|John McCain||37%||Hillary Clinton||39%|
|Mitt Romney||32%||Barack Obama||36%|
|Mike Huckabee||11%||John Edwards||17%|
|Rudy Giuliani||9%||Bill Richardson||5%|
|Ron Paul||8%||Dennis Kucinich||1%|
My two eurocents: Clinton's revival comes a bit as a surprise for me since I was beginning to think that Americans really identied Hillary with her husband and I figured by and large the average American wanted to put an end to that chapter. So now it appears there still is a Clinton-effect. FYI, I never trusted the wild predictions of an early pullout of her, since, no matter how I disagree with the woman, it's clear that she's a very strong and tenacious fighter ... when her career is at stake, that is.
Personally, I had actually hoped for a second clear Obama win, because that would have been one more step on the road towards the final contest, figuring Obama vs. the Republican contender... in which, imho, the Republican contender would have won. Because I DON'T believe Americans are ready yet for a black president. In time, they may be ready for a black president, but then he will have to have proven himself thoroughly as a governor, his hair shall be silver-streaked and his wrinkles deep, and he must breathe a natural gravitas. Obama has nothing of this all and a rookie like him at the helm of a nation like the US would be a global catastrophe. In the hypothetical event he would be elected, the very fact itself would sink the financial markets on a level not seen since 1997 - perhaps 1929. But suppose the New Hampshire vote is a valid vector in the electoral process... and I say suppose, because basically, imho these early caucuses and primaries find themselves just one step away from Spielerei - just look how all the sudden hype surrounding Mike Huckabee fell flat in the space of one day. Suppose NH has some lessons to offer, than it would be that the Democratic contest will soon narrow down to Obama and Clinton, while the Republican contest may turn into a long drawn battle between four, maximum five candidates.
An interesting point was made by regular reader and commenter anon, who observed that the number of democratic voters is far greater than the number of Republican voters. Thus far, this is true. If the trend continues, it may prove lethal for the chances of having another Republican in the White House. In times like these, it is crucial for the Free World to have at least a Republican there. I say at least, because a Republican does not automatically mean a continuation of the current succesful leadership role. But it's a start: I live in Europe, and I know a leftist when I see one. Well, the current Democratic leadership walks, talks and looks like the socialist nomenklatura on this side of the Atlantic. If they would have their way, in no time the US would find itself on the same slippery slope towards cultural self-denial, democratic deficit and military impotency our socialist excellencies have merrily pushed us on.
Republicans in the USA who feel gloomy and down because of an eight-year long carpet bombardment of bad news and negative spin should know there once was a well-known socialist by the name of Joseph Goebbels, who said that "A lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth". Well then, they should realize they have not been exposed to a lie repeated a hundred times, nor to a hundred lies repeated a hundred times, but rather to a thousand lies repeated a thousand times. Contrary to popular perception, an awful lot of positive things have been accomplished in eight years of GWB tenure. If you fall in the gloomy GOP category, at American Thinker, Randall Hoven has a great piece that will change your mind: Hey GOP: Cheer up, Chin up!. To say that it is well worth a read is an understatement:
Why are Republicans so depressed? President Bush's two-term presidency enters its last year in pretty good shape and with a lot better record than pundits would have us believe. The Democrats took Congress in 2006, but they appear to have blown their chance, with approval ratings at historical lows. The Republican presidential candidates are solid, especially compared to the Democrats. President Bush has built the foundation of what could be a Republican dynasty for another American Century. The greatest threat to that prospect has nothing to do with the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. The Republicans have nothing to fear but a discouraged Republican base....
...The recession that started in March officially ended eight months later in November 2001, or one month after his first budget was in effect and just two months after the 911 attacks.
* Real GDP grew by 3.9% from 2003 to 2004, and would continue annual growth greater than 3% since.
* Unemployment peaked in 2003 at just 6%, below what it was in Clinton's first two years. Throughout 2006-7, unemployment remained below 5%, considered a full-employment level.
* Gross federal debt now stands at about 65% of GDP, higher than it was in 2000, but about what it was from 1993-97.
* The stock market started recovering about a year after 911, reaching its post-2000 low on October 9, 2002. It would later reach an all-time high. Today it is about 75% above its 2002 low, and still higher than it ever was before Bush became President.
On the foreign front, President Bush almost immediately eliminated al Qaeda's sanctuary in Afghanistan, driving the al Qaeda leadership into caves and bringing democracy to a country devastated by years of war, Soviet Communism and the ruthless Taliban....
...There is also no doubt that Saddam had terrorist connections. The only questions were how strong were those connections to al Qaeda specifically, and to the 911 attacks even more specifically. That is a long subject, but suffice it to say that US Judge Harold Baer ruled that Saddam's regime was, in fact, partly responsible for the 911 attacks. Judge Baer was appointed by President Clinton. Expert testimony from Clinton's former CIA director James Woolsey supported the contention that "Iraq helped train al-Qaeda terrorists, and provided them with safe houses and forged documents."...
...As for the conduct of the war, Saddam's regime was removed in just a few months. He was captured, tried by the new Iraqi government, and executed. His psychopathic sons and heirs were killed in an intense gun battle. Other countries like Israel and Saudi Arabia were not drawn into the war. Democratic elections in Iraq were held on three separate occasions, resulting in a coalition all-Iraqi government that drafted its own constitution and continues to function and be accepted more and more by Iraqis....
...In the broad scheme of things, President Bush chose a moderate course against the radical jihadi movement, a movement that could potentially spiral out of control across dozens of countries with millions of Muslims ready to behead infidels, release a few WMD and install the new caliphate.
Bush is not trying to bomb anyone back to the stone age; he is trying to bring some semblance of democracy and self-government to the Middle East and Asia. He is not indiscriminate. He used measured force in Afghanistan and Iraq, but firm diplomacy in Pakistan, Libya, North Korea and elsewhere. His actions were not unilateral, "cowboy" or against international opinion. He formed a coalition of over 45 countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, to remove Saddam's regime...
...President Bush's main fault was also a virtue. He concentrated on his job rather than his image. You rarely heard someone from the White House say the things I said above. With President Clinton there was a public relations war room ready to pounce on any little criticism. With President Bush, any war room was used to command an actual war.
Many conservatives and Republicans currently gripe about President Bush. OK, he cut taxes, strengthened defense, defeated the Taliban, removed Saddam Hussein's regime, and appointed Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court. But he increased spending.
Yep, spending increased - all the way to about 20% of GDP, below what it was from 1975 through 1996. As for the deficit, it stands at about 1.8% of GDP, again below where it was through most of those same years, and a level considered quite manageable. If it turned into a surplus again, we'd be worrying about what to do with our temporary Social Security surplus.
President Bush was handed a terrible situation. He got us through the crises. The US now has a strong and resilient economy, al Qaeda is contained, Afghanistan and Iraq are roughly democratic and on the mend, our European and North American alliances are as strong as ever.
Americans have now had 8 years of Bush after 8 years of Clinton. Who wants change when you have had it? The future is bright. The future is GOP!