2008, I think, is a fine year for American voters. The almost certain Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, is a genuine hero with a distinguished autobiography, whether you agree with him on issues or not. I disagree with him on a number of things, but if he were elected I would feel the country was in good, caring hands.
The Democrats, as we saw again Tuesday night, have two able candidates--articulate, thoughtful and not, in spite of some disagreements, really very far apart on the issues. On health care, Hillary Clinton would require Americans to have it; Barack Obama would try to make it cheap enough that everyone would want to have it. But the fact is that any bill either of them, as president, would send to Congress would change and evolve a good bit before it finally passed.
The differences between the two seem more about personality that positions. There's an ease about Obama; there's also stirring rhetoric and some idealism, which might get bruised if he gets the job. But he's cool and calm and confident. Clinton seemed a bit more strident in this twentieth--can you imagine twenty?--debate. She drew a mixture of applause and boos when she complained about always having to answer first, though one could just as easily say that gave her an advantage. Obama acknowledged her attacks, saying only that he hadn't whined about them because campaigns are like that. And, of course, they are.
Next Tuesday four more states vote. Two of them--Texas and Ohio--are the big tests, lots of delegates at stake. And that may decide it. If not, maybe the superdelegates will have to do that. Lord knows the Democrats have enough of them--almost eight hundred. As Geraldine Ferraro--Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984--noted in a recent op ed piece, that's why the party created them. Old fashioned, small-d democrats like me would rather have the voters do it. But we'll see.
In the meantime, we should count our blessings. Some really good people are running this year.