For nearly my entire life, I have been aware that there’s no explaining a large segment of the population. For instance, even as a kid, I found myself wondering why people would choose to drive really ugly cars, and, what’s more, I’m still wondering. We all can’t afford to drive Jaguars or Porsches, but we always have a choice when it comes to whether the car is red or blue or black. So how is it that Detroit would bring out pea green Fords or dismal gray Chevys and know there would be a market for them? It’s not as if they were sold at a discount. I would see people drive these putrid-colored vehicles and wonder if, just possibly, they were all colorblind.
That’s how I’ve come to view people’s presidential preferences. Granted, being a conservative, I favor the GOP. But how can Democratic voters look at Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich, and not gag? God knows that’s how I feel about Ron Paul. It confounds me that after his gaffe during the first Republican debate, he didn’t simply shrivel up and disappear. The very idea that a U.S. congressman could blame the tragedy of 9/11 on American foreign policy, suggesting that if we only pulled our troops out of Iraq, we’d have peace in our time, displays such blithering idiocy, it makes John Edwards look like a deep thinker.
Long before Desert Storm, someone should remind Rep. Paul, we were having our bases bombed and our citizens taken hostage. And what does he make of Islamic terrorism in Bali, France, the Philippines, Japan, Spain and Russia, not to mention the barbaric response to newspaper cartoons and teddy bears?
It’s a strange thing about third party candidates that they invariably serve the interests of those whom they allegedly oppose. In ’92 and ’96, Ross Perot did more to help Clinton get elected than Al Gore did. In 2000, it may well have been Ralph Nader’s candidacy, not Florida, that provided George Bush with his actual margin of victory.
At this juncture, though, the wild card in the 2008 election is a woman named Oprah Winfrey. Not being a devotee of afternoon television, I’ve never watched her show. What I know about her, I’ve gleaned over the years from reading tabloid headlines while standing in checkout lines at the supermarket. So, I know she’s a billionaire who has lost and gained and lost about 4,000 pounds over the years, and I also know that she’s had the world’s longest engagement to someone named Stedman.
A while back, though, I read a rather astonishing item in the newspaper. It seems she had declared that the only presidential candidate who would be allowed on her show was the junior -- the very junior -- senator from Illinois. Now I could understand that, being a Democrat, she wouldn’t want to put out the welcome mat for Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee, McCain or Thompson. But why carry water for Obama, but not Hillary Clinton or John Edwards? From my vantage point, I can’t see a scintilla of difference in their politics. They’re all left-wingers, after all, who believe that raising taxes is the solution to all problems.
If a Mormon TV talk show host refused to have any of the candidates on his show other than Mitt Romney or if Larry King banished everyone who wasn’t Jewish from his domain, I’m dead certain he’d face universal condemnation. So how is it that Oprah goes so far as to hit the hustings with Obama and nobody even says “Boo”?