We were sitting having a family breakfast and the laptop was on the table, generally something I try to avoid. Even though I'm a Romney man all the way, and try to go for the image of 1950s dad hidden behind a newspaper.
I also try to avoid presidential politics, to the point of not voting in 2000 or 2004. This, I guess, makes me personally complicit and a Bush lover in some people's eyes, like the eyes of my friend Josh, who is a proper involved Democrat who believes that people have the power to influence democracy and people should "get out their vote".
I have another T-shirt sentiment in mind, one I saw at a Portland rally: "I voted for (13-letter word beginning in the letter A)". (The word was not "audaciousness".) Naturally the word was spelled out on the shirt. I wouldn't wear such a thing or even think it, but I think it makes a succinct comment that ties in with a lot of things in our world, full of regimes that need to be changed as it is. I'm glad someone made the comment, and that it happened in Portland, rather than, say, Birmingham, where the penalty for this kind of comment is crucifixion. (Check this.)
Anyway, back to breakfast and the laptop. I was reading from Wikipedia. McCain's entertainment value is off the charts. A smart-alecky master of the sound bite, he is. My wife especially liked the quip where he responded, to the tune of Barbara Ann, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to a press corps who couldn't get off the subject. I didn't get McCain's Chelsea Clinton joke, but put it down to curious Irish humour. I get the feeling that if my wife were American and a voter, she would support this sort of audacity before getting on the bandwagon of amorphous hope.
(As I write this, it looks like NH results are in -- the same two names that will be picked at the conventions later this year. I am now projecting this.)
For me, McCain is the easiest candidate to rule out. There is his age, positively Reaganic, though that means increasingly less these days. There's his view on Iraq, which is depressingly firm, and wrong (he supports the occupation). A third reason is his war record. Americans are under a misconception, ever since GW, that war heroes should naturally advance to be president. For me, the fact that McCain spent years as a POW is not an argument in the political ring. I don't doubt his mental stability -- no, I'm lying, I do doubt McCain's mental stability -- but I'm not making a cheap hint of latent PSTD. In other words, I think his temper is inborn.
Some other thoughts, running down some of the other names:
Giuliani is just weird, it seems to me that outside of NYC he's only a candidate for people who really, really like shows like NYPD and Sopranos. He is like from a parallel universe Mafia, except everything they do is legal and proper.
Huckabee is a scary phenomenon. I wrote about him earlier. He won't play everywhere. But the thing to keep in mind that if amorphous-change triumphalism (Obama) goes head to head against Christian triumphalism, the latter will win. A political machine with tons of money (Clinton) has a better chance.
Obama -- Am I being unfair about amorphous change? After all, I don't want an advocacy candidate, someone with a single issue. And a president should not be tempered by fire like McCain is. It calls for softer, not hard moral qualities, even a degree of slickness. But I don't get him yet. Once upon a time, I could believe. That doesn't make me a cynical bastard now. I just don't get him yet. Probably not my most well-thought-out idea, but I think part of it is that I'm putting him aside for now, until he has a little more experience.
Romney looks like someone out of the 1950s or the Nixon era. I thought the phenotype had died out. Now I'm repeating myself. Swell.