Both parties are blessed with a multitude of
contenders with attractive personalities and impressive resumes --
people easy to imagine filling the Oval Office.
the dynamic on both sides is trending toward extreme positions that
would open the door to an independent or third-party challenge in 2008
aimed at the millions of voters in the center.
danger may be greatest for the Democrats, despite the fact that
President Bush's failings have put them in a favored position to win
the next election. Prodded by four long shots with little chance of
winning the nomination and threatened by the rhetoric of former Sen.
John Edwards, a serious contender, the two front-runners, Hillary
Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, have abandoned their cautious advocacy
of a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces and now are defending their votes
to cut off support for troops fighting insurgents in Iraq.
I think a serious third-party challenge is as unlikely in 2008 as it has been in many years. The Democrats are, for a change, fairly united. They don't have an Al Sharpton candidate threatening to bolt the party. Ralph Nader is keeping quiet, and even if he were to announce his candidacy, it's hard to see him getting even half as many votes as he did in previous runs; liberals have seen the disaster wrought by Bush and are NOT in the mood to cast protest votes this time around.
If a serious third-party candidate were to enter the race, once again Broder has it wrong: the greater danger is for the Republicans. Their "big tent" now seems awfully flimsy to hold both anti-immigrant demagogues and immigration reformers, to contain candidates like Giuliani and Brownback who differ so sharply on the emotional abortion issue, to continue to embrace both fundamentalists and financiers. New York City Mayor Booomberg, a Republican has made noises about running as an independent, but I just don't see the basis for his candidacy.
But didn't somebody (Casey Stengel, Yogi Berra or Neils Bohr) once say, I never make predictions, especially about the future?
Whoa--how did it get to be Wednesday again so fast? It's already time for another round of Drinking Liberally, held as usual at Manhattan's, 1516 Adams Street, Toledo. We'll start work on Scooter Libby's prison diary, consider the red pickup truck phoniness of Fred Thompson, and no doubt argue fiercely about who won Sunday's DemoDebate.
Rudy G.: NH is the live free or die state, and that would be a great motto for our time? Yikes.
Ron Paul is the self-described champion of the constitution.
What are the semiotics involved in Brownback's wearing a green tie?
Romney: Asking if we had known then what we know now about Iraq is an unreasonable hypothetical.
Giuliani--Iraq war absolutely the right thing to do. Iraq part of the overall terrorist war against the US.
McCain ducks question of what to do if the surge doesn't work. He says then we'd have to examine all the options. Shouldn't we have examined all the options beforehand?
Hunter says give the surge another 3-4 months.
Ron Paul: the sooner we come home, the better. We are more threatened now by staying in Iraq--that line led to applause.
The minor candidates seem more willing to leave Iraq than the majors.
Blitzer seems to be giving more time to the minor GOP candidates than he did to the minor Democratic candidates.
Hunter wants to go nuclear on Iran's ass. Holy shit.
Romney's checked tie and gleaming haircut make him look borderline clownish.
Tancredo says that passing immigration reform would be disastrous for the country. Immigrants abusing our hospital system? Wow.
McCain is looking and sounding old.
The word "disastrous" is being flung around alot.
They're completely ignoring Huckabee. Poor guy.
"Not the fence you keep showing on CNN, Wolf, you know, the one the people cross? If someone climbs my fense, we immediately sign him up for the Olympics"
Ron Paul claims that illegal immigrants are a scapegoat...nice.
Romney keeps shaking his head as if he's saying, "no, no, no"
McCain was the only one to originally think that English shouldn't be the official language.
Tommy Thompson loves his name a bit too much. And apparently he's a "reliable conservative"
I don't think God likes Rudy very much.....the lightening keeps knocking his mics out...
WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE CLONING!?!?!?!?!?
Finally, Huckabee speaks...and says that the question about whether he believes in the biblical creation story is the same as the question of whether there is a god.
McCain would leave it up to the school districts to decide whether to teach creationism. God, god, god.
Romney continues with the theology. How much time was just spent by various candidates assuring the voters that yes, they believe in god?
Paul just gave a completely incoherent answer on don't ask, don't tell.
Now Giuliani and Romney say this isn't the time to deal with issue of gays in the military. When will the right time be? McCain passes the buck too, would leave it up to commanders in the field. NONE of them, not one, would end don't ask, don't tell.
Thompson: "George Bush has tremendous characteristics." Yes indeedy.
Tancredo hates Bush. Said he'd tell him never to darken his door.
Huckabee says the GOP deserved to get beat in 2006. Whoa.
Lots of sentiment for pardoning Libby, or at least to "look at the transcript" to decide the issue.
McCain again with the "straight talk," but I doubt it will work.
Gilmore gets a question about conservation, blows it off, and then starts in on national security.
Grrr...slandering TR. Tancredo says that Teddy Roosevelt was a conservative and a conservationist. TR was a lot of things, but a conservative is not one of them.
Romney MUST wipe that smirk off his face. He is going for the George W. Bush Golden Chimp Award.
Giuliani just doesn't live in the real world, claiming that current corporate sponsored health insurance covers little things equivalent to "oil changes."
Romney says anything the government takes over it makes worse. It certainly does when the Republicans are in charge, doesn't it?
Huckabee: the most pressing moral issue facing the country today is the value of life. Good answer, though, in acknowledging that some pro-lifers believe life begins at conception and then lose interest after the child is born.
Giuliani says our freedom comes from god. Doesn't it follow, then, that other countries' lack of freedom comes from god too?
Paul says the most pressing moral issue is our acceptance of pre-emptive war. Wow!
How many times can Brownback say "life" in one answer?
Romney quickly moves off the question of whether it's appropriate for him to air Spanish commercials and goes on to platitudes about immigration.
You know, I hate to say this, but I agree with Tom Tancredo of all people about the importance of the English language.
Imagine how the media would react if a multimillionaire, East Coast, big-city, thrice-married presidential candidate who was a progressive Democrat said his most recent music purchase was opera, his favorite fitness activity, golf, and added that he doesn't drive -- he navigates.
Or if a progressive Democratic candidate who had launched his political career by marrying into a wealthy and politically connected family, and then promptly ran for Congress, revealed that he has pet turtles named "Cuff" and "Link."
Or if a progressive Democratic candidate who was the son of a governor, who has a net worth of around $200 million, whose own campaign staff was concerned he is seen as not tough enough and that his hair looks too perfect ... imagine if such a candidate said that if he weren't running for office, he'd probably be chief executive of an auto company and that his staff boasted that the difference between him and the president is "intelligence."
The media would have an absolute field day, yammering endlessly about how the candidate is too "soft" and is an elitist, an arrogant know-it-all with a misguided sense of entitlement who is hopelessly out of touch with the rugged regular-folk who live in Michigan and enjoy NASCAR and country music and drive pickups. There would be a real danger of Chris Matthews literally exploding on live television, unable to contain his incredulity that such a clueless candidate could possibly think a Pennsylvania steelworker would care what he has to say.
I'd take the thought experiment further.
Imagine how the media would react if a liberal Democratic candidate was a member of a cultlike church with a recent history of promoting polygamy, a candidate who as the recent governor of one of the most liberal states in the union recently signed a universal health insurance bill into law.
Imagine how the media would react if a liberal Democratic candidate claimed that his leadership experiences as an officer in the Vietnam War qualified him for the Presidency. (Oh wait, we had one of those in 2004, didn't we?) Wouldn't the press dredge up some other soldiers who claimed that the candidate didn't do the things in the war he claimed to have done, or find some other way to belittle his wartime service?
And imagine how the media would react if a liberal Democrat had frequently boiled over with rage while being questioned by the media? Wouldn't we see a barrage of stories about how "angry" the candidate is, how he is "too hot" for the Presidency?
Former Vice President isn't
sure he has the 'aptitude for politics' it would take to be
elected president, but he has not ruled out running in 2008, he
told the Tennessean newspaper.
Gore, who has repeatedly said he has no plans to run for
president, said on Friday at a signing event for his new book
"The Assault on Reason," that he wasn't sure he has what it
takes to be elected president in today's political climate.
"I don't expect to get into this race," he said in a story
on the paper's Web site. "I have given the reasons why. I
strongly prefer to serve in other ways.
"I haven't definitely ruled out a return to politics for
the rest of my life, but I don't expect to re-enter politics
because I don't think I'm very good at some of the things that
the modern political system rewards and requires," he added,
saying his "aptitude for politics" did not match what is
required in the political system today.
I take Gore at his word; in the amazingly unlikely event of a total implosion by the major Democratic candidates or (that newsman's dream) a deadlocked convention, I think he'd like to keep his options open. I still see no sign that he is ready to start entering primaries.
I am privileged to be hosting the Firedoglake Book Salon today, where we will be featuring a conversation with Chris Hedges, author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. We go live at 5:00 EDT, so I hope all Framed readers will head over there then and join us.
Jeff Cohen has an interesting take on why the mainstream media seem to run so many more negative stories about John Edwards than they do about other candidates:
Among "top-tier" presidential candidates, Edwards is alone in
convincingly criticizing corporate-drafted trade treaties and talking
about workers' rights and the poor and higher taxes on the rich. He's
the candidate who set up a university research center on poverty.
Cohen claims that this is evidence of Edwards' "all-out courting of the liberal left-wing base," which the media, being center-right, just can't stand.
It may be, though, that Cohen doesn't take his analysis far enough. The mainstream media are comprised of a small number of large corporations that are run by rich men. Perhaps, then, it isn't just that those men find liberals and liberal ideas silly; perhaps they consider them a threat to their own power and wealth. Taxing the rich, encouraging workers to assert their rights, and allowing interests other than corporate ones to dictate our trade policies may be frightening ideas to the zillionaires who control our media.