Saturday, December 29, 2007

Race to be next US President

With 2008 nearly upon us, the race to be the next US President is currently very open with many different scenarios emerging. The current polls seem to be all over the place, in Iowa where the caucuses take place on 3rd January followed by the first primary in New Hampshire on 8th January. I will certainly be looking at regularly and I find this site to be the best source for US politics.

The timetable this year is very truncated with a front loaded primary and caucus season, given the schedule it's highly likely that we'll probably know the nominee of each major party by the 5th February. However, if the results are inconclusive or are split the race could drag on for a number of months before being settled at the party conventions which take place in August. An unlikely scenario, but it could happen.

In both the Democrats and Republicans, the battle to be the nominee is still very open with no clear favourite having emerged..

In terms of the Democrats, I actually think Hillary Clinton will probably win the nomination though a great deal will depend on what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire. If she wins in both - she'll be the nominee barring some kind of huge turnaround. When John Kerry won Iowa and New Hampshire in 2004, he effectively clinched the nomination.

Her two main opponents are John Edwards and Barack Obama, of the two Barack Obama is the stronger and is better financed which counts for a great deal. For John Edwards, he needs to win Iowa or come a strong second, anything else and it's game over. Given how the caucus works in Iowa I think he'll probably come out on top. His main problem though is that he has a fraction of the resources available to Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, in this race money matters!

The candidate I would like to see win is Barack Obama, I believe he is a breath of fresh air and inspires people in a way that Hillary does not. Currently he is doing very well in both Iowa which is a three way split and is now leading in New Hampshire, though the polls are within the margin of error. If he wins New Hampshire, he's in a very strong position and the South Carolina primary which precedes Super Tuesday on 5th February and will be key to whether he can maintain the momentum.

My views on Hillary is that whilst I admire her I believe she is a divider and not a unifier along with being a very polarising figure. Last year I posted on this blog my view on Hilary and I stand by this view
Nevertheless, if she does come through I hope she proves her critics including myself wrong - a great deal on her chances of success will also depend on the Republican nominee.

The race to be Republican nominee is far more unpredictable and difficult to judge. Recently Mike Huckabee, a former Governor of Arkansas and resident of Hope (the similarities with Bill Clinton end there) has come up through the polls to become a front-runner. A few months ago he was a rank outsider and was believed to have little chance. Many polls now show him leading in Iowa, though the latest polls show him falling behind Mitt Romney. His views are very much in tune with the politics of George Bush along with the Christian right - they took a long time to coalesce behind a candidate and he seems to be the one. If he was to become the candidate it would probably spell absolute disaster for the Republicans in the swing states and I'd be shocked if he was elected. However, nothing in US politics would surprise me given that they elected George Bush. Personally I think he'll fade but he could win a few primaries and caucuses along the way.

Another major candidate for the Republicans who was thought to be the favourite until recently was Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts. In order to have greater appeal he has swung sharply to the right on a number of key issues including immigration and abortion (he was previously pro-choice when governor of Massachusetts a state where it would be electoral suicide to be anti-abortion). In terms of funding he is also extremely wealthy and has large resources at hand. The forthcoming contests are crucial and New Hampshire is a must-win for him given that he was governor of a neighbouring state. He also needs a respectable showing in Iowa (the latest poll now gives him a lead). Many within the US also question his religion, which is Mormon, whilst in this country religion plays a minor role, polls have shown a high negativity on his religion. I don't think he'll be the nominated, but it would not be a shock if he did come through the field.

That leaves three other candidates.

Rudy Gulliani for a long time was the favourite for the nomination. I never thought he would be the nominee when I posted last year and I still don't think he'll be the nominee. His views on many social issues are an anathema to many Republicans and he'll never appeal to a large sector of the Republican electorate. More importantly, he has targeted his campaigning on states that have primary and caucuses later including Florida on 29th January and Super Tuesday (California, Illinois, New York and many other states) on the 5th February. This is a very risky strategy - whilst Iowa and New Hampshire are very small states with relatively few delegates, they do give candidates momentum along with a huge amount of coverage. A bad performance in both those States, which looks like it’ll be the case will probably doom his campaign. This is despite him having a large amount of resources at hand.

Fred Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee briefly made an impact when he entered the race a few months ago but has since faded. This is another candidate of the right though slightly more charismatic then most of the others, he is also an actor but is unlikely to be the next Ronald Reagan.

That leaves John Mc Cain. A few months ago he was given up for dead, his campaign was low on resources (ie cash), his ratings were plummeting and he was seen as too old (he is 72). Now I think he may just be the nominee. He will not win Iowa but has a very good chance in New Hampshire where he has seen a surge in support lately. If Republicans are serious about electability, he is probably also their best choice given his centrist record and he’s a candidate not beholden to the Republican right (though he further to the right then Gulliani). I also think that he has the potential to be a unifier, whilst I would clearly like to see a Democratic victory next November, he will as a candidate appeal to the middle ground and independent voters.

Looking at the election - the Democrats have a very good chance of winning the White House in 2008 given the appalling legacy of the Republicans and George Bush. However, events can have an impact and a Republican victory should not be ruled out. I hope that Barack Obama is elected President next year as he is a symbol of change - but I also have a sense of realism and objectively Hilary will probably be the Democrat nominee. The next few months will be very interesting and no doubt I'll be posting much more about US politics throughout 2008.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

FRED THOMPSON is the best person to lead this country. He is a true conservative and has been his entire life. All one has to do is check his record to see this.

During my time in the Army as an Intelligence Analyst, I served under both Presidents Carter and Reagan (as my commanders in chief). Without argument, President Reagan was the best commander-in-chief a military person could ever have served under. Fred Thompson possesses the same qualities and vision as President Reagan in that he is strong on national defense and sees a dire need to secure our borders and control immigration.

I can think of no better person to lead this country and fix the problems we have. He is the only candidate from either party who has specific and detailed plans on border security and immigration reform; revitalization of America’s armed forces; saving and protecting Social Security; and tax relief and economic growth. These are detailed on his Web site at . I challenge you to find any other candidate who has laid out specific plans to fix anything.

Fred Thompson has published his first principles, some of which are mentioned above. In addition to those, he strongly believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, federalism, traditional American values, the rule of law and is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment — all concepts established during the birth of our country and documented in our Constitution.

Again, try to find any candidate who has laid out their plans to “fix” this country. You will find they all speak in vague and abstract terms on their plans.

For those who have heard Fred Thompson speak, you will usually hear him say that the Fred Thompson you see today is the same Fred Thompson you saw yesterday and is the same Fred Thompson you will see tomorrow. He stands by his principles and values and doesn’t shift his positions based on polls or public opinion; in other words, he doesn’t say what the voters want to hear just to get elected, but remains steadfast on his views and convictions.

During his time in the Senate he focused on three areas: to lower taxes, strengthen national security and expose waste in the federal government. Fred Thompson has foreign policy experience, having served as member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Senate Intelligence committees.

As chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, he opened the investigation in 1997 on the Chinese government’s attempt to influence American policies and elections, and this investigation identified connections with the Clinton administration (documented in the committee’s report).

As a member of the Finance Committee, he worked tirelessly to enact three major tax-cut bills. Fred Thompson remains steadfast and even though a person may not agree with all his views and he understands some may disagree with him, you can count on him to be consistent and unwavering.

Don’t be fooled by his laid back approach and what critics call his “laziness.” As a former assistant U.S. attorney, he earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor and he possesses the toughness this country needs in order to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s issues.

I ask that you take a hard look at what this country needs, then take a hard look at all the other candidates’ views, policies, their records and their track record on consistency. Fred Thompson possesses integrity, loyalty, commitment, energy and decisiveness, all traits of an effective leader, and will emerge as the best person to take this country boldly forward.

Please help Fred win in Iowa:

2:41 am  

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