Some Democrats are talking about running Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.
Okay. Let's all step back and take a deep breath. And realize that the "other" Clinton is way too liberal to be elected in today's political climate.
What America needs is a candidate, Republican, Democratic, or other (and we'd all be better off with "other," I suspect), who fits these criteria:
*Realizes the United States can't settle Iraq's internal ethnic conflicts. Ever. They've raged for thousands of years and no outsiders, as well-meaning as they may be, can end them. Stick around long enough to get a new government installed, declare victory (which is true, since the U.S. will have overseen transition to a democracy), and get out. That government will certainly collapse within a short time, but the U.S. will have done its part and can walk away with heads held high -- and Americans will not have lost their lives in vain.
*Respects and supports the military enough to reserve them for when the country's freedom is truly threatened or when a friendly country seriously needs our help. And who doesn't think of our soldiers as pawns to be used for political purposes.
*Stands up to big business, especially big oil. It's the American way for corporations to make profits. But a retirement payoff of $400 million, as one infamous Exxon Mobil executive received, is too much. And using the flimsiest excuse to raise gas prices is, symbolically, the same as a middle finger thrown in our face.
Start penalizing Big Oil officials personally as individuals, rather than their industry in general, and you'll see prices tumble. Gotta protect the mansion, yacht and Mercedes, you know. That won't happen, but it's a nice thought.
*Realizes that, for law-abiding Americans, it's not the government's business who we call on the telephone. Only criminals' or terrorists' calls should be monitored or listed.
*Believes in protecting the American -- as in citizens -- worker. Someone who doesn't believe in outsourcing jobs or importing workers. And someone with guts enough to stand up to industries which, while underpaying to an extreme, wrongfully berate Americans for refusing to work cheaply.
*Supports legal immigration -- America can always use diversity -- but is willing not only to prosecute illegal aliens, but those who conspire to bring them in.
*Allows Americans to express themselves without labeling anyone who disagrees with the powers that be as a traitor or unpatriotic.
*Has enough morality to ignore lobbyists. Decisions should be based on what's right for all, not on bribery -- which is what lobbying borders on.
*Believes in openness in government. The Bush administration has been reclassifying documents, refusing to hand over information, operating behind closed doors (such as who was involved in the energy summit a few years ago) and claiming virtually everything must be kept secret in the name of "homeland security."
Government operates largely on our tax dollars. So we have the right to know everything that doesn't endanger lives.
*Supports what's best for all, not what's best for their political party or for their largest contributors. Too many in Congress seem to be concerned only with keeping big business happy so the donations will keep rolling in and stock prices will remain high.
What about the majority of Americans who aren't heavy investors? For the average working person, prices go up and up and up as incomes stagnate -- but as long as the wealthy can still afford their desires, no one else matters. That needs to change.
*Someone with a moderate enough view of liability to realize that, while businesses shouldn't have to deal with nuisance lawsuits, sometimes individuals have been legitimately wronged -- as in some medical malpractice cases. Don't take away the right to penalize those who are too stupid, arrogant or both to learn their lesson any other way.
*And, above all, someone who truly cares about people, not money or power. That's what the United States is, or at least should be, all about.
David Melson is a Times-Gazette copy editor/staff writer. Responses welcome: email@example.com .