Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Iowa Caucuses to be held January 3rd, 2008

The caucus and primary sweepstakes continues as Iowa annoucnces it's caucuses will be held January 3rd. New Hampshire is expected to announce dates this week and appears likely to choose January 8th. These decisions mean the earliest primary season in history, and mean we will probably know the democratic and republican candidates very early in the year - perhaps as early as February.

President Picker is very confident that the Democratic nominee will be Hilary Clinton, who leads hugely in the polls and we predict that Mitt Romney will be the Republican primary winner.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Republican Presidential Debate

FOX News hosted a debate among the Republican contenders for the 2008 US Presidential Crown. It is interesting to see how Huckabee as an "up and coming" candidate in the polls and Romney as one of the leaders seemed to be in top form. At one point Tom Tancredo, who has been an outspoken critic of how the other candidates are not conservative enough, stopped to note that he thought all the candidates were men of quality but offered different alternatives.

As in the prior debate I saw, Thompson seems to be failing to address criticisms and seems to be falling back on canned statements rather than possessing the quick wit of a Giuliani, Huckabee, or Paul. Thompson does clearly not have the campaign presence of Ronald Reagan despite the fact he's being billed like that by Republican supporters. I predict this will condemn his campaign after what will likely be lackluster showings in southern states - probably around February or March of 2008.

Despite a standing ovation after John McCain's joke and criticism of Hilary Clinton, his performances lack the "fire" needed to win this race. He was the front runner and failed to consolidate his position early in the race. I actually think age is playing a role with McCain and he simply does not have the energy required for these massively social experiences which involve traveling millions of miles annually and meeting tens of thousands of people every month.

Man to watch here? Mitt Romney. Clearly he's got *all* the others in the stature department, most conspicuously Giuliani who always looks squirrely and shrill in a Romney v Giuliani persona lineup. Contrary to what most of us think about how we evaluate people it's based in large part on the way they look and carry themselves and not on what they say or do. This factor, in my opinion, will trump what seem to be diminishing concerns about Romney's Mormonism.

Prediction: 2008 election will be Romney vs Clinton

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Hilary Hater Factor

It is often suggested that Clinton can't win the election because her "negative" numbers are so high in many polls. Clearly Clinton is probably one of the most negatively viewed presidential candidates in some time, but I think people are mistaking current perception as future perception. George Bush, in addition to winning reelection, had positive perceptions of himself and his presidency until the Iraq war drained his reservoir of goodwill from the electorate. Conversely I think Clinton's solid campaign style, complete with her somewhat extreme personality makeover, will warm enough of her mild critics to prevent her losing on the basis of negative views about her.

Chris Mathews has been even more unstable than usual on Hardball, suggesting today - I think - that he's predicting Hilary will lose to Giuliani due to the negativity with which many perceive her, especially men.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brownback is out

Republican candidate Sam Brownback has dropped out of the Republican primary. Poor polling numbers and relatively low fundraising has claimed him as a victim - there will be more primary casualties in both parties very soon.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hilary Clinton on "The View"

Hilary Clinton's speaking with the hosts of the popular daytime women's show "The View". One has to be impressed with how her speaking style has improved to the point of appearing very comfortable, even charming in this very informal, "goofy" format of a TV show that hardly is known for challenging people intellectually.

In fact it's usually hard not to wince at some of the dialog on "The View" that, frankly, rarely does credit to the many brave women worked so hard in the 60's and 70's to bring full rights to American women. But forget all that. They are asking some easy but good questions about torture, Iran, and China. Even veteran interviewer Barbara Walters appears uncomfortable - they all seem to feel uneasy in this unusual role of having the responsibility to ask good, tough, questions of a very smart guest.

This is a very popular show and clearly this is the pulse of how a key constituency will vote. If Clinton can manage to maintain this level of thoughfulness, composure, and strength she'll have no trouble winning the primary. She even seems to be charming the View's token conservative mainstay Elizabeth Hasslebeck, conspicuously seated to the far right of Clinton and almost out of earshot.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

New York Times Transcript Analyzer

Wow! Wanna know who spoke the most words in the Democratic debate? ( I assume the Rebublican debate will have this online soon as well). Check out the NYT transcript analysis tool which looks at each candidate, what they said, and counts the words and times. Amazing.


Hilary had the most words in the last 9.27 debate...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Al Gore's Nobel is NOT a ticket to a Presidential candidacy.

FOX news must (as usual!) have some odd conservative agenda because they keep bringing up the very unlikely prospect of Al Gore running for the democratic nomination. He won't unless Clinton's campaign melts down, and that appears very unlikely

Of course Gore would like to be president, especially after our bungled 2000 election where he was supposed to *be* the President. This is not at all a partisan statement by me. In fact contrary to what many think the outcome would have been the same (ie a Bush win) even if the Supreme Court had ordered a recount. The Miami Herald had an accounting firm conducte an unbiased complete review of all the ballots and Bush was the winner in that case using the normal 2 chad standard and most other chad based counting standards. So the Supreme court ruling did NOT swing the election. HOWEVER what did swing it was the butterfly ballot fiasco - the product of a Democratic elections official's design folly - that led to huge ballot spoilage which in turn was an overwhelming and key factor in the Bush victory. People wound up accidentally thinking they were voting for Buchanon *and* Gore when they almost certainly would have voted for Gore only if the ballots had been less confusing.

So, the most significant job in the most significant country at one of the most significant times in history went to the loser. Not because of any clever Karl Rove or GWB shenanigans, but simply because our ballot system ... stinks.

So, will Al Gore's Oscar and Peace Prize fuel a candidacy? Nope, but congratulations to him on actually getting to keep the prize.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Republican Presidential Debate - Thompson loses big by not winning.

Is it just me or do the Republicans seem to be simply assuming they have little or no shot in 2008 against Hilary Clinton? Last night's Republican debate was ably hosted by Chris Mathews and Maria Bartiromo, but even the contrived little exchanges between Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson about taxes and acting lacked the enthusiasm and "bite" you'd expect when the stakes are as high as they can be. Romney appeared presidential and that's what really counts. Pundits are looking too deeply at the answers and not enough at the simple gestures. Giuliani has a very long and conservative row to hoe to beat Romney who will gain momentum after what is looking like a big Iowa Victory.

President Picker Verdict: Romney wins Iowa big and will likely win New Hampshire as well. Romney v. Giuliani for the prize.

In fact it's clear to me already that Thompson will probably be out of this race soon - probably after what I predict will be a second to Romney result in Iowa and then a bad showing in New Hampshire and then lackluster showings in the South. Thompson had to come out like a lion and captivate the tried and true Republicans and he has failed to do that. In fact he's not really that captivating at all as a speaker, and loses soundly to Romney in the "Presidential Profile" department.

President Picker Verdict: Thompson gone in 4 months.

John McCain also seems to have lost any steam he had early on. Frankly I think he's just tired of all the BS. His candidacy in 2000 was a huge breath of fresh air and inspired many to rethink politics. But the GW juggernaut put an end to all that and McCain has been a poor mainstream player.

President Picker Verdict: McCain gone in 3 months.

It would seem that so far in the election it's the Democrats leading with livelier discussions and candidates who - at least superficially - appear to have long term visions for the country.

Ironically (or maybe inevitably) we see that discussions of both the leading Democrats and Republicans are steeped in intellectual mediocrity while many provocative and interesting ideas are coming from the fringe candidates like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. Like them or not, the founders would have wanted the spirited debaters to thrive in these contests, challenging our American experiment to do what it does best - change in steady and positive ways.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Republican Debate

Tonight, but not live, from that hotbed of the dead and dying part American industrial capitalism - Michigan - comes the Republican Presidential debate starring.....Fred Thompson who makes his first appearance "against" the others Republicans in the race for US President.

The debate is now over but we won't see it until later tonight on MSNBC.

Based on the early Buzz from New York Times and MSNBC (which is commenting on the darn thing and showing clips without running it until tonight!), Fred Thompson is the big loser here, having failed to show equality with the other front runners.

President Picker predicts that Giuliani and Romney will pull close in national polls after the Iowa Primaries which Romney will win.