It's simple. The most competent candidate who comes closest to sharing my core values and political philosophy will get my vote as president. Nobody gets a free ante in the biggest card game of all because of race, gender, religion, or POW status.
When any candidate plays one of these “trump cards,” it tells me something when the media fold rather than call them on it. Thus far, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are getting by with a little help from their friends in the press.
The Religion Card:
When Republican Mike Huckabee appeared to make a negative comment about Mormonism to a New York Times reporter, the media pounced on the former Baptist preacher. Huckabee apologized, and rightly so.
In contrast, Obama accused Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign of circulating Internet rumors that he's a Muslim, and Team Hillary took the media hit.
The Gender Card:
After getting pummeled by the boys at the Democratic debate in
CNN reporter Campbell Brown asked  Hillary if she is using the gender card. She said “I'm not exploiting anything at all” and “I'm not using the gender card.”
When Hillary (“I am woman, hear me roar or cry, depending on pre-primary polling”) got called for playing the gender/victim card, she bluffed by saying her opponents weren't picking on her because she's a woman, it's because she's the “leader” trying to crack the great “glass ceiling” on Pennsylvania Avenue.
I forget. Which leader coined that one, Lincoln or FDR?
Even the consummate critic of all things conservative at The New York Times, columnist Maureen Dowd, undercut 
The Race Card:
Wright: What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you to beat him?
Bill really got pummeled for that one. How bad is it when your media buddies provide a platform for your Democrat pal Al Sharpton, race-card player extraordinaire, to slap you around for playing the “race card?” According to The New York Daily News: 
“The Rev. Al Sharpton Monday joined the chorus of Democrats telling Bill Clinton to zip it. 'As one of the most outspoken people in
Rev. Al Sharpton on the ABC show The View today told former President Bill Clinton to "shut up". While not identifying any individual statements, Sharpton said Mr. Clinton should end the "race-tinged rhetoric". Many Democrats are reported to be upset with Mr. Clinton's comparison of Barack Obama's
And who knew Ted Kennedy's moral compass could go askew? Right after Clinton's comment, Kennedy announced  his endorsement of Obama: "With Barack Obama we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay.”
I guess this means Ted will have to shut up too. Chalk it up to the politics of change.
The question remains. Since people of good will recoil at the race card, why are media, including conservatives, allowing Obama to use it as a sword and a shield?
When Obama campaigned with Oprah Winfrey in
The Los Angeles Times took note that Obama talked about his white mother and white grandparents to a virtually white audience in
The candidate is not in
“Barack Obama has Midwestern values, values that we know about,” Sebelius said. “He got them from his grandparents and from his mom,” the
I guess they were just playing the inoffensive geographic card.
The POW Card:
John McCain palms his POW card often and at the most irrelevant times, such as the Republican debate at the Reagan Library last week. Janet Hook of The Los Angeles Times asked McCain the following question  about the economy:
Hook: “There's been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of leadership and management experience. What makes you more qualified than Mitt Romney, a successful CEO and businessman, to manage our economy?”
McCain: “Because I know how to lead. I know how to lead. I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy. And I did it out of patriotism, not for profit. And I can hire lots of managers, but leadership is a quality that people look for. And I have the vision and the knowledge and the background to take on the transcendent issue of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism. I've been involved in every single major national security crisis since -- in the last 20 years. I'm proud to have played a role in those, and I'm proud to have played a role in making sure that we didn't raise the white flag and surrender in
And when I came home, I was inspired by him, and I voted for him, and I supported him, and I was proud to be a leader in the Reagan revolution -- I mean, a foot soldier in the Reagan revolution, as we fought these wars together with unshakable courage and principle. And I'm prepared to follow in his tradition and in his footsteps.
Hook checked and passed to Mitt Romney.
Most of us get it, and we don't think it's worth a plugged presidential nickel. Hillary's a woman. Barack's black and white. Mike's a former Baptist preacher. Mitt's a Mormon. John's a war hero and former POW. Kudos to all, and get over it.
And thanks to Ron Paul for not playing your gynecology card.