We've all seen this one before......
George Bush, circa, 1992, at a time when he was about to unseat the popular Governor of Texas, Anne Richards. Whether his sense of humour and rather odd eloquence is the result of his beverage or not is still a source of conjecture, but as "W" prepares to leave office after eight years of questionable judgement and logical flaws, it is clear that a very strong and poweful public relations machine was behind getting this underachieving son of privledge into office.
It's 2008 and we are about to have two elections, one Canadian, one American in the next two months. The former is significant because, hell, we live here, and the latter is important because, hell, they run the world. Four frontrunners are offering themselves up to public scrutiny and the numbers game, and it's the first time in a long while where I don't really like any of the candidates. My brief analysis follows:
1) Barack Obama - Surely me, liberal leaning bleeding heart lover of minorities and embracer of change should be bowled over with enthusiasm for the Democratic candidate in the United States. Unfortunately, I am not. I have not heard Mr. Obama say anything concrete in almost a year of campaigning, and he seems to be better at spewing Oprah like feelgood slogans than actually putting forth daring ideas that will shape his political future. It seems a little bit like cowardice to me, or at worst very superficial. Not good when you are up against other politicians/thinly veiled dictators, who are not particularly forgiving of your inexperience. He is smart, and knows he cannot take the troops out of Iraq or reform health care to any great degree. His dynamic aphorisms provide a veil of hope, but are really just icing on the cake that is his candidacy, which is remarkable, but sad considering this is the 21st century, and he should not have to be the first anything at this point in American history.
2) John McCain - How can you not like a war hero? Well, there are plenty of reasons. Did you ever go to a friend's house and meet their father who made you instantly uncomfortable and tense? This is how I seen Mr. McCain. There is a sense of volatility about him, as if he would crack under the pressures of the Presidency and make statements and decisions that would undermine whatever program his party still has. Given his age and health, the prospect of his Vice Presidential candidate assuming the Oval Office would truly be the final anti-intellectual nail in the American coffin. I can't wait to meet "Levi", her future son-in-law, who didn't even see fit to cover his dick.
3) Stephen Harper - In every way, our current Canadian Primeminister is the ultimate strategist, from repackaging himself as a Westerner to his attempt to win over Quebec with his acknowledgement of their distinct society status. He represents the triumph of the technocrat - strip Canada of everything that will hinder its ascent to fiscal success that is unnecessary, such as funding for the arts and cultural and political sovereignty - so long as the economy improves to the extent that we can buy a better hybrid (forget about signing the Kyoto Accord), and an extra cell phone. Unlike blowhards in the past (Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien), he is not likely to say anything to undermine his party publicly, which is not a problem since he avoids the press anyway.
4) Stéphane Dion - Uggh, the intellectual. Maybe I am surrounded by too many professors at work, but there is nothing aesthetically appealing about this guy. He delivers his political agenda with all the charisma of a bored lay priest, and his experience as leader has consisted almost solely of avoiding the vote on key issues that would force and election. Now he is stuck, as he actually has to campaign knowing that he is not popular in his own province (Quebec), and is seen by the rest of Canada as the adult version of the kid who was bullied in the schoolyard and went directly to the teacher. A debate between him and Stephen Harper will be as lively as listening to your most embarassing cousin recording a rap video.
There you have it, the men who may form your next government. I am saddened that there isn't a choice who is dynamic, courageous, and intelligent, but with age comes diminished expectations.