December 28, 2007

The Choice Is Clear (In Canada, At Least)

Theo Caldwell takes a step back from the minutiae of the presidential primaries, the internecine spats, and the wildly varying polls -- and indeed, from the American border. In Canada's National Post, Caldwell takes a look at the choices offered by the Democrats and Republicans and determines which party takes the Presidency more seriously:

This instinct intensifies as the stakes of the given choice are raised. American voters know no greater responsibility to their country and to the world than to select their president wisely. While we do not yet know who the Democrat and Republican nominees will be, any combination of the leading candidates from either party will make for the most obvious choice put to American voters in a generation. To wit, none of the Democrats has any business being president.

This pronouncement has less to do with any apparent perfection among the Republican candidates than with the intellectual and experiential paucity evinced by the Democratic field. "Not ready for prime time," goes the vernacular, but this does not suffice to describe how bad things are. Alongside Hillary Clinton, add Barack Obama's kindergarten essays to an already confused conversation about Dennis Kucinich's UFO sightings, dueling celebrity endorsements and who can be quickest to retreat from America's global conflict and raise taxes on the American people, and it becomes clear that these are profoundly unserious individuals.

Caldwell notes that Fred Thompson has more Senatorial experience than any of the three Democratic front-runners, and more legislative accomplishments. And he's the baseline Caldwell uses for his analysis. Caldwell points out that the other Republican frontrunners either have extensive executive experience or military service, and decades in public office. Two of the three Democrats only have a single term of national office, and the other has just started her second term.

Just looking at the experience gap between the front-runners of each party, Caldwell argues, should conclusively show voters which party takes this job seriously. That criticism may apply less to the candidates than those who have thrown money at them and boosted them into front-runner status. The Clinton machine exists to make Hillary president, but why did Democratic money line up behind a man with two years' experience in national office and a single-term Senator who couldn't have won re-election in his home state -- and who failed to carry it as a VP candidate?

The fair question to ask is whether this makes a difference in terms of voting for a general-election candidate. It should. The same people who pushed these rather green choices for President will find positions in an incoming Democratic administration. The bundlers, the big-ticket donors, and the entire machinery of the campaign will integrate into the White House, as is normal after any election. The judgment of these people proved rather inadequate in providing voters with serious choices for the office; why should we trust that judgment in running the country?

None of the Democrats have much business running for President. Their inexperience in a time of war would have had them laughed off the stage in any other generation than this one. Caldwell's question should get asked again and again as we proceed towards November.


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