As of June 17, there were still 509 days left before the next presidential election, but I'm already sick and tired hearing about this race. If I had my way, I'd make everyone stop what they're doing, pack everything up and wait until January 2016 before they're allowed to announce their plans to run for president.
To be honest, I've seen plenty of names thrown into the presidential race -- probably more than I've ever seen in any election. But what concerns me right now is that I have yet to find a candidate that makes me want to pick up the American flag and rush into battle alongside them.
None of them -- absolutely none of them -- have even piqued my interest. All I keep hearing is the same old rhetoric and grandiose plans which sound more like pipe dreams than reality.
In the matter of fairness, I see plenty of challenges facing the Republicans and Democrats in the months ahead. I believe this election will come down to which party has the least amount of "baggage" weighing them down.
When it comes to the Republican party, I have to ask: Is there anyone left on Capitol Hill or a governor's office that hasn't announced their intention of running for president. Each time I turn on the television, the number of Republicans running for president continues to grow.
From my perspective, this is where the Grand Old Party is going to fail the American public. From my vantage point, it's almost as if the party is tearing itself apart over a matter of its own principles.
It doesn't seem that the party itself can agree on what it means to be "conservative," which is diluting what they represent. There are Tea Party favorites going up against far-right conservatives, who all seem hell-bent on doing the exact opposite of what Democrats want simply because -- well -- they're Democrats.
From what I've seen, these individuals are all trying to overshadow more moderate Republicans, who could actually get things accomplished since they're willing to work with both parties. But the moderates are being marginalized by the far right with their loyalty questioned if they "dare" to negotiate with a Democrat.
I'm sorry, but when did "compromise" become a four-letter word?
With so many hats tossed into the ring so far, these Republicans are going to have an extremely tough time reaching out to voters. There are simply too many candidates, each with their own positions on every issue. I seriously doubt the average voter will have the patience to learn about each candidate before the upcoming primaries.
So what we'll end up seeing (once again) is the name of the leading candidate switching back and forth based on how much support they gather from each state. At this point, I don't see a viable candidate standing out above the others. And once the Republicans do select someone, it's going to be too late because the minds of the voters will likely be decided well before that point.
When it comes to the Democrats, I'm trying to figure out if anyone was really surprised when Hillary Clinton made her "big announcement" over the weekend. If so, this has to be the worst-kept secret ever.
It's no coincidence that Clinton has set her sights on running for president for years, if not decades. Right after she and her husband left the White House, it was obvious that she was setting herself up to remain in the political spotlight. Why else would they move to New York right before a Senate election that she (no big surprise here) won.
However, this is where the Democrats have their hands tied in this race. They've put all of their faith, allegiance and support behind Clinton, despite all of the issues surrounding her political career thus far.
Let's face it, she's carrying around more "baggage" than a fully loaded Boeing 747 passenger jet.
If you take out all of the flak she received over her handling of the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, there are still a number of questions out there that she has tried to deflect. Among them was the handling of official e-mails from a private server in her home to questions on foreign donations the Clinton Foundation received. And that just scratches the surface.
What concerns me is Clinton can't seem to deal with even the simplest of issues. Remember the "reset" button she presented the Russians when she became secretary of state? Maybe she should've contacted former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who I believe is actually fluent in Russian.
Then there's the issue regarding her husband, who had multiple affairs in the White House, lied to Congress about it, got caught and was impeached. To this day, I'm not sure if she knew what was happening behind her back.
But if she knew these affairs were happening, why she didn't deal with it? From my perspective, it raises a whole new set of questions regarding her ability to deal with problems in her own family, let alone dealing with running an entire country.
But what's really troubling is that she's never shown once ounce of humility every time she's dealt with these controversies. It seems like it's always someone else's fault; not hers.
Once, just once, I'd like to see a politician take full responsibility when they make a mistake. I'd love to see one of them simply admit, "I screwed up, but this is how I'm going to make sure it never happens again."
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath, either.
What I'd really like to see is a presidential candidate that's willing to bring people together that's willing to negotiate and find lasting solutions for all Americans and not just the ones that offered them the financial support they needed to get elected. I'd settle for someone like Dave -- the character portrayed by Kevin Kline in the 1993 movie.
For those that never caught the film, Kline portrays a character identical in appearance to the seated president. Dave ends up in the Oval Office after the president suffers a stroke and remains hospitalized with the American public unaware of the switch.
In the movie, Kline endears himself to the public, sometimes acting off cue to the delight of those he meets. He makes people proud to be Americans.
He then challenges the hardline stance of his own party, including his own chief of staff, to do the right things to help those most in need. And when the president's involvement in an illegal scandal comes to light, Dave does the noble thing by accepting the blame and setting the record straight.
That's the making of a true American president, and that's who we need as November 2016 approaches. I hope all of the candidates out there take note.
-- Brian S. Orban