Monday, December 24, 2007

Still Undecided Part 3

Nicholas Johnson wrote an Op Ed in the Iowa City Press Citizen on Saturday that provides an analysis of the candidates. Johnson discusses the qualities he is looking for and then looks at how each candidate stacks up.

So here are the qualities I'm looking for -- followed by my opinion of who ranks highest.
• Experience administering large institutions (state or large city governments, corporations) -- Gov. Bill Richardson (governor; Secretary of Energy), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (mayor of Cleveland).

• A "people person" with charisma or down-home manner, sense of humor (including self-deprecation), or what Molly Ivins called "Elvis" -- Obama (charisma and "Elvis"), Richardson (down-home; humor).

• The understanding and credibility earned by working inside both Washington's executive and legislative branches -- Richardson (cabinet (Energy), Congress). (Legislative: Clinton, Edwards, Kucinich, Obama, Richardson and Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd).

• A willingness to put forward courageous, "best policy" proposals, rather than "starting off backing up" --Kucinich (only one to organize and vote against the war, and propose universal single-payer health care rather than for-profit insurance).

• Experience working inside international organizations (e.g., U.N., World Bank) -- Richardson (UN ambassador).

• Understanding of the elements and process of citizen empowerment -- Obama (community organizer).

• An understanding of foreign policy (as distinguished from administering it) -- Biden, Dodd (plus, of course, Richardson).

• An ability to work with, but an independence from, special interest money and influence (the "Washington Establishment") -- My guess is that all have, can (and will have to) work with Washington's real power centers.

However, Clinton's strength in this department is her weakness. She and Bill could probably name all of their 4,000 presidential appointees in one evening without notes. But part of the reason for their millions from corporate lobbyists and PACs is the Washington Establishment's expectation of another pro-corporate, business-as-usual Clinton administration.

• Experience negotiating with foreign leaders -- Richardson (North Korea, Iraq, Sudan; U.N.; return of hostages); Biden and Dodd.

• Champion of the underdog -- Edwards, Kucinich.
You may have a different list of qualities and evaluation of candidates. But I hope this kind of approach may be helpful to you in a year when we are blessed with a very tough choice from among excellent candidates.
I am not sure which candidate Johnson is supporting, but it seems Richardson is mentioned often in his analysis. As I have been thinking more about which candidate to support, I have been considering Richardson more and more. Though, I am not fully committed, Richardson's stance on getting rid of NCLB, his vast experience, his energy policy, and, most importantly, his position on bringing all of the troops home from Iraq put him ahead of other candidates on those issues.

Check out Still Undecided Part 1 and Part 2.

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