Candidates: Better than what their critics say
Political campaigns can be enlightening, exciting, perplexing — even vitriolic.
In the Democratic Party campaigns for the presidential nomination, candidates — with the exception of our John Edwards and Joe Lieberman — have slashed up each other unmercifully. Each has offered some persuasive arguments why he, rather than any of the others, should be the nominee.
Particularly intriguing is that those dropping out of the race end up embracing one of those — usually the front-runner — they had argued was of questionable merit to hold the highest office in the land.
All in the Democratic party fold share one conviction: George Bush is an unfit, insensitive, arrogant and far too dangerous a person to be president of the United States.
Individually and collectively, they have told the American people that their president is a deliberate liar, a manipulator of erroneous intelligence, one who sent young Americans to die in Iraq for his own political gain, and a person with no concern whatever for those below his own level of the super rich.
To replace him, the candidates, some of whom happen to be among the wealthiest people in the land, have offered themselves.
It is to the credit of the American people than they can see through the rhetoric.
And it is to the credit of the vast majority of the candidates that they are not as sleazy and heartless and unworthy as their opponents sometimes suggest.
Indeed, almost to a person, at the local, state and national levels, candidates for public office are good people — men and women who have proven themselves in their professions, their communities, their states and in the nation.
And that applies to those running from offices ranging from city council and county commissioner up to the presidency of the United States.
It should be comforting to all of us that those elected, almost invariably, rise to the challenges of their high offices. Often they rise to levels of leadership and statesmanship far beyond their own expectations — and the expectations of their fellow citizens.
Not the least among these must have been Harry Truman who, when the awesome challenge was thrust upon him, rose from mediocrity to greatness.
And despite Bill Clinton’s personal shortcomings, the country not only survived but thrived during his presidency.
Published in Editorials on February 20, 2004 11:52 AM