Any consistent reader can already guess who I’m endorsing, but I’d like to give closing arguments for a few candidates.
The Democratic Party:
Obama- One of the best cases for an Obama candidacy, one I have urged my readers to check out several times, is the one made by Andrew Sullivan in his Atlantic Monthly article. He has the uniting aura of JFK our America--polarized and sick with partisanship--needs. He has a biography that transcends traditional American political experience that will be respected abroad.
Richardson- As you know he’s been my candidate from the start. He’s a really popular Western Governor with a lot of foreign policy and energy policy related experience. Hillary may talk of “the experience to start governing on day one” but Richardson actually has that!
The Republican Party:
McCain-He’s a Westerner, meaning he defies traditional partisan rancor for pragmatism. I genuinely liked the guy back in 2000--his recent pandering to the Republican base disgust me, but his steadfastness against torture vaults him to the head of the pack.
Paul-Ron Paul is one of those candidates you want to see win if for no other reason than you think he’d shake things up a lot. In this regard he reminds me of Kucinich back in ’04. His strict understanding of the constitution is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. His Washingtonian non-interventionist streak gets the Iraq war very right, and his understanding of America’s obligation to the Geneva Convention and basic morality, serves him well. On the other hand I believe much of America has grown comfortable with its deviations from our constitutional duties, and most people don’t want to think about fiscal policy. Any man willing to call America an Empire during a Republican debate—and willing to duke it out with Rudy on the question of “blowback” needs to at least be heard.
Huckabee- He’s really likeable, he’s uncomfortable with America’s torture policy (though not with the same personal seriousness of McCain, nor the uncompromising clarity of Paul). I genuinely believe if he is elected he will govern with his heart instead of based on pro-business principles. In short I think he’d have more in common with Bill Clinton’s style of governing than with most of his fellow Republicans.
Thompson- I admit, at first I found him silly,sort of a real life Fog Horn Leg Horn. That said when you listen to what he has to say he’s fairly moderate and I think he truly cares about America, specifically he doesn’t see himself as anointed to the position of president. He understands legal opinions better than most and in general has a mellow disposition that seems decent.
Now it looks like I’m a Republican or something... I guess I’m a bit more choosy when it comes to giving out endorsements to my own party--I don’t want to settle for anyone other than the best, whereas the Republicans, eh, pointing out the least bad it easier!