Handicapping the 2008 Presidential Election
By Jerome Grossman
In the 2008 Presidential election, any Democrat will beat any Republican. Even Joe Biden. Even Dennis Kucinich, the most liberal candidate in the field. Check his platform on Kucinich.US.
President George W. Bush has become a symbol of incompetence by his failures on Iraq, Katrina, Walter Reed, to name only a few. The nearest parallel is the 1932 election. President Herbert Hoover had fallen into such disfavor that the race for the Democratic nomination was equivalent to election. And the entire Republican Party paid the price, losing elections for lesser offices in the states.
The turnout of Republican voters on Election Day will be lower because of sinking morale. Independent (or unaffiliated) voters are already breaking sharply for the Democrats. Democratic voters are enthusiastic, making more campaign contributions, anxious and active for regime change, this time in Washington, D.C.
The Democratic primaries will be more important than the November election, where victory is assured. Qualities of likeability and electability will be less important because those factors appeal more to the casual voters in November than to the party activists in the primaries.
That clearly helps Hillary Clinton. The Democrats, so eager to regain the White House now that Bush has shown them how to ignore Congress and its legislation, worry less about Hillary’s electability given the Republican collapse. Her big asset in the primaries will be her husband, still the most popular Democrat in the nation. But once the nomination is assured, Bill will be put in cold storage until the day after the election.
Barack Obama easily wins the likeability prize. Youthful, attractive, thoughtful and well-spoken, voters worry about his political inexperience leading him into the kind of difficulties suffered by the new Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, who has the same sterling qualities. He has to know how to govern.
While generic polls indicate the voters prefer the Democrats over the GOP by 15 to 20 points, Rudolph Giuliani leads all candidates for President, regardless of party. No seer has been able to explain this. However, his decline is imminent as soon as the voters learn of his close relationship with Bernard Kerik, his New York Police Commissioner and business partner. Giuliani asked Bush to nominate Kerik to be Head of the Department of Homeland Security while he was being investigated by the FBI for ethics violations, allegations of mismanagement, questionable financial deals and certain associations. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales grilled Kerik about them but did not stop the nomination. One week later, the President withdrew the name. Another example of administration incompetence.
The prize is great. The finish is in the bag. The Bush dynasty is finished, brought down by its own ignorance and arrogance and incompetence. Late night comedian Jay Leno reflected popular opinion when he quipped, “On this date in 1990, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act, which allowed, of course, his son George W. to become President of the United States.”