S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Democrats have a delicious dilemma --

Today, "Super Tuesday" is so far the biggest voting day of 2008 . People in 24 states will cast their ballots or make their choices for the next president of the United States. Based on the outcomes of the state primaries, the two political parties in summer conventions will eventually narrow their current multiple choices to a single individuals. The biggest voting day of the year will be the general election on November 4, 2008. March 4 is when I have to decide for which Democrat to vote.

What I know is that I have wonderful choices. Two candidates from cohorts never before represented are running. I am amazed that it turned out to be this way. A woman having a good chance to win the presidency for the first time, was not a terribly far-fetched idea. An African American candidate that could win with a solid following was inevitable at some point. But both at the same time seemed an impossibility.

But here we Democrats are with a White female and a Black male going head to head with each other. White males and Black females are left with the option to endorse, give money, make speeches or try to be the "king- or queen-maker." What a delicious dilemma this poses for the vast majority of voters. For the first time in American history we have viable candidates "like us" from which to pick. The only ones who do not have that choice are White males. I say that because Black females actually have their first opportunity to vote for a viable Black candidate.

Since I am a White female I cannot know with certainty how the other cohorts feel about this new reality. I see evidence of a terrific amount of good grace, honesty, unselfishness and generosity among White male leaders, all of whom have had to step aside for the new folks. I hope that many of them can get almost as excited about new leadership as I am. If not there are a lot of guys that will have to just "deal with it." Excuse me if that sounds a bit triumphalist. This has been a long time in coming for so many of us.

Republicans will have the job of choosing from among White males, which has been the absolute historical choice pattern to date. Somehow I feel that Republicans prefer this to be the case. For 55 times, every four years that was the only choice of all voters. At least now that narrow reality has been cut by half for the Democratic electorate.

So now I have laid out my delicious dilemma. Who will I vote for March 4? I will vote for the best leader. I think I know a bit about leadership qualities. I have done a lot of blogs about the subject that are still visited by people searching on the subject. Rather than link you to those blogs, I will merely recite those traits that come to mind as I think about my two candidates. Necessary gifts include these, in no particular order:

  • Toughness -- The POTUS needs to be able to stand up to the world's bullies.
  • Honesty -- We must be able to believe the president when he or she vouches for something.
  • Integrity -- Knowing right from wrong is basic to the position
  • Resilience -- Pertinent life experiences from which they have learned prepare the candidate for the hardest job in the world.
  • Empathy -- A capacity for understanding the nature and depth of other people's feelings is essential in such a powerful office.
  • Intelligence -- The U.S. and the world in which we live are extremely complicated places, necessitating a high intellect.
  • A healthy ego -- Characterized by neither egocentricity nor inferiority, the POTUS must be able to maintain psychological equilibrium or as long as eight years.
  • High energy -- The hours are long, the decisions are hard, and the pace can be frenetic. Our POTUS must manage fatigue.
  • Flexibility -- The polar opposite traits, rigidity and stubbornness, are very detrimental to good governance. Flexibility does not denote instability.
  • Good listening skills -- If information is power, then the ability to hear correctly will be empowering.
  • Articulateness -- Being well-spoken is essential to leadership. The POTUS must be able to be easily understood by his or her followers.
  • People skills -- The leader of the free world must have an abiding ability to judge other people's fitness as subordinates, trustworthiness as adversaries or world partners, and vulnerabilities as followers.

Neither of the current Democratic candidates have all of these traits. But my hope is that the one with the most will be discernible to today's voters and to me in a month.

View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

My links:

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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betmo said...

i cast my vote to the wind today on super tuesday. my delegates will probably go to hillary here in new york- but i exercised my citizen's right to vote. :) good luck carol!

Carol Gee said...

betmo, thanks for your good wishes for my ability to make up my mind. Speaking of the wind, my inclinations blow like the wind. My vote will probably be based on what is going on March 4.
But I know one thing, to the "universe," your vote and my vote counts. They count because we stew about doing the right thing. Contrast that with Ann Colter's incredible dance against McCain and for Clinton. Ugh!
That's the real deal, betmo, my friend. Thanks for your comment.