January 8, 2008

Can you feel a different wind blowing out there? I can. I never seriously thought it would come to this, but I’m now singing a different tune.

After watching the debates on Saturday and Sunday night, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re looking smack at a Barack Obama – Mike Huckabee election this fall.

This was something I alluded to in this post last month, but at that time I was really only kinda thinking out loud and tossing out a possible premise, but the more I’ve looked at the Iowa results, read the political blogs (on both sides of the political aisle), and thought about it some more, it all makes perfect sense. After 16 years of the country being hopelessly divided over the Clintons, the 2000 elections, the 9/11 attacks, and 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency, the country has finally said enough is enough: it is tired of all the bickering, the nastiness, the endless partisan rancor between the Democrats and Republicans in Washington, and it wants change. Now.

Barack Obama was never a dummy, and I think he has in some way (whether intentionally or not) tapped into something that has become, frankly, much bigger than him – something he’s just starting to realize. Originally, I think he just intended to paint Hillary Clinton as a “Business As Usual” candidate and a symbol of the status quo in Washington as a way to distinguish himself from her, but now he finds himself at the head of bonafide and significant movement for change.

The same may be true, albeit less so, for Mike Huckabee. (It may still hold true for Mitt Romney as well, but we’ll have to see how well he does in New Hampshire and whether he can do well enough to take his outsider, “can do” approach to South Carolina and beyond.) Huckabee’s populist message and “aw shucks, man of the people” persona provides a striking contrast to Romney’s slickness (perceived or otherwise), positioning him well for the “outsider” candidate GOP voters may be seeking once the campaigns head south after today’s New Hampshire primary.

In both cases, I think we’re something quite fascinating emerging here – two candidates who are perceived (perceived being the key word here) by each of their parties as symbolizing an end to the status quo and a true changing of the guard in Washington. And it’s not just me.

Make no mistake about it – the 2008 election is slowly revealing itself as a true election of change and a watershed moment in the nation’s history. Think about it: on one hand you have Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards; on the other you have Obama, Huckabee, and Romney. On one hand, you have aged candidates or symbols of the campaigns and events of the past 16 years. On the other, you have youthful agents of change unstained by the political and world events of those years, and the opportunity for a true changing of the guard in American politics. Think about carefully: which one would you choose?

Call it a watershed election, a “beyond partisanship” election, or whatever, but all incumbents out there – Democrat AND Republican – had better be warned. Look at the consistently low approval ratings of Congress, the Senate, and the White House. The people are fed up with the status quo in Washington – on both sides – and are looking for a different direction, a new voice, and a new start. In this new environment, whoever is able to respond more quickly and effectively will have the leg up in the upcoming primaries and election.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:54 | Comments Off on A Different Wind Blowing?
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