I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, January 31, 2008

As The Political World Turns

There are just a few short days left until “Super Tuesday”, when more than 20 states hold their presidential primaries. The political experts informed us last fall that the race for the nominations was all but over. Senator Hillary Clinton was predicted to have virtually eliminated all of the other Democratic contenders before February 5, and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani was expected to roll through the early primaries and have the nomination wrapped up by the time the ballots are counted on “Super Tuesday”. What a difference 5 short months make in the world of politics. Giuliani dropped out of the race earlier this week after a disappointing third place finish in Florida. Clinton has spent the past 5 months desperately trying to fend off the campaign of Senator Barack Obama.

Obama has defied the laws of political nature and won both Iowa and South Carolina. He also picked up the endorsements of Democratic political royalty, the Kennedys. Even a reported phone call from former President Bill Clinton could not dissuade Senator Teddy Kennedy from throwing support behind the charismatic senator from Illinois. Many believed that Hillary would easily win the nomination without more than a mention of any opposition. Someone forgot to mention that small detail to the Obama campaign.

Giuliani wagered his entire campaign on winning Florida. He spent the majority of his time and money in the Sunshine State, believing that if he could win Florida it would propel him through “Super Tuesday” and onto the nomination. What he did not count on was that the preceding primaries would launch the campaigns of Romney and McCain through Florida on their way to next week. Giuliani made his graceful exit and immediately flew to California to endorse Senator John McCain with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. McCain was short of money and considered to be a non-factor in the primaries. Once again the experts were shown to be completely off the mark.

As we head into the carnival on February 5, we can be sure that the rhetoric from all sides will be turned up to a deafening roar. Each campaign is seeking to distance themselves from the embarrassing past, highlight their perceived achievements, and point out the many flaws, real or fabricated, of their opponents. There are a few websites that I recommend you check out to see whether or not the claims of the candidates are in fact truthful. PolitiFact is a website that shows specific comments by candidates or their campaigns and indicates whether or not they are factual or fabricated. FactCheck.org is another resource to determine if any of the political rhetoric bears any resemblance to the truth.
Tuesday could turn out to be the deciding factor in the nomination process or we may have to wait until the political convention before we actually know who will be the nominees. I believe that we will have a definitive winner on each side, if not on Tuesday, within a few weeks. I believe that Hillary will finally pull ahead of the charisma and hype that has built up around Barack Obama; and I believe that John McCain will squeak out ahead of Mitt Romney. From an entertainment perspective, this has been and will continue to be the most entertaining election season of my lifetime.


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