As I’ve expressed a number of times in the last few days — although it occurs to me it’s been on video or live TV mostly, and it’s past time I say it in writing if I haven’t already — my fondest wish for the fall is that John McCain will face Barack Obama. It would be a "no-lose proposition for the nation."
In fact, it would be the best choice of my adult lifetime. Yeah, I liked both Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford pretty much. And I had nothing particular against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 92. But this would be the first time I was ever positively enthusiastic about either eventuality. As I’ve spoken about it in recent days, I’ve had to stop myself several times from referring to it as a "ticket," and remember to say "on the same BALLOT" instead.
As to which I’d prefer — well, I don’t know which I’d prefer. If I’m to be consistent with my constant thought of the past eight years, McCain is the man. Going into last week, I was pretty sure I still preferred him, Obama (AND Clinton) being so much less experienced. There is also his position on the war, which almost exactly matches my own.
But the excitement of the last few days has made me wonder about that. And if Obama wins the nomination — with the Super Tuesday odds still against him at this point — I’ll be even more pumped about his ability to lead us into a new kind of politics.
None of that will diminish my deep respect for McCain. But once my dream is realized — if both are nominees — I’ll be able to compare them more objectively than I can now. Now, I’m just rooting for both of them.
But if only ONE of them is nominated — say, we end up with Obama vs. Romney, or McCain vs. Clinton — that makes my own, personal preference for endorsement the easiest I’ve ever experienced. And I think it would be just as easy for the nation, because the two I prefer are the ONLY ones with appeal among independents and crossover voters.
Then, of course, if NEITHER is nominated… well, that would be what we’re used to, wouldn’t it: A bitter choice between bad and worse. Surely this country can do better than that, for once.
After what we’ve seen happen in South Carolina, my hope is higher than ever for a far better choice for the nation than we have seen in many decades.