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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Reshuffling the Deck

The Iowa Caucuses are behind us. New Hampshire and South Carolina loom on the horizon. Hillary Clinton was shown not to be quite so "inevitable," the little gray men didn't influence things for Dennis Kucinich, and another Arkansas Governor came out as the front runner of his party.

Iowa holds 7 electoral votes. New Hampshire holds 4 votes. It boggles my mind, and always has, why two states with such low impact on the elections hold such significance in the minds of the voters of the nation. Case in point, Wyoming, with 3 Electoral votes, held it's caucuses today, with Mitt Romney taking the Republican win. Where is the media coverage of Wyoming?

It is truly a case of the minority leading the majority, just by looking at the numbers aspect.

They do serve, however, as a good testing grounds for the rest of the campaign season. Candidates can take a look at these first states to hold their electoral process and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their individual campaigns. Some candidates can look into where they need to improve things, others will decide to drop out, as Biden and Dodd on the Democratic side have done in the wake of the Iowa Caucuses.

We move on with the process, now. The debates come back into play, if debates they can be called. The allegations of foul play begin, such as the rumor mill currently spreading whispers that the rumor of Fred Thompson planning to drop out after Iowa are traceable to the Romney camp (thanks, Jay.) We also see the shifting of attention to the front-runners who have come out of the Iowa process. ABC will host debates for the Republican party tonight at 7 pm EST, featuring Giuliani,Huckabee, McCain, Paul, Romney, and Thompson, but excluding Duncan Hunter. They will also host a debate for the Democrats 90 minutes later featuring Clinton, Edwards, Obama, and Richardson. but excluding Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, who has filed protests at being excluded. It remains to be seen whether this will be an actual debate for either party, or another sound bite gathering, as the previous "debates" have been accused of having been.

FOXNews is going a different route tomorrow night, with a forum format for the Republican candidates at 8pm. The Seattle Times and Union Leader are both reporting that the New Hampshire Republican Party has pulled their support as a co-sponsor of the event because Fox has chosen to exclude candidates Hunter and Paul from tomorrow night's forum.

Party Chairman Fergus Cullen said he has failed in attempts to get Fox to include candidates Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter in Sunday's forum.

"Only in New Hampshire do lesser known, lesser funded underdogs have a fighting chance to establish themselves as national figures," Cullen said. "Consistent with that tradition, we believe all recognized major candidates should have an equal opportunity to participate in pre-primary debates and forums."

The question remains, and will be answered as the debates and the forum recommence, as to what topics will be covered for the candidates to discuss. Still to be seen, as well, as the deck is reshuffled and the cards redealt, is who will have the more impressive hair, Mitt Romney or John Edwards.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man