by Marc Schulman
February 28, 2007- New polls released today show a very strong surge by Republican Guliani and Democrat Obama. The poll shows an especially strong showing by Guliani, who now leads the potential Republicans candidates with showing of 44% in the poll. His recent growth has come according to the Post from Evangilical Christians- despite his positions of abortion and Gay Rigths. Obama's growth has come from growing enthusiasm amoung African Americans.
February 26, 2007- Watching the campaign of 2008 it's hard to believe that we are over a year and a half before the elections and nearly a year before the first primary. The primary season is in full swing with one of the largest fields ever. We already have an official candidate that has withdrawn Governor Tom Vilsack due to his inability to raise funds. We have also already had the first public fight between the leading Democratic candidates - Clinton and Obama. The fact that both Obama and Clinton are considered serious candidates for the Presidency has added an excitement to this race that has been missing in a generation. Interestingly the first woman and the first African American have to overcome problems that have nothing to do with their race or gender in order to receive the nomination and ultimately the election. For Obama it is the sense that he does not have the experience to be President and for Clinton it's the sense that is time for someone other then members of the Clinton or Bush families be President.
Some correspondents have complained that the race has not been about issues but seems to be more about personalities (see Paul Krugman in the NYT 2/26). I am not sure why Krugman is surprised. There is very little difference in the positions of the democratic candidates on most issues, and that should not surprise us. The Democrats are united on most issues. What we should hope for is a clear fight on the issues in the general elections. Not a fight about gay marriage or abortion, but a fight over taxes and the budget, the environment and the global fight against terrorism. I won?t hold my breadth, but I am hopeful.
Last night Al Gore won the Oscar for his film on global warming. I am sure, most Americans are sorry that he did not become President in January 2001. He has no doubt had the most successful post presidential career in terms of global impact than of any other losing candidate. At the moment he claims he has no plans to run for the presidency-he is however, clearly the most qualified of any potential candidate to be the President.
February 10, 2007-History was made today when Barack Obama announced his bid for the Presidency. Obama is not the first African-American to run for president. He is however, the first who pundits believe has a serious chance for success. Obama is clearly the phenomena of this campaign. He is the youngest candidate in a very crowded field. But even before he announced that he was running his polls number show him to be running second to Senator Clinton. Many pundits have called him the most gifted natural politician since Bill Clinton. In his speech Obama spoke about the need for a new generation to take the reins of power and do what the previous generation failed to do-He stated, "Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done. Today we are called once more-and it is time for our generation to answer that call".
Obama speech clearly echoed the tone and speeches of another young Presidential candidate-John F Kennedy. Clearly the wordings are intentional, a young charismatic candidate trying to become the first African American candidate. His candidacy is similar to a young charismatic candidate who wish to become the first Catholic President 47 years ago.
There is a difference, Kennedy was a young man representing a generation of war veterans who had fought for the country and felt it was time for that "Greatest Generation" to reach the highest office. President Kennedy by the time of his inauguration had been a decorated naval officers commanding a small boat in combat, authored two books on world affairs, one of which won a Pulitzer-served in the House of Representatives for three terms and then served in the Senate for eight years.
Obama weakness is his lack of experience, which he will try to turn to his advantage. In a recent interview when questioned about his lack of experience he stated look what experience has brought us-referring to all the experience in the point. America has suffered these last six years partially from the fact that President Bush when he took office had the least experience of any President since Chester Arthur. Its ironic the question does not seem to be whether American is ready for an African American President (which I believe it is) but is it willing to elect a second President in a row without any experience?
Text of Obama announcement
January 25, 2008 The political landscape became a little clearer in the past two days as, Senator Kerry announced that he would not seek the democratic nomination for President. Most observers were not surprised by the decision. In fact many were surprised that he would even consider t a run. On the Republican side Congressman Duncan Hunter of California announced that he would run. Hunter who is a social conservative faces an uphill battle. The latest opinion polls show him with support from only 1% of registered Republicans. Hunter supports the current administrations plan to send more troops to Iraq. On the other hand he strongly oppose the Bush administration plan for immigration, and his opposition to illegal immigration is going to be a major theme of his campaign.
One of the most interesting political news today was the talk, that four large states whose primary have been towards the end of the primary cycle are considering moving their primaries to January 2008. They are California, Illinois, Florida and New Jersey. Earlier primaries in those states could change the nature of the primary battle.
January 22, 2008 It has been an extraordinary weekend in American politics. In the course of one weekend three candidates announced their intention to run for president of the United States. Two were Democrats (Hilary Clinton and Bill Richardson) and the third a republican, Sam Brownback. Never before in American politics have there so many serious candidates so early in a race. The race has begun; part of the race is for supporters in the primaries and part of the race, maybe the most important in this stage is a race to raise money. Today the word was out that Senator Clinton had already decided not to accept federal matching funds. This puts pressure on all the other potential candidates in their quest to raise money. The Los Angeles Times ran a story today Just $83.8 Million? claiming that Senator Clinton was planning to raise $500 million between now and the elections. A few days after Senator Obama had declared his intention to run the attacks have begun. One story that was spread was that Obama attended Islamic Madras as a small boy when living in Indonesia. CNN sent a crew to the school and found it a coed public school in a wealthy section of Jakarta. Meanwhile Salon ran an opinion peace called Black vs. Òblack in which Gary Kamiya claims that while Barak Obama is black he is not a true African American since his roots are not the same roots as the majority African Americans-slavery.