A Look Ahead to 2008 (Part II)Written by Terry Mitchell
Last week, I began my look ahead to 2008 presidential campaign with potential Republican candidates. Today, I will continue by taking a look at potential Democratic candidates. Among them are New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, North Carolina Senator John Edwards, Illinois Senator-elect Barack Obama, Nevada Senator Harry Reid, and Virginia Governor Mark Warner. Hillary Clinton would seem to have inside track to Democratic nomination for 2008. However, she could be seen as a far too polarizing figure whose candidacy in general election could bring out evangelicals in droves for Republicans as John Kerry's did this year. She will probably have to moderate a bit over next three years in order to prove that she could win a general election. If she can't do this, Democrats may seek a candidate with broader appeal. Right now, though, nomination appears to be hers to lose. After losing such a close election to George W. Bush in 2000, I believe Al Gore will make another run for presidency. Those who would summarily dismiss him as no longer being a viable future presidential candidate are ignoring history. Richard Nixon was written off by almost everyone after losing to JFK in 1960 and then losing his California gubernatorial bid to Pat Brown in 1962. He came back six years later to win presidency and then win re-election four years after that. However, Democrats are apparently less tolerant of their former losers than Republicans are. Democrats seem to be constantly looking for a fresh face. Gore would have to convince Democratic primary voters that he's more “electable” than their up and coming stars. That could ultimately prove to be a difficult task. Bill Richardson served 15 years in House of Representatives before becoming U.S. Ambassador to United Nations and subsequently Energy Secretary under Bill Clinton. Richardson is known as a moderate Democrat and is a member of that wing's Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Being governor of western state could work to his advantage, although New Mexico switched from "blue" to "red" in recent presidential election. He may take a hit politically because of that. Due to his previous ties to Clinton Administration, he might be viewed as an acceptable alternative to Hillary, should her candidacy not catch on. Many Democrats may see Evan Bayh as just candidate they need in wake of Kerry's recent loss. He is a strong Democrat from a solidly "red" state, i.e., he was overwhelmingly elected to a second term as senator even as George W. Bush overwhelmingly carried his state in presidential election (as all Republican candidates have in recent presidential elections). Bayh had previously served two terms as governor of Indiana. He is one of leaders of moderate Democrat movement. His father, Birch Bayh, was also a U.S. Senator and ran in Democratic primaries for president in 1976, but was defeated by Jimmy Carter. Bayh is my dark horse pick to take nomination. The only negative about him is that he seems to have a smirk on his face all time and looks like he belongs on a TV show like Saturday Night Live! In 1998, Tom Vilsack was elected Iowa's first Democratic governor in over 30 years and was re-elected in 2002. He is one of most well respected and influential governors in U.S. He is one of established, but relatively unknown, players in Democratic Party. Vilsack may be one of people whom Democrats will look to following Kerry's loss. He refused to take sides prior to January's Iowa Democratic Caucuses, although his endorsement was sought by all leading candidates. His wife endorsed Kerry and that seemed to help propel him to victory there. As is case with Bill Richardson in New Mexico, Vilsack might have to explain why Iowa went from "blue" to "red" in last presidential election. Vilsack's candidacy would render 2008 Iowa Democratic Caucuses meaningless and place all early emphasis on New Hampshire. A similar thing happened in 1992 when Iowa Senator Tom Harkin ran for president. Howard Dean will likely make another run for presidency. However, with a much stronger field, he will find going tougher this time. Money will be even tighter as big names will be pulling in most of it. His collections in small amounts might still work, to a certain extent. He will not be able to sneak up on anyone this time and war in Iraq may no longer be an issue by time 2008 rolls around. His best chance for nomination is to play "liberal" card while most everyone else will undoubtedly be playing "moderate" card this time. At least that strategy might garner him enough delegates to allow him to cut a deal for vice presidential nomination. Rumors have it that Dean is interested in taking chairmanship of Democratic National Committee. If he does, that would preclude him from running for president or vice president in 2008.
My Two Cents--Did You Exercise Your Voting Muscle?Written by Matt McGovern
Whether or not you are pleased with results of 2004 election, season of high intensity politicking has mercifully come and gone . . . for now.
This election day, tens of millions of Americans exercised their voting muscle--more than 120 million by some estimates, or 60-percent of eligible voters--and that's encouraging.
Kudos to you if you can count yourself a member of this group!
Still other tens of millions of Americans did not vote--many of them between ages of 18 and 30, same people who one day will become future leaders for our country--and that's most disappointing.
It's clear that many Americans take their right to vote for granted, or simply don't care. They have become complacent, reciting all-too-familiar, "My one vote won't make a difference." But tell that to Al Gore who, had 537 voters in Florida not turned out and voted for George W. Bush in 2000, would most likely have been this year's incumbent.
Luckily, not all of sons and daughters of previous American generations took right to vote for granted. Many fought and some even died to secure our ability to hold "free" elections. Starting in Revolutionary times, through Civil War and scandals and corruption of mid- to late-19th century, through World Wars, and into present day, Americans have waged an ongoing battle to ensure that our system of voting and elections endures. They fought so women could vote; they fought so that all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or political leaning could vote. They won . . . and we and entire world are their beneficiaries.
When we take time out of our otherwise busy lives to stop by our local polling places, we not only exercise our right--our duty--to vote, we also honor sacrifices of these past generations.
I just don't buy refrain, "I'm too busy to vote." No one is too busy to vote--not with absentee ballots and relative speed and efficiency of modern voting. It took my wife and me all of 25 minutes to vote: 10 minutes to polling place, five minutes to vote, and 10 minutes back. That's not too much of a time commitment, not too much to ask to ensure that our system thrives and our way of life continues.