Friday, October 19, 2007

What Do We Really Know About Our Presidential Candidates?

David Brooks, the conservative op-ed writer for the New York Times, had a piece in the paper today (October 19, 2007) about one of the so-called second tier Republican candidates for the presidency, Mike Huckabee. It was a thoughtful article and caused me to think about the factors that go into our individual and collective choices about who should become the next president of these United States. Question; who really knows anything about the various candidates other than what they, or their campaign insiders want you to know? On both sides of the aisle to this point in the too-long campaign , everyone seems a little plastic, molded into bits and pieces of positions to curry favor with this and that groups. Example, does anyone really think that Romney would be taking the position he now espouses on abortion if it were not for his recognition that he doesn't stand a chance in the Republican primaries without so doing? His lame explanation that his study of stem cell research has caused him to flip flop (my words, not his) on this issue underscores my point. It is a made up reason for a decision that needed to be made for political survival. But that is not what this bit is about. It is about how little we know, really know, about the candidates. In Brooks' column, he tells us something about Huckabee that I find I really like. He is a human being with warm human qualities who apparently has the courage of his convictions in deviating from the party line when his beliefs and opinions don't mesh with traditional Republican thought. To me, Bill Richardson for the Democrats seems to be the same kind of candidate. Bright, articulate, competent and intelligent. Both of these guys; whew, that's a combination that hasn't been seen in Washington the last few years. The media has been thoroughly criticized the last few years for slanting news according to political dictates. In reading about Huckabee, I realize that the criticism is justified when it comes to presenting information about the various presidential candidates. First, the candidates themselves (or their overseers) divulge what little about themselves they want us to know (not, for example the fact that someone wakes up with morning breath. We all do that.), then the reporter/journalist filters that information more and present information about a candidate that is virtually meaningless in terms of who the person really is. Example, there must be hundreds of thousands of articles written about Clinton, but I am still uncertain who she is and what she really stands for. I am not one of the significant percentage of American voters who hate her, but I really want to know her before I can in good conscience vote for her. To me the really one positive thing that can be said about her is that she is definitely not George W. Bush. Is the next president of the United States going to be the person who has a) the most money campaign-wise and b) the most potent aniti-Bush message? Unfortunately, that will probably be the case. I prefer someone with competence and the courage of their convictions, even if I disagree with some of them. Richardson versus Huckabee in the presidential election. Go team!

2 comments:

Sal said...

Tom:

I enjoyed your latest blog entry along with the David Brooks column in the NY Times on Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

I have seen Huckabee speak on TV and have read about his personal and political background.

I agree with you that he is a likeable candidate, very much similar to Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson.

I too find these politicians refreshing and "normal". In a political arena filled with rubic's cube personalities, I think that candidates who display normal human qualities is something that most people can connect to, especially during these uncertain times.

Although Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and considered a strong social conservative, he displays a character that is endearing and familiar to the working class.

His track record during two terms as governor of Arkansas gives him the political clout and experience which he can draw from at the presidential level.

My disagreements with Huckabee's position include his support of illegal immigration and opposition to gun control. I agree with his opposition to same-sex marriages, support of the death penalty and a Fair Tax system as a replacement for the current tax system.

His health advocacy stance is also a positive, in my view. His personal successful battle with diabetes and obesity is a great example to a nation struggling with obesity, improper nutrition and generally poor health habits.

I'm also impressed that he has authored or co-authored inspirational books based on his own life crisis in politics, personal health, and other topics on America's challenges as a nation.

Sal

Sal said...

Tom:

I enjoyed your latest blog entry along with the David Brooks column in the NY Times on Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

I have seen Huckabee speak on TV and have read about his personal and political background.

I agree with you that he is a likeable candidate, very much similar to Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson.

I too find these politicians refreshing and "normal". In a political arena filled with rubic's cube personalities, I think that candidates who display normal human qualities is something that most people can connect to, especially during these uncertain times.

Although Huckabee is an ordained Southern Baptist minister and considered a strong social conservative, he displays a character that is endearing and familiar to the working class.

His track record during two terms as governor of Arkansas gives him the political clout and experience which he can draw from at the presidential level.

My disagreements with Huckabee's position include his support of illegal immigration and opposition to gun control. I agree with his opposition to same-sex marriages, support of the death penalty and a Fair Tax system as a replacement for the current tax system.

His health advocacy stance is also a positive, in my view. His personal successful battle with diabetes and obesity is a great example to a nation struggling with obesity, improper nutrition and generally poor health habits.

I'm also impressed that he has authored or co-authored inspirational books based on his own life crisis in politics, personal health, and other topics on America's challenges as a nation.

Sal