Sunday, January 6, 2008

Countdown to New Hampshire

I'll venture no predictions about New Hampshire, having no special insight into what might happen.
But I am pleased at the direction the campaign is taking. Whatever one might think about particular candidates, it does seem clear that there is a strong current running against the status quo represented by Bush and Beltway politics.
It's not surprising that all the Democrats are running against the Bush record, but the two candidates (Obama and Edwards) who are most critical of the system have garnered a super majority of support. Meanwhile, Clinton's biggest problem seems to be persuading votes that she represents change, not the status quo. She's in the awkward position of trying to take credit for having experience while at the same time advocating a big change in the way things are done.
On the GOP side, the candidates representing some degree of satisfaction with Bushism (Romney, Giuliani, Thompson) are struggling to hold their ground against fierce critics of the Bush way (McCain, Paul and Huckabee). This is rather surprising considering the Republicans are coming off 8 years of a GOP White House. The last time this happened for Republicans Bush the senior tried very hard to convince everyone he didn't represent any change at all from Reaganism. He succeeded.
A similar thing happened on the Democratic side when they tried to follow up a two-term presidential term. Gore also tried to represent himself as a continuation of Clinton-era policies. He was less successful.

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