Are these really the questions we ought to be asking? Is this any way to elect a president?
Of course not. But as the 2008 presidential election heats up a year early, it is personalities and demographics we're hearing about, as if this were the red carpet leading to the Academy Awards rather than the road to the White House.
Can it get any more trivial?
Well, yes. There's a subplot going on about who's going to attract more Hollywood support, Clinton or Barack Obama.
We don't know how to spell the sound that just came out of our mouth.
This election cannot be allowed to be about star power, or demographic novelty.
It probably shouldn't be about Iraq, either: With any luck at all, Iraq will be in the rear-view mirror by 2009.
No, what this election should be about is the future - and what shape our federal government should take.
What this election should be about isn't who the candidates are, but what they will do.
What is their view of the role of government? Will they grow its influence in our lives, or shrink it? Will they tax the economy into submission? What will they do to rein in entitlements and pork before the federal government completely buries us in debt? Will they convince Congress to stop stealing our Social Security retirement funds?
How will they prosecute the war on terror? What else will they do to keep us safe?
Will they continue to play us for suckers in trade deals, or will they seek fair trade vs. "free" trade? What will they do to revitalize America's manufacturing base?
Will they enforce immigration laws?
Do they agree that the country's economy needs to get "back on track," as an Air America radio personality suggested recently? (Back on track? You mean we need to get rid of low unemployment, low mortgage rates and record-high stock market returns? If that's off track, we'll take it!)
What does it say about our electoral process - and our news media - that Americans know more about how much a candidate spends on a haircut than where he or she would spend our money?