If a blogger invokes poetic silence in their blog, does anyone hear it? Still reeling from the defeat of the SCHIP bill by Bush's veto, that's what yesterday's lack of post was all about. So now, because of the generally slow news week so far, onto a little political chatter.
The democratic front runners seem to understand that this is indeed a marathon, and not a race. Well, at least not yet. They won't have to hit the ground running for at least a few more months, though that does not mean that their languid and light steps are not carefully choreographed. Of course, they can only do so much -- the media likes to take them the rest of the way.
Let's start with the least likely of the most likely candidates - John Edwards. Many might be shocked by this, but to this blogger, this is perhaps the scariest potential candidate of the top three (Edwards, Obama, Clinton). Most might guess Clinton if asked for the candidate with the largest gasp-factor. And to an inattentive political observer, they might be right. But-though gut feelings are never the best bet- Edwards has an aura around him that borders on the ghoulishly disturbing, and some of his views seem to be extreme, and his appearance waxy and vague. If politics were held in a baseball stadium, Edwards wouldn't be out in left field, he'd be upper deck on the third base side, waving from the corner. It seems odd that someone running a second time would be so unstable. He is a man of contradictions, and can we trust whats lying beneath the expensively teased hair?
Obama and Edwards are trailing Clinton in most polls, with Obama holding closer to Clinton. The problem for them, and the positive for Clinton is that all three are not too divergent, and Edwards and Obama are not making any unique and popular stances to set themselves apart. They can bash the Clinton campaign all day, but unless Clinton makes a mistake, that strategy will not get either of them very far. And their similarities are both blessing and curse. Each candidate has released health care plans. For the most part, they are relatively similar. However, Clinton, because of her past work with health care plans during the Clinton administration, was given a whole day of press on her proposed plan. Edwards and Obama couldn't really bash the actual plan, because they're highly similar. So they go for character attacks. But this will not when either the nomination. Character evaluation is pretty much set - unless some new, shocking developments come to light. Although politicians are an unusual breed, they don't tend to make themselves completely different in a matter of months, even if they change parties. So people already know and have decided what they think about each candidate. It is a matter of policy and effectiveness that now needs evaluation. And if this trend continues, with Clinton doing fine, and Obama and Edwards not making much a of a dent, both the men are in a little bit of a whole. You should only take a step back and wait for a big mistake by the opposing campaign when you can afford it, and the odds for such an event are high. At this point, the bet that Clinton will defeat herself is a long shot. It might be best to pick some other favorite tactics.
In a perfect world, everyone should still be undecided -- this is a serious nomination. Obama might be young, but he has less of a Republican outrage factor than Clinton does for a general election. But can Obama do the job? These are important notions to consider, very carefully.