Thursday, December 28, 2006

The race is now between Obama and Edwards?

By Deborah White for About.com

Merry Christmas, Democrats!

I believe Santa has brought us exactly what we've been wishing for: the beginnings of a competitive, two-horse race for 2008 between interesting, bona fide liberals, both with positive messages of hope and healing for our great nation.

Yesterday, KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Iowa released the results of an exclusive, Survey2000 poll, which asked Iowans about their choices for the Iowa Caucus, set for January 14, 2008. The survey was conducted from December 18-20, and has a margin of error of no more than plus or minus 4 percentage points.

And I'm not surprised that the overall Democratic results were:

John Edwards 22%
Barack Obama 22%
Tom Vilsack 12%
Hillary Clinton 10%
Al Gore 7%
John Kerry 5%
Wesley Clark 4%
Dennis Kucinich 4%
Joe Biden 1%
Evan Bayh 1%
Bill Richardson 1%
Undecided 11%

No surprise that Sen. Hillary Clinton fares poorly in Iowa. As I've preached many times, middle-class America is deeply uncomfortable with her. Also, Hillary carries a back-breaking load of political baggage from the past two decades.

John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and, to my sadness, Al Gore, are viewed by many voters under 40 as yesterday's news.... political ghosts from past decades. These Iowa polls results reflect that reality.

In contrast, Edwards and Obama both have built fresh, positive images, and enjoy strong support on the college campus circuit.

The Only Surprises
The only surprises in these numbers are that both Tom Vilsack, Governor of Iowa, and John Edwards, who's been campaigning in Iowa for more than a year, didn't fare far better against Sen. Barack Obama, who surprised the nation just 3 months ago when he admitted to considering a 2008 run for the White House.

Tom Vilsack, of course, isn't a serious 2008 presidential candidate, as he's a virtual unknown outside home state Iowa. I saw him last week on The Daily Show. Vilsack's a likeable enough guy, and seems bright and informed. I assume he's either running for the 2008 vice-presidency, or to garner national exposure for future races.

Edwards vs. Obama
Today, I believe that nationally, the two leading candidates for 2008 Democratic nomination for the presidency are Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards.

While both are liberals, they have clear differences. They stake out different ideological portions of the Democratic Party... Edwards being more liberal than Obama... but with substantial overlap. I'll dissect these differences in great detail in 2007.

Conditions can change, though, and a year in politics is a very, very long time.

For instance, if the U.S. suffered another 9/11 style attack in 2007-08, Democrats may opt for a candidate with superlative national security credentials and a more moderate Iraq War stance: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton or retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark come to mind.

But given the political, security and economic climate in December 2006, this results of this poll absolutely do NOT surprise me. The frontrunners now are Edwards and Obama.

Of those two, who would I vote for? I don't know. I have a lot yet to learn about both, and I have no serious objections to either.

So Merry Christmas, Democrats!

With the Democratic-controlled Congress taking office in less than 2 weeks, and several stellar Democratic potentials in the 2008 race for the White House, I can only surmise that Santa included us on his 2006 "Good List."

Ho, ho, ho, indeed!

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