the Republican standard bearer.
Neither of the two biggest names is yet willing to say they will run but there are other lesser well-known prospects that are ready to be crowned his party’s candidate for president, including Vice President Joe Biden and a number of state governors and U.S. senators. If President Obama job approval ratings continue to fall, Clinton’s entry into the race will be handicapped like John McCain’s, trying to get elected after eight years of the bumbling George W. Bush. Besides, we learn from American history that it’s difficult for a Democrat or a Republican to hold the White House for more than two terms.
Being very well known is as much an asset as a liability. For openers, between Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2008, newcomer Obama was able to show his record against going to war in Iraq while then-Senator Clinton had voted for it. Getting known too well is always a danger because it’s impossible to please everyone, enemies are always made along the way, and some memories are very long.
Meanwhile, Romney has accumulated a strike-out record, too. His reputation as a super rich guy who can’t relate to the average American weighs heavily against support by the Main Street American for the man from Massachusetts. Some remarks he has made, too, have alienated many Americans who see him as he who will aid and abet only those with wealth, power and privilege.
The American voter is fickle and upon whom no absolute can be predicted. They are less ideological than practical-oriented or, in other words, the American voter will vote for whomever he and she sees as most likely to enhance his and her chances for a better life. Obama was a political unknown before he delivered a knock-their-socks-off-speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, lifting him to party nominee a mere four years later: He, a fresh face with “clean hands,” who promised dramatic changes to the Washington way of dysfunction.
Personally, I favor neither Clinton nor Romney: Way too much negative baggage in both cases. I’d like to see a rising star with no putting-off negatives to report, one vetted enough not to be under suspicion for corrupt practices, sexual peccadillos, shameful mistakes, shady business deals and mainly owned by big corporate interests, especially of the military-industrial kind.
There should be no reason not to elect a new president in 2016 who’s not a Bush (do we really want a royal family?), a Clinton (with the irrepressible Bill turned lose in the White House again!) or a (Harold Stassen-like: running-every-four-years-till-death) Romney. After all, we Americans number at last count 317 million and it would just seem possible we could find someone of stellar reputation and ability to lead Congress, the federal establishment and the rest of us to upgraded conditions without having to hold our noses.
Who’d I choose to run if it were up to me? On the GOP side, Rand Paul, while Democrat Elizabeth Warren gets my nod. Although I do not agree with all of either one’s beliefs and objectives, being neither a true-believing Libertarian nor a single-minded Progressive, my view of them is that they’re sincere in what they stand for, eschew corruption, can avoid cow piles, and are honestly desirous to improve life for all in these United States.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer. He column appears regularly in the Keizertimes.)