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Dash of Pepper

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The strangest of campaigns
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
I've long been predicting that the 2008 campaign year would be a wild, wacky and sometimes crazy ride. With the huge number of candidates on both sides early on, I envisioned us hurtling toward November and watching as the bodies of failed candidates spin away and fall beside the road of lost hopes.
But I was thinking that, at least on the Democrat side, it would be Democrat candidates largely attacking the Republican candidates (John McCain not included - they think they can beat him), via attacks on the administration.
Instead, with the rise of rock star Obama, we've been confronted with attacks by Democrats on Democrats - namely the nasty fight between Mrs. Clinton's operatives and those of Senator Obama.
It's a very dicey situation for Mrs. Clinton. How on earth can she attack her opponent, even on issues such as experience, and not be seen as playing the race card?
Another thought - if Senator Obama starts losing, will the African American vote simply fade into disappointment. Will they retain unpleasant memories of Bill Clinton's remarks before and after the South Carolina loss and simply stay home? It seems that the Clinton campaign will find itself tip-toeing on eggs and wrestling with a totally unexpected phenomenon.
I don't buy the idea of a brokered convention with deals being made in the back rooms. I think both parties will have a clear front runner by mid summer at the latest. In fact, I think the writing will be on the wall when the results of Super Tuesday are known.
It could be sooner than that for the Republicans.
The primary vote in Florida is beginning as this column goes to press. If Romney wins (I think he may) that will put him very far ahead in the delegate totals. It would be hard for McCain to catch up and Huckabee will have a tough time staying in the race. If McCain wins, Romney has the resources to continue, through Super Tuesday and beyond.
The mainstream press will continue to promote the idea of a brokered convention until the facts on the ground make that impossible. They will continue to promote Sen. McCain until he falls behind.
But they may be confounded on the Democrat side. If the Democrat Old Guard in the form of Caroline Kennedy and Senator Kennedy back Obama and Mrs. Clinton prevails, they'll have to do a quick 180 degree turn - which they will because the Republican nominee will be available for their slings and arrows.
I still think all the apples will have fallen from the tree by mid-March - then the really rough stuff will begin.
Copyright©2008SheilahPepper
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 15:27  

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