Friday, July 8, 2011

It's time to pay attention to the 2012 presidential campaign

It is July, and the temperatures are sky high as we trudge through another summer. However, our thoughts need to be turning to the winter when the 2012 presidential campaign kicks into high gear.

Whether we like it or not, the major caucuses and primaries for the campaign begin about seven months from now. That is less time than the length of an average pregnancy.

Because of this, we need to begin pondering the race. On the Democratic side, President Barack Obama will likely face little meaningful opposition as he moves toward getting his party’s nomination.

The president is truly gifted when it comes to fundraising, and some experts predict he will raise as much as $1 billion dollars to spend against his Republican challenger. This alone refutes the long-time stereotype that the GOP is the only party of big money. The pockets on the Democratic side plunge plenty deep as well.

The race for the Republican nomination continues to take shape. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been anointed the early frontrunner, but I do not see how anybody can be a frontrunner at this point.

True, Romney ran for the nomination in 2008 and probably has the edge when it comes to name recognition. However, the Republican candidates have not been in front of a large audience in a meaningful way yet.

Also, there are some people who are considering running who have not made up their mind yet. So, let us ease up on all this frontrunner talk.

Another person getting some early recognition from Republicans is Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. She is a darling of the Tea Party set so it will be critical for her to appeal to moderate Republicans as well.

If her campaign continues to progress, it will be interesting to see if the mainstream media treats her with the blatant sexism it has with other women candidates in recent years.

The most obvious and dreadful example of this was how the media treated Hillary Clinton when she ran against Obama in 2008. While they tossed softball question after softball question to Obama, Clinton was peppered with serious policy questions like she was a hockey goalie.

I have no problem with our presidential candidates being placed under intense scrutiny, but Clinton got the heat applied to her way more intensely than Obama did.

Another example of sexism from that campaign was the treatment of Sarah Palin. Because of her looks and style, many tried to dismiss her as a lightweight. While she has many shortcomings when it comes to politics, the intensity of the early attempts to marginalize her was breathtaking.

For those reading this who believe it is too early to start focusing on 2012, my advice is to wake up. Our country faces monumental problems right now.

Unemployment remains above nine percent in many states. Energy costs are still unacceptably high. Prices have been slowly rising at the grocery store. When prices for fundamentals like food and gasoline are high, politicians need to be put on the hot seat.

The basic questions we need to ask ourselves are: On a personal level, are you better off than you were four years ago? On a national level, is our nation better off than it was four years ago?

The way those questions are answered should guide how a person votes. Then again, I am assuming most people reading this will actually vote. Voter apathy remains a demon, and the sad truth is most reading this will not vote.

Just what we need – four more years of whining from a constituency who can not be bothered to get involved.

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