The 2008 Presidential Campaign

The 2008 Presidential campaign is heating up and voters are beginning to, if they had not already, become acquainted with the various candidates. From the mood of the country, coupled with the various polls which report in unison, their results, it seems likely that a Democrat will become the next president of the United States. The reason for this has more to do with what the Republicans have failed to do, than what the Democrats can do. The war in Iraq hurt the Republicans in the last midterm election and many believe that the same will be repeated next November.

As a result of these findings, three Democratic candidates will be featured. They are Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The latter two are fighting against each other to become the party’s presidential candidate in 2008 and the former, Chris Dodd is fighting to be recognized. In the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate, Dodd spoke the third longest, trailing behind both Obama and Clinton.[1] Unless there is an upset, it seems that the party faithful will have to choose between Obama and Clinton as their nominee. However, one of the aspects which keep the interest of the nation for more than a year, is the predictability of politics and that the nomination is still up for grabs.

Chris Dobb is a five time United States Senator from Connecticut. His father was one of the lead prosecutors during the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.[2] The Dodd family has been one of class and privilege in the state of Connecticut for some time.

However, this level of financial separation from the middle and lower classes of his state, has not been equated to a level of discontent between Dodd and the people that he represents. What has and will continue to serve as one of the major impediments for Dodd as he attempts to claim the Democratic nomination, is his lack of notoriety outside of Connecticut. Chris Dodd follows in all of the national polls as well as the state polls in Iowa and South Carolina which will be the first two state primaries and are scheduled to be held early next year. A Dodd nomination is a long shot.

Barack Obama is another presidential candidate who is trailing in the polls. Despite the fact that he has been endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, perhaps the most powerful woman in America Obama will have to gain  a lot of ground on his chief rival, Hillary Clinton is he hopes to gain his party’s nomination. Obama trails Clinton by more than twelve percentage points in both the Iowa and South Carolina races.

However, recent flip flops by Clinton, most recently regarding New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants in which Clinton expressed both her support and disagreement with the plan, seemingly at the same time, people are labeling Clinton as one who panders to popular opinion instead of possessing hard fought convictions.

Obama represents all those who have felt as though they have been left out of the political process. This is why among 18-24 year olds, less than 15% are expected to vote in either the general or presidential elections.[3] Obama’s youth as well as his diverse ethnicity will both help and hurt him as he attempts to become the first biracial president in American History.

Obama is beloved in Illinois and in the Chicago area where he served as a state senator for a number of years. It also does not hurt that Obama is photogenic and energetic as well. Even his critics cannot help but state that barrack Obama is a gifted speaker and politician. It also does not hurt that Obama’s campaign has deep pockets and trailed only the Clinton campaign in the money that it raised during the first half of 2007. Obama raised $58 million.[4] It has become a necessary evil in today’s political atmosphere, that only those viable candidates who can raise the money, will have the opportunity to stay in the race. Republican hopeful, Mike Huckabee has already bowed out of the presidential race for that same impediment; not enough money. It does not seem that Obama will have that problem.

His problem lies in being able to win over skeptics who doubt that a one term U.S Senator possesses the necessary experience to run a country. Also, it cannot be ignored that Obama’s race might also serve as an impediment as well as some will decide that America is not ready for a president of partial African descent. One would hope that in a meritocracy such as the United States claims to be, one will “not be judged by the color of one’s skin but by the content of their character”[5] as martin Luther King dreamed might be the reality one day in America.

It is this level of discontent with old party politics, both within the Republican and Democratic Party, that Obama has received so much excitement. Obama is a new type of politician and it is that freshness that he brings to an old institution that has helped to bring so much attention to his campaign. Obama is a junior United States Senator from Illinois with the least amount of experience among all of the presidential candidates.

However, Obama has attracted the attention and incited the passions of America’s youth to such a degree not seen since the McGovern Campaign of 1972 and before that, the 1960 campaign of John F. Kennedy.[6] Whether or not Obama can help millions of American youth, previously apathetic towards politics, to incite a passion for politics and the opportunity to make a positive change in America, remains to be seen.

The front runner to receive the Democratic party’s nomination for President of the United States is Hillary Clinton. Clinton is both beloved and hated by Americans. There are few candidates, in both the Republican and democratic parties, which command such attention as does Hillary Clinton. A junior Senator from the state of New York, Hillary Clinton is no stranger to politics. This has been especially true since her husband, Bill Clinton was president from 1993 until 2001 and had he been allowed to run for a third term, many believe, he would have easily won.

Clinton has the most money, the best connections and the most experience compared to the rest of the presidential candidates within the executive Branch. The fact that her failed attempt to reform health care in the early 1990’s is still being brought up has not helped. However, Hillary Clinton is still the person to beat. It should have been no surprise at the latest Democratic debate on November 15, 2007, that her record was the one that was attacked the most. [7] The polls show and the candidates have  concurred, Hillary Clinton is the person to beat.

Some have said that the fact that Hillary Clinton is married to former President Bill Clinton will serve as an impediment to her goal of becoming President. Mr. Clinton’s latest comments in which he seemingly attempted to exclude the past mistakes of his wife by playing the victim, has not been met with positive reactions and has actually hurt Mrs. Clinton in the polls. having said that, Bill Clinton serves as a huge positive force within the Clinton campaign.

Within those who identify themselves as Democrats and perhaps a few republicans who keep their fondness for the Clintons a secret, many wish for a return to the days of the Clinton White House. The Constitution bars anyone from seeking a third term. The next best thing is to elect the wife of Bill Clinton. This certainly does not mean that Senator Clinton does not have the ability to stand alone on her own two feet and when she plays down the role that her husband would have if she were to become the next president, is believable, the fact that she is married to Bill Clinton, has and will continue to serve as a huge boost for the Clinton campaign.

Despite the numerous shady deals and repeated sexual indiscretions, the country still has a love affair for Bill Clinton. This is made truer by the disgust and sheer hatred that many democrats have for current President George W. Bush whose mistakes only make Democrats long for the Clinton White House even more.

The 2008 Presidential Election is one of the most important ever seen in American political history. The future of Iraq, universal health care, welfare and immigration reform, are dependent upon who is in the White House as well as what party dominates the houses of Congress. A clean Democratic sweep will have a direct affect upon all of the aforementioned issues. The result of the Iowa and South Carolina primaries are heavily anticipated. An upset in either primary will have a great influence in perhaps rewriting part of this survey on the current status of the Democratic Presidential Nomination.

Exactly who will win the Democratic Presidential nomination, as well as their bid for the White House is still in the open. However, the smart money, for those who gamble, will still have to go with Hillary Clinton. The fact that there still remains to be seen, a Republican front runner who is actually a conservative, only serves to help the Democrats and their current top dog: Senator Hillary Clinton. However, for those who believe that reality is stranger than fiction, it would behoove them to pay close attention to the political process which accompanies our selection for the next president of the United States. Surprises are sure to follow.

Works Cited

Clinton, Hillary Living History New York: Simon & Schuster 2003
Gerth, Jeff  Her Way: The Hopes & Ambitions of Hillary Rodam Clinton  New York: Simon & Schuster 2005
Jackson, David  Obama, Edwards Comes Out Firing Against Clinton  USA Today November 16, 2007
Myers, Joan Obama Announces Candidacy Chicago Tribune February 11, 2007
Page, Clarence Opponents Cite Obama’s Lack of Experience Chicago Tribune  July 18, 2007
Biography on Chris Dodd  www.chrisdodd,com  Retrieved November 16, 2007

[1] Jackson, David  Obama, Edwards Comes Out Firing Against Clinton  USA Today November 16, 2007
[2] Biography on Chris Dodd  Retrieved November 16, 2007
[3] Gerth, Jeff  Her Way: The Hopes & Ambitions of Hillary Rodam Clinton  New York: Simon & Schuster 2005
[4] Jackson, David  Obama, Edwards Comes Out Firing Against Clinton  USA Today November 16, 2007
[5] Page, Clarence Opponents Cite Obama’s Lack of Experience Chicago Tribune  July 18, 2007
[6] Page, Clarence Opponents Cite Obama’s Lack of Experience Chicago Tribune  July 18, 2007
[7] Jackson, David  Obama, Edwards Comes Out Firing Against Clinton  USA Today November 16, 2007


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