Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Suppose the Conventional Wisdom Gets Scrapped?

OK, so the press and the pundits have been saying for months that this front-loaded nominating process is going to have nominees for both the Democrats and the Republicans by Feb. 5, if not weeks before.

Iowa and New Hampshire, maybe South Carolina and Nevada, will usher in a national tidal wave that will wash out all but one candidate for either party. Hillary wins Iowa, it is all over; Barack wins Iowa and New Hampshire, the deal is done. Romney sweeps the first two and he is the man, McCain comes back and scores well in Iowa and wins New Hampshire, the train leaves the station.

All the permutations and combinations that we all come up with for a knockout in January or on Feb. 5 could be exactly right. But now, some are beginning to re-think this “early nominee” lock.

Mike Huckabee is No Reagan

Ed Rollins has signed on to be Mike Huckabee’s national campaign chairman. Good for him. Coaches coach, actors act and political consultants, well, consult. Rollins is best known as Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager in the Gipper’s historic 49-state sweep in 1984. Rollins will add credibility to a campaign whose primary staff and supporters are virtually unknown.

That being said, Ed is stretching things a little, no a lot, when he says, “Gov. Huckabee has probably inspired me as much as Ronald Reagan did … I was with the old Reagan and I can promise you that this man comes as close as anyone to filling those shoes.”

Good News, Bad News

The good news over the weekend was that a Republican candidate raised $6 million in one day for his presidential campaign.

The bad news was that the candidate was Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), the least likely of the candidates to get the Republican nomination.

When looking at the general election match-up between a Republican and a Democratic candidate, the most troubling thing for the GOP is the money gap.

Huckabee Leading for the Republican Bigot Vote

Let’s be clear. Despite his soothing tones and his smooth delivery, Mike Huckabee is  playing the bigot card in the Republican Party with his playing to anti-Mormon prejudice in some GOP circles.

He alternates between the subtle, suggesting Romney’s religion should not be a factor (aimed at reminding voters of Mitt’s Mormon religion), and the crude, coming this Sunday in The New York Times.

Not that Mitt is an angel. He is dumping dirt all over Iowa, under-reported in the media, through e-mails, leaflets and phone calls, despite his perfectly coiffed,  perfectly combed, perfectly poll-tested and focus-grouped bromides. Make no mistake, Mitt is dishing the dirt in Iowa.

Meanwhile, the immigration hysteria plays to the darkest side of the Republican impulse, with some of the rhetoric descending into anti-foreigner jingoism and, at times, into a domestically divisive use of language and emotion that is offensive to a growing number of Hispanics.

Of course, much of the immigration debate is very legitimate, but also, not rarely, immigration debate degenerates into the worst instincts of modern Republicanism.

Rudy seems to be losing steam, but let’s not forget when he was mayor of New York he was a polarizing and divisive politician combining an authoritarian streak with a politics of division that pitted some New Yorkers against others and demonstrated a chronic disrespect to many in the black community.

Time to call the bluff and tell the truth.

The Republican Party is immersed in the tactics and style of George W. Bush, and the reason that Republicans debate who is the Christian leader, the alleged demerits of Mormons and immigration hysteria is that a high percentage of bigots will be participating in Republican caucuses and voting in Republican primaries.

Let’s call it what it is, the Republican bigot caucus, and the smooth and charming  Mike Huckabee is winning that dark primary within the larger primary of the party that has lost touch with the better angels of America.

Reefer Badness

Has anybody asked if Hillary ever snorted cocaine? Did she ever smoke marijuana? Did she inhale? I'm asking.

Speaking of drugs in the news, have any of the candidates used steroids? After watching their sleepy debates the last couple of days, I think maybe they should. They could definitely use some performance enhancing. The moderator definitely should.

The Not So Great Debate

Every once in a while Fred Thompson makes a campaign move I really like. Considering the fact that it's only every once in a while Thompson makes a campaign move at all, I suppose that's pretty good.

Wednesday was one of those days. In a role reversal, he was the one who woke up yesterday's snoozer of a Republican debate. That moment came when he refused to engage in that ridiculously juvenile hand-raising exercise. This one went something like "All who believe global warming is a bad thing, raise your hands."

Sympathy for Impressive Mitt

It's a strange feeling, but it's genuine — I am suddenly feeling sorry for Mitt Romney.

At their final reunion before the Iowa caucuses, the GOP presidential contenders sat through an exceedingly dull "debate" Wednesday, sponsored by The Des Moines Register, in which everyone assumed Romney would do anything short of slitting the throat of Mike Huckabee. Romney has spent nearly two years saturating the Hawkeye State, only to watch Huckabee achieve better results in one month, and needs to stop Huck's momentum before it spells his end.

Color Blend

confessed that before.  Even so, I now intend, in my Wonder Bread way, to say that a lot of blacks have it wrong about Barack Obama.

It's certainly understandable that so many African-Americans believe this nation will prove to be too bigoted to elect Sen. Obama (D-Ill.).  After centuries of oppression it's easy to conclude that this country is not ready to overcome its lingering racism and elect Obama as its leader.

But they have it wrong.  The huge crowds that showed up for Oprah make my point.  Oprah Winfrey is an amazingly powerful woman with a mind-boggling appeal to damn near everyone.  People from all walks of life hang on her every word, read her every book.  Oh yeah, she's black.  She's a smart, clever, charismatic, successful human being who attracts millions.  Oh, yeah.  She's  black.  But to millions of all colors, she's one of them.

So are so many others in this modern world, even in the United States.  We have a long way to go before we can finally bury Jim Crow, but we have also come a long way from when the night-riders who wore hoods would influence the way we approach someone.

There are many questions about Barack Obama's qualifications that people are asking:  Is he qualified enough?  Is he too sanctimonious? Is he for real or just another 8-by-10 glossy contrivance.  But I believe that his candidacy is proving that when white  voters decide whether Barack Obama should be president his race will matter very little.

The dirty-trick artists have had  to find some other bigotry to exploit, like his Muslim-sounding name.  But they can't focus on his race.  They've had to make up something else.  An appeal to racial prejudice would be considered offensive.  That's what we call "progress."