I’ve been so immersed in sports lately that I forgot there was a rather important series of events just around the corner- the ’08 Presidential Primaries. Last night I plopped down on a stool at Jerry’s Belvedere Tavern, ordered a beer and watched the Democratic Party debate on a flat screen television with my favorite bartender Juan, a disenfranchised Republican who entered this country from Spain in the early 70’s by leaping from a boat and swimming to shore. Juan likes to rant about how much he much he despises "illegal immigrants". This makes me laugh every time.
I followed the debate from start to finish and, man, I wish I could tell you I left the bar an informed, enlightened voter. I really do. I’d like to tell you that, after two hours of questions and answers, I’ve settled on a candidate whom I truly believe can unravel the mess that will be left behind by George Dubya, Cheney, Condi and the rest of the neo-screw ups. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I’ve been following politics for a long time. As a little kid, during the ’72 election, I used to bombard my father with questions about who our next president should be- Mcgovern or Nixon. My dad was a staunch Nixonite. I preferred McGovern. Not because he was necessarily better for the country, he just seemed like a nicer guy and when you’re five years old niceness counts. Even way back then, my instincts were sharp.
I can still rattle off some of the Democrats who were beaten by Jimmy Carter in the Primaries in 1976. There was Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Morris Udall and Birch Bayh. I stayed up way past my bed-time to see Carter edge out Ford for the presidency. I remember the Reagan Revolution and the Clinton Years. I supported Al Gore in 2000 although I preferred Bill Bradley. There’s no way a kid born in Brooklyn, New York can avoid supporting a Knick.
This time around I can’t find passion for anyone. There’s not a chance I’m voting Republican, never have and never will. However, the current roster of Democratic hopefuls is weaker than the NFC South. Hillary Clinton appears to be running on a slogan of "Just stop this silliness and make me the Democratic candidate already, will ya?"
Barack Obama is brilliant and inspirational. But he’s weak. I don’t think he’s politically ready to roll up his sleeves and slug it out with Congress.
John Edwards? Nope. Sorry. I try to like the guy. I mean he lost his son and his wife seems pretty cool. He might even be honest. Still, he’s out of his league. Great smile, killer hair, hell of a cleft, but not the man for the job.
So who’s left?
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson sounds like a football coach and he’s too massive for his suits. He needs a better tailor or something. He loves to talk about himself and all of his achievements. Last night he gave himself credit for everything from international hostage negotiations to discovering Atlantis. He’s clearly trying to gain some separation (gee, I can’t seem to avoid sports cliches, can I?) from the other long shot candidates. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but he doesn’t get my vote.
Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut has been in Congress a long time. I think he’s got some good ideas but I can’t say for sure because I doze off every time he opens his mouth. The guy’s boring. Really boring. I mean like more boring than a Ravens drive.
Then there’s Dennis Kucinich. Uh-uh. He’s a fringe candidate with a few decent ideas who’s treated like a demented cousin by the other candidates. Besides, he’s too weird looking. I mean have you seen the ears? Not that looks should matter, and he does have a pretty hot wife, but I think he’s a little too ugly to represent us on the world stage. He looks like a character out of a Harry Potter book. He should be teaching "Defense against the Dark Arts" at Hogwarts not running a country. And, apparently, he believes in UFOs. I do, too. But I’m a comedian and sports talk show. I don’t want a President right now who’s waiting for the mother ship to return.
That leaves us with Senator Joe Biden from Delaware. I like Joe. In my opinion he’s got the best plan for dealing with Iraq. In fact, I think he has the ONLY plan. Hillary wants to pull out. Edwards just keeps apologizing for voting in support of the war and Obama points at everyone else going "they’re the ones who got you into this mess, folks!" Problem with Biden is that he’s destined to say something stupid. I don’t mean a little stupid. I mean MONUMENTALLY STUPID.
Not that he’s dumb, it’s just that, as some would say, he’s a straight shooter. Unfortunately, in his case, the term "straight shooter" means that he’s the candidate most likely to refer to Barack Obama as "that well-spoken, colored kid over there" or Hillary as "that broad who won’t shut up." Plus he looks like he’s a got a raging temper. I picture him at a European Summit meeting threatening to choke France’s foreign minister. Like the French need more of a reason to hate us.
So who deserves the ’08 Democratic nomination? No one stood out last night, no one shined. Well, one person did- my favorite bartender Juan. But that’s because he kept bringing me fresh beers.
Al Gore anyone?