Democrats Line Up For Presidency of 2008Wednesday, February 14, 2007 By Elliot Goldstein
Face it, this is a different world than it was seven years ago when President Bush entered office. A post 911 world, as it is often referred to, is a world filled with fear, high oil prices, and a divided America. The events that have occurred in the past seven years that George Bush has been President have changed the course of the United States for decades to come. Policies have been shifted, and a new age of war has been entered that has no clear end in sight, at least not one that President Bush will admit to. Yet, in just a year's time, this "Lame Duck" will step down, leaving whoever is elected next a set of astronomical challenges that have resulted from the Bush Administration's actions. Already Democrats who want to make changes to the way the country is currently being run are lining up and starting to campaign. Last November, when the Democrats took Congress, the party gained a boost of confidence by winning a majority of the seats in the House and the Senate. They are now shooting for the Executive Office as well. For the first time since 1928, both major parties will have an open contest of presidential nominations without a sitting president or vice president in the running. So the field is wide open to hopefuls on either side of the political spectrum. If a Democrat is elected into office, then they will have to live up to the accusations that their party has made about the actions of the Bush Administration, and whoever is elected will have to walk a very tight rope. If another Republican is elected, they will be faced with separating themselves from Bush and his low approval ratings, yet staying true to their party's ideals. Either way, whoever wins is given the burden of following the Bush Administration, will have to unite a divided country and deal with an America at war. The frontrunners for the Democrats have already emerged as biracial US Senator Barack Obama (Illinois), former US Senator and vice presidential candidate John R. Edwards (North Carolina), and Democratic US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (New York), who have all announced that they will run for a chance of becoming president in 2008. Both Clinton and Obama will make history if either wins the primary. Obama being half black, would be the first of his kind. If Clinton wins, she will be the first woman to be president. In January, Clinton announced she will be a candidate for president in the 2008 elections, as has been expected for quite some time. Her ability to fund raise incredible amounts of money has given her an edge over her strongest rivals. It would seem that having built up a formidable campaign machine and nationwide recognition for being the first lady, she presents the most credible chance of a woman becoming president for the first time, although she isn't the first to run. Yet, having been involved in failed policy initiatives such as healthcare reforms and multiple scandals such as the Whitewater real estate investigation and removal of White House furnishings in 2000, Clinton is a figure that splits people into supporters and opponents, with very few moderates in between. Edwards was the Democrats' vice president back in 2004 with John Kerry, and he plans to run again in 2008. He has already started campaigning, trying to gain a voting base in the early primary states. He is running on a platform that includes a universal healthcare plan, requiring all Americans to have healthcare. Edwards estimated while appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" that his proposals would cost the federal government $90 to $120 billion a year in new spending. To pay for his program, Edwards said he would roll back the tax cuts enacted during President Bush's first term for those making more than $200,000 annually and target what he said were "billions of dollars" in unpaid taxes on capital gains. This plan meets harsh criticism by conservatives. "John Edwards talks about 'two Americas,'" said Pat Toomey, the president of the anti-tax increase group Club for Growth, "but there is only one America and its taxpayers think they should be allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money — not less." Obama is considered the wild card for the Democrats. He is a charismatic and thoughtful speaker and is generating supporters among his party and independents alike. He has met an increase in scrutiny on many of his positions on various issues and whether or not he will be able to raise the estimated $100 million that each candidate needs, remains to be seen. According to PollingReport.com, 43% of people recently surveyed would vote for Clinton if the primary elections were held now, while only 15% said they would vote for Obama, and 12% for Edwards. When asked who they would vote for if the race came down to only two candidates, 55% of people surveyed said they would vote for Clinton over Obama, while 10% said they were unsure. Of people surveyed, 62% claimed they would vote for Hillary Clinton over Edwards, while 9% said they were unsure. If the race came down to either Obama or Edwards, 46% said they would vote for Obama while 39% said they would vote for Edwards, 15% said they were unsure. The dark horse of the Democratic race has to be former Vice President Al Gore, who has not officially stated that he would run, but has expressed interest. With 22 months left before primary elections in January 2008, observers say this could be the longest – and, at estimates ranging up to $1 billion, most expensive – presidential election campaign in American history. Unfortunately, the winner of this race seems to deal more with who can raise the most money, but hey, that's politics.