Like me, you’re probably getting sick of hearing about a presidential election still 17 months away.
Maybe that’s because, so far, the options have been pretty bad. None of the candidates throwing their hat in the ring are in any way captivating or world-changing, and no one has put forward a true vision for our country’s future.
Longtime readers know I’ve never been Obama’s biggest fan. But I’ll always acknowledge his ability to be presidential when he absolutely needs to be, and I respect how he stands up for his ideals and vision — whether or not I agree with him.
Not one candidate — Republican or Democrat — has displayed a truly presidential quality the American people want and need as we gear up for what’s sure to be the most talked-about election in history. Some look good on paper, others on TV. A few speak really well and know how to fi re up their base.
But are any of them actually presidential material?
Let’s take a look at who could realistically win this thing and see just how unlucky we are:
Hillary Clinton: The Democrats want to make history twice in a row and follow up America’s first black president with its first woman president. Unfortunately, that’s about all Hillary has going for her. Despite her seemingly impressive credentials as fi rst lady and secretary of state — the last secretary of state to be president was the Civil War-causing James Buchanan in 1861 — she’s prone to scandals and haughtiness, to the point where even the often-adoring national media has turned the other cheek at times. On top of that, she’ll be 69 years old on Election Day and she’s already showing signs of slowing down and president isn’t a very good retirement job.
Jeb Bush: He’s not his brother and he’s not his father. Still, it’s doubtful the third time would be a charm for the Bushes. The former Florida governor is about as moderate as you get in this election and he has his state’s all-important 29 electoral votes in his corner. If he ran under a different name with the same money behind him, who knows? He’d probably be the undisputed frontrunner and we’d all probably feel differently about him. But he’s still a Bush. And I would be shocked if this country actually elects him.
Marco Rubio: Hey, look, another Floridian. One who actually sounds like he’s from Florida. The senator is a true wild card. He looks the part, has foreign policy experience and reaches across party lines. He legitimately has a chance to be the fi rst Latino-American president. That said, he’s a Republican and he’s young. If he had a “D” behind his name, the national media and political pundits would likely fawn over him. Also, Rubio is not that great of a speaker, and Obama is a tough act to follow in that category.
Joe Biden: Ahh Good ol’ Joe. The vice president hasn’t announced he’s running yet, but he will. Biden would be a fun candidate for the cameras, but at 73 years old on Election Day, is he — like Hillary — too long in the tooth? Also, as president, would he become the Democrats’ version of George W. Bush and be a gaffe waiting to happen?
Scott Walker: Conservatives who know him, love him. Then again, many in his own state hate him — especially the union leaders, who believe he’s the worst human being on the planet. Unlike most candidates, the Wisconsin governor has executive offi ce experience and conservatives love to compare him to Ronald Reagan. But like the 40th president, Walker has little foreign policy experience — not that it mattered with Reagan in the long run — and that doesn’t help. He may make a better vice president than a president this time around.
Bernie Sanders: The Vermont senator is an unabashed socialist and he’s not afraid to say so. He told left-wing political journal The Nation earlier this month: “Do they think I’m afraid of the word? I’m not afraid of the word.” One Democrat blog says Sanders shows “honesty and compassion” on the campaign trail. While that may be the reason he’s drawing big crowds, 73-year-old Bernie is not presidential, plain and simple. And in the long run, Americans wouldn’t elect a socialist who actually says he’s a socialist. Would they?
And finally …
Donald Trump: Oh, Donald, what a sideshow you have become. Anyone who says politics isn’t great theater need only look in Trump’s general direction and he’ll scream reasons otherwise. That said, it’s all he is: a made-for-TV political reality sideshow. He’s leading the Republican presidential polls right now because he’s not afraid to speak his mind, which in some ways is great and is kind of what we need in this too-politically correct country. An actor who writes for prominent right-wing website says “Americans love Trump’s honesty.” Still, he remains unelectable and the GOP establishment will make sure of that — especially after his comments on Mexican illegal immigrants struck a nerve with a segment of the population Republicans truly believe can be theirs with the right candidate.
Obama, love him or hate him, is going to be a tough act for the current candidates to follow. Despite the president’s celebrity, his political foibles and questionable foreign policy decisions, he has — at most times — presented an air of presidentialism and got things done for the people who supported him.
I’m not sure which, if any, of the current candidates can match him there.