11/14/06 — The race begins: Research for 2008 should begin before the primary hype

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The race begins: Research for 2008 should begin before the primary hype

With the 2008 presidential election only a little less than two years away, the onslaught has begun.

Just a couple of months ago, no one wanted to talk on the record about his or her presidential aspirations. Now, several would-be leaders of the free world are forming exploratory committees.

Just in case you don’t know already, that means they are testing the waters to see what will happen if they put their names in the hat.

And that means they have just about decided to announce as a candidate.

The mix is already interesting. There is still no definitive word from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and there are more than a few others who are still playing coy. Who knows what will happen over the next few months as they make their decisions.

Sen. John McCain has his exploratory committee ready to go, as does former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And those are just two of several who have said they might want to try their hand at the Oval Office.

There is no question that this will be an interesting primary season.

And after all that, there will be the vice presidential pick, which can sometimes be as interesting as the race for the White House itself.

So, as the nation prepares to watch the races unfold, there will be the same questions about what voters would like to see in their next president.

And this is where we have to be careful.

Perhaps what should be on top of that list are qualities like honesty, forthrightness, practicality and a determination to protect this nation and its people — no matter how hard the job gets.

We do not need a “yes man (or woman)”, but we also do not need a charismatic gunslinger with a bad attitude, either.

In short, we need a leader.

Much of the hype surrounding the early presidential primary runs is about personalities. Some of us will choose based on the likeability factor rather than on substance. A candidate who speaks well and takes a good picture can sometimes run away with a primary vote.

And that is not what we need. Not this time.

As the campaign begins in earnest — and it really has already started, we need to watch for substance not flash, new ideas not rhetoric and more than a little bit of understanding that this is a new world.

And that is not a determination we can make a couple of weeks before Election Day 2008. We need to start “interviewing” potential candidates now to get the best hire two years from now. So, let the campaigning begin.

After all, the decision really is up to us.

Published in Editorials on November 14, 2006 10:28 AM