I have never been much of a political mongrel, sniffing after every bit of political gossip, sidling up to those in power to get scraps, or barking up and down the street letting everyone know where I stand. But I can’t keep my nose out of this Presidential race. It is exciting.

It started with so many candidates and no clear front runner, since no former Presidents or Vice Presidents were running. That helped spur people’s interest, especially those who probably would have paid attention only in the last days of October. Good thing too, or they would have missed a diverse group of Presidential hopefuls that looks more like a cast for an Ocean’s Eleven movie. One was a movie star a la Ronald Reagan. One was a rich Mormon from the East Coast. One was a former New York City mayor known for his leadership during the September 11th attacks. One is a former Presidential hopeful and military hero. One is a former minister. If that wasn’t enough, two other candidates are challenging history. One is a young black man. One is a woman, who also happens to be the wife of a popular former President.

It’s like a buffet. So many different candidates to choose from. But which choice is going to sit the best with us after we have swallowed?

John McCain is old. He looks old. I have nothing against the elderly, but it is hard for me to want someone that old as my President, if only because of the unconscious, and perhaps wrong, feeling that old means feeble. I don’t want a feeble President. Yet, he does have experience, and his is comeback story. And I like the white hair. Presidents should have white hair. Didn’t George Washington have white hair?

His competition for the Republican nomination is sure underdog. Mike Huckabee. I like the fact that Huckabee is a former minister. Being a minister, makes me think he might be honest and sincere and that he would make moral decisions. Hey, he might even be guided in his decisions by a higher power. I would certainly hope so. But anytime someone announces their beliefs there are always those that watch every step, every expression just for the chance to denounce them or call them a hypocrite. If he won the election, I am sure we would need to remind people how to forgive. I haven’t heard him preach, but I wonder if he is a fire and brimstone preacher. That would be cool to have in a President.

On the Democratic side, either candidate will be making history. Barack Obama is a young black man. But youth lends itself to inexperience and a lot of people won’t vote for him because of that. They think he needs some seasoning and would welcome him running again in four years. I am not sure I agree with that. He is young, but sometimes youth serves in vigor and fresh ideas, what age and experience cannot. And this country certainly needs a turn around. I hope the election doesn’t come down to race though. It will be hard for some not to feel a special kinship, to identify with him because of the color of his skin and hope that at last they will have a President who truly understands them.

I can understand the feeling. Imagine you have two equally accomplished candidates. One is a dog and one is a cat. The dogs will always vote for another dog to lead them. And likewise, the cats will always vote for a cat. This is an extreme example, but it does explain the unconscious thinking that determines the choice of a lot of voters.

Which brings us to the next candidate, Hillary Clinton. A lot of women will vote for her in the same way a lot of people will vote for Obama. Cats vote for cats. Dogs vote for dogs. Clinton has a lot of experience. She knows how to be a leader, knows her way around the White House and more about the Presidency than any other candidate. She has name power too, but it feels like she sits in the shadow of her husband a little too much. And a lot of people still have a bad aftertaste in their mouths from the indiscretions of her husband.

I am not sure which candidate I want to win. I think there are benefits and shortcomings with each one. But I do know that if you want to win the Presidency, you need to capture people’s imagination. Which one will inspire us with the possibility of our own future?

© Seth Crossman