As my wife and I backed out of our driveway the morning after the last Presidential election in 2004, I commented to her "John Kerry is the smartest guy in America."- Her quizzical look was the wifely equivalent for "Where is his brain now?"-
I explained to her that, with Iraq a likely no-win deal, Afghanistan a growing issue, numerous other foreign concerns, and all of that on top of an economy which was poised to tumble sooner than not, the elected President would have his work cut out for him. That said, whichever of the two Presidential Candidates who ended up sitting in the Oval Office would likely have his portrait hanging in the basement of the White House beside Presidents Richard Nixon, Zachary Taylor and Herbert Hoover by the end of his term.
Four years later, I may need to plagiarize myself for a repeat prediction.
As we approach Election Day, I have yet to meet anyone who can adamantly stand up and vouch for the stellar qualifications of either candidate. They just don't do it for me, nor, apparently, for many others. Yet, I must acknowledge that Obama has gained a tremendous following and a number of endorsements from people far more important than I.
John McCain has seven residences, give or take a mansion or two, his wife wears multi-thousand dollar outfits, and they regularly take off for jaunts on their private jet. McCain hasn't a clue as to how to pay the mortgage, fix the car and put food on the table on one meager paycheque. He has zero business background.
Watching John McCain during the debates was horrific at best, somewhat akin to witnessing an adolescent deer caught in the headlights. How will this man perform as Commander-in-Chief, standing up to a rogue Nation or Dictator, let alone the numerous crises looming here at home?
I can see little more benefit in selecting Barrack Obama. While his oratory skills are astounding, where or when has he ever run a business? Let's not even mention the obvious impossibility of his ever being able to relate to the common man. He is born of bi-racial parents and yet was raised by a white mother overseas and white grandparents, both teachers in Hawaii. There is no doubt that he is both smart and extremely well educated, but how can he relate to the average African-American, many of whom are grossly undereducated? He makes over three million dollars a year. Hardly the average African-American salary, let alone that of any average American.
Joe Biden may have pals in high places all over the world, but he has been in government all his life. He hasn't the qualifications to run a gas station, and yet he might be our future leader, the voice of the common man? I think not.
It is no secret that I originally thought that Sarah Palin had tremendous potential, note the past tense. She is, if anything, more common, perhaps more "a real person"- than the other three, but she has either been errantly harnessed by the McCain strategists or is what she appears to be, which eliminates her then and there.
So there we have it, two parties, four candidates, and out of 300 million people, the bottom of the choice barrel as far as I am concerned.
Let's face it, America is essentially bankrupt; Politicians who, for the most part, are just that, have led us for decades. They have no common sense, little to no business savvy and even the most wonderful potential statesman seems to end up with his picture on the front page in one embarrassing dilemma after another.
The untold damage to the economy from the past several weeks will take months, perhaps years, to ascertain. There is no question that numerous companies and jobs will, without a doubt, be disappearing in the not too distant future.
In the past half-century, we have been led down the path of demise by our Politicians, going from the strongest industrialized nation in the world to the largest consumer and debt-ridden nation in the world.
Many of us have superb educations and a multitude of degrees, but we can't change a light bulb to save our lives. In the coming months, scores of us will likely lose our jobs; replacing them will be difficult at best. Countless others will have to learn to use their hands and their brains for the first time in years, if not ever.
The next President--whichever, I have no idea--will have a task in front of him like no other, and I doubt if either candidate has the skill or capability to right the ship. He will likely be drummed out of office in 2012.
In the next four years we need to identify a new breed of leader, men and women with common practical business sense, people with foresight who can lead and who can look at average America and understand the problems that we are all facing.