Political forces shaping the '08 elections
By Christopher G. Adamo
So far, the political landscape preceding the 2008 Presidential Election has defied every attempt by the "old media" to characterize and thus determine its outcome. Were the original media prognostications correct, at least two thirds of the American public would already be lining up at the ballot box, eagerly awaiting the starting bells in order to joyously cast votes for Hillary.
The reality for the former First Lady is not nearly so rosy. A recent Mason-Dixon poll showed that more than half of Americans say they will not vote for her "under any circumstances." As a result, her anticipated cake walk of the Democrat primary season has devolved into a very rocky road, with Freshman Senator Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) nipping at her heals in every major survey.
Worse yet, former Vice-President Al Gore continues to enjoy a groundswell of enthusiastic support from the Democrat base, even though he has yet to officially declare his candidacy. It is certain that, behind closed doors, Democrat strategists are being strained to their limits by the maddening uncertainty of the present situation.
On the Republican side, the "conventional wisdom" has fared no better. Only a few months ago it was all but predetermined that the Republican presidential nominee would be Arizona Senator John McCain, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Yet the mere indication by former Republican Senator Fred Thompson of his interest in running resulted in a shift of tectonic proportions within the GOP.
Thompson's nearly spontaneous popularity has left the other candidates scrambling in efforts to maintain their respective pieces of the pie. And with the presumed inevitability of his announcement and likely advancement to the status of "frontrunner," the former Tennessee Senator is beginning to feel the heat of the universally adverse and monotonously predictable media coverage.
So far, Thompson remains impervious to such attacks, and indeed actually stands to gain from them as long as he remains true to the ideologies which he has been loudly professing in recent months. The latest assault, based on an accusation that he was somehow involved in a lobbying effort on behalf of pro-abortion forces, may yet prove to be just another "dud" projectile being fired at him.
While certainly not flawless as either a conservative or a presidential candidate, Thompson shows every sign of being fully capable of weathering this storm. In truth, the very nature of the current controversy may say far more about his critics, and their disingenuous sermonizing to the public, than it does about Thompson.
Consider, first of all, that those making the most noise are clearly in the political camp of the opposition. Does anyone really believe these liberals are trying to help Thompson? Clearly, they recognize that, were his pro-life track record to be seriously called into question, much of the current enthusiasm for his candidacy would be undermined.
Curiously, in the past, they have incessantly claimed that being pro-life is an enormous political negative, since a "majority" of both parties ostensibly favor abortion. Yet now they seek to cost Thompson his support on the basis that his pro-life record has a blemish on it, albeit an extremely minor one in comparison to that of virtually all of the rest of the field. So perhaps supporting the sanctity of life is not such a fatal defect to a candidacy.
Furthermore, by clearly making the case that Thompson may lose support over this issue, they highlight the certain fate that would befall Giuliani or Romney, were either to win the nomination.
If tying him in such an oblique manner to the abortion lobby could disaffect Thompson supporters, what could Democrats do to Giuliani or Romney, both of whom have staunchly supported partial birth abortion, gay rights, along with the rest of the liberal cultural agenda?
Ultimately, the battle lines have remained unchanged for the past several decades. The conservatism that bolstered American confidence and stature, and that served Ronald Reagan so well during the eighties, still resonates with the American public.
It also propelled Republicans in the Senate and House to majority status for a dozen years, starting in 1994. Republican fortunes only changed last fall when it became obvious that they had abandoned such thinking.
Contrary to the constant drum beat of "conventional wisdom" asserting that the '06 electoral upset resulted from public disenchantment with the Iraq war, every indication before and since last November suggests otherwise.
In the recent past, Republicans have done well in congressional elections, just so long as their conservatism was starkly contrasted against the banalities of the American left. Once that divide dissipated, so did any support from the "grassroots."
The dynamics of the impending presidential race, as well as the congressional re-match of next year, are no different. Democrats, riding a crest of false confidence, are doing a thorough job of parading their true, leftist and anti-American colors. Thus GOP prospects improve, and rest largely on the possibility that Republican "moderates" in Congress do not sabotage the conservative movement through cowardice and pragmatism.
If he continues to boldly define the political landscape, Fred Thompson could not only win big, but his vocal advocacy of the conservative message, contrasted against the liberal nuttiness of Reid/Pelosi and their party's presidential candidate, may yield significant Republican gains in both houses.
Christopher G. Adamo is a freelance writer and staff writer for the New Media Alliance. He lives in southeastern Wyoming. He has been active in local and state politics for many years. His contact information and archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com.