International Writers Magazine: US Politics
The wide-open 2008
race for the White House has entered the realm of Go Time, a buzz phrase
for all campaign officials who've toiled with little sleep or personal
monetary gain for mounting weeks and months in order to see tangible results.
Go Time for the huddled and hunkered in a presidential race is pudding
proof, when rubber finally hits road, and over the next crucial month
Republican and Democratic hopefuls will put petal to metal and turn all
these insufferable polls and goofy prognostications into the ultimate
campaign trail pay-off, VOTES.
Days to Pay Dirt
Iowa Caucuses Loom For GOP & Dems
been over a year of white noise and revelry and backbiting and futile
positioning rhetoric between 16 candidates with nary an incumbent
nor true frontrunner sitting pretty. Long and pointless months of
innocuous sound bites and crowded debate stages, asinine media manipulation
and representative-laced excuse mongering has given way to the true
campaign season, separating the haughty posturing and delicate strategies
from the nitty gritty.
Here at Hackwriters where we have driven a rusty spike through
the hollow heart of two such endeavors in 2000 and 2004 -- arguably the
most hotly contested, protested and detested presidential election seasons
ever -- we have lain low, preaching patience and the need for a sober,
stand-back level of perspective. That time is past. Thirty days is a blip
in this procedure. A bad month has crushed the nuts of big-time politicians;
shoo-in muscle geeks, who looked right but went left and fell into Carroll's
Rabbit Hole never to return.
The month before an opening primary or caucus will maim
a weak candidate and catapult a strong one. What happens over the next
thirty days, especially in the case of certain prominent candidates, may
well determine the ultimate fate of the next president of the United States.
On January 3, the earliest starting gun in the history of
this nation's presidential campaign season, a season which has been ramping
up the moment the Democrats stormed mathematical control of the legislative
branch 13 months prior, an Iowa Caucasus for both parties will set in
motion several scenarios which could cut the field, put to rest the wounded,
and fire the panic jets beneath heretofore unstoppable marches.
Recall recent history when John Kerry's 2004 run entered
the final month before Go Time a floundering mess, overshadowed in every
circle by a manic John Dean, only to emerge 45 days later as an "electable"
juggernaut, or back in 2000, when a struggling George W. Bush was pushed
to the brink by a hard-charging John McCain before baring the kind of
fangs that put him in the big chair and eventually launched the War Era.
Let's begin with where the Republican
After last week's raucous YOUTUBE debate, which resembled
the audience whoops and participant rancor of the most idiotic Jerry Springer
freak show, the shift in the Iowa poll numbers is stark. The state's shaky
frontrunner, Mitt Romney's shallowly disingenuous stammering and the pit-bull
snarls of national poll leader, Rudy Giuliani gave way to a somewhat coherent
Ron Paul and a stellar performance from Mike Huckabee. According to a
Dec. 2 Des Moines Register poll, Romney, who has spent $7 million in his
Iowa effort, has dipped from 29 to 24 percent, while Huckabee, spender
of a poultry 300 grand in the state, has spiked from 12 to a leading 29
percent. Giuliani, whose people never expected anything from the caucus,
wallows with the other also-rans at 13 percent.
As stated here ad nauseam and proven out repeatedly, polls
mean less than nothing. They are fun as a meager checkpoint and to analyze
against trends, but usually end up stiffing, particularly in mercurial
voting sites like Iowa and New Hampshire. However, one major issue has
transpired on the Republican side: Romney, a flip-flopping master in the
plastic-coated bull dung composition of a Bill Clinton or Ronald Regan,
has teetered on the brink with Evangelical Christians. His vacillating
positions on abortion, gay rights, and other key social issues have allowed
Huckabee to vault ahead, but the former Arkansas governor and Baptist
pastor has little to no party support to challenge in a national election
and has even less money to win it.
Republican insiders believe Huckabee's momentum will only
serve to strengthen the Giuliani strategy of waiting out early losses,
which are almost certainly assured in Iowa, NH, and possibly South Carolina,
creating a confusing log-jam and leaving him the rest of the big states
to grab on Super Tuesday, February 5. Nearly half the delegates stand
to be taken on the biggest such primary day in history.
The Wait Game for Uncle Rudy also means allowing time for
a Democratic candidate to come into focus. If it's Hillary Clinton, then
he is almost a guaranteed choice to head her at the pass, regardless of
the former New York City mayor's uber-liberal stance on gay rights, abortion,
immigration, and even gun control.
Hillary? Not so fast.
With one month to go before the Democrats vote in Iowa,
the 12-month honeymoon for Madam Shoo-In has come to a screeching halt.
The Barrack Obama campaign has woken up. By managing to deftly remain
on the high road, they've also brazenly taken the bruises leveled on Senator
Rodham by John Edwards and turned them into a legitimate comeback.
The same Dec. 2 Des Moines Register poll has Obama up from
22 to 28 percent and Senator Rodham slipping from 29 to 25 percent, only
two percentage points behind a steady Edwards at 23.
Again, taking these numbers with huge grains of sodium,
perception is everything. Up until about two weeks ago Obama looked nearly
dead. Only massive Hollywood cash support and a groundswell of anti-Clinton
rumblings from inside the party kept him from the kind of flash-in-the-pan
footnote status the wooden Fred Thompson has settled into. Suddenly, with
Clinton's husband mucking up the works making up stories about not supporting
the Iraq war before he didn't support it or some such nonsense and a likely
surge coming from the Oprah Winfrey factor when she enters the fray later
this week, Obama's electricity in Iowa could change everything.
Clinton has been not only running a national campaign and
more or less ignoring the Democratic field for six months, the Republicans
have already anointed her the opponent. She cannot afford to drop Iowa
and limp into New Hampshire, which is notorious for following up an Iowa
victory (check Kerry over Dean in '04) or going nutso like a Pat Buchanan
or Paul Tsongas win. Then South Carolina's strong African American voter
base may take early victories as a sign Obama could actually win this
baby and avalanche what was once a Sure Thing.
But Sure Things come and go quickly in the primary season.
A little bump like actually voting has a way of turning bold candidates
into road kill and making newspaper jackasses look as stupid as they sound.
Most importantly, winners have a way of standing come summer.
Twenty Nine days - the countdown begins.
© James Campion December 3rd 2007
Sweats & Mailer Dies
Pedro and myself watched in relative horror as General Musharraf, the
acting president of a crumbling government, spoke to his nation
entire planet is televised, web-cammed, You-Tubed, Google-Earthed, camera-phoned,
amateur-videoed, and 24-hour cable networked. We're being watched.
a staggering eighth Oval Office address since the beginning of military
action in Iraq, the president went on to list further benchmarks for a
"return on success" set to unfurl in March 2008
and Kettle Revelations
does Idaho Senator Larry Craig have to resign? Tell me. You can't and
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.