Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What's On Your Beginner's Mind? 2008 Edition

Worked so well the first time, I thought I'd make it a regular feature.

I'm interested today in two things:

1) Whom do you think will run for President in 2008 and why? Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, whatever.

2) What are the biggest issues that a candidate has to take a position on to get your vote?

For the Democrats, I think Joe Lieberman and Joe Biden will run, though neither of them will win in the primaries. Both are too conservative and Joementum has a losing track record already. I also suspect that, despite claims to the contrary, Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and Al Gore will all throw their hats in the ring as well. All three could be potential winners, though Feingold does not have quite the same national exposure as the other two.

I would like to see Russ Feingold with Wesley Clark as the Democratic ticket. Together they present a balanced sphere of expertise. Feingold is appealing to me for being socially liberal and being courageous enough to take unpopular stands as a Senator. He voted against the Iraq war and against the Patriot Act, for example. Clark has the foreign policy experience and the connection to the military that will be crucial in working to clean up the messes Bush will be leaving. Plus, I don't see the Republicans pulling another "Swiftboat" boondoggle and having it work on Clark.

Realistically, however, I believe the nominee will be Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama.

For the Republicans, I'm at a loss as to who they'll run. Bill Frist was a potential candidate but his pending SEC investigation will not sit well with the Wall Street set. Rick Santorum is a joke and is about to get buried in 2006 anyway. Rudy Giuliani is conservative by New York standards but likely too liberal for most Republican voters. As for Condi Rice, let me just say this: the day a black woman wins the Republican primary, I will change parties. Not going to happen in 2008, certainly.

My realistic impression: John McCain, possibly with Rudy Giuliani as his running mate.

As for the issues, I'm looking for a candidate that first and foremost takes a stance in opposition to the Iraq war. No mealy-mouthed "Hey, it's an OK war but I would have fought it differently" half-stance such as John Kerry tried to make play in 2004. I also want to see a more fiscally conservative White House. It is past time to re-balance the federal budget and roll-back the tax cuts for the wealthy. Put the tax cuts where they can do some good, if we must have them. And we shouldn't have them until the government runs a surplus again. Time to remind the American people that taxes are a civic responsibility and pay for the things all Americans want.
Socially, a woman's right to choose, predicated on a Constitutional Right to Privacy, needs to be vigorously defended as does a re-affirmation of the separation of church and state. By 2008, social conservatives will have had eight years to erode our personal freedoms and the next Democratic President will need to repair that damage. I also want to see a more honest discussion about homosexual rights, mainly protection from employer discrimination and the right to marry. As a small matter, it's time to scrap the Gay Marriage Ban and Flag Burning Ban Amendments. Our Constitution is to guarantee rights, not restrict them, and these were just fodder for Bush's conservative base anyway.

So, what do you think?

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