The test in the West

OK, Nevada, time for your close-up. Get that lettuce outta your teeth.

Here we go. Caucus time in the ole sportlight spotlight, as we get to play our part in the nomination drama that will captivate the country for at least the next couple of weeks. I say the next couple of weeks because who knows how much drama will remain after 2,000 delegates get gobbled up on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5?

It appears the Democratic field has already been pared-down, for all intents and purposes, to three contenders. And the way the pundits are talking, Mr. Edwards better get something going muy pronto. Sorry about that, misters Dodd, Biden, Richardson and Kucinich. Yes, you all got hosed to some degree or another in terms of second-rate media coverage, which was somewhat unfortunate. See ya in 2012. Maybe.

So, of the three that remain, what can you say? Who stands out? Actually, I’m fine with any and all. Absolutely no problem. Hillary? Cool. She’s no dummy, she’s no cream puff, and, oh yeah, she was living in the White House when this country went through quite a nice little 8-year stretch. That experience simply can’t be discounted or underestimated. She’s been there. She’s already felt the heat. Obama? I don’t give a bug burp how green the guy is. He’s at times good, and at times downright brilliant. When I look at him and his wife, Michelle, I sometimes think I’m looking at the new John and Jackie, as in Kennedy (I wonder if it’s an accident that Michelle sports that neo-Jackie flip-up hairdo?) Edwards? Fine. Sure. Bring him on. Anybody who gets attacked regularly by Ann “Sea Hag” Coulter has gotta be sayin’ something agreeable.

The Republicans are having their little shindig on Saturday, too. Here’s the one thing I can say about their act. Whomever they nominate, he’ll be an improvement over the status quo. As long as it’s not that madman from Colorado, Tom Tancredo. He has dropped out of the race hasn’t he?

One of the ripples that will emanate from the upcoming presidential contest is the judgment of the planet. As internationally smudged as our image has been over the last eight years, we should remember that that image could be quickly repaired or further funked up by whomever we choose to set up shop in the White House. The election of a woman or a black man would probably be seen around the world as a surprisingly pleasant sign that America is (1) fed up with Neo-conservative Cowboy-style Yahooism, and (2) eager to pull its head out of its ass.

No matter which of the Democrats gets the nod from the Nevada caucus and goes on to run for the Big House, it seems safe to say that he or she will recognize this election really comes down to one crucially important issue in this country—some serious, substantial, and meaningful repair work on a rather tattered and battered middle class.