National Commentary

Anything But Straight: The Presidential Race

The presidential marathon has now become a sprint. With the coming of the New Year Americans are now sizing up the candidates. The Democrats are generally excited about their choices, however, the uncertainly of having no clear frontrunner has caused a great deal of unease.

Meanwhile, the Republican crop of candidates is downright depressing. It is so bad, it could even drive someone like the ever-happy Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret, to the nearest high ledge with a bottle of prescription drugs. The GOP race is so screwed up, that Rev. Pat Robertson endorsed the guy (Giuliani) who is pro-choice and pro-gay. Well, pro-gay for a Republican, which is entirely different than actually being affirming and supportive.

Watching the debates, it almost seemed as if the Republicans and Democrats come from two different worlds. The Democrats talked about healthcare, thought the war in Iraq wasn't going so well and generally were accepting of gay and lesbian equality. Even if they were on the wrong side of marriage, which is no small deal, at least they understood the issue.

The immigration and religion obsessed Republicans were just plain pathetic – particularly on gay rights. Giuliani and Romney, formerly moderate on GLBT issues, couldn't backpedal fast enough. The former mayor of New York generally tried to avoid the issue with the message – I'm a wee bit gay positive, but, please realize I'm ashamed of my record, but too stubborn to say I was actually wrong about "those people".

The protean former governor of Massachusetts simply morphed into an unrecognizable creature. This new creation was an anti-gay, varmint blasting, anti-choice moralist that sounded as if he were from northern Alabama, instead of the most liberal state in the nation.

Really, has there ever been a phonier, flip-flopping panderer in the history of politics than "Full of Mitt" Romney? He is so plastic that I bet he has "Mattel" tattooed on his behind. If Romney became president, it would be like watching a four-year video loop of the movie I-Robot, minus the action scenes. How anyone could actually pull the lever for someone so utterly devoid of character, conscience and consistency is a mystery.

Of course, there is Mike "Huckster-Bible," who presents himself as a fresh, new face, while basing his policies on the Old Testament. It seems that each week, he regresses a century. In fact, when he shouted Happy New Year, he was ringing in 1408. Our only hope is that his time warp is irreversible and he becomes so backwards that he enters a B.C. mindset and thus must give up Christianity and adopt the ancient God Ba'al.

If Huckster-Bible actually gets the nomination, I suspect the entire GOP establishment will blow up – with mass defections of Wall Street Republicans. While, the former Arkansas governor is a rare talent on the campaign trail – I can't imagine the GOP business elite funding a man who might just start calling the Iraqis "Babylonians" at any moment. Seriously, would anyone be shocked if expediting the Rapture became a foreign policy goal under a Huckster-Bible administration?

Sure, the Democrats may sometimes fail to deliver – but the national Republican Party never fails to deliver anti-gay policies and fear driven politics that divide America and set back GLBT equality. The only road to redemption for the GOP is to start from scratch and form a new party where bigots and religious fanatics are not considered a core constituency.

As for the Democrats, the main question is whether the candidate chosen in the primaries will reach his or her leadership potential?

Would Obama be a revolutionary president that heals divisions and restores credibility to America? Or, he would be a rhetorically gifted Jimmy Carter – inexperienced in foreign policy and too weak to reach his full potential?

Would Hillary Clinton return to her idealistic youth and create real and lasting change? Or, was she so mentally scarred by her healthcare defeat and her husband's gays in the military debacle – that she is now cautious to the point of irrelevance?

Would John Edwards really take on fat cat CEO's and fight for the little guy – or simply take their votes for granted on the way to the White House?

The good news is that I think a Democrat is likely to win. The bad news is that if we get a Republican, the dollar has become so weak under Bush that few of us can afford to leave. If being trapped in Huckster-Bible Land is not an incentive to get off the couch and vote – I'm not sure what is.