This is a blog about media, not politics, but so much about the media and politics are one and the same - especially when voters choose candidates through the media. So I feel I have to say a few things about how the media - and the message of each candidate is playing in public. I'll do that by demonstrating how perceptive American voters are this year.
First, the Republicans. The last three months are too much to cover. However, let's recall last summer when Rudy Giuliani was the front runner. Mr. Giuliani chose a strategy that killed his campaign - i.e. don't campaign. His thought was that this was strictly a numbers game and all he had to do was win delegates in the large early states. He was wrong. The voters punished him for not being in the fight. He was seen as a "coffee cooler" to borrow a Civil War phrase - a man who sits out the battle with his comrades drinking coffee while others are at the front.
Romney was a shill from day one. A man of large personal fortune with no personal conviction that could be seen in his record. He couldn't raise enough money to compete so he spent his own cash for an agenda he may (or may not) beleive in.
It's pretty clear now though, that he has bought something that he hopes will be of great value in party politics...delegates that can be traded for influence, and a wedge he can drive against John McCain.
John McCain. He's such a maverick even he isn't sure where he stands. But actually, he's only a maverick in the terms defined by rigid right wing politics that demands an almost Kremlin like adherence to party discipline. This man had his arms broken and his teeth knocked out by the NVA torturers in Hanoi and voters respect the hell out of his fortitude. He's not likely to be much afraid of the right wing ideologues who are horrified to find they've been voted out of the Reagan life boat even as they declare mutiny against their new captain. In the mainstream, McCain gets points for this.
Huckabee is the Confederate Candidate. Don't underestimate this man who knows how to call up the mysteries of faith and the Old South in the same sentence - the same way Obama sweeps up the spirit of the Old Republic. Huckabee knows how to call up ghosts and they are named Jackson and Lee and Forrest. He is all about Southern pride and this is not a thing to take lightly into any American campaign. He doesn't have to win the majority to be a critical voice among Conservative GOP voters. Expect him to have good southern manners, but don't expect him to go quietly.
Ron Paul. He is the beloved uncle of this campaign and the GOP Ralph Nader if he isn't careful. We all hear his message of simpler times and of his love for Constitution and country. No one has said more on behalf of our early National values in this election. But the Civil War, two World Wars, the Cold War, Viet Nam and 3 wars in the Middle East stand between him and current global realities. I wish we could go back - but I'm not confident he could take us there even if he were elected.
Next time, the Democrats.
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