Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Big Day in Iowa

It's been awhile since I've written about politics, and I've been meaning to do it sooner, but December was a difficult month to do that. Plus, I was going to write about all of the Democratic presidential candidates after one of their debates, but there weren't really any good ones in December so I wasn't able to organize my thoughts very well on those candidates. (I'm better informed about the Republicans because I've been following that race more closely and because I'm a Romney supporter.) So I apologize for depriving you of more of my enlightening insights, but they're coming, don't worry!

Things have been heating up recently and I'm looking forward to the Iowa caucus tomorrow. I'm really eager to see who wins on each side and in what place everybody comes in. That will give the candidates important momentum (or lack of it for the unfortunate ones) going into New Hampshire. Some people believe Iowa doesn't matter much, and that might be true to a certain extent, but it's important at least because it's usually the end of the road for some of the candidates (mostly the second-tier ones, like Sen. Joseph Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Rep. Duncan Hunter). The Iowa caucus and the ensuing primaries are exciting for those who enjoy following politics, so even if it doesn't matter very much at first or in the long run, it's so interesting to watch it all unfold, especially if you're a political/news junkie like me!

I've found Huckabee's rise over Romney to be frustrating and I'm relieved that Romney has regained ground in the last few days and that the two are neck-and-neck in the polls in Iowa now. That's going to be a close one, but I think Romney will win, with Huckabee following closely behind, and then McCain in third. Then Fred Thompson in fourth, and I hope Ron Paul beats Giuliani for fifth place. He's got a decent chance of it since Giuliani hasn't campaigned much in Iowa and because Paul's supporters are so enthusiastic.

One last thing about the Repubs for now...I am convinced that Huckabee cannot win the Presidency. His recent foibles and missteps, along with his record in Arkansas and some somewhat disturbing reports about his personality, bear that out. I believe the biggest reason for his recent rise is his appeal to Evangelical Christians, who don't trust and accept Mormons very easily. Romney's reputation as a "flip-flopper" doesn't help, but still, they need to get over the religion issue if they want a good and viable Republican candidate running against the Democratic nominee.

Some quick thoughts on the Democrats...I will write exclusively about them in a post later this month, but for now, I will say these few things. It's really close in the Iowa polls between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. I'm not a big fan of any of them, least of all John Edwards. For all of the muck and trash about Hillary, I don't think she's totally evil and sometimes I find her to be pretty likable, although I don't really trust her and I think she's a Socialist at heart. I think I'd like her to win the nomination ultimately, and I think she will win it. Obama is okay. He seems to be quite intelligent and also a good people person, but his lack of political experience isn't so good. He needs more time in the Senate and/or elsewhere to really make his mark and get that valuable experience before running for President. Edwards strikes me as fake, hollow, and very liberal, but I sure do love that Southern twang of his! Ha ha. I can't really say who will win in Iowa tomorrow for the Dems. My best guess is Clinton, then Obama, and then Edwards, but I won't be surprised if the results are different from that.

My ideal match-ups for the final nominees are Clinton-Obama (maybe Edwards or Bill Richardson for VP...obviously I need more time to decide for sure on that one) vs. Romney-McCain. McCain would bring valuable foreign policy experience to that ticket, and Romney would take care of just about everything else. (In a different world, the VP candidate might be Ron Paul, Ben, but Romney-Paul would be a pretty hard sell to the American people. And Paul-anyone else would be nearly impossible!). There are rumors that Mike Bloomberg, the current mayor of NYC, might run as an independent, depending on how things stand in March, when independents can officially start running. I hope he doesn't, because that could really throw a wrench into things, hurting the Republicans most of all. I think Bloomberg is a good leader and that he's been great for the city of New York, but I don't believe mayors should go right up to being Presidents. I'm an independent so independent candidates have always been appealing to me, but not this time.

This Saturday from 7:00-11:00 p.m. on ABC is the first debate with candidates of both parties. Make sure to watch it, or at least some of it, if you are so inclined! It should be interesting. I'll be able to gather my thoughts better on the candidates, particularly on the Dems, and I'll write about them within the next few weeks. I know you all can't wait for that.

One last thing about the Iowa caucus--here's a link to a good, quick analysis and list of predictions for it by someone whose views I agree with much of the time (Robert Novak).

I'm sorry if this post has gone off on some tangents and been a little unfocused. John's been sick with a cold so I haven't been getting enough sleep and I'm tired as heck tonight and fighting off a migraine headache!


Alyson said...

Thanks for all the information! I'm very curious to see what happens. I saw Bloomberg on tv on New Year's eve and he said he wasn't running. But I guess you never know. As far as Hiliary goes - I CAN'T stand her! I don't find her likable at all. To me, she seems like she's trying to fit in too hard with whatever group she is addressing and she comes off insincere and fake, not to mention condescending. I'd much rather see her husband in the white house than her. Of the democrats, I'm most drawn to Obama. Also, I'm starting to soften toward Romney. I never hated him, but I just wasn't sure about him. I'm one of those Mormons who hates when other Mormons just like public figures because they're Mormon. (Let's just say I didn't jump on the bandwagon of watching Dancing with the Stars just because Marie Osmond was on it.) I know that sounds weird, but I don't want to fall for someone just because they're Mormon because unfortuneately it doesn't necessarily mean I can trust them. And I don't want to be naive. Having said all that, I'm liking Romney. I used to sort of like Huckabee, but he is really blundering it up now. And he comes across so preachy. Ok, I need to stop with this comment because I've gone on forever!

Alyson said...

By the way, I hope John is getting better and you can get some sleep! We've all got a bug that seems to drag on for a month.

Peter said...

I'm still not fully decided on who I am going to vote for. I have a lot of respect for Romney because he spent years proving himself and building up a business and turning it into something successful. I also believe that his experience getting stuff done, both in business and in a largely democratic Massachusetts speaks well for his ability to make a positive difference in office. His significant changes of positions is a big issue for me, because then I really don't know where he stands, other than to get elected.

I don't really think most of the other republicans are electable.

On the Democratic side, I see some of the same issues with Hillary that I have with Romney, without the experience running business or a country. I do think that a governorship is better experience than the US Senate. As Governor, you have to make decisions while at the center of attention. All credit for what is good goes to you, as does all blame for what is bad. That creates a very different atmosphere, in my opinion, than being a Senator has. Unfortunately, none of the big 3 Democratic candidates have any experience as governor. I think that is going to hurt them when it comes to the election.

I also don't think that Bloomberg should run. I just don't feel that running a city is sufficient experience to jump to running a country. I almost wonder if this would be his way of asking for the Republican Vice Presidency.

Donna said...

Alyson, I saw Bloomberg say that on New Year's Eve too, but I just recently read a credible article about how some exploratory groundwork has been initiated for him. I think it's more likely that he won't run, but like you said, you never know!
Hillary is quite a chameleon, and that's one of the reasons she's not trustworthy. But sometimes I feel like I can relate to her, maybe because she reminds me a little bit of Democratic women I know from back home in Massachusetts and from college. Plus she's a mom with a daughter my age. And she used to vacation at the Cape, which I enjoy doing myself (although our digs are definitely different!). But of course none of these are good reasons for supporting her. I've heard that if she's the nominee then the Democrats will not win because something like over half of the country will absolutely not vote for her. So it might be a gift to the Republicans if she gets it. Only time will tell...
I'm glad you're starting to soften towards Romney. He's definitely a better candidate than Huckabee. I'm with you on not going for people or shows or things just because the person is a member of the Church, it just always makes me curious to see how they conduct themselves.

Donna said...

I agree with pretty much all of what you said Peter. I hadn't thought about the possibility of Bloomberg being interested in the VP role. That's interesting!

Katie said...

I cannot wait to see the results tomorrow night! We aren't usually a huge political family, but I really can't stand Billary and so I have been really paying attention this time around. I've learned so much about American Government in the last several months that it is crazy.

For the Democratic ticket, I can see it being Hillary/someone not running, like Nancy Piloisi (except people really hate her...) A Hillary/Obama ticket might be good, because I like Obama much more than Billary. On the other hand, I kinda get the feeling that Hillary wouldn't let Obama be her VP. It would kinda be like she was letting someone steal her spotlight. For the same reason, I can't see an Obama/Hillary ticket. She wouldn't be willing to "take silver".

Personally, I don't think Hillary is electable, assuming we have a decent republican running against her. She has too much baggage from the time her husband was in office (Hillary-Care, anyone?) And, her stance on things is just so radical. I know she has tried to tone down her rhetoric the past several years, but I remember when she ran for senator in NY that all of my college friends who were from NYC were calling her a carpet-bagger, only in it for the presidency.

My personal favorite democrat is Mike Gravel, but there is a 0% chance of his getting the nod.

As for the Republicans, that is somewhat harder. I really don't like Huckabee. Can you see us having a President HUCKABEE? No. I mean, NO! That would just be wrong! It says, "Hello, Americans are from Hickville" all over it. Plus, he is a Baptist minister. I do not see how being a baptist minister makes you a good president. I don't see how bieng Mormon makes you a good president, either for that matter, but at least Romney leaves his religion out of the political arena. Huckabee's ads just scream "televangelist" to me. Crosses and Pascal fishes in teh background? Yes, I get it, you want the right-wing nutjob nod, alrighty then. I think that Europe would officially lose all respect for us as Americans if we elected him.

I used to like Guiliani, because I liked his experience and the way he handled 9/11. But, his marital record really doesn't sit well with me. I think we should have a moral person as our president. Jst because you are from a certain religion I don't think makes you a moral person, but your track record does, and 2 divorces just seems off to me.

Of the hopefuls, I hope that Romney gets the republican ticket, and I would see him choosing someone like Thompson or McCain as a running mate. I definitely can't see him running with Guiliani (too many moderates) or Huckabee (too much bad blood). McCain might be a good choice because he has some solid credentials behind him, although I couldn't like him for prez.

My personal republican choice would be Ron Paul, but that is not going to happen, either, and Andy has told me I can't throw my vote away by voting for him or Mike Gravel in the final election (we are both registered independents, so we can't do much for the primary).

Alyson said...

Yeah, I get curious when I hear that someone that is famous or on a show is mormon too (I think it's cool Jason from TAPS is mormon, but I liked him before I knew). I'm just not automatically going to support them. When Russ' mom was here she asked me if I watched Dancing With the Stars. I told her no. And she said, "But Marie Osmond is on it." She said it as if I should be a big fan because a mormon is on it. That attitude drives me crazy (my mother-in-law tends to drive me crazy anyway)! That attitude reminds me of everything I hate about Utah. It's like with mormon literature. There is very little mormon literature that I like, most of it is, quite frankly, hack writing and not all that thought provoking. But everyone in Utah assumes that is what you are reading and if you're not then what's wrong with you? Ok, I've gotten off the subject! Sorry!

About Romney, I agree about his success in business. I think that is a huge plus for him. His flip-floping isn't a concern for me if he's done it for the right reasons. I don't mind if people change their position if they are being open-minded. That's great. No one knows everything and if they feel like they need to change their minds because they've learned new things then that is admirable. If they are flip-flopping only to curry favor with a certain group, well,than that's a concern. What's your take on his change in positions?

Donna said...

Alyson, I completely agree with you about candidates and people in general changing their minds about issues. To me it shows open-mindedness and a willingness to recognize that you made a mistake and there's a better option. The problem is when someone does it all the time, because that can show a lack of good judgment on their part if they are often changing their mind.

I don't know quite what to make of it for Romney. I can understand it for abortion and a few other things, but it does seem like he's changed position a few times too many. Behind-the-scenes politics and strategizing in decision-making almost always comes into play for politicians, which is one of the reasons they're generally so distrusted. It makes my respect level fall a bit for him, unless he can explain these changes truthfully and satisfactorily, but it doesn't diminish my view that he's still the best one running for President.

Donna said...

Katie--President Huckabee, yeah!! I always match the candidate's names with the "President" title to see how it sounds. Pres. Huckabee sounds silly, but I guess he can't help that. I think President Obama sounds funny too, but President Paul sounds pretty cool (I like alliteration). Of course President Romney sounds best of all!

I know hardly anything about Gravel. I think my brother said he's even more out there than Kucinich. What is it about him that you like? Andy's right, I think we need to make our votes count by voting for candidates who poll at least in the low double digits. I could be mistaken, but I don't know of any candidate who has ever polled consistently in the single digits and won.

I think Hillary would let Obama be her running mate if that would make the difference in getting the win. She'll do whatever it takes to become the President. I think she's wanted it so much for a long time now. I agree with all that you said about the Republicans.

"Billary," that's clever!

Alyson said...

I think it's always been Billary with those two, even when he was in the white house.

Donna said...

Dang it! I'm watching the results and Huckabee is going to win in Iowa, seemingly by a good margin. The Evangelicals turned out in force for him. Yet at the same time they say Romney is the more electable one in the entrance polling. Oh well, Romney will beat him in NH and beyond!

Alyson said...

Are you sad today?

Donna said...

I'm disappointed that Romney lost to Huckabee by a large margin. If I think about it too much, I start to get really ticked off at Huckabee and a certain (ignorant) group of people who turned out in force last night and shall remain unnamed, and I don't like feeling that way. Uh oh, now I'm thinking about it too much and I'm going to have to spout off. Look out!

What are these people thinking?? Do they not know the facts, or do they just not care? I have a bad feeling about Huckabee. If he were ever to become President (he won't), I think he would be one to really mis-use and abuse his power. Do you know that when his governorship was ending he actually created a wedding-type registry for people to give him gifts? I'm hearing more and more that behind the scenes he's vindictive and not nice. He was investigated by the Ethics Committee several times when he was Gov. People say that he has little interest in important current events. And this doesn't even go into his voting and decision-making record. I hope that these things will come out more and more in the coming days because the American people need to know that Huckabee isn't nearly as squeaky-clean as even I once thought he was.

Also I was getting really irked watching Huckabee's speech last night with Chuck Norris and his unnaturally white teeth grinning over Huckabee's shoulder. He's such a random, uninfluential person to give an endorsement and it's weird. Huckabee totally used his religion to get votes and it worked. Why use money when you can use Jesus instead? Who cares that in America we have a separation of church and state? Not Huckabee! I can't blame him for doing that though, since relatively speaking he is poor and it was the only way he was going to win.

If Romney loses in NH and then in Michigan, I bet his race will be over. That would be depressing. NH and Boston have been unkind to him, with most of their newspapers endorsing McCain instead. Fools! So he has an uphill battle ahead of him, but it's certainly not un-winnable.

On a more optimistic note, I was happy for Obama and that now a black person has won the Iowa caucus for the first time.

Thank you for letting me rant and rave. I feel a little better now!

Alyson said...

Did you see this?

Donna said...

I did hear about Romney winning the Wyoming caucuses and I was happy about that! It doesn't matter as much, but it's still something. They tried to tear him apart at the debate last night, esp. the vindictive, mean McCain. I really don't like McCain anymore. If he ends up getting the nomination I will not vote for him. He's a jerk!

Katie said...

did you guys watch the Fox debate tonight? I thought Romney did mch better, and McCain held off on the offense (although Huckabee was still trying to tear him to shreds...)

Donna said...

I didn't get to see the debates tonight on Fox. I'm so glad to hear from you that Romney had a better night than he did on Saturday. I'm glad too that it sounds like McCain acted more like a grown-up. I am so unhappy with Huckabee and McCain. If Romney doesn't get the nomination I am probably going to vote Democratic this year, because all of the other Republican candidates (except Paul) make me sick.

Katie said...

Huckabee is an idiot. Period.

This debate was nice because the moderator was actually posing a lot of difficult questions to them (including Mitt's so-called "attack ads") and Mitt definitely did so much better tonight. Huckabee just floundered and avoided answering questions on his record. McCain also avoided answering questions.

Mitt actually won the debate for their "focus group" of 30 independents in NH who watched it (although the reliability of such groups is iffy).

Thompson lost the debate, from the focus group's perspective.