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Election '08

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Could Alberto Gonzales Have an Impact on the 2008 Election?

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has become another contentious figure in the Bush administration that is pitting Democrats against Republicans. On Friday the number three Democrat in Washington Chuck Schumer, called for Gonzales' resignation from his post as Attorney General citing recent information coming to light about the FBI using illegal methods to obtain information and the Justice Department's firing of Federal Prosecutors. Shumer's comments branded the Attorney General as one of the most political attorney generals in recent history. While not saying outright that the firings were politically motivated, Schumer stated of Gonzales "Attorney General Gonzales is a nice man, but he either doesn't accept or doesn't understand that he is no longer just the president's lawyer, but has a higher obligation to the rule of law and the Constitution even when the president should not want it to be so"

The question arises if this current flap over Gonzales will carry over into the 2008 election. With many of the Republican presidential candidates having been supporters of Gonzales' nomination as Attorney General and the apparent scandals coming to light now over the actions of the Justice Department under Gonzales' supervision, the Democrats may try to use this as one more example of Republicans' poor judgment and a need for change in Washington. Some within the Republican ranks have already begun to distance themselves from Gonzales with Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania intimated that the time for the Attorney General might be at hand. While saying "Before we come to conclusions, I think we need to know more facts." Sen. Specter also said of the possibility of Gonzales' resignaton that it was a "question for the president and the attorney general."

Friday's admissions by both Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller that the FBI had in fact broken the law in their obtaining of personal information in the pursuit of suspected spies and terrorists sparked the Schumer call for Gonzales' resignation stating "this department has been so political that I think for the sake of the nation, Attorney General Gonzales should step down,". The admission from Gonzales came in the wake of a report released by the Inspector General of the Justice Department that found agents improperly obtained telephone records and demanded sensitive data. The information was obtained via security letters, which are special warrants issued without judicial approval. In light of the report and the criticism of the Washington lawmakers, Gonzales agreed to let Congress hear from supervisors involved in the recent terminations of the US Attorneys and to tighten the guidelines for how to replace attorneys in the future.

In an appearance on Face The Nation Sunday, both Senators Spector and Schumer called the FBI actions unacceptable. Schumer noted "What we found in the Justice Department over and over again is a lack of respect for the rule of law," "There's a view that the executive should be almost without check." "And that is so wrong," he said. "That's one of the reasons I think we need a change at the top in the Justice Department."

While there is little doubt that this will cause for a spirited debate in Washington over the coming weeks it will remain to be seen if it has any impact on the presidential race. With races often coming down to association, there will likely only be luke-warm support for Gonzales from potential Republican presidential candidates as he faces the Judiciary Committee hearings.


Is the "Battle Cry" Movement a Factor in Deciding the 2008 Election?

With the growing movement of evangelical Christians in America does the "Battle Cry" youth movement favor Democrats or Republicans at the polls?

With the protests by liberals of the organization's recent stop in San Francisco, questions of how the movement might impact the voting of young voters has to be raised. The organization that is clearly conservative in its social values has not really been vocal about other issues that have historically been Christian mainstays such as helping the poor and caring for the sick that favor more liberal leaning candidates. How will young voters in this type of organization vote? While Republicans claim the fundamentalist ideals of the church, their fiscal policies have flown in the face of charity and care for the less fortunate and Democrats who favor aide programs for the poor and disabled tend more towards religious freedoms and supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians as well as supporting abortion rights, which flies in the face of the core conservative values of fundamentalists.

How will these young potential voters see the issues and will their growing numbers impact the elections? There is no doubt that both the Republicans and Democrats present a dichotomy of spirit to Christian voters. While they want to support Christian values regarding the family they also have to make charity and fairness a part of their decisions in selecting leaders if they are to stay true to the teachings of Christ. Where will they ultimately decide their priorities lie?

Unfortunately for Democrats, the liberal base of the party is overshadowing the charitable and supposedly "open-minded" ideals of the liberal movement by protesting the gatherings as being anti-gay and contrary to liberal values. It likely would make for a better dialog if the protesters were to spend less time hurling insults and more time actually talking to the attendees about the issues calmly and rationally. Apparently the "open-minded" part of being a liberal only applies when you like the things the other person is saying. By some standards, Jesus would be likely considered a liberal today and just as likely would be shunned by many "Christians" and would certainly be disliked by many "liberals" of today. People who have actually studied all of the Bible and not just selected passages that promote their own designs know that the teachings of Christ were those of acceptance and loving one's enemies. Conversion through acceptance and dialog were his methods if you believe the accounts in the Bible. It appears that neither side of this debate has taken that part of Christianity to heart.

At the end of the day, the young voters in the "Battle Cry" camp will have to decide which of their values take precedence when they vote, if they choose to vote at all.




Could Gas Prices and Big Oil Ties Determine Who Our Next President Is?

With the national average price of gasoline going up over twenty cents a gallon in recent weeks, the price of gas is slowly creeping back into the headlines. With California having the highest prices in the nation and the shift in primary dates to bring California earlier into the election cycle, candidates with big oil ties might not fare as well in the primaries as they might if the midwest were still dominant in the primary election process. Already questions are arising about the claimed maintenance needs of the refineries shut down currently during a period of high demand and more than likely if Congress does not act to assure the American people that they are being vigilant about monitoring the oil industry, many Americans will begin to once again suspect that the oil companies are engaging in price fixing with the protection of Washington cronies. Any candidate seen as having close ties to the oil industry may be in for a long haul this primary season if gas prices remain high.

Some may see this as a minor issue for the candidates to deal with but with people in more debt than in past years and consumer pricing so closely tied to gasoline prices, it is unlikely that this will not be an issue on the campaign trail to be debated if prices continue to rise. As more Americans feel the pinch of having to change their spending habits to afford gasoline, they will undoubtedly begin to ask the poltiicians what they are going to do about it. The answers those politicians give may end up being a factor in who becomes the next president.




Guiliani Has Double Digit Lead in Latest GOP Poll

Republican candidate and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was the most favored (32% positive rating) among likely Republican voters in a poll released by Opinion Research Corp. With John McCain slipping to an 18% favorable rating among likely Republican voters in the polls and Giuliani recieving a key endorsement from conservative Louisiana Senator David Vitter, at this point it seems to be Giuliani's nomination to lose. While McCain was an early favorite, some of his recent unpopular stands regarding the war in Iraq have hurt his public approval ratings and left him falling further and further behind the apparent Republican front runner.

A representative from the McCain camp said that he is happy being an underdog as it gives him the opportunity to come from behind and surprise everyone like in 2000 when he won the New Hampshire primary against the eventual nominee George W. Bush. Given the outcome of that race, the optimism may be genuine or merely putting a brave face on a bad situation for the McCain campaign facing another trip to the alter as a bride's maid.

Tying for a distant third in the poll were Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney who both received a 9% positive rating among likely voters polled.




With California Set to Move Primary to February, Candidates Go West

With the legislation now on the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to move the primary up to February 5th from the usual June and the governor expected to sign it, the major presidential campaigns have begun to seriously court the California voters and, more importantly, the California donors.

Advance teams for all of the major candidates have already set up shop in California and the fundraising began even before the legislature announced that they had passed the bill to move up the primaries. Some of the candidates such as Democrat John Edwards and Republican Mitt Romney have pinned some of their hopes of success in the primaries on California hoping that by focusing on the more populous state with more nominating clout, they might become contenders once again in the face of the major opposition that they face from within their parties.

States such as Iowa and New Hampshire will possibly become campaign step-children in the face of the new California primary clout despite having primaries prior to February 5th. California is most likely to be the primary player among the 23 states that have a February 5th primary. Some observers point out that the nominations may be virtually decided by February 6th because the early primaries represent about 50% of all delegates in the country. For the campaigns this means that winning California will likely make or break the race for any presidential hopefuls.




Is There Any Room for Independent Candidates in the Debate?

California Independent Frank McEnulty represents a relatively moderate approach to the campaign trail with some classic conservative stands on issues such as immigration and foreign policy.

His approach to world affairs would be best described as "hands off", which by his characterization is the "Walk softly and carry a big stick." approach. Many Americans would seem to agree with Mr. McEnulty based on recent polls showing Americans favoring troop withdrawals in Iraq and more emphasis being put on defending American borders. His approach to immigration is in line with many on both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle favoring a clamp down on illegal immigration and regulation of guest workers to serve the economic needs currently met by illegal immigrant workers.

Government accountability and states' rights figure prominently in candidate McEnulty's platform with obvious leanings toward tort reform. Whether you agree or disagree with his stands, he seems to represent the ideals that a majority of Americans favor.

 

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