They both started out as underdogs. Few gave either a fighting chance of ever getting the nomination. Their opponents had it in the bag so to speak. Better financed, better spoken and in many cases with some much better ideas on what to do if given the chance to be the next President. None of the pollsters picked either to go all of the way, but lo and behold, here we are in the summer of the nominations and look who has gotten the nod; John McCain and Barrack Obama.
So how does one stay the underdog and win the hearts and minds of the American people? It won’t be easy. The ground swell of optimism, racism, patriotism, money, news conservatism, Liberalism, news coverage, and general public attention because fewer and fewer are happy with the direction of where we seem to be going right now will make them household names in places they never dreamed. Choosing an underdog to lead us out of this mess, might just be what the man in the streets thinks this country needs. But nothing could be further from the truth. The economy, the war, the debt, Iran and a host of other crisis in the making and ongoing, will give either of these candidates very little room for on the job training. The last guy did that; and look what happened.
Each now has to step up to the plate and convince the American Public they are the right man for the job. While it seems like a trivial thing, their first major job will be to pick a running mate. As Vice Presidents go, it’s not going to be your fathers job anymore, to coin an old phrase.
Few decisions this next President will make, will yield as much power as this decision. I remember reading in horror about Dan Qualye and his secret breakfast meetings with business men and lobbyists that set in motion the idea that business had an ear in the White House that they could use, to get ahead in line above the general public. How naive we are were then. But that was kids stuff compared to the power of our current Vice President.
As time goes on, we find he was a major partner in shaping America’s response to September 11. And in our going of to fight weapons of mass destruction that never existed. He is the one that has set the tone for the denial of rights to the war prisoners in Guantonomo, and asserted that a strong President is what the world needs now. That said, he is the major impetus behind Mr. Bush’s use of Signing Statement, that in effect say, if he likes the law Congress passes he will follow them; if not, he won’t.
This position has traditionally gone to a man/woman that is destined for either the footnotes of all history books or if by some quirky twist of fate, someone who may one day be called to lead the nations. The decision today however, will be to find a person who is a partner, ready to get to work right now. In this case, it appears we will have a clear underdog, picking up or picking down. It only gets more interesting after that!