Presidential hopefuls are high profiling it, putting their faces and opinions out there and testing the waters to determine who floats, belly-flops, or sinks.
And as I observe the 2008 contenders who are vying for their party’s nomination with dreams of someday having their very own Presidential Library, I can’t help but digress and picture The George W. Bush Library with some must-have material for the shelves–copies of The Pet Goat from the workbook “Reading Mastery 2 and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. But let’s get back to the race.
Sen. John McCain. This big-name hopeful and a well-traveled retread is forming a committee to explore a run for the presidency. The former “maverick” lost his rebel moniker when, among many missteps, he embraced Jerry Falwell, a man he once called an “agent of intolerance.” For some time, McCain has pandered to the reverend and his arch-conservative, antigay, anti-stem-cell-research, religious right, sanctity-of-life crowd. But in a departure from all of the politicos who heard the loud voice of the electorate on November 7 and want a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, McCain is calling, instead, for additional troops there. I guess this makes him a “maverick” again.
Rudy Giuliani. This is America’s mayor and Father Comfort who, in the aftermath 9/11, showed us all what dedication to duty really means. He marched to Ground Zero, through the asbestos and the ash of vaporized flesh, like a superhero. Donna Hanover was underwhelmed but many people elevated Giuliani to champion status. Rudy, too, is forming a committee to explore a run for the presidency.
Tommy Thompson. The former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary under George W. Bush announced that he’s forming his own committee to explore a run for the presidency. If Thompson prevails, he’d cut us down to size. This is the man who lost 15 pounds during his first nine months in office. “We’re just too darned fat. Americans need to understand that overweight and obesity are literally killing us,” he said. Thompson’ platform to whip us into shape would help millions of overeaters and trim health insurance premiums. When asked why he would run, Thompson answered, “Why not?”
Also, include California Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who said at a recent press conference, “I think it’s the right thing to do for our country.” Analysts say Duncan has no following within the party.
Every slate needs someone as handsome as Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney just so people who know nothing about issues can say, “I’m voting for him because he’s good-looking. This suave “suit” has a liability though. He’s a Mormon and according to the evangelical base of the Republican Party, Mormons are “weird.”
Most certainly, Bill Frist, the Senator from Tennessee who conveniently carries his doctor bag at all times just in case there’s a photo op, is feeling the political pulse of the electorate, too. Losing credibility when he pronounced Terri Schiavo fit after diagnosing her via video, he’s, now, flip-flopped to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, illustrating what a go-with-the-flow kind of guy he is. Obviously, Frist wants his wife to be First Lady-so much so that he and Karyn have renovated their Nashville mansion to resemble the White House. This dress rehearsal is a rather blatant indication that, yet, another committee to explore a run for the presidency is forming.
The Democrats, of course, have their own power climbers/clamorers. Hillary and Barack seem to be getting the most attention. Others are: Evan Bayh; Joe Biden; Wesley Clark; John Edwards; Bill Richardson; Tom Vilsack; and Chris Dodd. Al Gore may be hoping for a massive, vindication write-in. Apparently, John Kerry poses no threat to anyone’s aspirations, except his own. His reach exceeded his grasp long before the “botched” joke when, during his 2004 campaign, he didn’t fight back and allowed the swiftboaters to sink him.
I could go on but duty calls. My committee is meeting and we have lots of exploring to uh, uh, well, explore.
Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com