I had a light and fun blog post all ready to go (replete with pictures), but then I got sidetracked by an annoying little incident late last night, and ultimately decided to shelve the light and fun for another day (nudges Wendy). I also realized that I’ve been almost exclusively blogging brussels sprouts, Cadbury eggs, and other light and fluffy fodder, so one less such post wouldn’t really hurt you. And this is a good time to remind you, too, of the horror of Vulture funds and the fact that no one will stop it without our urging them to do so: please sign the petitions, if you haven’t already. Besides, how long has it been since I did some Musing About ’08? A good while, huh? So settle in for some American politics from the armchair of an American citizen with no political training whatsoever, but I am armed with my remote control for news show surfing, keyboard for googling (not playing the National Anthem), and voting card for . . . voting, so watch out!
Like a lot of you on this side of the Atlantic, I watched the Edwards’ announcement about his wife’s now terminal cancer, but unlike a lot of you, I cringed. Hard. And my logic may be fuzzy on this one, but here we go: to my mind Edwards has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination. None. And it’s not that he’s not charismatic, attractive, intelligent, and it’s not even that I dislike or disapprove of his policies or plans. Well, it is partly that I don’t have a full grasp of his policies and plans, and that’s the thing; he’s not getting covered, not seriously, and that suggests that the press doesn’t take him seriously. Not that this really matters, but if he’s not covered, no one’s thinking about him, talking about him, likely to vote for him. Furthermore, watching the Sunday news and meetings with the big peeps programs, you can see that few (if any) in Washington (that’s D. C.) take him seriously. And it’s not that he’s not serious; I believe that he is. I also think that he was probably a great lawyer, won a lot of cases anyway, and he can talk (he’s also Southern, that helps). Lead? This I’m not so sure of. He can co-lead, though, and Kerry’s selection of him last time around was good and useful for this (dare I say it?) shot for the second seat on the ticket (with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the drivers’ seat . . . maybe. I’ll come back to this in a moment).
And that’s where the cringe comes in . . . during his talk, with his wife Elizabeth smiling bravely at his side, Edwards (meeting the press where he and his wife had their wedding reception thirty years ago, tugga tugga at the heart strings) says they’re optimistic about her untreatable terminal metastatic cancer, and that he’s not dropping his bid for the presidency. Hmmmm.
Now, it’s entirely possible that I’m touchy about the “c” word and maybe imbuing it with more danger and fear than it still deserves; I know treatments have improved over the years and that it’s not the death sentence it once was, but hers isn’t curable but it’s treatable, huh? I don’t know, I could be alarmist here. Personally, I’m a bit of wimp; I’ve got cancer even a little cancer on my . . . say toenail and it can be clipped off by a good pedicurist; I sort of want my husband around. You know, maybe buying me a new pair of fuzzy slippers or getting me some chicken soup. Or a foot soak. And “what if . . . ?” All those she must have. And what about how frightened she has to be, how awful this must be emotionally and mentally? I just can’t even imagine what she’s going through; I really can’t. And I certainly can’t imagine having to go through it essentially alone because my husband is campaigning around the countryside. And for an office he can’t and won’t win.
Okay, I probably wouldn’t say it to him like that, but I’m not her. She is incredibly brave, I think, and I’d almost (though not really) like to see her go for the top spot; she’s got a lot of admirable qualities, that’s for sure. And how would it be if this were reversed, and say, oh, Bill Clinton had incurable, terminal cancer, and Hillary said, well, that really sucks for us, and it makes us sad, and I’ll be there for him every step of the way . . . to the White House. Doubt she’d be getting awww’d and aaaahh’d and “atta girl’d.” So what’s Edwards doing? Cynical me says he’s batting for vice president, and he’s playing the sympathy vote for all it’s worth. The press conference was intended to explain his upcoming absences from political rallies, events, etc. on the campaign trail; he’ll be with his wife, and may not make them all. We’ll see. He may just not make them all, and he may just make the “important” ones and not the others (sort of a strategy at play, even).
Maybe someone in the Edwards’ camp sees him as a real contender (who just thought “coulda been a contenda”? Kerry perchance?) . Maybe they do. He’s a white male, and that’s always been a plus. He’s attractive, articulate, and he was a senator for a whole term, so that gives him more experience in national politics than a certain other candidate for President, who’s been a senator for three years (almost). So that’s all good. Naw, let’s face it, the guy doesn’t stand a chance.
So maybe he’s looking ahead to the Democratic nominee, who at this point looks like Hillary Clinton, but could be Barack Obama. Personally, I would love to see a woman in the White House; I mean as President of the United States of America, not picking out new dinnerware and baking cookies. But I’m not so sure about Hillary Clinton’s chances. Two things are not working out for her (well more than two, but I’ll stick with these): one, she’s Hillary Clinton, and a lot of people don’t like her for that. A lot of American voters don’t research candidates, they don’t follow the election coverage, and they don’t give a damn about polls. And a lot of voters very much dislike her, and some aren’t even sure why they don’t like her; they just don’t. Now, she did win over New York, so anything is possible, but that’s a steep hill to climb.
And two, she’s facing the powerhouse of grassroots upsurging that is Barack Obama. He’s wildly popular right now, and he’s really giving her a battle early on. And as much as I’d like to see a black male (or female) president, I don’t think he’s got the experience; he’s got even less than Edwards, who I feel hasn’t got near enough. I just don’t know that the turn out Obama would certainly get on election day would turn out for Clinton. Maybe a Clinton / Obama ticket, but that’s not happening. Nor do I think an Obama / Clinton ticket is going to happen; though that’s the configuration I’d more like to see. Those two will slug it out, and then slap Edwards on the ticket for the white male stability factor. No one cares what an
thinks or says or does, not this time around; it’s politics and it’s politics of culture, heritage, and appearance.
So what could happen to change all this? Well, people are saying (dunno who, just random people I saw on television, think Dan Rather was one of them, maybe on the Tonight Show) that Al Gore might pop up in October / November time to toss his hat into the ring. And you know what? Now that he’s shaved that horrendously unkempt Grizzly Adams beard, tossed his hemp sandals in the back of the closet, and yanked that stick out of his . . . behind, he may have a shot. I voted for him (stick and all), along with the majority of voters, in 2000, and if he can get his act together (and he has been!), then I’m likely to vote for him again. (was that people falling off their chairs I just heard?). I trust him to chill out on the global climate crisis thing once he’s got the vastness of American affairs to deal with, so . . . considering the current Democratic field, he’s got the best shot at it. Otherwise, people are going to be looking for a moderate conservative with a white male face.