The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 4th

Four choices, three years later

Three years ago today, the crowd in Top of the Hill suddenly exited the bar and took to the street en masse.

On television, Barack Hussein Obama had just been named the next president of the United States. The Young Democrats and other groups of students that gathered to watch the election results decided to celebrate as though Obama had just hit the winning shot of the NCAA championship. Those dancing in the middle of Franklin Street had to clear the road for cars every few minutes, only to return a second later.

Today, more people are sleeping and protesting in the streets than dancing in them. President Obama’s approval rating have hit all-time lows during the past two months. His potential competitors in next year’s presidential election aren’t inspiring much confidence, either. The line-up of GOP candidates looks more like the cast of a reality TV show, which is exactly how they’re being covered by the mass media.

Out of frustration and disappointment, here’s four people I think would make better presidential candidates than the ones we have now:

Kevin M. Murphy

The Occupy Wall Street movement should pay attention to this economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His work focuses on unemployment and growing income inequality between white-collar and blue-collar workers. Murphy’s work also includes a cost-benefit analysis of the war in Iraq.

Geoffrey Canada

Canada’s interest in education and his strong leadership abilities have placed him in the roles of CEO and president of the Harlem Children’s Zone and a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation. Politicians have replicated some of Canada’s most successful practices, but he seems to be content working with, not for, the government, reportedly turning down an offer from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to become New York City Schools Chancellor.

Glenn Greenwald

The lawyer-turned-columnist can best be summed up as fearless. His work has won him awards for independent and online journalism. A consistent critic of both Republicans and Democrats in Washington, Greenwald shows a strong impulse for challenging conventional wisdom and official propaganda. He believes true political change can only come from outside the current two-party system. Recent pieces by Greenwald on the Occupy Wall Street protests show his ability to articulate the importance and core meaning of a movement when no one else — whether activist or journalist — can come close.

David Eagleman

As a neuroscientist studying concepts such as time perception and synesthesia, Eagleman sounds like he should be working in a windowless science lab, not the Oval Office. But he has a charismatic personality that makes him conceivable as the next leader of the free world, evidenced by an energetic appearance on The Colbert Report and attempted career at stand-up comedy. Eagleman’s work has value outside the laboratory, too: He is a pioneer of neurolaw, which looks at how brain science should influence legal and social issues.

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