Presidential candidates growing in numbers

Published 2:47 am Wednesday, June 6, 2007

By By Steve Flowers
An observation that I have made over the years is the obvious aging process that takes place during the years of a person's term as President. The stress and pressure of the job takes a tremendous toll on the President's life. If you look at any before and after photo of our Presidents you will see an apparent dramatic picture of what stress does to a person's appearance. The most recent Presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have been glaring examples. It is a tough job being the leader of the free world and withstanding the slings and arrows of daily scrutiny and ridicule. It makes you wonder why anyone would want the job. However, it has not diminished the applicant list.
There are at least ten Democratic aspirants and just as many Republican candidates vying to succeed Bush as President. The 2008 race started early. It has already been raging for over six months and we are still fifteen months away from the finish line. Although the field is crowded the front runners appear formidable. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton appears to be out in front. Barack Obama will give her a race but she will be hard to derail. The odds makers early on had cast Arizona Sen. John McCain as the frontrunner on the GOP side even though he seems to be faltering. His campaign and appearance are lackluster and his support of Bush's war policy is puzzling.
Las Vegas odds makers have made Hillary Clinton a heavy favorite to beat McCain if he is the nominee. Why? The war in Iraq. It is the premier issue and McCain siding with Bush is an overwhelming albatross and a heavy yoke to carry. The war in Iraq dwarfs all other issues in the eyes of American voters. They perceive the invasion of the Middle East by George W. Bush as wrong.
Bush's legacy is tainted. He created a meaningless war and has run up a horrific national debt while doing it. He inherited a balanced federal budget and ruined it and our national credit both financially and morally. There is no victory in Iraq. They will be warring for the next 100 years just like they have for centuries. When we leave another dictator will take over and their never ending civil war and chaos will resume.
The Bush debacle caused a seismic tidal wave Democratic landslide in 2006. Bush's war swept the GOP out of control of Congress and gave the Democrats a majority in both Houses. It even reached across the Atlantic Ocean and caused the downfall of Britain's Tony Blair. The Iraq war will be an Achilles heel to the Republican Presidential nominee in 2008, especially McCain who has embraced Bush's war surge this year.
Bush's tenacious clinging to his failed mission and his even escalating the invasion after a resounding message was sent repudiating his policy last November only further tightens the noose on his party's nominee. He continues to drive the proverbial nail in the coffin. The Democrats need only to heed the advice of Bill Clinton's electoral guru James Carville when he repeatedly told his campaign troops in 1992, "It's the economy stupid." To paraphrase, the battle cry for Democrats in 2008 should be, "It's the war stupid."
The GOP nomination is up in the air. McCain has worked Alabama hard for two years. Rudy Giuliani who currently leads in polls nationwide as well as Alabama has already visited our State twice this year. If former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson enters the race as he is expected to do he will do well here and nationally.
Even though Bush's war has placed the GOP behind the eight ball nationwide in the Presidential juggernaut, Alabama and our Deep South sister states will probably vote for the Republican nominee. You could safely bet that a Republican ticket headed by Giuliani, Thompson, McCain or any Republican for that matter will easily defeat a Democratic Hillary Clinton in Alabama. It will not even be close. Therefore, after the nominees are chosen you will probably not see either one of them campaign too often in the Heart of Dixie.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama's leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in 70 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at

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