The recent Stanford Democrats presidential straw poll had Barack Obama garnering 50% of the vote. If you combine the numbers for Obama, Clinton, and Edwards–the top three vote getters–they received 88% of the votes cast. If you are like me, then you’re one of the lonely 12%. Or, if you don’t support a certain candidate, then you are one of the cynics. Well, I’ll come out and say it: I’m a cynic!
A recent piece at the Columbia Journalism Review should be something us cynics keep reminding people:
2008 is supposed to be the most “wide open” presidential race Americans have seen in eighty years. This election is of crucial importance — the winner will have to deal with Iraq, Iran, North Korea, massive environmental issues, a staggering deficit, etc. But the country will only get the kind of national debate it desperately needs if the political press resists the time-honored temptation to put the horserace above all else.
Come on, now. How many of us actually know who Bill Richardson is? He was a UN ambassador who has negotiated peace agreements with Sudan and has been involved in getting N. Korea to curtail its nuclear program. He was a former secretary of Energy who, as governor, has made his state more green and environmentally friendly. He put his states budget in order and has made strong fiscal improvements in a relatively poor state. Oh yeah, he’s also a minority! I could go on.
It just so happens that Bill Richardson is not my top choice. (That spot currently belongs to Wes Clark, who wasn’t even in the poll!) But why should we listen to the pundits and others who want to make this election about “rock stars” and ignore a candidate who has already done much of what the next president will need to do. I’ll save Joe Biden for another day, but he has a fascinating history as well. Don’t be afraid to be a cynic like me. Our country faces a lot of serious problems and we shouldn’t have to rush in our decision. Nor should we be forced to accept the inevitability of 28 years of Bush-Clinton rule or a third year senator (both of whom I actually like). Don’t be afraid to brush me off, I didn’t even mention some of the other Democratic candidates!