Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Running in Place

Thursday night we will finally have some numbers, but will they tell us anything about where this bizarre election race is going?

Duration aside, the sight of more than a dozen people running for the White House this past year has seemed more an exercise in attrition than a political marathon--candidates huffing and puffing on treadmills, some falling off (Giuliani) and then climbing back on (McCain and Edwards), some watching each step carefully (Clinton and Romney) while others flaunt their freshness by picking up the pace (Huckabee and Obama). Fred Thompson strolls at the lowest setting, and Ron Paul runs around outside the gym, cussing out the machines.

But is any of this getting them--or us--anywhere? The rapid rise and fall of poll numbers suggests that, instead of choosing, voters are still shopping around and changing their minds as they watch and wait for someone to get off the track to nowhere and head in a direction that inspires them to follow.

Unless some of the candidates start taking such risks instead of pandering to their bases, they will keep running in circles until we finally pick a president out of exhaustion rather than with hope for the future.

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