Before I get started on politics, an brief comment about the Super Bowl.
A century ago, when I was warming the football bench at New Britain High School, my coach said something that stuck with me. I don't think he was smart enough to mean his comment as a lesson for life, although it is.
What he said was that when you are tackling someone, make sure he's down before you let go of him. Listen for the whistle, and then you can get up.
If the New England Patriots had minded that advice during the game, they just might have been able to pick up a victory, as undeserved as it would have been, and claim a perfect season. The New York Giants (actually the New Jersey Giants in everything except name) deserved to win that game.
As much as it pains me to say so, they outplayed the Patriots in all facets of the game. Congratulations to the Giants and to the 1972 Miami Dolphins, whose record goes on.
OK, here goes.
On the Republican side, it's easy. I covered John McCain yesterday in Fairfield and what I saw was Ronald Reagan with brains. To read my story, please go to http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/02/mccain_brings_p.php
He was personable, even telling lawyer jokes and introducing his mother. His position on the war in Iraq is troubling, but Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are downright scary.
On the Democrat side, it's more complicated. Let's say this is easy because you can't really get it wrong, except that you can. Let me explain.
Barack Obama is a bright, energetic man full of enthusiasm and great ideas that may not be really thought out. In this morning's New York Times, the columnist Paul Krugman analyzes the Obama plan for health care against the plan put up by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Krugman's analysis is that Obama's plan may seem a little cheaper than Clinton's, but doesn't cover all those who don't have insurance, while Clinton's plan will cover all 45 million or so people for about a third more money altogether, but less per covered person. Clinton's plan is just better thought out, more complete.
As Krugman points out, the chances of anyone's plan being passed by Congress in whole cloth are slim, but this bring home a lesson.
Obama is a great cheerleader and I agree the nation needs a great cheerleader right now. The nation, however, needs someone who can translate all those good ideas into fruition, not just chant "change".
As a nation, we revere John F. Kennedy. He had a lot of great ideas, but I don't think he would have been able to armtwist as many of them through Congress as Lyndon B. Johnson did.
As I said, I don't think either of these individuals would make a bad president. I wanted to ask McCain yesterday what he thought of standing in the way of history, that he wanted to prevent the election of either the first woman or the first African-American president. It's a silly question, but I would have loved to hear his answer anyway. By the way, as a trivia item, Obama would be the first president with a pronounced vowel at the end of his name.
If McCain were elected president, I would not rip my clothes and sit in ashes, but I'd rather not have him as our next president. I think Hillary Clinton would do better against McCain, and that is where I think we can get it wrong. If we choose the wrong Democrat, we get McCain.
I know it's not politically correct to say this, but I don't trust my fellow Americans not to be racists. I can't see some hillbilly or redneck going into the voting booth and voting for a black man. And there are a lot of hillbillies and rednecks out there, or at least people who think like them.
Clinton is bright, maybe even brighter than her husband, who might have been the smartest president we ever had, at least above the belt. She thinks things out, reasons them out. The next president needs to mend a lot of fences around the world that have been kicked down by our president. I think Clinton is more of a known quantity around the world.
All these things, taken alone, are not the reason to vote for someone, but together, I think they are. Turning a nation is like turning an ocean liner. It doesn't turn on a dime. You need to know that going in and saying you are going to do this or do that to lead the nation in a new direction may be fine rhetoric, but you need to have plans to do things while the ship is turning.
I just think Clinton has the better ideas for leading the nation. I am also afraid that Obama will become the 2008 version of George McGovern.
Old George was an exciting person who was going to get us out of the war in Vietnam the day after he took office. He had all kinds of ideas to turn the nation around. But Spiro Agnew's silent majority, who are the ones who actually elect the president, were scared of him and voted for Richard M. Nixon in droves. McGovern won one state -- Massachusetts -- plus the District of Columbia. He lost by 520-17 in the Electoral College.
That scares me. Along with the other reasons, that leads me to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton and urge those silly enough to care what I think to do the same.
Until next time...