Friday, October 17, 2008

Electing History

Has anyone else noticed that the 2008 Presidential Election feels different than almost every other election in recent memory?

Normally, around this time, people look at the two candidates in front of them, and wonder what distant, swampy planet of anguish and confusion, teeming with drooling losers, jettisoned its two most incompetent stiffs to Earth, only to have them end up competing to become leader of our planet's wealthiest and most powerful collection of homo sapiens?

In 2004, for example, plenty of voters were not particularly impressed with W, since they round out he invaded Iraq under false pretenses, having doctored intelligence reports to substantiate his dumbfounding aggression.

But the electorate was still insecure enough to want a watered-down John Wayne in the White House instead of someone who, despite his real-life experience in foreign policy and warfare, is from Massachusetts.

Every four years, it seems voters shake their heads and wonder, “is this the best we can do?”

This year, would-be moderate voters actually seem to respect both candidates.

McCain has an honorable record of service and a reputation for doing the right thing instead of the most politically savvy thing.

Obama has a chance to make history by breaking a color barrier, and keeps drawing comparisons to John F. Kennedy. He has the charisma of Bill Clinton, with half the fat and almost none of the sleaziness.

Am I crazy, or are people feeling like no matter who wins, we could end up with a President who actually changes the course of American history?

Someone who will be remembered 100 years from now, and not just by 10th grade history teachers?

To find out, let's journey back in time and examine some of the most ground-breaking presidencies in our history, to see if we see any parallels.

Obviously, George Washington, who “could not tell a lie,” set the standard for all presidents to come. Too bad they all ignored that standard.

Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of our country through the Louisiana Purchase. Obama doubles the size of his campaign war chest every three days.

Andrew Jackson started the practice of appointing his friends to government jobs, rather than hiring based purely on a person's qualifications or experience. Sarah Palin tried to get her brother-in-law fired from his job as a state trooper.

Abraham Lincoln steered us through civil war and ended slavery, holding our divided country together with sheer will and guile. Barack Obama has nice teeth.

Theodore Roosevelt made a career out of championing “the little guy.” John McCain is a little guy (at 5'6”, he would be the second shortest president in history, after James Madison).

Franklin Roosevelt guided America through its most desperate period of personal and collective sacrifice, starting with the Great Depression and leading into the Second World War. Joe Biden was one of his closest advisors.

Richard Nixon became the first president to visit China, opening diplomatic relations. Sarah Palin can see China's next next door neighbor from her house.

Clearly, Americans have every reason to be optimistic that a new and exciting chapter of American history will soon be written, no matter what happens.

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