Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Silly Season (politics)

September 3, 2007

And they're off (but the race began long ago)

Indianapolis Star

Dan Balz

6 questions to ponder on traditional campaign starting date

WASHINGTON -- Labor Day is the traditional starting date for presidential campaigns, but Labor Day the year before the election?

That's the reality of the 2008 campaign, a contest that has been barreling ahead since January. What happens from here on will matter far more than what has happened up to now, but the first eight months of 2007 have delivered on predictions that this would be one of the most interesting and consequential campaigns of modern times.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York remains the front-runner, but Barack Obama's prodigious fundraising and passionate crowds continue to make the Illinois senator an intriguing rival. Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina has staked his hopes on Iowa, and so far Iowans remain open to him. The rest of the Democratic field is starting to make noise, though their odds remain long.

For Republicans, the contest is about to change with this week's entry of former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee. He will join former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and maybe former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in a contest still in search of clarity and definition.

To help make sense of what has happened and where things may be heading, think of the next four months -- until January, when actual voters will finally start to make choices that count -- in terms of six questions. For answers to them, we sought out strategists in both parties, based in Washington and around the country, some of whom spoke only if they were not identified.

For them -- and for the campaign itself -- today marks a moment when the pace quickens and the stakes increase. (link)
Great write-up on what will define a 'great' race to the Whitehouse. It still doesn't feel right that the campaign began in January, but now it's getting to be crunch time. There's still plenty of time for the candidates to position themselves (although for most, their positions would be hard to change now), and there really is no telling in this internet age just what will happen next.

Hillary is the odds-on favorite for the Democratic (and some experts say National) ticket although Obama isn't too far off for comfort [Edwards seems to be sinking slowly into oblivion, but don't count out Iowa in the Democratic process]. On the Republican side, it's basically a 3-way race according to where you ask. Guiliani is still the front-runner, with Romney and Fred getting the nod in localized polls. While Romney seems to be the most organized, Fred brings the 'grass-roots' to the table and both these candidates should be well positioned to remind voters of the short-falls of Rudy.

While the next few months promise to be exciting, they (more than likely) will be bitter and 'underhanded' as well. This seems the SOP for politics in this day and age.

May the best candidates win.

Great W-in-Iraq post over at Misha's; check it out (pictures)

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 Recently played a few games on Caldera (warzone) and then... Lots of luck in this one, but satisfying