by Eric Margolis
February 04, 2008
WASHINGTON DC – An aura of `fin de regime’ hangs over this imperial capitol, as eight years of Republican rule nears an end. All the lobbyists, consultants, deal-makers and journalists who feed off the Federal Government are now frantically scrambling to latch on to the new regime that will come in January, 2008.
Polls show Democrats way ahead of the beleaguered Republicans – so far. A majority of Americans are fed up with the Bush Administration’s foreign policy disasters and, increasingly, the seriously ailing economy which is slipping into recession. The massive frauds and outright criminal activity lying behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis is going to be squarely blamed on Republicans.
Unless there is a major terrorist attack on the US in coming months, the Republicans seemed doomed. At least they did until the 29 January Florida primary. Suddenly, Republicans see a glimmer of light at the end of their very dark tunnel: Sen. John McCain.
Conservative Republicans do not like the senator from Arizona, seeing him as too permissive over social and religious issues. Many moderate East Coast Republicans shudder when they listen to McCain propose decades of wars against the Muslim World, and sending more US troops to Iraq.
At a political rally last April, Sen. McCain led a chorus singing, `bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.’ This act alone should have disqualified him from high office. But right wingers loved the senator’s bellicose song, and now hail him as the man who will really `unleash’ America’s military might.
Last summer, McCain’s candidacy seemed doomed when his campaign ran out of money. McCain held on, and is now the front-runner, with the robotic Mitt Romney snapping at his heels.
The humiliating defeat in Florida of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani also alters the dynamics of the primary race. Giuliani was primarily financed and supported by Republican Neoconservatives because of the ex-mayor’s hard line support of Israel. His neocon financial backers and advisors are now trying to climb aboard the McCain bandwagon. This will give McCain important new finance to battle Romney’s millions, and even more important media support.
Even so, with some 66% of voters saying they will vote Democratic in the November elections, Republican chances still seem dim. But this does not take into account the Hillary factor.
Senator Hillary Clinton still leads Barak Obama in the Democratic primary race. The next round of `super’ primaries, on 5 February, may cement her lead, unless Obama produces an upset.
Women like Hillary Clinton because of her image as a wronged wife and champion of female rights. A teary-eyed speech won her the woman’s vote in New Hampshire. But many men detest Hillary just as much. She represents to them everything they find distasteful in some women: deviousness, aggressiveness, underhandedness and unattractiveness.
Republicans are down on their knees praying Hillary will beat Obama. If she becomes the Democratic candidate, the Republican – now most likely led by John McCain – will probably beat her. No matter how angry American men are with the Bush Administration’s follies, they detest Hillary even more. They could very well hold their noses and vote Republican again.
Though just endorsed by the influential Kennedy family as anointed heir to the sainted President John Kennedy, Barack Obama must yet face an oncoming crisis. The internet is rife with accusations from rightwing know-nothings that he is a Muslim who will hand Washington over to al-Qaida and Taliban. But the debate over his religious roots has not yet hit the mainstream media in a meaningful manner.
So far, Obama has managed to get away with claiming he is a Christian and has no Muslim background. But it’s clear he does, having a Muslim father. When more Americans become aware of this awkward fact, Barack Obama could face an uphill struggle. Anti-Muslim prejudice is so high in America that even a Muslim grandparent could be the political kiss of death.
If Obama cannot evade this problem, or falters on 5 Feb, Hillary Clinton will become the Democratic candidate. Faced with widespread male disapproval, she could lead her party to defeat and the nation to another Republican victory. This time led by a hardliner who likes to sing about bombing Iran and was actually a war hero.
Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2008
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