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Democratic Front-runners Are Empty Suits

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It's no secret that I'm a supporter of the Edwards campaign, but that doesn't make my observations and feelings about other Democrats any less valid, and I have quite a few.

Hillary Clinton doesn't feel anything to me like former President Clinton did. They may have a lot in common personally, but I'm not getting good vibes from her. I don't think this is Clinton 2.0 and I doubt that if she wins the nomination and goes on to become the first female President, that we'll have any kind of renaissance.

Both Clinton and Obama feel like establishment candidates to me. Neither of them will take a firm stance on important issues that aren't ingrained within the parties ideological structure dating back decades. Who cares if they both support health care reform? Who doesn't? Why don't they come out and say something more substantive than "I like kittens, oh but I like puppies too. I like puppies and kittens, so you should vote for me."

Both are equally terrified of saying the wrong thing, and Clinton in particular has shown an almost allergic response to intra-party criticism in a way that scares me. The last time an Obama staffer lobbed a softball her way, she completely freaked out. We don't need such a fragile and reactionary candidate, because they'll be eaten alive when the mud slinging dogs of the GOP like the swift boaters come out to play.

Edwards isn't like that. He's the only candidate to admit that his vote for the war was wrong, and he's so far the only Democrat that is putting real ideas and plans out there for the public to consider. We keep hearing about the health care reform from Clinton and Obama but where are their plans? How can we as voters consider their offers seriously when they won't even put their ideas on paper?

As for experience, they are all playing on a fairly even field. Clinton has only served one full term in the United States Senate, the same as John Edwards. Obama isn't even there yet, but he has more experience in the state legislature than anyone else. Perhaps the most qualified as of today would be New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson.

Like President Bush and former President Clinton, Richardson has the experience of a governorship to fall back on. Political operatives dismiss this quickly saying that running a state is nothing like running the country, but they are just blowing some up your a**. Don't buy it.

Governors have a state Senate and House to deal with, along with a complete state-level judicial system. He or she has a national guard to command (when they aren't dying in Iraq instead of acting as reserve defense which was their purpose and what they were trained for) along with all the states executive agencies. And honestly, how can not having military command experience disqualify you, if the only way to get it is to become president in the first place?

The only significant difference between a Governor and a President is having to deal with foreign affairs, and Richardson has a leg up on everyone in that he has served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Richardson is the most experienced and possibly best qualified candidate we have, and yet he has been relegated to the back burner because our system of politics is nothing more than a popularity contest.

I might even consider switching my allegiance to Richardson, if I thought he had a chance, and if he would speak openly in the way Edwards does on the important issues.

Ultimately the person with the most money doesn't automatically win elections, nor does the best polling presence. President Bush didn't even rank in the top 4 in New Hampshire yet went on to win the Presidency. Just the same, the prohibitive favorite to win the 2004 Democratic nomination in Governor Howard Dean that lead in all national polling failed miserably in Iowa and NH.

Popularity gets you to the head of the line in the false image the mainstream media presents when it obsesses only on that aspect of a presidential campaign, but it won't win you an election.

If Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama want to progress past the first week, they need to speak to the people and let us all know what they really stand for, or they could tank just as easily as Governor Dean.

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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.