Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fred's done

Well, crap:

Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.

This doesn't come as much of a shock - Fred got into the race late, never had the organization to match some of the other candidates, and, despite early public enthusiasm, never really caught fire. He didn't do well in any of the early primaries, and a third-place finish in South Carolina was the final blow.

It's sad, because I think Fred was the best the Republicans had to offer. Even before he made it official, though, I was already thinking about where my vote would go if he was a non-factor by the time the Virginia primary rolls around on February 12. But where should it go? Romney's history of changing positions leaves me cold. Giuliani isn't much of a conservative. McCain is a fairly principled man, as politicians go, and I can disagree with him while still respecting him - but I disagree with him on a number of important things. Huckabee is a good preacher, but when it comes to preachers and politics I think the Republic of Texas got it right in the Constitution of 1836:

Ministers of the gospel being, by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions, therefore, no minister of the gospel or priest of any denomination whatever shall be eligible to the office of the Executive of the Republic, nor to a seat of either branch of the Congress of the same.

I don't know who I'm going to vote for, and I wonder if it really matters, and if the Reagan coalition is really dead. Because as I look at the remaining candidates I wonder:

Where are the conservatives?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

One to go

"White flag! One more time around!"

If the great racing announcer Ken Squier had the call for my college career, that's what we'd be hearing right about now. Tomorrow I begin the last semester of my life as an undergraduate. It has been, as I half-jokingly tell people, "the greatest ten years of my life."

And very soon it will be over.

It has not been an easy road. Through a great many faults of my own, it has taken far longer than it ought to have taken - but for all that, they have been good years. I've learned a lot about life. About people. About myself.

I've even learned a little about geography.

There is the urge to make of this a retrospective, which it cannot be. I am not yet there. There is still one more lap to be run, one more semester to be completed. But the finish line is very nearly in sight.

Last semester was the most challenging of all of them - never have your gall bladder removed in the middle of a semester in which you're taking six classes totalling 18 credit hours - and when I finished it, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Why? Because, as the late, great Jim Valvano used to say of the NCAA Tournament, last fall I had to "survive and advance." That was my motto throughout the fall. Survive and advance.

In another life, I would have failed. But I am not now that person whom I was then.

I survived. I advanced.

And so we come to the spring. Last fall, I did not allow myself to look beyond December, beyond the goals I had for that semester. Now, when I look to the goals of a semester, I see the goals of a decade about to be fulfilled.

White flag. One more to go.