I'm submitting this early because I won't be around tomorrow (vacation, Ocracoke). Let me start by saying that I have no optimism about the coming Presidential elections. I feel safe in saying that the Democrat will win pretty handily (at least compared to recent years). Being a liberal, that should make me happy. It does not. The reason for this is Hillary Clinton.
Senator Clinton will be the nominee because she is the favorite of the party establishment and in the primaries, that trumps any sort of people-fuelled voter rebellion. She will defeat the Republican (I'm guessing Romney, but am still confused about what is going on with the Republicans). She wins this race for two reasons: (1) Republicans do not even like their own candidates this time around, and (2) the electorate will feel a need for some kind of "change." Unfortunately, they will instead vote for the illusion of change, as Senator Clinton has failed to show me very many differences between what she plans to do and what is being done right now.
My big issue is economic. Our pattern of growth has been destructive since the Reagan era. Throughout my lifetime, I have seen the expanse between rich and poor swell while simultaneously witnessing the loss of small businesses and farms to the rising tide of multi-national corporations. People, on the whole, have been shut out of the entrepreneurial realm by a generations' worth of pro-corporate policies and legislation. This isn't the free market working - not in the pure sense; it is a market heavily swayed by the cost of electoral politics and the resulting quid pro quo arrangements thereafter. Senator Clinton's economic plans, as well as a list of her donors, show her to be a very shrewd fundraiser, but also a continuation of the same old pro-corporate mentality. (By the way, before you come back and say that pro-corporate is pro-consumer because it lowers prices and allows people top buy more with less, let me just pre-emptively respond by saying that your argument is true if you consider the American citizenry to be consumers first and foremost - I prefer to think of the American citizenry as an entrepreneurial people who innovate and strive. Buying stuff for the sake of buying stuff isn't a healthy economic habit; investing in yourself and your community is).
Secondly, Senator Clinton has offered no substantive changes in regard to the war. She just hasn't. Believe in it or not, it would be hard not to argue that it has been run poorly. Not only the war, but the senator refuses to address other issues like torture, domestic surveillance, etc. Do you believe for a second that President Hillary Clinton would roll back any of the broad executive powers that President Bush took upon himself? Not a chance. Do you believe that she would run an administration that is open, honest, direct, and not run by marketing people? Just look at her campaign if you want that answer.
Will she be a better President than George Bush? Almost certainly. But c'mon, that's a pretty tall stick under which to limbo.
Will I vote for her? I don't know. I don't want to have to make that choice, but if it comes to that, I've got a year to decide.
Oh, another election certainty that I would definitley wager on: someone will say something stupid and someone else will stupidly ask that person, via the media, to formally apologize. Count on it.