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Dash of Pepper

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Front runners, dark horses and the rest of them
The Gazette Staff
Our tiresomely premature and heavily crowded presidential campaign has more than its share of perplexing moments.
I don't pretend to understand anything on the Democrat side but the spectacle of a Hollywood mogul dumping on the Clintons is mildly amusing. Mrs. Clinton, for her part, refuses to be pushed as far to the Left as most of the other Democrats competing against her. As for Senator Obama, I would almost bet that occasionally he asks himself "What am I doing here and how the heck did I get here?" Long term, Mrs. Clinton's problem may be too much "face" time. The Clintons, after all, have been in the media since 1992. It's getting old.
Another danger for the Democrats would be over-reaching on the part of the Congressional Democrats. The 2006 election was not a mandate. The results were extremely close although the numbers have been totally buried as far as the mainstream media is concerned. Eighteen U.S. House seats were decided by less than 5,000 votes each and three U.S. Senate seats were decided by two percent or less of the vote.
If the Democrats move to stop funding for the troops, I believe Senator Lieberman may jump to the GOP and there will be a quiet but large backlash against the Dems.
On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani seems to have moved to front-runner status. He has broad appeal based on his performance following 9/11 but it's really his remarkable record while mayor of New York that he could also run on. Early on, he cleaned up the town, went after the powerful unions and got the city on budget. Even as a conservative, I could live with Rudy as long as he stays strong on national security.
Meanwhile, McCain, predictably I suppose, is being McCain. Last week he attacked the Bush administration in a particularly virulent way. That's not unusual. Bush-bashing has become the fashion. But it's hard to see how this serves Senator McCain's own interests. It alienates core GOP supporters. Perhaps he's looking to woo independents but if anyone wants to see a campaign on the specifics of the big issues, it's likely to be the independent voter. So the Senator's tirade is perplexing.
The dark horses running for the White House in both parties are being soundly ignored by the press. Perhaps someone will surface as the primaries get closer.
To me, Mitt Romney remains quietly impressive. An effective fund-raiser, he is well funded, he has put together a fine organization, and he has attracted some of the top political strategists in the nation. He has reached out to top conservative organizations in this country and even overseas. He is a good speaker and it would be interesting to see him in a debate.
I think Romney has staying power and will become a force to be reckoned with.
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 16:11  

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