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Let the voting beginPosted Wednesday, January 2, 2008, at 9:57 AM
The Iowa presidential caucuses are Thursday.
And we'll get some real answers -- for a few days, anyway -- as to who exactly is the frontrunner.
I suspect Hillary Rodham Clinton will come away with the Democratic win, despite a Des Moines Register poll showing Barack Obama in the lead. Republicans? Too close to call.
The primary system is flawed. Certain states have too much early influence, then too many occur at one time.
Tennessee needs an earlier primary for more influence.
But we can have our own -- and ongoing -- totally unofficial Tennessee primary right here.
Who gets your vote -- and why? And about the others: Why not?
Here's my take on the major contenders, issues aside:
Clinton's too harsh and abrasive for many voters. I realize she's trying to play nice, but she's basically a human steamroller attempting to run over everyone in her path. A certain amount of that's okay, but leaders need to consider others' opinions as well as their own. She does have the requisite amount of knowledge plus Bill to back her up. But: Is America ready to elect a woman?
Barack Obama is impressive and has the potential to be a future leader. Someday. But I suspect he needs more experience beyond a short time in Congress. Let's hope redneck voters can get over the fact that he's black. Race shouldn't be an issue in the 21st century (and shouldn't have been in the past, for that matter).
I've heard comments that the Democrats have one of their best opportunities in years against a Republican party arguably damaged by President Bush -- but are squandering that chance by not running a white male as a frontrunner. I don't think race or gender should matter, but others do.
So... I suspect we may see a strong rise in John Edwards' numbers over the next few weeks. In his defense, he's been underrated and claims, at least, he'll stand up for working people. As virtually all Democrats do. We'll see.
I keep hearing concerns that Mitt Romney shouldn't be president because he's a Mormon. Some compare the Mormon Church to a cult, based on beliefs that The Bible is the ultimate holy word and nothing else -- such as the Book of Mormon -- should be added.
Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, jokingly said, "Hijack your church's bus, whatever you've got to do..." but there's a not-so-subtle hint there: He's pleading to churchgoing Iowans to attend caucus gatherings -- and for primary voters to hit the ballot boxes. He also shares Obama's lack of experience in foreign policy.
Fred Thompson keeps plodding along. He seems, well...old. I get the vague feeling he doesn't have the passion for what he's doing that a successful candidate needs.
And then there's thrice-married Rudy Guiliani, who proved his ability while running New York City, chasing culturally-conservative voters who would turn up their noses at someone with those particular backgrounds.
It'll be exciting to see how things shake out over the next few months. Bottom line: Expect the unexpected.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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