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… Post-election ruminations

Is today the first day of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign for 2008? Could be. It would certainly give credence to the ‘Bush dynasty’ theory. Could be that Sens. John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama (remember that name!) are also musing about running for president in the next go-around, plus former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
And then there’s Arnold. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is a huge figure on the political horizon, just waiting for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow immigrants to run for president. If we can seriously entertain the need for amendment calling for one-man-one-woman marriage, then we could surely entertain an amendment that would allow Austrian-born Mr. Universe to run for president. That’s not a bad idea because we are a nation of immigrants, and Michigan has a governor who was born in Canada who would be an excellent candidate for president, Jennifer Granholm. And she is not a ‘girlie-man!’
Surely by now Democrats of all persuasions, from the town to national levels, have realized that they must reexamine what their party stands for and what its mission is. They have to realize that an ‘extreme,’ ‘radical’ or (shudder) ‘liberal’ Democrat candidate like Howard Dean or, sorry to say, a decent man like John Kerry, cannot be elected in this country at this time because they are being perceived ‘ or defined by the opposition ‘ as people who do not have proper ‘moral values.’ Of course, they do have moral values, just not the kind that appeal to the Republican right, whose voice was heard resoundingly in this election. There are good, moderate, middle-of-the road and quite competent Democrat candidates who can step forward, candidates like Edwards, Obama, Granholm, Dick Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and Indiana’s Evan Bayh. But do they have the will to endure the campaign marathon and deal with the inevitable and immoral advertising pounding by those who claim to have superior moral values?
Will President Bush be a ‘uniter, not a divider,’ ‘a compassionate conservative’ as he promised four years ago, or will he continue to divide the country? That remains to be seen. He has a golden opportunity, and the world is waiting, holding its collective breath. VP Cheney said Bush got a mandate to pursue his conservative agenda, but some of us Democrats see it as another narrow victory by someone who needs to reach out and include everyone if he wants to be successful.
There are huge, serious, long-term issues that need to be addressed: the search for Osama bin Laden, the establishment of self-rule and defeat of the insurgency in Iraq, the question of al Qaeda detainees, the endless Israeli-Palestinian conflict, massive anti-Americanism in the Muslim world, health care for the elderly, and the astonishing federal deficit.