Only 12 months left to ponder the candidates

Published 9:29 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

After what seems like a surreal and sometimes silly summer, it’s now time to start seriously observing and analyzing the candidates for president.

We still have a very large field of candidates from which to choose.

Many in this group have no real chance of becoming president, yet they enjoy attention, which should go to more serious candidates.

My principal objection to this surreal and silly campaign season is Donald Trump. He alienated me irrevocably when he insulted John McCain’s war record.

Who is he to say that Sen. McCain is not a “real” hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese?

After Senator McCain’s jet was shot down over North Vietnam, what did Trump expect him to do? Commander McCain was offered early release by the North Vietnamese and he refused because other prisoners had been there longer. That’s heroic! I don’t care what Donald Trump thinks.

Then there is his recent insult of Dr. Ben Carson about his religion. He said about Dr. Carson, who is a Seventh Day Adventist, that he didn’t know about Seventh Day Adventists. What does that mean? To me, he is comparing his mainstream Presbyterian Church with Seventh Day Adventists by such an open-ended comment.

Is he casting doubt on the validity of Dr. Carson’s beliefs? Besides hurling insults, his only other qualification for public office is that he is, “really, really rich.”

Coincidentally, he’s a big proponent of eminent domain, which is the state seizing private property for its use. He even defends the example of the lady whom Trump wanted to evict so he could expand the parking lot of one his casinos!

He’s never held public office. Every time someone wants him to state his detailed policies, he says that he won’t reveal his plans because he wants to surprise his potential opponents! Really? The list of his critical deficiencies goes on and on, yet he is near the top of the Republican field by most polls.

On the Democratic side, the situation is only marginally better.

The probable candidate, Hillary Clinton, has extreme problems with her personal trustworthiness. In plain talk that means she has lied a lot about important things. How can any candidate survive that problem?

At least she has a public record, but how well has she done? She failed miserably to craft a health care program in her husband’s administration. As senator, she did receive good marks for her willingness to work hard on her constituents’ needs and concerns. However, as Secretary of State, what good thing did she do? Can anybody name one thing?

On the negative side of the tally sheet, her “reset” with the Russians was embarrassing and a failure. Then there is the private server for her official e-mail correspondence. That alone should disqualify her from handling classified information ever again and may send her to prison.

How can the government entrust its most secret information to her? What will Democrats do if she is indicted? Will they nominate a septuagenarian socialist?

Back on the Republican side, if Trump’s support collapses, what will that party do? Will they nominate a neurosurgeon with no political experience?

Will they nominate one of the lessor candidates polling less than 10 percent of the national Republican vote?

I want to go to the back of the book of this election story to see how it will end. I’m not sure if I can endure this crazy election year in real time as it has developed so far.

Is this the best we can do? I fear for my country.


Michael Waldron is a retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army, who was born and raised in Niles. He previously served on the Niles Commu¬nity School Board of Education. He can be reached at