Do you remember the Seven Dwarfs? How about “the Pygmies”?
I’m not referring to Disney characters or little people. I am referring to names that whole fields of Presidential candidates have been called. Judging from that, they must have been an underwhelming bunch.
Yet, of all the things that the candidates of 2008 have been called – or called each other –“pygmy” is not one. This has been the most impressive set of candidates in my life time.
Perhaps it is the fact that there is no incumbent or “heir” to the position this time. Perhaps the stars are aligned just right. Whatever the reason, we have been blessed by the quality of the candidates. Even some of those who never had a chance – Senators Biden and Dodd come to mind – had impressive credentials. And whatever you may think of their views on the issues, it is hard to say that John McCain or Mitt Romney have no resumes to offer. McCain is a legitimate hero with unquestioned integrity. Mitt Romney turned a failing Olympics around and gets good marks for his time as Governor of Massachusetts. There are other kinds of qualifications. No one has captured the imagination of young people like Barak Obama, not since JFK. And Hillary Clinton has proved to be a very effective Senator, something her critics doubted. One wonders if she would be as disliked in some quarters if she were incompetent. (The women’s libber in me notes that able women tend to scare some people.)
While there were a few candidates who appeared a bit sketchy – Sen. Gravel is an example with which few would argue – there were more with impressive credentials that I have not mentioned; too many for a short commentary.
That’s the point. Too often we complain bitterly about what is wrong and just take what’s right for granted. Too bad.
This election – even as the candidates are dwindling in number as the primaries do their work – has been filled with a very classy group of candidates. We should stop for a moment or two and enjoy it. Judging by the past, we may not see its like again for a very long time.