When it comes to political figures, it’s been quite a while since anything has come down the pike to make me say “Well isn’t that special?”. But my Church Lady attitude may be changing, because it appears Elizabeth Dole may make a run for the Republican nomination for President in 2000.
I hope she takes the plunge. I think it’s about time we had a female Chief Executive. I would never vote for a candidate based on their sex, but Dole seems to generate a hundred times more interest than her husband ever did. In fact, there are a number of interesting potential Republican candidates right now, but Dole excites me the most.
It’s very early in the 2000 election process; she hasn’t declared herself a candidate, and her positions on most issues have not been officially stated. Which is fine at this point. But when I think of the qualities of a good President, she seems to fit the bill. Substance and charm. Intelligent, articulate, humorous, and gracious. I’ve admired her for years. She’s been a member of five Presidential administrations, served as Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Labor, and has led the American Red Cross to a record $562 million in fund-raising while leading 30,700 paid and 1.3 volunteer members of the organization. Degrees from Duke and Harvard Law (with honors). She’s established scholarship funds, programs for at-risk children, and is purportedly one of the world’s ten most admired women. It’s rare to find a candidate with a long and varied history of high-level government service without also finding a career politician, but she has managed to walk that rather thin line.
It would be ironic if the first female to ever appear as a presidential candidate for a major political party was a Republican. Contemporary political wisdom has just assumed it would be a Democrat. Perhaps there hasn’t been a Democrat because of 1984. No, not the book–the election, silly. I’ve run into a lot of people who think that Mondale lost in ’84 because he had Ferraro on the ticket with him. But as far as I can tell, Mondale lost because people didn’t want Mondale in the Oval Office. I don’t think a running mate has ever been responsible for sinking a ticket. Hell, if V.P.s were that important, Bush would have never been elected in ’88. But what do I know?
Anyway, though I’m certainly getting way ahead of things here, I hope Dole runs. You know, Christine Todd Whitman (governor of New Jersey) would be another excellent female candidate. Also Republican, for what it’s worth. Shocking.