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Let the voting begin

Posted 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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I believe America is ready for a woman but NOT Clinton. I believe we would be ready for a person of mixed race, but agree that Obama has not been tested yet.

I would prefer a person of faith, so Romney and Huckabee are viable BUT I have seen to much waffling to be committed to anyone yet.

We saw the first campaign sign on Saturday and I thought sure my wife was wrong when she said she saw it in her rear-view mirror. In Illinois sure but HERE?

It was for Ron Paul and it did its job, because I checked him out a little. Thom, I think I might agree. That is as strong as I get right now, but it looks promising.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 4:11 PM

Umm...dead. Although you're more than welcome to dig them up and put them on the ballot, they're as good as just about any of the candidates we currently have to chose from. My choice? Ron Paul. The reason is simple, he's a Constitutionalist. Why not the others...because they're not.

-- Posted by Thom on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 2:50 PM

I wish I were less cynical.

I'd prefer Howard Baker,Lamar Alexander,Al Gore,Ross Perot (his daughter rides Walkers)-ANYone who felt "real" and known.

(The rest we could work with-maybe.)

Where are Estes Kefaufer,William Jennings Bryan and Henry Clay when you need them?

Where are the kind of politicos we see in fiction?

(Aaron Sorkin,Frank Capra,etc. you gave us a lot more Jimmy Stewarts,Spencer Tracys and John Spencers than you did Anti-Christs,Manchurian Candidates and Huey Long wannabes.)

Please,somebody give us candidates who live in the real world,know the pertinent issues,know how to pick advisors and delegate authority and know how to be shrewd,assertive,ethical and how to make their allies,enemies and constituents eager to be clear-headed and constructive.

(I don't ask for much,do I?)

Just find me some folks to vote for that match that description-NOW.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 12:35 PM

I usually vote Democratic but this year I have no clue . . . I dont like any of the choices that are offered. It almost makes me want to write my own name in. LOL!

We need real change on many levels . . . I like John Edwards and Ron Paul the most of out of all the choices but I dont see either one getting past the primaries and I dont know if they will do what they say.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 12:10 PM

In my opinion, our country is in such great need for new leadership that neither Obama's nor Huckabee's lack of experience bothers me. We need a fresh face and an innovative thinker who's not afraid to share his or her core beliefs and lead our country in a positive direction. We need a LEADER more than an experienced "politician."

-- Posted by sfowler on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 11:35 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.