Charles Krauthammer, WaPo's resident right-wing apologist penned a column with an assertion even more over-the-top than his usual views.
One can expect Charles Krauthammer, WaPo's resident right-wing apologist, in his official campaign post-mortem to make excuses for McCain's defeat. Krauthammer offers the usual right-wing talking points about the bad economic environment, the Sarah Palin choice, blah, blah, blah. However, he closes his article with the following:
But before our old soldier fades away, it is worth acknowledging that McCain ran a valiant race against impossible odds. He will be -- he should be -- remembered as the most worthy presidential nominee ever to be denied the prize.
Hmmm. Okay, with all due respect to Senator McCain, I can, rigth off the top of my head, think of several more worthy runners-up in presidential elections past.
Adlai Stevenson II - Not just because he gets bonus points for losing twice - 1952 and 1956 - Stevenson was arguably the most intelligent man to ever run for president. He was the son of the 23rd Vice President of the United States, Adlai Stevenson I, who served under President Grover Cleveland. The younger Stevenson served in the U.S. State Department and was a member of the U.S. delegations to the formation of the United Nations and to the first United Nations assemblies. He was governor of Illinois when the 1952 Democratic convention came to town. His welcome speech at the convention was so stirring that Stevenson was drafted to be the nominee. He was a strong and inspiring speaker as evidenced in this passage from that speech:
"When the tumult and the shouting die, when the bands are gone and the lights are dimmed, there is the stark reality of responsibility in an hour of history haunted with those gaunt, grim specters of strife, dissension, and materialism at home, and ruthless, inscrutable, and hostile power abroad. The ordeal of the twentieth century – the bloodiest, most turbulent age of the Christian era – is far from over. Sacrifice, patience, understanding, and implacable purpose may be our lot for years to come. ... Let’s talk sense to the American people! Let’s tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions."
The Eisenhower campaign tried to portray Stevenson as an arrogant egghead, which apparently worked because in both the 1952 and 1956 campaigns, Eisenhower won handily. Stevenson went on to become Ambassador to the United Nations under president Kennedy. He served capably, his most important moment being his presentations to the U.N. during the Cuban missile crisis.
We will never know how good a president Steven son would have been, but his knowledge of foreign affairs would have served this country well.
Hubert Humphrey - United States Senator from Minnesota from 1949 to 1978, except for the the four years he served as Vice President under President Lyndon Johnson, Humphrey was known as "The Happy Warrior." He was a champion of civil rights for African Americans, advocating from the beginning of his political career for the rights of non-whites. Humphrey was a man of great intellect, great compassion, and the consummate Senator who stood by his principles but earned the respect of both parties. He is quoted to have said:
"It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
Humphrey tried but failed to earn the Democratic nomination in 1960 and did win it in 1968. He lost to Richard Nixon in a campaign marred by political and racial strife and a sharply divided Democratic Party. The phrase "a valiant race against impossible odds" is ten times more applicable to Humphrey in 1968 than to McCain in 2008.
It is hardly a matter of doubt that Humphrey would have been a better president than Nixon.
Bob Dole - Yes, I would pick this Republican also. Bob Dole IS what John McCain wants to be. Dole was a war hero, a wounded veteran who overcame his life-long injuries. Dole served in the U.S. House from 1961 to 1969 and the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1996, all from the state of Kansas. Dole actually was a maverick - not because he was self-absorbed and erratic, but because he was a man who followed his conscience and was willing to reach across divisions within his own party and across the aisle to the other party. He was a man with a passion for government and though I do not agree with much of his politics, I can admire him. Footnote: Dole is the only person in the history of major U.S. political parties to have been his party's nominee for both President and Vice President, but never won.
(( UPDATE )) - I wrote the diary on the first three candidates that came to mind but here is one honorable mention: George McGovern - a very good man who deserved so much better than he got. I could include Al Gore or Walter Mondale on this list as being more worthy than McCain but not in the same league as the before mentioned four.