Sunday, December 09, 2007

Presidential Campaigns

"Big decisions are taken at small meetings, small decisions at taken at big meetings"
Chinese proverb
How appropriate this proverb is for China since a small governing elite send their decisions, made in small meetings to the People's Congress which is a large meeting but only meets every five years.
I was reminded of this proverb while watching some of the American presidential candidates interviewed on the Sunday "talking head" TV shows today. Gone are the smoke-filled rooms populated by political party bosses who determined who the presidential candidate was going to be during the party's convention. That old system is clearly obsolete today when you look at the Iowa Caucus process and the mega-star power of Oprah Winfrey. As a native Iowan I am a huge advocate of the Iowa Caucus process because it forces/demands that candidates focus on retail politics whereby they must meet voters on a very decentralized level since the caucuses are held in people's living rooms, VFW halls, etc. These small events coupled with the mass rallies that Oprah Winfrey is hosting in football stadiums for Senator Barack Obama has placed a few more nails in the smoke-filled room culture's coffin -- those days are clearly gone and today's party nominating conventions are merely four days of earned media not decisions.
Speaking of decisions the next stage of decision making will take place in the March 2008 time frame when the Democratic and Republican parties will likely know who their nominees are so these people will then start selecting their vice-presidential running mates. Since this process is coming quickly I had a few observations on possible and impossible presidential tickets so here we go:
McCain-Lieberman: When Senator Joe Lieberman was up for re-election to the US Senate in 2006 his Democratic Party endorsed a challenger in the primary election so Lieberman ran as an independent and he won. At the time I wrote on this blog that he should not re-join the Democratic Caucus in the Senate but he did. If Senator Lieberman and Senator McCain (Republican) want to really be the mavericks they claim to be they would run as a team assuming Senator McCain wins the Republican nomination. I don't believe that will happen but of course these two men could run as an independent (note: there is no official "Independent Party" in the USA) team thus creating a "third party" candidacy that could clearly affect the 2008 November elections.
Obama-Winfrey: Yes, a historic ticket -- with two African-Americans -- of US Senator Barack Obama (Democrat) and TV mega-star Oprah Winfrey but alas it is impossible since both of these people are residents of Illinois which the Constitution does not allow but with her money Oprah could buy a home in any state she wants of course!! This shouldn't be a problem since Senator Hillary Clinton chose to become a New York State resident to launch her political career once her and Bill stripped the White House of most of its furniture as they left in 2001.
Ah, the combinations are endless so perhaps worthy of a future posting here. Readers comments are most welcome in case I overlooked any interesting possible tickets.
Enjoy the race,

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