Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gravel seeks nomination from the Libertarians

Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska, who has been running for the Democratic Presidential nomination has announced that he will be seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party. Many may have expected Representative Ron Paul who has been seeking the Republican nomination to possibly look to run on the Libertarian ticket. He has run on the Libertarian ticket in the past. Gravel sighted being marginalized by the Democrats and not being able to participate in debates as the reason he has turned to the Libertarians. It doesn’t appear that the Libertarians want him. Their platform of limited government seems to clash with Gravels advocacy of universal health care, paid for with a national retail sales tax, among other things.

There are fifteen other candidates vying for the Libertarian nomination that will be decided during their convention held in Denver May 22-26.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Candidates Focus on the Economy

The economy has eclipsed the war in Iraq and health care reform as the issue of this election. This past week all three of the major candidates have addressed the topic, specifically focusing on the most distressing area of the economy the housing crisis.

Today Senator John McCain promised not to play election year politics and to look at solutions in terms of what will help ease the crisis now. He even suggested that he would be open to ideas that are a tangent to Republican Party lines. Saying “I will not allow dogma to override common sense.” He did say that he does not believe it is the role of the government to bail out people or institutions, small or large, who act irresponsibly. McCain has admitted that compared to his foreign policy and national security credentials he lacks when it comes to economic policy. He is work to change that perception.

Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have also proposed plans to help ease the strain on the house crisis and the economy. Both plans are similar which call for big government spending and bipartisan committees.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama Addresses Race

Yesterday Senator Barack Obama gave what has been characterized as one the most important speeches of his candidacy to date. The speech was a sweeping assessment of race in America. It also served to quell the firestorm that has surrounded inflammatory statements made by his former pastor. His language at times echoed the inspiration and idealism of the civil rights movement, but mostly served to address the politics of race.

“It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy — particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.”

The last few weeks have been rocky for the Obama campaign. The airwaves have been filled with video of his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. making racist, anti-American comments at sermons Obama attended. Obama has had a hard time separating himself from these comments which has the potential to unravel his tight coalition of white and black voters. He could not shake the doubts that these comments had caused and told advisors that he wanted to address the public. The Obama campaign has keep race out of much of the debate and hopes to continue to do that. He has two more important speeches planned for the coming weeks on other topics.

Full transcript of the speech

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Obama wins Miss

Last night Senator Barak Obama won the Mississippi primary but there is still no definite leader in the race for the Democratic nominee. The results last night were clearly in Obama’s favor, and as last reported were:

Obama 61%
Clinton 38%

The race now continues on to the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, where 188 delegates are up for grabs. Pennsylvania will be an interesting state and is still anyone’s to win. Clinton seems to fare well in larger states, but will the last two wins in WY and MI help give Obama a bump? Will Clinton continue the attack ads that seemed to help secure her March 4th victories in TX, OH and RI? It will be a long six weeks for the people of Pennsylvania.

As the Democrats continue to bash each other the Republicans are coalescing around nominee John McCain. Last week former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina was named Chair of the Victory Committee by the RNC. She will lead fundraising and get-out the vote efforts. After Easter McCain plans to launch his general campaigning starting with a biographical tour around the country In the mean time the Democrats will continue to be duking it out, unless a backroom deal is broker. Neither candidate seems willing to budge though.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another GOP seat lost

Over the weekend Democrat Bill Foster won the special election to fill former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s seat. The congressional district has been held by a Republican for decades and voted for Bush 55% in 2004. Both the RNCC and DCCC poured their resources into this race in order to set the stage for November. The Democrats can now continue to frame the elections as a referendum of change. If the Republican candidate had won, the Party could have contented that ‘06 is behind us and we are going to make gains in November. Perhaps more loses are what the Republicans still need. Hopefully we will now find candidates that have moderate views that more closely reflect the majority of voters. Maybe now the pandering to the extreme right will end, a plan that continues to back fire. It seems that the only way for real change to happen is for the Party to hit rock bottom and then we can build it back up with focus on common sense solutions.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The DNC's options for MI and FL

When Florida and Michigan said they were going to hold there primaries before February 5th the DNC said they would be punished by striping them of their state delegates and super delegates. Both states turned their noses up at the DNC and held them anyway. Now it is March and the earliest the Democrats could have a nominee is late April. MI and FL are begging for their delegates back. The DNC has several options but none seems to make either camp happy.

Clinton won both the MI and FL primaries but Obama's name did not even appear on the ballot in MI and the candidates had agreed to not campaign in FL. The DNC could just seat the delegates as the results are now, an option the Obama camp obviously does not favor. This also puts the Party in the position of looking weak. States would not be afraid of reprisal and could start holding primaries before Christmas 2012. They could always hold new primaries. The estimated cost of doing so could be in the tens of millions of dollars. Florida has said that would hold a new primary but the DNC would have to ante up the $18 million to do so. With the cost of launching a national campaign on the horizon, the DNC could not afford to spend $18 million on new primaries. There is the option of holding caucuses. The Clinton camp has said they would not participate in caucuses. And of course the DNC could just stick to their guns and punish the states for breaking Party rules. That would upset two very pivotal states come November.

Ultimately this Democratic in-fighting can only help the Republicans. As the Republican Party comes together to build a strategy to win the general, the Democrats will still be figuring out their nominee. No option makes everyone happy so the Democrats are going to have unhappy voters on their hands.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bush Endorses McCain

Yesterday President Bush officially endorsed Senator John McCain as the Republican President nominee and unofficially transferring the symbol and head of the Party to McCain. President Bush pledged to campaign for McCain and will start fundraising for the national committee.

Does this endorsement help or hurt McCain? Bush’s approval ratings hang in the 30% range but he continues to have much higher ratings with people who consider themselves conservative. McCain could definitely use help courting the base that are skeptical of his conservative credentials. But general elections come down to independent and moderate voters, an area where the President is very unpopular. Independent voters seem to have been responding to this message of change that the Democrats have been using getting and too cozy with the President might turn off these voters who are ready for a new direction.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

McCain Clinches Nomination

Last night Senator John McCain secured the Republican nomination after sweeping the night’s primaries and Governor Mike Huckabee conceded the race. McCain pledged the campaign "will be more than another tired debate of false promises, empty sound bites, or useless arguments from the past." Now the focus turns to who McCain will choose as his number two and solidifying a national campaign strategy.

Click to read all of McCain’s acceptance speech

The Democratic nominee is still unclear, now more then ever. Senator Hilary Clinton won three of the four primaries: TX, OH and RI. Obama won VT and still leads in the delegate count 1,451 to 1,365.

The next round of primaries for the Democrats are Saturday March 8th in Wyoming and Tuesday March 11th Mississippi. There are only about 60 delegates up for grabs in those primaries. The real fight is over the April 22nd Pennsylvania Primary where they will be battling for 188 delegates.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Primary day in TX and OH

Today Texas and Ohio hold their primaries. Polls show Senator John McCain with 20 point leads in both TX and OH and is only 177 delegates short of the 1,191 needed to secure the nomination. Huckabee still pledges to continue to campaign.
The Democrats appear to still have no end in sight. Many are saying it is a must win for Senator Hillary Clinton who has lost the last eleven primaries. Latest polls show she does lead in OH and the TX race is virtually tied.
McCain continues to shift his focus to the general election and today will give a preview on how he will run his national campaign. He said he will not only focus on the “must win” states, Florida and Ohio, but opt to run a campaign in every state. He even wants to be a competitor in California, traditionally a blue state. The Arizona Senator cited his western roots, environmental commitment and his appeal to Independents as reason he could be a viable candidate in CA.