Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups
that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster
that dictates every move we make.
--"Republicans and our Enemies," Joe Biden
I learned our government must be strong
It's always right and never wrong!
Our leaders are the finest men
And we elect them again and again
--What Did you Learn in School Today? Tom Paxton
No people ever recognize their dictator
in advance. He never stands for election
on the platform of dictatorship.
He always represents himself as the instrument
[of] the Incorporated National Will
For now we see through a glass, darkly
--1 Corinthians 13:12
While shop talk at Ranger usually involves counterinsurgency thinking and does not politick on behalf of any of the candidates, still Ranger is concerned with the '08 Presidential candidates and spends time pondering the vagaries of the campaign.
We have been impressed with the mediocrity of the pool of candidates, which has caused consternation about America's course. After some thought, Ranger concludes that the U.S. is going where it always goes -- the great middlin' course, as we embrace mediocrity in our political leaders.
When thinking of historical examples of Presidential greatness, one is brought to mind of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt, and FDR. Honorable mentions go to Polk, Truman and perhaps LBJ. But there it is: six names jump out of the history books as great presidential exemplars.
So what does that leave us? That's right, 36 mediocre-to-middling and One Absolute Disaster (OAD) who have served as chief executives of this nation. One could take the scientific view and argue that like a supernova, we are now entering our contraction phase, with the OAD hastening the whittling down to size.
The law of averages and our profound middling tendencies say that our history will be fair-to-middling, all things considered. Pragmatically, we have had quite a few "up times," so we need some down to balance things out; regression towards the mean. We just wish it hadn't happened on our watch.
Obviously America gets the leaders it deserves, and Obama and McCain are what it boils down to in this critical election. Last week proves an example of this apothegm: lame duck George Bush is running around Europe on a farewell tour to cement his reputation, and all he can focus on is Iran.
Here is a news flash: America faces myriad issues of concern to our citizenry, and Iran is on the bottom of the list. We all know President Bush's weaknesses, and they are all overcome by events unless he bombs Iran before leaving office.
The real question Americans should be asking is: Will Obama or McCain address the real issues facing the U.S. citizen daily?