Among the current candidates for President, who is (or is closest to) my vision of a perfect candidate?
Easy. His name is Ron Obamacain.
He has the eagle eyes of Ron Paul: a crystal-clear vision of pervasive liberty. He has the wide-open heart of Barack Obama: the requisite character to diffuse the boiling rage that now infects our public dialogue, domestically and internationally. And backing up all of this, he has the unflinching spine of John McCain: the strength and chutzpah to stand up and fight when necessary.
Yes, I know: I cheated. I stole DNA from three candidates to create one. So be it. If the question is unanswerable, then I’m compelled to give an unrealistic answer. On the other hand, I recognize that I (probably) won’t be able to complete this Dr. Frankenstein act before election day, so how do I actually vote?
Congressman Paul definitely intrigues me. I find in his candidacy an inspiration similar to what Andrew Sullivan found, when he penned his endorsement for the good doctor from Texas. But there are limits to my Paul fealty, for reasons of perceived insanity; reasons similar to those articulated by Andrew’s co-blogger at The Atlantic.com, Megan McArdle, and also by Sean Aqui at Midtopia.
With respect to Obama, I’ll return to Sullivan for the defining word. I disagree with much of the Senator’s politics. But he thoroughly embodies the audacious hope expressed in the title of his second book. He effectively works across the aisle. He naturally snuffs out the flames of dissent. And for all of those reasons, he seems the best answer to these days of fury in which we now live; these days when restoring our international standing is as important (if not more so) than resolving our domestic squabbles.
On the other hand, I doubt a peacemakers’ disposition and talent are enough to succeed in these dangerous times. We also need a candidate with tested and vetted strength … which brings me to McCain. The fighter. The survivor. The straight-shooter. Those recent (and apparently unfounded) rumors of impropriety notwithstanding, McCain has a track record that’s impossible to ignore. (Even Sullivan flinched for McCain before endorsing Paul, as did one of his readers.) But I also worry that McCain’s temper and/or age may get the best of him before his most redeeming qualities can produce results.
I like some of what Ron Paul stands for (anti-interventionist, controlled spending), but his social views (anti-choice, anti-gay) scare the hell out of me (same with most GOP candidates -- even Giuliani has recanted on abortion and gay rights). Paul has big cajones, and that generates a lot of interest from those who dislike the trend toward basing all positions on poll results.
Obama is probably my favorite candidate, exactly for the reasons Abel mentions (via Sullivan). I like his optimism, his big-heartedness. But I fear his inexperience and his apparent proclivity to seek compromise even when he is right. Admittedly, it is this ability to compromise that makes him effective -- and a potentially great leader on the world stage. He's moderate enough -- and dislikes pointless bickering enough -- to get things done.
But Obama needs McCain's toughness (but not his pandering to the "powers that be" in order to be a contender -- the fundamentalist right will never trust a man who was once pro-choice). McCain, as mentioned above, is a surviver. And here in AZ, he is widely loved by both parties (although the hard-core liberals hate him on principle). I was a big fan of McCain until he began sucking up to Bush in 2004, apparently in an effort to be "next in line." Didn't work out so well -- he should have stood by his beliefs.
What's missing in this mixture is a bit of Fred Thompson's big ideas. He and Ron Paul are both strict Constitutional adherents, but Thompson doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell because he thinks abstractly, and he hasn't yet mastered the technique of making big ideas into little sound bites. It's too bad that he even has to learn to do that, but with the 15 second attention span of most Americans, it's crucial.
So, my perfect candidate would be Barack Thompcainpaul. Boy, that's a mouthful.