Hillary Clinton would be the USA's first woman president; Barack Obama, the first African-American. A declared desire to lead is relegated by the media to the politics of context that potential leaders can't wave off with a turned head and polite "p'shaw". By what means do politicians ink their names on history's pages? Being political pioneers is just the hook, but all the typical trade tools still come into play: running a smart campaign, raising more money and getting the most good press.
What if the way to get elected was to actually show some leadership? I don't care if the president has people who can raise a lot of money. I care if he or she can lead. Leadership is not only an accountability for the actions of those to whom authority is delegated. We also expect a sense of responsibility that would move them to act with wisdom and foresight. Otherwise, we are electing people because we think they deserve a really nice government pension.
The problem is that while the declared candidates are in campaign mode, they tend to play it safe, pandering enough to the party faithful to keep their names forward, and not doing anything that conventional wisdom declares as "politically risky" between now and the primaries.
But all one has to do is to look at the fervor around the move to draft Al Gore to run again to see evidence that even political risk has its rewards. Taking a stand shouldn't be risky if it's something in which you believe. Here is where things can change.
There are a lot of members of Congress in the 2008 prez race. They are lawmakers, not outsiders. If they would take some of those campaign promises to the House or Senate floor, they would be demonstrating that they believe in what they are saying today, and just maybe create some credibility based on action rather than charisma or electability. Why wait until after '08 to start a bill about real universal health care? If it's a critical enough issue to talk about now, it really can't wait until a new president takes office 2 years from now!!!
Those who currently hold no office, like Senator Edwards, can demonstrate their commitment to a healthy, clean and peaceful planet by being more active in those causes.
Health care your thing? Meet with drug manufacturers and the AMA to talk about health care. Find forums to bring America's "medical industrial complex" leaders together with those from countries where universal health care is available. Making a profit is an American right, but that doesn't mean another child has to die because his mother can't afford it.
World Peace your bag? Mediate a conflict. Stage a march. I know that's an oversimplification, but at least you will show a commitment to what you believe.
Anyway, you get the idea. We need leadership NOW. America's President Albatross has become a lame duck. There are no leaders left in the White House. We are starved for real leadership. That's why we changed congress. Please step up and lead. Take a chance that you might stand out. Some of us would appreciate it.
After all, we are the ones who must choose the names this nation's history books will remember, and I want to cast my vote for a person of action. I've had enough promises. Time for you to act.