Thursday, January 10, 2008


ROCHESTER - This probably would have been better a few days ago, but being in NY, nothing matters until our primary in early February. I have decided to drop some quick endorsements for the presidential race. These are simple because we are all on informational overload on this stuff, and I do not intend to re-invent the wheel. I will do it in two ways: the first set is who should actually be president and the second who could actually be president.

The Republicans are a mess. I am not sure any of these guys should be president. But I think Mitt Romney fills the bill best. He is fairly moderate and I love that the religious right hates him. Maybe those damn butt-inskis will finally butt out if he is elected, and that is good enough for me. He has a balanced back ground (business and politics) that should give him a solid foundation on how to use the best of both worlds to get results.

The Democrats have a few good candidates floating around, but Dennis Kucinich is the man here. The guy has voted against the war from day one, so he is the most principled. He grew up poor, so when he talks middle and lower class issues, he knows them because he lived the struggles. How many of these candidates have lived in a car as a child?

Now for the 'real' endorsements. Which will cause me to rant after, so stay tuned.
Rudy Giuliani gets the nod mostly for being a New Yorker. I think he is an ass when it comes to 9/11, but I will overlook that for his socially liberal views on gay marriage and abortion. And if we elect a Republican, I trust a wacky downstater over some religious southerner.

For similar reasons, I endorse Hillary Clinton. I think her policies are sound and that she is a hard worker and intelligent. Plus she is a New Yorker. How cool would that be to have two New Yorkers squaring off. As New York residents, we win either way.

Here comes the ranting. Electability is quickly becoming my most hated phrase (closing in on synergy, microcosm, Tom Brady and liberal media). This idea is a sell out and it severely limits our ability to draw qualified candidates to the White House. Look what a mess some of these guys do when elected. Forget recent scandal, look at guys like Herbert Hoover or Robert Taft. Or almost anyone between Van Buren and Lincoln. Better yet, take some of our greatest presidents, and see if they would be 'electable' by today's standards.

Lincoln: Well, he would not be too photogenic, now would he? Plus he lost elections, forwarded policies that pissed off the south (although he waffled on his anti slavery views) and was a lawyer by trade. He was against the Mexican American War, which would hurt him in the Republican (hard to believe he was the first R prez. How far have they fallen?) primaries. Sounds a bit like Rudy overall, so he would probably be a top tier candidate, more likely to win a general than a primary though.

Washington: War hero, married into wealth, farmed hemp, and had a reputation of high moral character. His only downside was inexperience in politics. I have to imagine someone like that could be elected in any era especially coupled with his ability to speak eloquently.

Roosevelt, Franklin: Career politician of questionable morality, Washington insider, backed by some powerful money, and of course, physically challenged. He was a whiz with the media, but otherwise cold and calculating. Despite his comfortable to wealthy lifestyle, he did have the ability to connect with 'average' folks. His 'insider' status would be a problem with many voters today, and sadly his health would be brought up as an issue. His ability to work the media would probably keep him as a top tier candidate, especially with his fund raising. Maybe a Hillary type of candidate.

Jefferson: Enlightened college man, one term governor, foreign diplomat, and cabinet member. Sure, he would be labeled a white tower liberal, and being a minister and sympathizer to Freedom Land, uh, I mean France would probably label him unpatriotic, but something about one term governors seems to excite voters in our era. His term as VP was uneventful and if the media caught wind of his sexual relations with his slave he may be in scandal. Depending on how voters feel that day, that is either a deal breaker or a yawn. This is a toss up, but his distaste for public speaking due to his lisp would likely create a disconnect with voters and cost him his 'man of the people' image in today's world.

Roosevelt, Theodore: Navy Department official, sometime racist, historian, war monger, naturalist, rough rider, Governor, blowhard, etc, etc. etc. Probably the most extensively diverse resume in presidential history. Of course, he was too young and too much of a 'cowboy' to win. So they stuffed him in the VP closet. Well, that didn't work out too well. Some radical views on race (including Nordicism and social darwinism and dislike for savages and native peoples) would hurt, as would his shrill voice and in your face style. His short attention span with his jobs might hurt as well, especially if spun into him being an opportunist. Being that he was progressive as a Republican, he would now be too liberal for the religious right and would have trouble in the South.

There you have it, some of our greatest Presidents judged by today's standards (sort of). Yeah, this is a rough sketch, and sure, William Harrison fans will send me hate mail for leaving him off the list, but I think you get the idea. We make candidates 'electable' by our attitudes. If we had dismissed some individuals early as 'unelectable' we may have missed out on some of our greatest leaders, and my settling for 'electability' we have let some average men leave our country in idle for years at a time. If we want greatness, we need great men. Not some middle of the road caretaker.

New Year's Resolutions

ROCHESTER - It seems to me that every hack writer ends the year with a column for Christmas wishes or with New Year's Resolutions. Well, ain't nobody hackier than me, so here goes my resolutions for various people/groups:

1. East Rochester Republicans - We will stop whining about losing our gravy train and we will consider listening to the people and campaigning next time around.

2. Bob Duffy/Maggie Brooks - We will stop with the pda because its unsettling to both Democrats and Republicans. Just because we can work together doesn't mean we have to talk about it all the time at public gatherings.

3. Democrat and Chronicle - We resolve to do some investigative work this year and not just reprint press releases.

4. Dave Malta - I promise to not pick fights with kids, even though it makes me feel like a big man.

5. Rochester City Council - We shall be an effective check against a strong mayor, for the sake of democracy and open government.

6. Monroe County Legislature - We shall be an effective check against a strong county executive, for the sake of democracy and open government. Just kidding, we resolve to be more white and more male.

7. Governor Spitzer - I promise to be inclusive in running this state because even though I am brilliant, it makes life easier.

8. Tom Golisano - I resolve to fight for assessment reform for everyone, even after my own case is settled, because I have a valid complaint, and am not just some whiny rich guy.

9. Thruway Authority - We promise to use our money wisely and not raise tolls.

10. Rochester Amerks - We will be financially stable and win with Florida's talent. We promise to also not miss the selfish Sabres one bit.

11. Suburbanites - We promise to be less judgemental of the city and admit it has a lot to offer.

12. Senator Shamrock - I will post more coherent articles and will rant and slander less.

No doubt, 2008 will be an interesting year on the political scene, mostly dominated by the presidential race. But, Rock Town will be here to keep the random localness in your mind as the national and regional media keep their focus on a national level.

Happy New Year's everyone!