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!