Editor’s Note

Opinion from the Editor's desk

  • Friday, October 3, 2008 4:23am
  • Opinion
Editor's Note

It’s unfortunate that the man best suited to be president of the


United States won’t touch the job with a 10-foot pole.


During the recent Republican National Convention, millions of


Americans _ if they weren’t too busy watching the next houseguest get kicked


off “Big Brother” _ watched Texas Gov. George W. Bush accept his


party’s presidential nomination.


His speech, despite being shrouded in the warm-and-fuzzy


guise of “compassionate conservatism,”


was a yawner. Bush said the same things he’s been saying for months, only


this time to a mob of people sporting Stetsons and screaming


“Yeee haaaah!” every time Dubya took a swipe at the Clinton-Gore team.


Bush is about as electrifying as a discarded battery (of course,


Vice President Al Gore is no live wire, either). And while I believe Bush


wants to see a “kinder, gentler”


Republican Party, as his father might word it, it still has a long way to go before it


can shed its country-club, anti-tolerant image.


I hope those Americans who tuned in however briefly for Bush’s


speech watched the convention on its opening night. For taking the podium


was the country’s best chance of uniting its populace, a man who can


straddle the racial, economic and political divides that separate Americans.


It was former Gen. Colin Powell. But, like I said, he doesn’t want


the job.


Comparing Powell to Bush is like asking somebody which James


Bond movie they want to watch on TBS. Sure, Timothy Dalton is not


altogether horrible in “The Living Daylights,”


but I’d pick Sean Connery in


“Goldfinger” any day of the week and twice on


Sundays.


Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national


security advisor to the White House, has said in the past that the stresses of


running for president would be too much to bear for his family, and he


lacked the passion for the job. He seems content to be chairman of


America’s Promise, an Alexandria, Va.based non-profit organization dedicated


to “strengthening the character and competence” of girls and boys across


the country, as it states on its Web site.


Watching him thunder away at the Republican National Convention as


he chastised party members for prostrating themselves before


special-interest groups, I couldn’t help but think


that a man brazen enough to hold his own party over the fire would be a


good commander in chief in 2004, especially in an era when polling


numbers decide public policy.


And then there’s the I-word conservatives have been throwing


around like so many pieces of parade candy: integrity. President Clinton’s


political barker, James Carville, was right eight years ago when he


famously squawked: “It’s the economy,


stupid.” American factories are humming along at unprecedented paces,


jobs grow as if on the proverbial tree and despite the federal government’s


threat to turn Microsoft Corp. into a five-and-dime operation, Bill Gates still


has enough money to buy the entire Southern Hemisphere.


But during this economic explosion, Clinton, through a series of


incredibly dubious and downright deplorable acts, managed to one-up


the financial good times and make the Oval Office the punchline of jokes


told at watercoolers throughout the country. In fact, it got so bad, former


Vice President Dan Quayle thought he could run for president.


Bush said the Clinton administration, and the seeming incessant


messes its gotten itself into, was time


“squandered.” But would electing the


Texas governor to the highest office in the land usher in a new Golden Age


of American politics? In one word: fugettaboudit.


Can a man who oversees more criminals put to death than any


other state in the nation really put the “compassion” in compassionate


conservatism? Can a man who trumpets education even though many in his


state say he has done nothing to improve kindergarten and


prekindergarten funding really change the way the


educational system deals with students?


That’s not to say Powell holds a magic bullet for the societal ills


faced by many Americans. But with his persona comes a sense of consensus.


Republicans like him, independent voters like him, and even Democrats


like him, with former GOP Chairman Rich Bond going so far as to say, “Al


Gore would die and go to heaven if he could get Colin Powell to stand behind


him and his campaign.”


This becomes especially important at a time when more Americans


would prefer to take in an arena football game than go vote. In the past two


elections, Clinton hasn’t garnered more than 50 percent of the national ballots. It


won’t get much better if the more cynical members of the voting public


continue to; A) stay at home, or B) vote for their pet rock.


Americans’ displeasure with Republicans and Democrats across


the political spectrum is so bad that if Minnesota Gov. Jesse “The


Body” Ventura were to enter the race, the nation might have to hold a


runoff election _ or stage the first-ever WWF “Elect This! Fall Brawl” _ to


decide the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


As a soldier, general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we


know Powell has had to make tough decisions in his life. As chairman


of America’s Promise, we know he speaks to parents’ concerns about


the future of their children. As an African-American, we know he epitomizes


the dreams of many who have had to endure generations-old racism and


inequality.


As an American, we know he has risen above adversity to earn the


respect of people the world over.


I hope he finds the passion before 2004. As people become


increasingly disillusioned with the current state


of politics, I think his services will be needed more than ever before.



Rochford is the editor at the Snoqualmie Valley Record. You


can send comments to him at editor1@valleyrecord.com, or


by mail at P.O. Box 300, Snoqualmie, WA 98065.


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