More on Election 2008

It is notoriously difficult to predict what the Democrats will do. This post is pure speculation, and it is still a long time before we will know who the Democrats will nominate for President in 2008.

That said, of course we know who the three present front runners are: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Let’s go in reverse order.

John Edwards has both the advantage and the difficulty that he has been in a presidential race before. He knows what to expect, but at the same time he is part of the team that lost in 2004. Will the Democrats give him another shot? I doubt it. He strikes me as more of a sloganeering propagandist than a man with real ideas. His specialty is class warfare. Of course, Democrats love that, so I may be wrong about my prediction here. But I just don’t see a large percentage of Americans buying into his soup-line, 1930’s diagnosis of the present state of our economy. On top of that, he lives in the largest house in North Carolina. Jay Leno has said that John Edwards, who is famous for his “Two Americas” speech, can actually fit both Americas into his backyard!

Having said that, I do want to point out that I repudiate the recent personal insult that Ann Coulter gave Mr. Edwards. Rush Limbaugh has also echoed Coulter’s sentiment. Although I often agree with their political ideas, I think Coulter and Limbaugh hurt the conservative cause when they lower themselves to unwarranted personal attacks.

Barack Obama strikes me as more of a rock star than a politician. I have heard a great deal of hype about him, but very little substance about what he actually stands for. When I do hear his positions on the issues, he comes across as a typical liberal Democrat with nothing new to offer. His major advantage over Hillary Clinton is his consistency in opposing the Iraq war. His major disadvantage is that he has not been tested the way she has.

Hillary Clinton is, of course, a Clinton. She has lived in the White House for eight years and has served in the Senate for a full term. She has endured media scrutiny since the early 90’s. She is smart and politically astute, but not as appealing as her husband. Running for President as the wife of Bill Clinton has a major advantage: your husband is Bill Clinton. But it also has a major disadvantage: your husband is Bill Clinton! It will be interesting to watch how she will try to involve him in her campaign and suppress him at the same time. Her biggest challenge will probably be the very strong support she showed for the invasion of Iraq. I have heard recordings of what she said back in 2002, and she made an even stronger case for the war than President Bush did! She now has to try to harmonize her 2002 self with her present self and the trend of her party.

If I had to make a prediction right now (which I don’t, but I’m going to anyway), I would say that Clinton will get the nomination. I think this race will come down to experience. Obama is just not ready to be a presidential candidate, as he himself said back in 2004 when he rejected the idea of running for President in 2008. I guess that sentiment didn’t last.

Hillary Clinton, if she does get the nomination, will be a formidable opponent for any Republican. I think Giuliani could probably beat her, but all of the other Republican candidates have a lot of work to do if they want to be real contenders.

Of course, all of this speculation may be a moot point anyway. Election 2008 may ride less on the particular candidates than on the progress of the war. If the situation in Iraq dramatically improves, I expect a major Republican victory in 2008. The Democrats have consistently invested themselves in defeat; victory spells political doom for them. On the other hand, if Iraq does not improve, I expect another Democratic victory, maybe even bigger than the one we saw last year.

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