Monday, March 3, 2008

And the Winner of the 2008 Election is...

[*Disclaimer: This is my first political blog post. It will hopefully be my last. I am not very political; in fact, I am not even legally allowed to vote in the United States. If you're looking for good political commentary, read one of our Prince columnists. They're professionals. And if you feel I should stick to cartooning, let me know. Comments welcome!]

I can predict it already.

The winner of the 2008 election will not be Barack Obama, John McCain, or even Hillary Clinton... but the American People.

Why, you ask? Because, for once, the American voter is cursed with the problem of having too many good candidates to choose from.

Don't get me wrong: each of these candidates has their own shortcomings and flaws (because George Washington and Thomas Jefferson clearly didn't). But these shortcomings -even differences- have been greatly exaggerated in the hysteria of the primary season, both by the MSM and by the candidates themselves. Indeed, in spite of the attack ads, the attack ad responses, and the dueling SNL appearances, we tend to forget how lucky we are to have the choices we currently have. Whatever your politics may be, the three remaining contestants in this race - Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Barack Obama - are all solid, competent candidates who will each bring strengths, new perspectives, and freshness to the Oval Office. If you doubt this last claim, contrast this to what the slate of candidates could have been, with Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, or even John Edwards possibly on the ticket. Or contrast this to 2004, when Middle America had to choose between which Presidential candidate 'sucked less' (as the bumper sticker goes).

So what would a McCain, Clinton, or Obama Presidency bring to America?

For one, Barack Obama brings change. I know, I know: 'change' is getting 'old', and one could argue that all three candidates will bring 'change' (especially given the current administration's low bar). But what's credible about Obama's claim to change is that he has already demonstrated change. My friend Dennis likes to describe Obama as the 'Tiger Woods of politics', because, as the analogy goes, no one started watching golf until Tiger started playing, and winning. In the same manner, over the course of two months, Obama has shown us more than that he is electable, that he can bring new voters into the process, that he can reach across the aisle, that he can win independents, or that he could successfully take on the establishment (See: 'Clinton', 'political machine') - he has also made us interested in politics (and in speeches) again. And as President, Obama will no doubt do the same -- at least, I'm confident that he would. Clinton likes to claim that Obama is not ready on Day One, but Obama will already accomplish much by being in the Oval Office on Day One: he will contribute to an immediate 'rebranding' of America in the eyes of the world, and he will have legions of youth and new C-SPAN watchers actively engaged with him in the political process. It's more than what any foreign policy shift or domestic program introduction could ever accomplish.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, brings two major assets to the White House: the first is her experience; the second is Bill. (Just kidding) "35 years" of experience may be exaggerating it (If serving as First Lady counted on a resume, then Laura Bush could be running the Free World, too), but Clinton doesn't lie when she says she's tested and she's ready. Of course, there is her baggage, but baggage is an inevitable by-product of years of learning and experience. And I know that I wrote a big, bloated paragraph in support of Obama just now, but I believe Clinton will be the better President, hands down. At the same time, she may even be more electable in the general election than Obama, whose lack of gray hair and non-nuanced approach toward Iraq may turn out more to be liabilities when running against Mr. McCain.

And yes, finally, there is John McCain. For all the flak that he's been receiving from the conservative media and the New York Times (politics does make strange bedfellows), one must keep in mind two things when judging this man: Firstly, McCain is a man of character. To prove this to the swiftboaters, let me tell you a quick story. As a P.O.W., McCain was invited to check out of the Hanoi Hilton early, when his father became Naval Commander of all US Forces in Vietnam. He didn't, but stayed on four more years -- supposedly to avoid giving his captors a propaganda coup and to show solidarity with his fellow prisoners. I don't know about you, but that says a lot about the character of the man - to do the right thing when others weren't looking - and this reveals the kind of character that he would bring to the Presidency. Secondly, McCain is a man of conviction. He has voted on the Senate Floor along his conscience, not along the party line, and he was even invited to become John Kerry's running mate in 2004. As a result, he may have paid the price politically with his party, but he has earned major props in the eyes of the American people. John McCain is a true American hero.

I conclude by ending with my favorite line from the movie Casablanca. As the Humphrey Bogart character declares, "the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." In the same manner, as voters in four states head to the polls tomorrow (for what will be the real "Super Tuesday"), they should not feel torn by the headache of choosing among three highly qualified candidates, but comforted to know that the country has already won. [Okay, so I don't know how that Casablanca quote related...] Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or Barack Obama -- not one of these candidates will ill serve America.

So let the best man or woman win. In the meantime, congratulate yourselves.


TiMo said...

Not only can you draw, but you can write too!! Charming and engaging article Mr. Hsia.