Friday, January 26, 2007

Who's it gonna be?

Even though we have over a year and a half before the 2008 election, it's quite clear that we are simply going to be flooded with hypothetical situations, polls and speculation about who will emerge as the two '08 contenders. Let us, for today's sake (and because of the fact that of those who have declared their intent to run for the Republican nomination, I don't care for any of them more than the other) focus on the Dems.

A new Time poll shows Hillary has a sizable advantage:

Despite the buzz generated by Senator Barack Obama entering the race,
the survey found that Senator Clinton would beat him for the Democratic
nomination by a margin of 40% to 21%.

All the talk about Obama and he still trails by 19 points? It's not look good for a man who is being played up as the new Chosen One. When coupled with this story for CBS which suggests that "many black voters dont' identify with Obama," I can't help but doubt any speculation that he has a real chance of beating Hillary. According to the CBS report:

As CBS 2 political editor Mike Flannery reports, Obama faced questions
about it as he met with a one-time street preacher from New York who's
run for president himself – Rev. Al Sharpton.

Sharpton made
clear that he does plan to keep putting pressure on Barack Obama and
Obama's about-to-be-launched campaign for president. Sharpton
complained publicly that none of the presidential candidates, including
Obama, has worked for what Sharpton called an "urban agenda."

This seems to play into that ideology which is often used to discredit Colin Powell or Condi Rice's contributions to the black community: you just ain't black enough. What does that mean anyway? State Senate President Emil Jones attempts to answer this:

"It does not mean that you have to be on welfare in order to represent
the African-American community," said State Senate President Emil
Jones. "The mere fact that he's a U.S. Senator, the mere fact that he's
a credible candidate running for President, does more for our children
and grand-children than all of them combined."

"Saying you're not black enough is an attempt to discredit him among black voters," said Professor Timuel Black.

That answer still isn't enough for me, but we'll come back to examine that another time...

It seems to be that at the end of the day (unless somebody else declares their intent to run) Senator Clinton has a much better chance to emerge than Obama. Why?

Clinton is such a polarizing force--you either really love her, or you really hate her. The fact is that, while there are democrats--many democrats--that hate her, the majority of Clinton-haters are on the right side of the isle. So it seems logical to me to infer that the most vehement Hillary supporters will be coming out in droves to support her.

On the other hand, Obama's inexperience adds a different element. A friend of mine discussed this last night. He sees to believe that Obama's separation from Washington politics will make him appear less corrupt, that it some how distances him from insider-influence. I see it differently. I think there are people out there (like me) who would vote against Obama because of his inexperience. We need a presidential candidate who has experience, preferably at a national level and on foreign policy issues, who can transition from their current position to the presidency without any major problems. Secondly, I have zero respect for somebody who has nothing on their resume. In other words, Hillary, like her or hate her, has an extensive resume of political positions and public service. Obama? Not so much.

So that's my spin on the democrat primary situation. Please use the comment section and tell me who you see as coming ahead...

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