This has been the wackiest presidential race in both parties that I've ever seen (i.e. since 1988). On the surface, the Democratic contest looks pretty unremarkable: a prohibitive frontrunner with a national reputation and massive institutional support is facing a major challenge from an insurgent. But a closer examination makes the whole thing look bizarre. You have a former first lady as the frontrunner who is perceived as the most liberal but who's actually the most centrist, a black Senator who's been in office for 4 years who's having to fight for black votes and raising as much money as the frontrunner, and a southerner running the first credible populist campaign since, well, maybe William Jennings Bryan.
If the Democratic side is weird, the Republican contest is just a carnival. A moderate Massachusetts pro-choice, pro-gay rights Governor running as the champion of conservative values? A thrice divorced, pro-choice, pro-gay rights Mayor of New York as the national frontrunner, campaigning on national defense credentials? A former preacher and now Governor who wants to have a national sales tax, pardons murderers, and has absolutely no money or organization as the insurgent? What in the hell is going on? I'm afraid I'm going to have to echo Mort Kondracke: if somebody held a gun to my head and asked me to say who was going to win the Republican nomination, I'd say "shoot."
By the way, I think Obama's surge in New Hampshire and Iowa is very interesting. He must be running some great T.V. spots out there. The national polls don't mean much because we're not really seeing the candidates' campaigns, only the dribs and drabs handed out by the national press, and through their inevitably distorted filter. So the general population doesn't really have any idea what sort of candidates these are - only voters in the early primary states do.
I for one think that January 3 to February 5 is going to be very exciting in both contests, which is just cool. Thank god I'll be pretty much done with my dissertation by then!
Yet, in the end, as Drew Carey would say, these points don't matter. We know two things for sure: 1. The Democratic Nominee will win the presidency. 2. The Democratic President will have a great cabinet and advisers. I'm pulling for Obama because I think he has the ability to change the nature of politics in this country by getting people to reinvest in the process. Otherwise, if Clinton, Edwards, Dodd, Richardson, or Biden win, I will be satisfied.By Marriah, at 3:48 PM