In the nearly 40 years since Nixon took office in 1969, the Democratic Party has been in the White House for only 12 years, under Carter and Clinton. For the party that is supposed to represent the economic interests of the middle and lower class, which make up the great majority of the country, this is nothing short of a colossal failure.
Even now, after eight years under Bush, who is polling as unfavorably as any President ever has, the Democrats are on the verge of handing the White House to the GOP yet again. As the country has grown weary of the right wing neocon ideology, it is desperate for a more moderate leader, and guess who delivers that candidate? That's right, the GOP. McCain (moderate on most things, excepting the Iraq war) falls where the heart of this country is, center-right. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party serves up:
1. Hillary Clinton, one of the most divisive figures in politics in the last couple of decades, at a time when the federal government has been bitterly partisan for years; and
2. Barack Obama, a junior senator who has done little in his limited time in Congress, and whose voting record falls to the far left.
Is the Democratic Party so weak on talent that this is the best they have to offer? Both candidates have accomplished very little in elected office, and Hillary's claimed accomplishments during the Clinton White House have been shown to be greatly exaggerated:
1. State Children's Health Insurance Program (so deep is her commitment to this program that she missed a vote to extend it last year, though it passed anyway).
2. Bringing peace to Northern Ireland
It is clear to this citizen that neither Democratic candidate has much experience, though lots of experience combined with a flawed policy isn't a particularly attractive option for the country. Hillary has shown that she is strong-willed and can fight her opposition, but her zeal for the fight makes me wonder if she could ever work with the opposition. The blatant lying is worrisome (Bosnia sniper fire, that she didn't know her husband pardoned members of Weather Underground), and her raw ambition leaves me with the feeling that she will say and do anything to achieve what she seems to believe is her destiny - the presidency.
Meanwhile, Obama, under fire for the first time in the campaign, has yet to show the toughness his rival has. And let's face it, as stupid as this question about wearing the flag pin is (by the way, when did wearing a lapel pin come to replace true patriotism?), the GOP will be merciless in their attacks. Look at what they did to their own, McCain, in the 2000 primary. And Hillary has no monopoly on deceit - Obama's claim that he never knew of Reverend Wright's more controversial statements until only a year ago is very clearly a lie (though I suppose he was backed into a corner on that one).
In an election year where the Republicans were set to hand the White House on a silver platter to the Democrats, the Democrats are doing everything they can to turn down the presidency. Prediction: if the war in Iraq doesn't take a sharp turn for the worse between now and November, McCain will defeat the eventual Democratic nominee.
This raises another issue - why do we only have two parties? Why are the most important elected offices in this country completely dominated by a duopoly? Is this not anti-competitive? What can be done about it? To be addressed in a future post.