2008 Presidential Campaign Already a Disaster
Under normal circumstances, the media and pundits would be screaming that two years ahead is way too early to start presidential campaigning for the 2008 election. But these are not normal times.
The nation is at war, and the trend on the battlefield is stagnation, if not retrogression. The federal budget is awash in red ink, prices are soaring and individuals are far less flush than they were when Bush was selected as president in 2000.
The voters know we are in trouble, so they have encouraged as many people as possible to seek the presidency. An unprecedented number of candidates declared themselves early. Instead of objecting, the voters welcomed this early, large pool of applicants for the nation's highest office, understanding that a long campaign would be necessary to winnow the field.
In other words, the voters, who are basically dissatisfied with both the Republicans and the Democrats and the leadership of the parties, are casting their nets far and wide in an attempt to find the best possible president to lead the country in these trying times.
Unfortunately, the entrenched politicians and media pundits have declared that a viable candidate must raise tens of millions of dollars in order to run for president. The incumbent politicians and media leaders, who have declared for the past thirty years that money is the problem in politics; have now turned it into the gold standard and insist no candidate can win without raising obscene amounts of money.
So, now there is an "invisible primary" of money raising taking place a whole year before the voters get to influence the process. Already, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and Indiana Senator and former Governor Evan Bayh have dropped out of the race; leaving the field free to the high profile, big money raising only Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Given the fact that a person who only served in the Senate has not been elected president since Warren G. Harding in 1920 and that every successful presidential candidate since Richard Nixon in 1972 (with the sole exception of George H.W. Bush) has been a Governor, it shows that the Democrats are hell bent on losing the presidency in 2008 - or alternatively leaving Al Gore as the only candidate who can raise big bucks who can stop the weak combination of Clinton and Obama.
Alternatively, the idea of John McCain and Rudolf Guliani, the two heavyweight money raisers in the Republican Party may be leaving the way clear for Jeb Bush, the only Republican Governor capable of raising the tens of millions necessary to mount an effective campaign for president.
Either another Gore - Bush race (which Gore will lose again) or a Obama - Clinton; McCain - Guliani race shows how lacking in political leadership the world's last remaining superpower has become. The only caveat is that an Obama presidency might be just what the nation needs to demonstrate to the dark skinned races in the Middle East and Moslem world that American democracy really works and that we are not the legacy white male belligerent colonialists typified by George W. Bush.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf