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Politics & Power

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Chinks in the Armor

With the Iowa caucuses rapidly approaching it seems that the once assumed invulnerability of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential nomination race has now evaporated leaving her in a three way horserace for the nomination. Despite early double-digit leads by Clinton over Barack Obama and John Edwards, the former First Lady and Senator from New York has now fallen behind Obama and is only slightly ahead of Edwards in a recent poll of Iowa Democrats. With this latest poll it would seem that the race is no longer predetermined and that Senator Clinton may have a rougher time ahead than was previously anticipated.

As with the 2004 race and the “unbeatable” Howard Dean, it would seem that this race may be as close as any in recent memory for the Democratic presidential nomination. This may be good or bad news for Democrats who might have an easier time in the general election if they can find unity earlier in the race. At the same time this uncertainty within the Democratic party may work to their advantage as the Republicans have focused much of their energy attacking Hillary Clinton in the anticipation of her winning the Democratic nomination. Their tactics focusing on one contender for criticism have left the door open for other Democratic contenders to make a stronger run against them in 2008.

With the race tightening up it will likely become necessary for Mrs. Clinton to become more active in taking on the more controversial issues of the campaign that she has thus far been less than committal about addressing. Her recent stumble with the issue of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants and the ongoing questioning of her fundraising ethics by former Senator John Edwards have left her vulnerable and on the defensive. With only weeks left t go before the first primaries and caucuses it seems like the once unbeatable Clinton will have to work hard to come out of Iowa with a win. For Edwards and Obama the Iowa race may open the door for them to sweep into the February Super Tuesday primary with the momentum to take the nomination away from the erstwhile frontrunner.

One thing is certain. After the most recent debate in Las Vegas, the tenor of the race has changed from polite civility to a no holds barred fight to the finish. The once runaway contest has now become a tight competition between three political heavyweights. Not to be underestimated in the race is the potential impact of the other candidates still running for the nomination. In the most recent debate Senator Joe Biden and Governor Bill Richardson were able to make strong points that in some cases weakened the positions of their opponents including the frontrunners. This chipping away of the armor of the leaders makes the race an increasingly wide open one with the certainty of the outcome lessening by the day.

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america



Deception at the Top

In an excerpt from the forthcoming book from former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan released to the public it is revealed that in meetings prior to press conferences denying any White House involvement in the leaks to the press about Valerie Plame McClellan was told directly by five of the top officials in the administration including the president and vice president to deny any involvement from within the White House. With these latest revelations coming from another administration insider, critics of the Bush administration have more to fuel their suspicions of wrongdoing at the top of the administration.

From the questions about when President Bush became aware of the intentional outing of a CIA agent to those raised about no-bid contracts being awarded to the company that Vice President Cheney worked for prior to becoming Vice President there is a dark cloud of suspicion hanging over the administration at the highest levels. The more that is revealed about this administration, the more comparisons with the Nixon administration arise. Like the aforementioned Nixon administration, this administration is often criticized for their secretive actions and refusal to find compromise with their opponents on the Democratic side of the aisle. Like the Nixon administration, the Bush administration has been on of single-minded purpose and vilification of their opponents as being anti-American. Like the Nixon administration Bush’s White House has tolerated no dissent and has often replaced staffers who have not towed the neo-conservative ideological line. Add to that the controversy around the warrantless wiretapping of Americans who have not been accused of any crimes and the implications become alarming to many.

Given the similarities with the Nixon administration and the known end result of that administration’s actions it stands to reason that more careful scrutiny of the current administration is warranted and necessary. If one administration could be capable of violating the law in the past it must be assumed that another administration is capable of going down the same misguided path. It is that path of deception and secrecy that threatens the very fabric of our government and flies in the face of the ideals that founded our nation. While our founding fathers were not perfect they recognized the need for separation of powers and accountability of leaders. In that wisdom they set forth a body of laws that provided for the necessary accountability for our Executive branch including the ability of Congress to investigate the actions of the Executive branch.

Some within the administration have suggested that they are not accountable to the Congress and that Executive privilege supersedes the oversight authority of Congress to hold the White House accountable for their actions while executing the duties of the Presidency. It is this type of apparent disregard for the standards of balanced government and questionable actions for which they are fighting to avoid scrutiny that make it imperative that more attention be paid to the actions of the White House. If the leaders within Congress fail to hold the White House accountable for their actions it will scar our system of government for generations to come. The fact that Nixon was forced to resign was a testament to the wisdom of the separation of powers. Now may be the time to reaffirm the wisdom of the founding fathers and hold this White House accountable for their actions even if it causes embarrassment for the United States on the world stage. We survived Nixon’s disgrace and would survive another disgraced president

Troy Wilson-Ripsom - Staff Writer | Give your feedback on this article. | Visit Troy's blog at http://reform-america.blogspot.com | Visit Troy's MySpace page at www.myspace.com/reform_america



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