So far the only presidential candidates that inspire any potential excitement from me are Ron Paul and Barack Obama. The mere fact that such disparate politicians evoke a similar response from me is less a statement about them than it is a statement about how I view the current political crisis in America. I use the word crisis because that's exactly what it is. The fact that it's been a slowly unfolding and subtle crisis does not make it less so. It is a crisis brought on by the decisions and conduct of President Bush and his administration.
It's a crisis of confidence in our basic values. A crisis for the Army, slowly being destroyed by unending war with insufficient numbers. An economic crisis that threatens severe hardship for all except the very rich.
I don't agree with even half of the policy positions of Obama and probably even less of Paul's. But both men speak the truth as they see it. They respect voters and citizens enough to lay out what they think they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. And both men appear to be motivated by a desire to serve, rather than a hunger for power. (which is not to imply that they have a lack of ego or ambition. You can't be president without both.)
There are a number of other candidates running who would probably be acceptable. They don't have a hard act to follow, really. It's quite possible I'll be faced with an unpalatable choice a year from now. I won't be a happy voter at all if I'm forced to hold my nose and vote for Hillary over Rudy.
We have a toxic brew right now. The Washington establishment has become dangerously disconnected from the general electorate. One party has become captive to an element that is unprincipled and batshit crazy. The other party is crippled because, while it has principles, it doesn't have the spine to stand up for them.
If the country does not address the crisis by electing a president who will truly grapple with it, then we will have no one to blame but ourselves when the piper presents his bill.