A year from today, a new President will be inaugurated, and the page will finally, finally turn. George W. Bush has fewer than 365 days before he shuffles back to Texas to clear brush and ignore history for the rest of his happy, stupidly lucky, star-crosssed life.
But, fortunately for us, we get a new President! Let's rank our preferences, shall we?
8. Romney - Worst possible outcome. Silver lining: he's not really a Republican. Unfortunate personal attribute: When going on a family vacation road trip, he put his dog in a crate, and tied that crate to the top of the car. Instant disqualification.
7. Huckabee - A little too much into the ol' Christianity. Laughable ignorance of foreign affairs. Unfortunate personal attribute: When his grotesque son hanged a dog at Boy Scout Camp. To clarify: he hanged a dog at Boy Scout Camp. That is not something you typically do at Boy Scout camp, or in the general practice of Christianity, in my experience.
6. Giuliani - An ass, but I persist in believing he's too much of a pragmatist to really drink the Republican Kool-Aid. Still, enough with the fear-mongering. Unfortunate personal attribute: shady business dealings with mafia types, offspring who loathe him -- both very bad signs.
5. Thompson - Someone needs to give this poor man permission to stop running for president. He's not enjoying it. You can tell he just wants to go home and try to remember how to deal with his freakishly young children. If he gets bored at home, he could record books on tape, or read to the blind.
4. Edwards - I liked him better in 2000, before he got angry and populist and started yelling about all the heads he cracked in junior high school. Maybe Elizabeth could run instead. Still, he's on the right side of our national argument, this time around.
3. McCain - A very honorable, decent, smart, noble, heroic man. Unfortunate personal attribute: party affiliation. I voted for him in the 2000 Virginia primary and maybe I would do it again. But I don't want to validate W., in any way, by succeeding him with another Republican.
2. Clinton - Smart, competent, detail-oriented, occasionally inspiring, increasingly presidential. Unfortunate personal attribute: Bill. Every time I want to support Hillary, here comes Bill huffing along the campaign trail, turning red as he spews crazy talk, clouds the issue, creates unnecessary new controversies, and ushers in a relapse of Clinton fatigue. Note to Hillary: who's campaign is this, anyway? Put a muzzle on your dude and we'll talk.
1. Obama - Please, Lord, let this be one of those times when idealism and inspiration turns into something real and powerful, and doesn't get flattened like an origami crane on the interstate. Is he the visionary leader of a new era of politics, or Carter/McGovern/the next victim of the GOP's destruction machine? I'll take my chances; I'm sticking to him. Electability is nothing more than faith and action.
Fired up, ready to go.