Three years ago, in the heat of the 2008 presidential campaign, most political strategists, like most voters probably, were trying to picture who would make for the most convincing next president. Folks on the left were sick of George Bush, and insisted they wanted someone more worldly, more cultured, more intelligent, more thoughtful, less rash, less reckless and less...country. While folks on the right wanted the next president to be George W. Bush plus. We wanted to retain a lot of Bush's worldview and values, but get someone in the White House who was more fiscally conservative and maybe a little less gaffe prone.
And as the campaign primaries droned on, the right offered up Mitt Romney and John McCain and the left narrowed down the choices to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The prospects of either Obama or Hillary for many of us prompted panic attacks and instilled waves of fear deep in the hearts of conservatives everywhere, that the next four years could be the most liberal the country had ever known.
I remember at one point during the campaign, I said on some radio show that the only thing I wanted less than a Barack Obama presidency was to see another Clinton in the White House.
What a difference three years makes.
I don't know how happy the left is with their choice -- and plenty of polls suggest the answer is "not very" -- but on the right I'd wager that many of us who'd been so afraid of a Hillary presidency are looking back on that paranoia with a chuckle and nostalgia. Oh how wrong we were.
As Obama stumbles and stammers his way through his first term, he's managed to do the absolute unthinkable -- make Hillary look good. And not just good -- presidential. As nearly every other senior cabinet member in his administration, from Geithner to Summers, Holder to Napolitano, has been stung by the inefficacy and unpopularity of his radical agenda, Hillary's remained relatively unscathed, preferring to keep her head down in the State Department and avoid putting her carefully crafted and heavily guarded reputation on the line.
The result is that she has ended up looking like the much lesser of two evils, the grown-up in the room, in fact, and someone who'd have made for a much better president than Barack Obama. At least she had some experience that would have helped her take on some of the very serious issues around the world and here at home that Obama seems wholly unprepared for.
In the midst of Libya and unrest in the Maghreb, middle east turmoil and friction with Israel, a looming energy crisis here at home, a rocky economy, big labor battles in the midwest, and who knows what else lurks around the pike, Hillary's constitution, her decisiveness, and her cool leadership abilities would have served us well right now. Instead we have someone who seems lost and unsure in the global arena, and downright reckless here at home.
All that slick, salesman-like panache that worked so well for Obama during the campaign has been utterly forgotten it seems, as he forgoes smart political optics and strategy for bumbling rookie mistakes and gaffes, the likes of which put some of Bush's to shame.
But it's not just Hillary who's coming out smelling like roses in Obama's putrid garden of weeds. Others are looking pretty good too. I watched the Sunday shows this weekend, like many of you, and am almost nervous to say it -- John Kerry looked pretty good discussing Libya. Heck, even Biden looks like he'd have made for a better commander in chief, especially considering how much foreign policy is dictating the national agenda right now.
Monday morning quarterbacking is easy to do and really serves no one's best interest. We can't go back in time and regrets only fester. But it's useful to look at the world right now and our position in it -- we're being one-upped by FRANCE -- and think about the collective decision we made. Maybe the next go-round we'll have a little more sense than to put a junior senator with virtually no real-world experience doing much of anything except collecting degrees and penning memoirs in the job of leader of the free world.
Whether we elect a Republican or a Democrat in 2012, please...let's just hire someone who's ready, tested and a proven leader. I'm a little sick of being embarrassed.
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