The presidential race: everybody wants to get into the act (but it looks like Hillary)

I don’t think in my life time I have ever seen so many people running for president — most on the Republican side. I’ve heard the GOP candidate lineup referred to as the clown car — sadly most of them are it seems to me. And there’s seemingly a new one every day — like Jimmy Durante used to say as he flapped his arms to his side — “everybody wants ta get inta da act”.

There are some serious candidates who I am sure have potential to be credible leaders of the free world on the GOP side, I’m just not sure who they might be.

And then on the Democratic side we finally have a couple of contenders besides Queen Hillary. We have the self-avowed socialist from Vermont, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the former governor of Maryland and former mayor of Baltimore Martin O’Malley. I don’t know, is having been the mayor of Baltimore a plus? O’Malley is said to be campaigning on the notion that he has “new ideas” and that he got his inspiration from Gary Hart. I was around for Hart’s campaign and some how I missed what those new ideas were — he kept telling people to read his book (knowing that probably no one would — I didn’t, okay and I am no one).

Sanders is an improbable candidate but is said to be catching the attention of young people, even though he is an old guy.

And I just read that he is drawing large crowds (not just young people) in Iowa in advance of the all-important Iowa caucuses that start off the primary season (even though they are not a regular primary). The Clinton campaign got a warning call from a state Democratic operative to get Mrs. Clinton out there.

But unless Mrs. Clinton is tripped up along the way by, say, some kind of Clintonian scandal, it seems fairly clear that she will get the nomination and her challengers will have only served possibly to make her pay attention to the left of the party (she being a moderate or left of center). Keep her honest (keep a Clinton honest?).

So far the only candidate on the Republican side I can see having a chance to appeal to the wide electorate might be Jeb Bush — and I really don’t know why I just wrote that. It just seems as if Mr. Bush ought to be more level headed and mature from things I have read. But so far, I have to say, he has come off rather lame. Not as sure as I once was that he is the smarter brother.

There is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Strangely he is the only Republican with different ideas, and that is because he is more of a libertarian, that strange ideology that mixes conservatism and social liberalism.

I heard him say that he, unlike other Republicans, does not necessarily think war is always the best policy and that we ought to think before we act. He also does not care for the government spying on citizens.

As I finish this post he is in a special session of the Senate trying to block provisions of the so-called and misnamed Patriot Act that allows the government to grab tons of private data en masse from citizens.

I just looked at the latest polls and they seem to show Mrs. Clinton with a comfortable lead when matched up to the various Republican hopefuls.

Also read that she is going around talking to people (voters or potential voters) and listening to their problems and writing down notes on note cards. Seems like a clever approach — listening to the people, who knew?

I want to like Hillary. I have a hard time doing it, but I want to. I’d be willing to like a Republican candidate (I’m not talking Facebook like), if one would make that possible.

I’ve been listening to a history of Theodore Roosevelt (not FDR the Democrat, but Teddy the Republican). That was so long ago. Don’t know if the history books get it right (maybe they just glorify him), but wouldn’t it be nice to have someone dynamic like that on the ticket?

—————-

But really folks, what this nation needs (besides a good 5-cent cigar) is a roaring economy in which everyone can take part, in which there is opportunity for all, not just the insiders or the one percent. We are in the global market and that presents challenges we did not have in the past — I mean this nation’s economic history was based on trade overseas, but this new global market is a different animal.

I for one think we get confused when we talk of the need for education. Education is a general concept that can mean a liberal (small l) program that introduces one to the arts and languages and sciences and a variety of cultures and it can also mean specific job skills or training in advanced technologies, and it can mean all of what I just listed. But the fact is that some people just plain need job skills for the 21st Century (and you don’t have to go to college to introduce yourself to the liberal arts — we have free libraries where you don’t have to buy the professor’s book — if that is what they are still doing in colleges). We spend a lot of economic effort taking care of people who don’t, won’t, or can’t work. Now for some it is just too late, but we keep having a new crop of young folks coming up. We need to do something for them. We need to make it plain early on that you need to start planning for what you will do for a living. Hey, I speak from experience. I did most of the wrong things.

But now that I think of it, it is vital that everyone has a good, solid general education, and that everyone be grounded in our history and government, and be trained to think critically.

Many politicians count on the fact there is a lack of critical thinking among the voters. And I am sure some also wish there was not such a lack.

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