My Perfect Candidate
All voters compromise.
Sooner or later, no matter how pure our intentions, we settle for a candidate who generally represents what we believe, but with whom we also disagree on any number of policy points.
The reasons for this compromise should be rather obvious. First, perfection remains the great elusive goal of the human race. Second, no two human brains are wired exactly the same, meaning that if we really desired the perfect candidate for each of us, then each of us would be a candidate.
Combined, these self-evident realities should be a drug strong enough to euthanize the question that’s been running like a rat on a treadmill in my brain over the last week. Should be. But that rat of a question has defied its fatal medicine, refusing to go quietly into the night until I answer it. And so I will.
Among the current candidates for President, who is (or is closest to) my vision of a perfect candidate?
Easy. His name is Ron Obamacain.
He has the eagle eyes of Ron Paul: a crystal-clear vision of pervasive liberty. He has the wide-open heart of Barack Obama: the requisite character to diffuse the boiling rage that now infects our public dialogue, domestically and internationally. And backing up all of this, he has the unflinching spine of John McCain: the strength and chutzpah to stand up and fight when necessary.
Yes, I know: I cheated. I stole DNA from three candidates to create one. So be it. If the question is unanswerable, then I’m compelled to give an unrealistic answer. On the other hand, I recognize that I (probably) won’t be able to complete this Dr. Frankenstein act before election day, so how do I actually vote?
Congressman Paul definitely intrigues me. I find in his candidacy an inspiration similar to what Andrew Sullivan found, when he penned his endorsement for the good doctor from Texas. But there are limits to my Paul fealty, for reasons of perceived insanity; reasons similar to those articulated by Andrew’s co-blogger at The Atlantic.com, Megan McArdle, and also by Sean Aqui at Midtopia.
With respect to Obama, I’ll return to Sullivan for the defining word. I disagree with much of the Senator’s politics. But he thoroughly embodies the audacious hope expressed in the title of his second book. He effectively works across the aisle. He naturally snuffs out the flames of dissent. And for all of those reasons, he seems the best answer to these days of fury in which we now live; these days when restoring our international standing is as important (if not more so) than resolving our domestic squabbles.
On the other hand, I doubt a peacemakers’ disposition and talent are enough to succeed in these dangerous times. We also need a candidate with tested and vetted strength … which brings me to McCain. The fighter. The survivor. The straight-shooter. Those recent (and apparently unfounded) rumors of impropriety notwithstanding, McCain has a track record that’s impossible to ignore. (Even Sullivan flinched for McCain before endorsing Paul, as did one of his readers.) But I also worry that McCain’s temper and/or age may get the best of him before his most redeeming qualities can produce results.
So back to reality. Once again: How do I vote on election day?
Honestly … I don’t know. At this point, I’m starting to think a protest vote for Ron Obamacain might not be such a crazy idea after all.