The political buzz is not about Senator Obama’s nomination by the Democrat party last night. Instead it is about Senator McCain announcing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his Vice President candidate today. I don’t know what the polls will say, but I’ll bet that there won’t be much of a bounce for Obama as there will be for McCain.

Gov. Palin is younger than Obama, and has served less time as governor of Alaska than Obama has served as Senator, but there is a difference: Palin has seven years of executive experience as mayor and governor, while Obama has none.

Yes, liberals will bring up her inexperience, but that is a two-edged sword that can cut Obama deeper than it will cut Palin. If she is asked about her inexperience in a debate or news conference, she could respond in this way: “While it’s true that I am younger than Senator Obama, I bring seven years of executive experience to the position as compared to Senator Obama’s none. I would say I am better prepared for an executive position than he is.”

While I was completely wrong in my guess 20 months ago about who the Democrat and Republican candidates would be, I still stand by this paragraph:

Since the office of President is an executive position, it makes sense that people elect proven executives to that office. This could explain why so many state governors have been elected President (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, F.D.R., Coolidge, Wilson, T. Roosevelt, McKinley). That makes nine the last time I counted them — nearly 50% of our Presidents since 1900. And whether the state is large or small, the office of Governor is an executive position. With all else being equal, I would prefer a candidate with proven executive experience over a legislator any day (but when do we ever have two candidates that are close to equal in belief and position?).

Of the Democrat and Republican candidates, only the Republican ticket brings executive experience to the job.

Here’s something to think about each time you hear someone talk about Senator Obama’s “historic” nomination as the first black Democrat Presidential candidate. Does this mean that the U.S. no longer has problems with race? Of course not, say liberals. That won’t happen until Senator Obama becomes President Obama, so any vote against him is therefore a racist vote.

Bull pucky.

America will have finally gone beyond race when people stop talking about the first black Democrat Presidential candidate and just talk about the Democrat Presidential candidate–when people stop talking about the color of his skin and focus on the content of his character. Hey, that’s kinda catchy.

I will not vote for Senator Obama this November, but not because of his race. I will not vote for Obama this November because I don’t want a barely-experienced, Marxism-enamored Senator to be our next President.

There is a building cult of personality surrounding Senator Obama. Currently making the rounds of the Internet is a slickly-produced plea for Obama to ride in and save us all. (hat tip American Digest)

Yes, all that they want will be theirs when Obama becomes President, merely because he will be President. Curiously, the “we are the ones” theme carried echoes of something I’d seen before. Maybe you have seen it, too. Yes, we can do it! We can succeed! We are the ones we’ve been waiting for! Tomorrow belongs to me!

Any way I try to see it, there will be a bunch of angry and disappointed Democrats in the near future. On the one hand, there is Senator Clinton, and on the other hand there is Senator Obama. And since liberals view everything through the prism of group identity instead of individuals, that means the fight for the Democrat presidential nomination is between someone who is a woman, and someone who is black.

Of course there is far more to these candidates than their sex and race, but to liberals who have made sex and race identity so important, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have become visible embodiments of sex and race. And this can be a problem for liberals when group identities collide. Are liberals meant to vote for Clinton because she could be the first woman President, even though she is white; or should they vote for Obama to become the first black President, even though he is male?

You can see this conflict in the way liberal groups are handling the sex/race conflict of Clinton and Obama. When Oprah Winfrey announced that she was supporting Obama, she was labeled a traitor for choosing race over sex. But that’s assuming Obama’s race was more important to Oprah than Clinton’s sex. Could she have chosen to support him for other reasons? That’s not an option if you view everything through the lens of race or sex. Fortunately, not everyone will “vote their race” or “vote their gender,” as some CNN readers have stated.

I’ll say it again — if you vote for Obama primarily because he is black, you are racist. If you vote for Clinton primarily because she is a woman, you are sexist. And if you vote for McCain because he’s a white male, you’re… unusual. (Conservatives tend to focus on issues over identity politics, so I don’t see this as being as much of a concern for conservatives as it is for liberals, but let’s cover all the bases for the sake of equity.)

The race between Clinton and Obama is close, but as I write this, Obama has slightly more delegates than Clinton and appears to have the momentum. But since Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island all have primaries today, the race isn’t over for the two contenders.

Since there can only be one winner in this race (and no, I don’t believe that either candidate would deign to become the other’s VP), half of the Democrat voters in the primaries will be pissed off at the result. Those who view sex as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another man is nominated. Those who view race as being the most important will be disappointed and angry if yet another white is nominated.

Regardless of who gets the nomination, I see a time of anger and resentment for Democrats when the primaries are over. I just don’t see their anger preventing them from finally rallying behind the Democrat nominee when it comes to the national vote in November. On the other hand, I see many conservatives who are still angry about Senator McCain becoming the Republican nominee, and I don’t believe they will rally in numbers to vote for the party’s choice this year. And that means we will likely have a Democrat President come 2009.

This November will be the sixth time I have voted for President. And while I have followed the primaries and final elections with different degrees of interest over the years, am I wrong in thinking that this is working up to be the most contested election on both Republican and Democrat sides? Or it could be that I remember the present more than the past? If that’s the case, I’ll soon be looking for my teeth and shaking my cane at the damn kids on my lawn.

The Republican race has narrowed to Sen. McCain and Gov. Romney. Of the two, I prefer Romney. Not that either one makes me all that excited. I would have liked to hear more from Sen. Thompson, but I didn’t think he had the executive experience to be a good President. Besides, with his dropping out of the race, I can’t vote for him this November.

I’m hoping Romney will get enough delegates to get the Republican nod, but I won’t do what Ann Coulter has threatened to do if McCain wins. Coulter claims she will campaign for Sen. Clinton if McCain gets the Republican nomination. Huh? How is that smart? When it comes down to the election in November, I will vote for the Republican, even if it is McCain. (I won’t. I don’t believe McCain has the temperament to be President; he scares the crap out of me. Come back, Fred! –TPK) While I disagree with much of what he has done, I disagree less with McCain than I do with Senators Clinton and Obama.

I want a President that I can agree with 100%, but I know that I won’t get that. So when it comes down to actually electing a President, I would rather vote for someone who is “good enough” than register a “protest vote” for someone else. Besides, it is the primaries where we get to vote for the candidate who best fits our principles. Then when the actual Presidential election comes around, we vote for the party that best fits our principles. Sound strange? But consider this — if you don’t vote because you are annoyed at who ended up being on the ticket, you can’t really complain. And if you voted for the Democrat candidate as a protest vote, you will either succeed in putting a Socialist in office at worst, or lose your voice with a victorious Republican President at best.

But when the dust settles after the voting in November, we will have elected a new President who will be sworn in this time next year, despite what some nay-sayers believe. Many millions of dollars will have been spent on both sides, acres of print will be published, and probably half the nation upset that their candidate wasn’t elected. But that is the nature of selecting a President of the United States.

Unbeknownst to many people in the U.S., there was another kind of new president announced this week. With the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley on Sunday, the 27th of January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was left temporarily without a leader. But yesterday his successor was announced. In a press conference in Salt Lake City today, President Thomas S. Monson was announced as the 16th president and prophet of the Church. Unlike the presidential campaigning going on now across the U.S., there is no campaigning to determine who will be the Church president. At the death of the president of the Church, the longest-serving apostle is selected as the next president. And unlike the office of President of the United States, there is no question of Pres. Monson’s qualifications or capability to lead, since he has proven himself many times over in over four decades of service as an apostle.

But that’s the difference between the President of the Church and the President of the nation.

So Sen. McCain won all 57 delegates from Florida by finishing with 100,000 more votes than Gov. Romney. Michelle Malkin points out an interesting aspect of the Florida vote, but I’m going to go with an honest win for McCain since I’m no Al Gore.

Since McCain’s victory, I’ve read and heard many reports gushing about how McCain is a juggernaut and can’t be stopped. But here’s something to consider about the recent Republican primary in Florida: people in the media are claiming that McCain is the obvious and proper Republican candidate now that he has 28 more delegate votes than his closest competition, Romney. But no one was anointing Romney as the obvious Republican candidate last week, when he was 29 points over his closest competition, McCain.

Why? Well, knowing the bias of the mainstream media, it’s no wonder that they like the more liberal McCain over Romney. And I, for one, don’t take my political cues from the leftist media.

I don’t base my choice of political candidates based on a quiz on the Internet, but sometimes they are fun to take. I saw a link to a political quiz on Instapundit.com, and I decided to go along. Here are my results.

Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Your Result: Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, where he was known as a centrist. He reformed the state healthcare system, and would pursue reforms at the national level as well. Romney supports oil drilling in Alaska, but also alternative energy sources. He claims to be conservative on issues like abortion and gay civil unions, and he supports the Iraq war. Romney supports fair trade, as well as a greater focus on math and science in our schools.

Ron Paul
John McCain
Rudy Guiliani
John Edwards
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton
Dennis Kucinich
Ultimate 2008 Presidential Candidate Matcher
Take More Quizzes

It just so happens that at this point, I’m leaning more towards Mitt Romney because of his positions and comments than any of the others, but I’m still not completely won over by anyone. I did noticed that Fred Thompson is not in the list, and I have no idea how the questions are measured, so this is far from scientific. I file it along with other “gee whiz” type of activities. Feel free to take it, too. I do find it funny that I have no matching positions with the four Democrat candidates.

Since anyone can create a quiz without showing the logic behind the score, the quality of the quizzes do varies. I took several quizzes for fun. You can try these three:

In order, I got 100%, the West, and 100%, not that the scores are all that important. But the American accent test appears to have mapped nicely to another one I took.

I noticed a headline on the Drudge Report today that said the presidential debate audience is fading away. I’m not surprised. I have not watched a single debate so far, and I don’t think this will change as we get closer to the November 2008 elections. My apathy doesn’t come from a general disinterest in politics, but from the lack of debate in the debates. The questions are mostly insipid, and the 30-90 seconds allotted each person for a response gives us meaningless sound bites and mumbles.

When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated during 1858, they met seven times and spoke for three hours each. The first speaker spoke for 60 minutes, the other spoke for 90 minutes, and the first then finished up with a final 30-minute address, with Douglas and Lincoln alternating for the first speaker slot. While they were speaking, reporters transcribed the addresses in full and published them in newspapers for people to read. These debates weren’t even for the presidency — they were for a Senate seat. When I look at the debates between Douglas and Lincoln, I have to laugh at what passes for a “debate” nowadays.

I can’t help but believe that our society just doesn’t have the patience for long debates anymore, based on the crappy formats we have now. How can politicians fully discuss a complex issue or stance when there are only seconds to debate it? The simple answer is that they can’t. We end up with short sound bites, sniping remarks, and politicians ignoring the question they were asked in favor of answering another question of their own choosing.

I also can’t get all that excited about a presidential election that is still more than a year away, especially when none of the current presidential hopefuls excite me much. Is it any wonder that people don’t care much about meaningless debates between third- and fourth-string candidates so early in an election cycle?

Orson Scott Card has weighed in on the Presidential candidacy of fellow Mormon Mitt Romney. Card’s article addresses six fears that are being raised about Romney becoming President. The first four are answered well:

  • Will Salt Lake City Tell Him What To Do As President?
  • Will Mitt Romney As President Make Mormonism Seem More Legitimate?
  • Mormons Aren’t Christians, Are They? Aren’t They a Cult?
  • What About Polygamy?

And then comes the next objection: Only Dumb and Crazy People Believe Those Doctrines! Yeah, I’ve already seen that charge leveled against Romney, and Card does a great job of addressing it. Here’s part of his response:

Ah. Here’s where we come to the ugly part.

This is what that article about Mormon beliefs in The Week was really about — making Mitt Romney seem like an idiot for believing in Mormon doctrine.

In his book, Hugh Hewitt recounts some really offensive, outrageous attempts by opponents of Mitt Romney to try to force him, in press conferences, to answer questions about Mormon belief.

“Do you, personally, really believe in [insert wacko-sounding doctrine here]?”

Sometimes the people asking that question will be evangelical Christians out to “expose” how false and ridiculous Mormon doctrines are.

But when the press picks it up, it’ll be anti-religious people using a man’s religious faith as a reason to ridicule him so he can’t be elected President.

Do you think Mormons are the only people who can be treated that way?

If you’re a Catholic, would you appreciate some reporter asking a Catholic presidential candidate, “Do you really believe that when you take the communion wafer, it literally turns into human flesh in your mouth? Isn’t that cannibalism?”

If you’re a Baptist, would you think it was legitimate for a heckler at a press conference to ask a Baptist presidential candidate, “So you think that when Jesus comes again, you’re going to just rise right up into the air, no airplane, no jet pack, you’ll just fly? Or aren’t you a good enough Baptist to be in the Rapture?”

Everybody’s religious beliefs sound crazy when you talk about them scornfully.

The next time someone brings that complaint up online, I’ll quote that section of Card’s essay as a response and be done with it. Anti-Mormon bigots who choose to mock Mormons for their religious beliefs have already made up their minds, and nothing I could say — or quote — will change that, so I refuse to waste any more time with them.

But it is the final question Card poses that is the crux of the matter: Is Mitt Romney the Best Candidate? Card doesn’t know, and neither do I, but I can easily say that I’d rather have Romney for President than any Democrat I could name, other than Zell Miller.

Now do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing.

We have an early crop of Presidential hopefuls springing up, but none all that exciting. Since Vice President Cheney has already said he won’t run, there will be no clear leaders for either the Democrat or Republican presidential candidates this year as we normally would with an incumbent President or Vice President running for the office.

What makes a good President? Well, the Constitution explains that the President is the chief executive of the country, so the President had better have good executive skills. There is no way any one person could juggle all the responsibilities of a modern American President, so a successful President ought to be able to delegate responsibilities to competent staff. But regardless of how few or many people there are to help with duties, the President is the chief executive who has to make the really tough decisions.

So what is the best way to prepare to be an American President? For the rest of this article I’ll look at the last 19 Presidents — the ones who have served from 1900 to the present — and take my calculations from their numbers. Of these 19 men, six were Vice Presidents first (G. Bush, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge). So is being a Vice President the best way to train for the job of President? I guess that would depend on the President. Some Presidents have included their V.P.s in the day-to-day workings of the Presidency, and others seem to have tolerated the office of V.P. as a necessary evil. John Nance Garner, twice Vice President under FDR, is reported to have said that the job of Vice President was “not worth a bucket of warm piss,” although the newspapers substituted the word “spit” to protect the tender eyes of their readers.

Of the six former Vice Presidents, four gained the office of President via death or resignation (Ford, Johnson, Truman, Coolidge), while two were elected President after having completed two terms as Vice President first (G. Bush, Nixon). Going solely by these numbers, you’re twice as likely to become President because of death or resignation than you are by showing how much you have learned in the Vice President slot.

What about being a Senator before running for President? Judging by the number of Senators who have announced their candidacy or who are expected to do so, you’d think the Senate would be the best place from which to launch a Presidential run, but recent history doesn’t back that theory. Only five of the last 19 Presidents had served in the Senate first (Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, Harding), but of these five, only two left their Senatorial positions to become President (Kennedy, Harding). The other three served as Vice Presidents first. Ignoring the long odds, a Senator is a legislator and not an executive, so serving as a Senator doesn’t necessarily train one to be a good Chief Executive. This fact alone could explain the relatively few modern Presidents who were formerly Senators, and it also explains why I’ve not been excited about any Senator who runs for President.

Since the office of President is an executive position, it makes sense that people elect proven executives to that office. This could explain why so many state governors have been elected President (G. W. Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, F.D.R., Coolidge, Wilson, T. Roosevelt, McKinley). That makes nine the last time I counted them — nearly 50% of our Presidents since 1900. And whether the state is large or small, the office of Governor is an executive position. With all else being equal, I would prefer a candidate with proven executive experience over a legislator any day (but when do we ever have two candidates that are close to equal in belief and position?).

And now to prove how badly I cannot predict elections from 18 months out, I will now give my predictions for 2008. This prediction assumes (and it’s a big assumption) that there are no major upsets such as a shooting war breaking out with Iran or anyone else, another major terrorist attack on the U.S., or new revelations about the candidates popping up between now and Election Day 2008. Looking at the current crop of Democrat candidates for President, I have to give the nomination to Senator Clinton. Of the current crop of hopefuls, she has the greatest capability to raise money for her campaign, and she has the best name recognition. On the other hand, I think her biggest obstacle to being elected is her name recognition.

Of the current Republican candidates, I think it will be either Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Both candidates have more executive experience than the Republican Senators who aspire to be President.

I can’t predict who would win if it came down to a race between Senator Clinton and Mitt Romney. She would have to overcome the large group of people who actively dislike, if not outright despise her. He would have to overcome the “I can’t vote for a Mormon!” hang-up some people have, although the argument sounds so 1960s to me. But I have to believe there are fewer people with a Mormon hang-up than there are with a Hillary hang-up.

I know I’d be much happier with another Republican in office, so maybe that’s coloring my prediction.