Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Jersey GOP Turns to Giuliani

The campaigns are starting so early in the season that soon the elected officials will have little time to make believe they are governing. Their job will simply be to raise money in order to run again.

Rudy Giuliani has emerged as the clear front runner in New Jersey's February 2008 Republican presidential primary, winning endorsements from a majority of the state's GOP County Chairmen, nineteen state legislators, and a long list of Republican elected officials that demonstrate support across the ideological spectrum.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Republican Edge in New Jersey '08 Poll

Quinnipiac University recently released a series of polls showing how the '08 presidential field is taking shape in New Jersey.

The presidential race in this poll is rather tight as one would expect so early in the game. McCain's positives are directly linked up to Bush's war strategies. If the president is successful then McCain will benefit; if the conflict slogs, on he will be another casualty of the unpopular war.

“It looks like problems with Sen. Hillary Clinton’s new presidential campaign are cropping up close to home,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “She has established her front-runner status among Democrats and she enjoys positive favorability ratings, but a big chunk of New Jersey voters have negative feelings about the Senator next door – enough to show two Republicans giving her a run for her money in this traditionally Democratic state,” Richards added.

Monday, January 22, 2007

DNC Penalty

On the Democratic National Committee’s proposal to penalize states for moving their primaries to the first Tuesday in February:

I think the Democratic National Committee's proposed penalty is short-sighted and rather self-defeating. The Committee has no vested interest in preferring one state over another, especially two states with larger populations and more electoral votes than some of the preferred primary states.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rating the Presidents -- By One of their Own

It is a favorite parlor game for Americans to rate or rank their presidents; it is also a preoccupation of presidential scholars and over the decades they have pretty much reached a consensus on at least the great or so called near great presidents. The pantheon includes: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George Washington, and then often Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt or Harry S. Truman. It is rare though that presidents rank their own, although John F. Kennedy is supposed to have looked at one list and remarked that one had to either die in office or lead the country to war to be on the top. Some presidents have risen up in recent times though, especially Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. Some have taken a beating such as Wilson, and others are being looked at with a more critical eye such as Kennedy himself. Still others such as James K. Polk and Richard Nixon have not had a really fair appraisal for a variety of very different reasons.

But we now have Gerald Ford’s observations of other presidents, at least those he knew. He has argued that Ronald Reagan is overrated, especially in terms of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He finds him a poor manager and argues that his own role in the Helsinki accords on human rights did more to win the cold war than Reagan and his much heralded military buildup which is supposed to have bankrupted the Soviets. Ford called Jimmy Carter a disaster, then as he became friends with him praised his work on the Panama Canal treaty, China, and the Middle East. He also views John F. Kennedy as overrated and Bill Clinton as simply an average president. Still he praises the older George Bush and his handling of the Kuwait war, and is very complementary about Richard Nixon as a foreign policy master despite the abyss of Watergate. He regards the best president of his time as being Dwight Eisenhower, although he too praises Truman for his handling of foreign crises during his years in office. Lastly, he was concerned about George Bush the younger’s war in Iraqi and his justification for it.

The remarkable conclusion that one can draw from Ford’s observations is that they were generally on the mark, especially as historians begin to step back and look at the contemporary post Rooseveltian presidency. Having served in that unique and demanding office gives one a different perspective than presidential historians and even most memoirists. It is interesting to see where they agree and why.

The Emergence of Obama

The contest for the presidency has taken a new and interesting twist with his emergence as a real candidate. Now the Democrats have a really charismatic least until the beltway talking heads start on him.