Hope everyone had a blessed Christmas. Please keep me in prayer over a personal matter, as two of my New Year’s resolutions are quite tough this year, but are problems in my life that need to be addressed. (Smoking is one of them.)
On to politics and predictions for the new year. I continue to think Howard Dean is gonna prove more difficult to the President’s re-election bid than what most Republicans (and Republican sympathizers like myself) realize. While Dean is currently stumping to the left in the Democrat primaries, we need to keep in mind that the Howard Dean we see now is not the Howard Dean against whom President Bush and the Republican Party will square off against in the campaign leading up to the general election.
Already we are seeing Dean discover religion. Once the Dem nomination is firmly in hand, you will like see him continue his move to the center. Likely, he will trumpet his record of balanced budgets in Vermont. We need to hold Dean to the left. Health care, taxation for middle-class families and agriculture are three areas where Dean is weak.
Next, we need to recognize that President Bush is still politically vulnerable over the war in Iraq. I know this sounds strange, but over the short-term, Dean is likely to prove right in that the capture of Saddam Hussein will not make things any safer in the West. Basically, Hussein’s capture is radicalizing the islamo-fascists who were reluctant to jump into the frey as long as Hussein was still hanging around. So don’t be surprised to see terrorist attacks increase over the coming year. Additionally, you’re seeing the Dean camp spin the fact Osama bin Looney still hasn’t been captured.
Of course, the best answer would be to capture bin Looney and/or uncover WMDs in Iraq. Barring this possibility, however, the best way to to counter the Dean spin is to point out the long-term security benefits yielded by the capture of Hussein. For example, Libya abandonning its WMD programmes is a direct result of the President’s firm leadership. Libya has had a long history of sponsoring terrorism. Additionally, Time Magazine reports that the Al Quack network has recently diverted much of its resources to Iraq. Given the geo-political makeup of Iraq versus that of Afganistan, it should be much easier to capture or kill key terrorists in Iraq than in Afganistan.
Finally, there is the gross human rights violations that took place under Saddam’s regime. A number of leftists who support the war, such as Prime Minister Tony Blair in the UK and Alexa McDonough (former leader of Canada’s socialist party) have often appealed on the left to Hussein’s brutality against his own people people as justification for the Iraq war.
What about an anti-Dean candidate? The only one of the other Democrat candidates that I think presents a credible challenge within the Dem. primaries is Joe Lieberman. Neither Braun nor Sharpton present a credible challenge. When it comes to African-Americans, the Dems prefer tokenism to actually giving blacks real power. Note that it was the GOP who appointed Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, Colin Powell as Secretary of State, and who have seriously floated the idea of putting Condi Rice on the 2004 ticket where she could become the first African American and the first woman to become Vice-President.
Kucinich is out of the question. Not only are his policies to the left of Dean, but he makes Al Gore look charismatic. Edwards and Gephart also lack any charisma or marketability within this race. Finally, Kerry and Clark have flip-flopped over too many issues to be credible candidates at this point. Both of them come across as desperate, and not in a good sense.
Yet where Lieberman also comes across as somewhat desperate, his centrist credentials are solid. Other than Dean, he’s the only serious candidate among the Dems who hasn’t wavered in his position on key issues such as national security. Therefore, I would not be suprised if he emerges as the key anti-Dean candidate.