9/11 Attacks will be the deciding, if not the only, issue in 2008 Presidential Race

   A report in yesterday's (May 18, 2007) news speculated that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire financial news mogul, might consider running a self-financed independent presidential campaign in 2008.  This, of course, would be bad news for Rudolf Guliani, the former Mayor of New York, who is currently leading the pack in the Republican presidential sweepstakes.

   The idea of two New York City Mayors being candidates for president is mind boggling for any New York politico.  One of the accepted truths of New York politics is that Mayor of New York is a political dead end.  Robert F. Wagner, Jr., the three-term Mayor, always dreamed of following his father into the United States Senate, to no avail.  John V. Lindsay, the Liberal-Republican Mayor of New York from 1965 - 1973, ran for president as a Democrat in 1972 and got less than 7% of the vote in the early primaries of Florida and Wisconsin, before bowing out of the race.  Congressman Ed Koch, the two term Mayor, tried unsuccessfully to go to the Governor's Mansion in Albany.

   Now, not only is a former mayor the leading candidate in the Republican field, but another mayor is mulling an independent bid.  Combined with the fact that New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton is leading the Democratic field for president, it doesn't take a Nobel Prize winning political scientist to figure out what the dominant issue is on the minds of America's voters.  It's the 9/11 attacks on New York City's World Trade Center. 

   Every other issue: abortion, immigration, the economy stupid, or the environment is going to take a back seat to the task of finding a commander-in-chief to deal with the consequences of the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq.  Think, "Who would make the best commander-in-chief?" when assessing presidential candidates.  The next president will need command presence, because he or she is going to be a war president, that's for sure.

   The job of the voters next year is going to be to keep as many of the viable candidates in the race as possible, given the politicians propensity to front-end load the primary process to force the voters to pick early.  In other words, the primaries will split.  No candidate will make a clean sweep.  There should be enough candidates with substantial blocks of votes to keep the contest open all the way through the conventions next summer.

   The fact that New York politicians are leading in the Republican, Democratic and Indpendent races for president is a clear indication of what the voters nationwide consider the biggest issue facing the county.

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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf