Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rating the Democratic Candidates

Everyone else has opinions about the candidates, so why shouldn't I?

What follows is not a prediction of who will win the Democratic presidential primaries, but just my summary of who I like, and why.

John Edwards - I liked John Edwards in 2004, and I still like him. In his interviews, he comes across as intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate. He has been among the leaders in formulating and proposing a specific health care policy and in advocating our disengagement from Iraq. His major weakness is that he's never had an administrative position, and served only one term in the Senate. On the plus side, he's been already through a presidential race and knows how to campaign. I also think that he's more "electible" because he's from the south. (See my comments on Hillary Clinton, below.)

Barack Obama - I like Obama for much the same reasons I like Edwards. I give the edge to Edwards because Obama has yet to serve a full term in the Senate and has never been involved in a national campaign.

Bill Richardson - On paper, Bill Richardson is the most qualified candidate running, with 14 years in Congress, administrative experience (as the federal Secretary of Energy and as governor of New Mexico) and foreign policy experience (as Ambassador to the United Nations). I'd like to like him, but in every interview I have seen, he comes off as flat and uninspiring. I don't hear any new ideas from him, or any leadership, only credentials, and that doesn't interest me.

Hillary Clinton - I used to like Hillary Clinton. In fact, I cast a write-in vote for her for President in the 2000 primary. But she has been less than inspiring in the Senate (such as her vote to authorize the war in Iraq), and the coldness and ruthlessness of her campaign have been somewhat frightening. I no longer see much humanity in her, and I no longer have much confidence in her judgment.

I also have real doubts about Clinton's "electibility." Like her husband, she seems to bring out the bitterness in Republicans and right-leaning independent voters. And no sitting Senator from either party has been elected President since 1964 (Sen. John F. Kennedy), and no northern Democrat has been elected President in the same time, so the demographics and historical trends are all against her.

So I have a lot of misgivings about Clinton as a presidential candidate.

Those are my preferences. But, like most Democrats, I think that this is a highly qualified field, and I would be satisfied to be able to vote for any of them for President.

Next: Republicans

No comments: