George W. Bush has been a lameduck president since about the middle of 2005. He came into office on a whim, got a chance to basically do whatever he wanted after 9/11, and watched his presidency die in three simple steps: the failure of his post-electoral victory plan to reform Social Security, the realization that there was no plan B for Iraq, and the inability of our authorities to react appropriately to Hurricane Katrina.
Now that I am back here in the US I can feel the necessity for leadership. People are extremely tired of the Bush Administration. Unlike in 2002, where you might get beat up for saying anything bad about Bush, in 2007 people just can't wait until this presidency is over.
Of all the Democratic candidates in the race, the one I oddly find myself leaning towards is Barack Obama. I say 'oddly' because I think that Senator Obama has gone far on his charisma and has produced relatively little. Yet at the same time it is his inexperience coupled with his ambition that makes me believe that an Obama presidency might achieve what no post-Nixon presidency has managed to do: Bury the Nixon Administration, once and for all.
"Nixon?" You might say. "His presidency was up in 1974 and he's been dead since 1993!" Yes, yes, I know that Nixon is dead. But all the senior players in the current Bush administration, in Washington in general -- Cheney, Wolfowitz, Gates -- they all go back to the Nixon-Ford Administrations. Who did George W. Bush sit next to at the Republican National Convention in Miami in 1972? Why it was Donald Rumsfeld, of course. This grouping has been in and out of power for nearly 40 years. And this is the end of their tenure in the driver's seat.
With Obama you get a guy who has been in politics for a relatively short amount of time -- unlike Hillary Clinton -- and who by the virtue of defeating Clinton in the primaries will have alienated the other power base in Washington -- the Clintonistas -- the Paul Begalas, James Carvilles, Sandy Bergers, et al.
We could have a president that's only 18 years older than I am, who is so post-Baby Boomer politics that he probably can't even remember the Kennedy Assassination, let alone get into arguments about whether he served or got a deferment. This is an opportunity to bury aging camps of political opportunists and the culture wars -- if America is ready. I doubt it will be, but let's see what happens between now and November 2008.