Happy President’s Day!

It’s President’s Day, and I’ve already decided whom I’d like to support for President.

It is, admittedly, way too early to be thinking about the 2008 presidential campaign, but nonetheless, there are many reasons that I already am.

I am somewhat more politically savvy than I have ever been. I read more news. I have more opinions. I understand more of what I believe. I’m an adult now. The last presidential campaign, I was going through massive life changes, (marriage, house-buying), and the one before that I lived in China, and shamefully, I didn’t request an absentee ballot.

Besides, the media frenzy already surrounding the fascinating array of high-profile candidates doesn’t hurt the general awareness of the elections, year and a half away or not. More than anything, I want to be a better voter this year, and the way people like me become better voters is through the Internet. Every candidate has a web site, and I would argue, the only candidates worth considering are those who have an issues page devoted purely to their stances on particular issues.

Now, part of me would vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman. I’ve read most of her autobiography, and I really enjoyed her style and opinions on many things. She’s brilliant, has a lot of excellent experience and of course, was married to a President. That can’t hurt.

I’d also vote for Barack Obama just because he’s black. I mean, how better to chip away at racism than by electing a black President? However, he is a first-term U.S. Senator, and I think he’s far too inexperienced to be a good President, for now.

I can take or leave John Edwards. I’m undecided on him. I know I’ve left many Democratic contenders out, and certainly have very shallowly depicted the three front-runners, but I’m too excited about the one I really like: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

Now, if this were one of my Journal Sentinel columns, I might receive a lot of comments about how I am just supporting my raza, or some crazy talk like that. Yes, Richardson is Hispanic, he’s the son of a Mexican mother and an American father. He’s bilingual, he’s had a ton of experience with international relations and diplomacy, and the only of the array of Democratic hopefuls to have experience as a Governor, the executive of New Mexico, a border state at that.

I’ve been intrigued by stories I heard about Richardson, and so I spent some time this weekend reading his issues pages and the speeches that went along with it. I was pretty impressed with all of it, especially when I compared it to the pages of Sens. Clinton and Obama. Clinton doesn’t have an issues page, per se, more like a long story-form biography that weaves the things she stands for in and out of sections on her years at Wellesley or her experience as the First Lady. Obama has issues, on his web site that is, and although there is some good information there, he doesn’t touch immigration, which I have a serious problem with, and he doesn’t have the speaking or policy-making experience to back it up.

Richardson believes we need to get out of Iraq. He understands the region, has extensive diplomatic experience, and believes a multi-nation effort to stabilize the whole region is required.

Richardson was recently re-elected as New Mexico Governor with 69 percent of the vote. An astonishing 40 percent of Republicans voted for him. We need a person who can garner this type of bi-partisan support as our nation’s leader.

Richardson is strong on the environment, and under his leadership, New Mexico is moving toward requiring that 20 percent of all energy be renewable.

Finally, this guy understands immigration, perhaps better than almost all the politicians in this country. He has a very comprehensive approach to reform and is probably the only politician I have read a speech from that actually addresses the problem with compassion and intelligence, and comes up with some reasonable solutions.

So, with that in mind, I’m looking forward to seeing the 2008 presidential race unfold. I’m hopeful mostly that whatever candidate is elected, there will be a shift in the obnoxious neo-conservative, cowboys-of-the-world mentality that has plagued our policies the last six years. I’m also impressed that the country will be seriously considering a black, Hispanic and female candidate. We’ve never seen a serious contender from any of those groups, and if nothing else, it is progress.

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7 Responses to Happy President’s Day!

  1. Braden says:

    So, Bill Richardson…

    I guess I haven’t given him too much thought, but I would certainly consider supporting Richardson above either Clinton or Edwards. Both strike me as too calculating and power hungry for their own good.

    I’d have to say that at this point I’m somewhat swept up by the John F. Kennedy of our times. I’m not sure why Obama is appealing, and I’m afraid I can’t provide a checklist of his good public policy positions (you can put that down to my illogical, liberal nature), but there is just something about his type of political discourse that draws me to him. Of course, I’ve been wrong about every single Democratic candidate’s chances of winning since the mid-90s (Bill Bradley and Wesley Clark to name a few), but there’s always hope.

    Of course, and I hate to say this, but my really favorite candidate may very well be Al Gore. His political failure (note that I didn’t not say electoral loss) liberated him from all of the traits that I found displeasing when he was running in 2000, and I think he is probably the best positioned candidate to deal with the fundamental problem of our century–yes, global warming.

    Can you believe that at one point I actually argued that Al Gore and Bush were so identical that you might as well not vote at all? Yikes… I keep thinking that the shame of my editorial in the Cardinal will eventually wear off, but Bush just keeps getting worse!

    Have fun in Mexico!

  2. laurafern says:

    I’m afraid my illogical, liberal nature also leads me to say, do and think all sorts of crazy things.

    I like Obama, I just think he’s very young, and I’m not sure this is the best time in history for someone who is so green, albeit talented and brightly green, to become President. Certainly, I hope he has a few exceptional terms in the Senate and runs again. I’d probably prefer him to Clinton or Edwards. I don’t know what rubs me the wrong way about Edwards. The package appears good, but there is something slippery and off about it.

    Seriously, is Al Gore running? He became endlessly more likeable after seeing “An Inconvenient Truth.” I realize that’s a very cliche thing to say, but it’s true for me. I don’t see any self-serving reason for anyone, especially a politician, to be running around screaming about global warming, and I really respect that Al Gore reinvented himself and used that transformation to make a huge difference on his most near and dear issue. I think it shows a lot of character, that he didn’t just retire or become a high-paid lobbyist or whatever former presidential hopefuls tend to do. Besides, I think we have him to thank for the massively higher profile global warming has right now.

    Anyway, who knows what will happen? I hope some of two or three regular readers will throw their two cents in.

  3. cory says:

    great thoughts. it is hilarious to me how earlier the “08” race has begun, for obvious reasons. richardson is an interesting, and i believe electable, candidate. as a self-described liberal, you may want to give edwards another look too. he is easily the most progressive of the serious candidates (universal health care, eliminating poverty, strong on labor), but questionable in his electability. i am afraid of the “rock star” criteria in this race, which favors hillary and obama, simply because the media loves them and gives them seemingly unlimited coverage. my pick: edwards/obama, in that order. could pave the way for 16 solid years of progress.

  4. laurafern says:

    Well, I probably shouldn’t use the term liberal too liberally… haha, no, but I don’t like to use those labels, it’s just hard to define political opinions without them.

    However, at your suggestion, I just read some more info on John Edwards, particularly his health care policies, which, honestly, I think are great. But I have to note that he doesn’t think immigration is a big issue, and that’s a serious problem for me. At the same time, I don’t want to discount a candidate on one issue, but it would be extremely difficult for me to accept another candidate who is going to leave our immigration system the way it is… for a number of reasons.

    Also, Richardson has a ton more experience with foreign policy issues, and will have a better platform for dealing with all of Bush and Co.’s overseas blunders.

    As far as his goal of eliminating poverty in 30 years, I really hate to be so cynical, but I think this is a ridiculous statement for a presidential candidate to make. I think it makes him look impractical and overly idealistic. Perhaps if he had a few concrete ideas, or a plan of economic, social and educational goals that would lead to lessening poverty, I might take that more seriously. Maybe he does, they’re just not on the web site, and that’s pretty much what I am judging this on right now…

    Anyway, good thoughts — keep them coming.

  5. I didn’t think about Bill Richardson very much until I saw your entry above, and that in turn made me read an American Prospect article about him. I’ll pay more attention from now on. Thanks.

  6. laurafern says:

    Interesting article – thanks for the link. I hadn’t read anything from the American Prospect before. I rather enjoyed it. Also, I can’t believe I made two intelligent people think about a presidential candidate. =)

  7. Jack says:

    Well, at the risk of disrupting this liberal lovefest, might I be so bold as to offer a logical candidate that has something for just about everyone. That would be Rudy Giuliani. He is strong in the war on terror, he is a fiscal conservative who rescued New York city from financial ruin, and he is an excellant leader, as he showed in the days following 9/11. His stances on abortion and gay marriage do not endear him to many conservatives, but you libs ought to love that, as you ought to love the fact that he was elected mayor twice in one of the most liberal cities in the country.

    He was extremely effective as mayor of New York, as you can read at the following link. I realize effectiveness does not rank high on a libs list of qualifications, but give Rudy a thought – check out the link below.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/records/rwg/html/bio.html

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