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October 3, 2005

Sights Set on 2008

Dan McGillivray

      Yes, we lost ... but fear not my friends, give thanks and praise to the permanent campaign. It seems that after the dust settles behind any presidential election people are already positioning themselves another one is soon to follow. First of all, I think it is imperative that we point out that you are reading this article three years before the next election. Political figures can be made and broken in very little time, so it is also important to note that things can change quickly (as we will discuss below)

      Hillary Clinton seems to be the front runner on the democratic ticket. I think that this depends largely on two things. The first is that Senator Clinton needs to hold her own in the upcoming election. Westchester County DA Jeanine Pirro announced her candidacy for Mrs. Clinton's position on August 9. With so much at stake, republicans were sure to do their homework. If Hillary can make it through her Senatorial election, she could pick up enough momentum to carry her into the primaries. In a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll taken in late July, Hillary came in as the number one democrat for the 2008 race (40%, more than double that of the other democrats on the list).

      In his seven years in the Illinois state senate, Barack Obama gained plenty of experience working with both parties. Senator Obama is incredibly popular, as is evidenced by his 2 million vote margin of victory. If anyone could break the color barrier in the upper echelons of the US government, it would be this man. I think he needs more time. Mr. Obama would be wise to take a position as vice-president looking to step up. Barack Obama has the vision and the drive to lead, however, if he can live up to the enormous expectations placed on him in the Senate, he could position himself for a presidential run in 2008.

      Some have talked about a John Kerry comeback. While I love John Kerry, it would be political suicide for the party to run the same man again. The same goes for John Edwards. Although he was not the front man on the '04 ticket, he was an integral part of the campaign. Running in 2008 is a possibility but democrats need to look for new blood that can reenergize our platform. Senators Edwards and Kerry should remain as leaders of the Democratic Party instead.

      Other prospective nominees include Delaware Senator Joe Biden, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. All of these men have leadership qualities and political experience; they are lacking in national recognition. Once the field becomes smaller it will be easier for these men, and other prospective nominees to get the word out about their plan for America.

      The main thing that democrats need going into 2008 is unity. If we can figure out who should be president as soon as is humanly possible and throw the support of every party member behind that person, there is no way that democrats will finish November 4, 2008 empty handed.

      What will be extremely interesting is the run up to the republican nomination. The same Gallup poll referred to above places former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani at the top of a much tighter race. In the top three with him are Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Arizona Senator John McCain.

      Giuliani has shown strong leadership skills in his handling of the September 11 attacks and had proven his ability to deal with crime as we witnessed during his term as mayor. Rice, while being a nationally recognizable figure, does not have the experience necessary to serve as president. Her close ties to the Bush administration could help her unless of course someone was to bring up her connection with the War in Iraq. McCain, who made a good showing in the primaries in 2000, could also get back in the race. It is hard to imagine a former primaries drop-out running again and being successful, but only time will tell.

      Other prospective nominees are governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. It is doubtful that he would carry his home state in a presidential election, but the executive experience seems appealing to most voters, as evidenced by Clinton and Bush, both former governors. Also, look for Kansas Senator Sam Brownback to make an appearance in the primaries. I say the primaries because I came to Boston College from Kansas. Senator Brownback is much too conservative for the Republicans to nominate him, however, it should be noted that he booked speaking events in New Hampshire and Iowa early this year. Many of the smaller name candidates are going to use the next few years to build their image.

      The 2008 election promises to be most interesting. With both tickets technically wide open, the competitors will come from far and wide to discuss issues of national importance, sling mud back and forth at each other, and vie for position as leader of the free world.

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