Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ten Questions

I hope some of you recall the entry here a couple of months ago ("Gotcha") which examined the Bush habit of issuing signing statements which often seemed to conflict with legislation passed by Congress. Even I was amazed, however, to learn that Mr. Bush has now used this tactic about 1100 times, which is almost double the number of times it had been used by all former presidents - combined. I expect we have not heard the last of this.

It's past mid-December. The Iowa Presidential caucuses are just 16 days off. The heat, grit and mud will fly nonstop until next November. Naturally, you already knew this. If you'd like a try at punditry, however, you could tackle any or all of the following questions, all of which will be answered before the next Inauguration Day. Me? I can't answer them yet, either, but at least I know they are out there.
1. Can voters put Bill Clinton out of their minds when trying to judge Sen. Hillary Clinton? That's a tall order, for sure. Old Bubba casts a big shadow both for good and evil. Some people resent her for putting up with Bill, though the Constitution is evidently silent on the matter. What makes it hard to know is that it has never happened before. I'd sure want to have him around on Election Day, but as president, Mrs. C. might ewant to send him around the world - via the Poles.
2. Any room on the ticket for unfortunate losers from little states? Take your pick - Dodd (CT), Biden (DE), Richardson (NM), or Huckabee (AR)? All men with qualifications, but paddling in small rafts.
3. Does star power generate votes? Trying to get famous folks in the picture frame is a long American tradition, but this time it ain't Wayne Newton or Lee Greenwood. We're talking Oprah, who goes WAY beyond famous. How much does this help Obama?
4. Could outside events change the odds? Answer: sure, but no one knows what those will be, nor how one sided they might appear.
5. Will the Federal Election Commission have the muscle and desire to deal with all parties fully and fairly? Election fraud has not gone away as a possibility, and the doors are always open to a million little tricks.
6. What are the chances of Rudy Giuliani blowing up in a quasi-public way in "crazed boss" fahion? I'm surprised it hasn't happened already. Most of us have had a crazy boss, and most of us would prefer to NOT vote for one.
7. If Giuliani becomes the nominee, does that reinforce Pat Robertson as a GOP kingmaker? OR would it mark the end of the Christian Right a a major party influence?
8. How big is the "silent redneck" vote? Racism is no longer fashionable, but no one should think it has died. When certain folks are all alone in the voting booth, will it make a comeback?
9. Could the Iraq "surge" carry long enough to make a political difference? That's an awfully long time to go without an up tick in violence.
10. Will youthful voters show up to promote change - or to oppose it? As a group, they are pretty unpredictable, although you would think they would be good Democrats until their tax bills grow.
11. Bonus question. I'm a value-added kind of guy. Will any of the nomination losers continue their candidacy as an independent? Ron Paul, darling of the internet right, seems to be the most likely here, but guessing it is pretty tough.
Not everyone is ready to dive deeply into this stuff a full ten months before Election Day, I realize. But the public's chance to help point the nation's path is coming up soon. I just can't lay off this stuff, and you all should jump at the chance to be the first to have the inside political scoop in your neighborhood, right? Right?


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