"The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it up or flee from it." Voltaire
Boy-o-boy-o-boy! The presidential political races are heating up, especially on the Republican side. The McCainiacs are feeling their oats and the Hubba Dubyas are wondering what the hell's happening. With things heating up this quickly, by election time we voters will be thoroughly bored.
Although it's early, let's sift through the hype and take a look at Bush and McCain. As always, I'm going to be upfront with you and say that neither George Dubya nor John McCain are my first choices for president. But I will vigorously support either of them should one or the other get the Republican nomination. There is no way in God's world I could ever vote for the juiceless eunuch or that tired big-government liberal, Bill Bradley.
Let's take a brief look at John McCain: I like this man immensely, even though his ideas on campaign finance reform are insincere and out in left field. But the campaign finance issue really isn't all that important because every major poll in the country shows campaign reform at the bottom of the list of important issues in the minds of most Americans.
McCain certainly knows Washington, D.C., and he has the stamina, the guts, the decency, and the values we citizens want in our president. But in the moxie department, moxie being New York slang for street smarts, I don't see the "other" kind of toughness that I'd like in my president; the ruthlessness that is sometimes called for during trying times. Although John McCain is a lot smarter than Jimmy Carter ever was, I sense a Carter-like tendency to want to be loved. This is where Harry Truman was one of the best leaders in my lifetime. He was a hard-nosed SOB when he had to be and to hell with being loved!
Looking at George W. Bush, there's no question of his not being an intellectual giant. But Adlai Stevenson was a great intellect and I thank our lucky stars he didn't get elected president when he ran against Eisenhower. And Woodrow Wilson was a renowned intellectual and his World War I and post World War I screw-ups are legendary.
No, the presidency doesn't call for "Jeopardy" types. It calls for a cool, politically savvy head, coupled with street smarts, the ability to listen and learn, and the capacity for ruthlessness when needed. Interestingly, Bill Clinton has all of these attributes, but without character, decency, core values and knowing right from wrong, these attributes are of no lasting value.
Getting back to George Dubya, I think he has more natural leadership ability than his father ever had. Is he sometimes arrogant, flippant, detached? Perhaps, but you younger citizens should have seen the likes of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was the closest thing to a monarch this country's ever had, being elected four times as president, who was money-born with a royalty complex, was blatantly autocratic, and was the most loved president since George Washington. Yes, I believe that George W. Bush's integrity and core values are on a par with John McCain's.
Now, having briefly looked at the two Republican front runners, let's examine my own choice for president and how he might possibly stall the Republican nomination. Yes, you've seen this before if you read my columns. As a matter of fact, my previous columns on this subject prompted some readers to ask if I'd been smoking Maui-wowie or drinking too much Kickapoo joy juice. Neither one! Just remember, you heard it here first.
My choice for president is Colin Powell. And I think it's possible that we'll have a deadlocked Republican convention, and if we do, then Colin Powell could well be the only compromise acceptable to the McCain and Bush forces.
After all, the Republicans want to win, and with Powell, there's no doubt about winning. McCain will not settle for VP to Bush, nor vice versa.
Forget all you've heard about Powell not wanting to run. He wants to be the nation's first black president, and his wife will help him all she can. The only reason he didn't run in the primaries is he didn't want to divide the black community by letting himself get pummeled by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton who regard him as an "Uncle Tom." Jackson, himself, has visions of being our first black president. (Yuccch!) But if Colin Powell gets the Republican nomination by acclimation then Jackson can't afford to hurt him and risk taking the blame should Powell lose.
Think about it. Powell is a proven leader, a great role model for blacks and whites. And making the rank of four-star general takes as much political savvy as any public office. Although he isn't as conservative as I'd like, he has the right stuff, including intellect, and he can easily win. By the way, I hope you aren't fooled into thinking the mainstream media wants any Republican president. Their love affair with McCain is only a ploy to get rid of Bush, whom they fear.
Bob Thomas is a Carson City businessman, local curmudgeon and former member of the Carson City School Board and Nevada State Assembly.