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Beyond Electability

George W. Bush proved to be more electable than John Kerrey and Al Gore. Bill Clinton was more electable than George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole. I wouldn't call either a great leader. & But they were both electable, and both became two-term presidents.

They knew how to raise money. They had records absent of major failures, which also seems to mean absent of significant risk. &

Hillary Clinton can talk all she wants about her gas tax holiday. Pandering or not, and I think it is, at the end of the day it's still just talk. Until she's leading the fight on the senate floor for the Clinton-McCain Tax Holiday Bill, or the Health Care Reform Act, or the abolition of Don't Ask-Don't Tell, her rhetoric exposes her to no risk of failure. Even voters like to be pandered from time to time, even if results would be nicer.

While I disagree with the presumptive Republican nominee on a number of issues, Senator McCain has been a risk-taker during his career, and I can respect that quality. He seems to believe that some causes are worth fighting for, whether it's campaign finance reform or the torture of prisoners. &

President Bush is going to leave many issues unresolved when he finishes his second term in January 2009. & Among others, the wars in Iraq will probably be continuing, the disposition of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay will probably be unresolved, and the economic problems caused by the current state of the housing and credit markets will still need correction. &

Hopefully we'll have a president taking office that will focus more on resolving these issues than just using them to embarrass his or her opposition. &

-Citizen Voices blogger Chuck Hartley is an attorney who lives in Escondido.

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