Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Odds and Ends, political

The Oprah effect

Gee was there just a little press on Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Sen. Barack Obama. What I thought was interesting was the coverage was almost completely about here and there was very little on what Obama said at the rallies. At least that was the way TV seemed to be covering the story. I'm not sure how I feel about this. This is not like a regular endorsement by some celebrity for a campaign. There were great crowds but I guess the question has to be will that translate into votes for Obama. It is very much a we'll see as we say in my family. Follow this link to read the coverage in the Post.


What to say about his speech. Seems to me the less the better. Here are two quick quotes that sum up the speech for me:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

The other is this:

We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America — the religion of secularism. They are wrong.

It seems to me what Mr. Romney is aiming for is a Christian Democracy and that the form of Christianity would be dictated by the religious right in this country. I for one am not interested in that.

Huckabee surge?

Seems the Mike Huckabee is on a roll. A very big roll.

In the Republican race, Huckabee's surge in Iowa, where he has overtaken longtime front-runner Romney in recent polls, has begun to translate to the national stage, further shaking up a race that has been volatile from the outset.

Among all Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Giuliani's national lead is as low as it has been since the campaign began. And among likely Republican voters, 25 percent now back Giuliani, while 19 percent back Huckabee, whose support jumped from 9 percent last month. Romney ranks third at 17 percent, with Thompson at 14 percent and McCain at 12 percent. In the new poll, Giuliani is at his lowest level to date among conservatives, down nine points over the past month to 19 percent.

I saw another poll recently about the race in Iowa where Huckabee had a double digit lead over Romney. I don't remember who did the poll. It will be interesting to see if Huckabee is able to translate this new popularity into votes and much needed money.

Romney is trying to define Huckabee as being too liberal for Iowa. Romney has to be careful on this one because Huckabee could fight back on the ever shifting position Romney has on so many issues.

To think the fun really starts three weeks from tomorrow.

1 comment:

Bob McCarty Writes said...

Much of the political world’s attention in recent days has been focused upon Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama and how he might benefit from the so-called “Oprah Effect.” Conversely, little attention has been paid to the impact of the “Okra Effect” -- that is, until now.

During the last weekend of September, Republican presidential candidates traveled to Irmo, S.C., to participate in the Okra Strut, an event described in a Boston.com article as “a parade and festival celebrating the slimy green vegetable so beloved in the South.”

While some might scoff at the notion of the Okra Effect, I do not. Why not? Because I’ve analyzed events that have transpired during the two and a half months since the Okra Strut took place.

For instance, the above-referenced article, among other things, included a statement that Rudy Giuliani was looking at South Carolina as a springboard to win Florida on Jan. 29. Apparently, the former New York City mayor’s board has lost some of its spring since then as Real Clear Politics shows Rudy leading the Palmetto State GOP race in only one of five polls.

The article included a mention of Fred Thompson as a native Southerner, popular actor, and former senator from Tennessee, is aiming to jump-start his campaign by sweeping the South, with South Carolina a virtual must-win. And he's still waiting. A Real Clear Politics poll average today shows Thompson in a virtual third-place tie with Giuliani.

Mitt Romney was said to have spent more time and money in the state than Giuliani. After spending that much money (and missing the Okra Strut due to a brief illness), the former Massachusetts governor finds himself mired in second place.

And, finally, the article gave mention to Mike Huckabee as a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor who has drawn some excitement from evangelicals and conservative activists, but remains far back in the polls and fund-raising. Since then, however, Huckabee has surged into first place in South Carolina.

An Associated Press article four days ago might help explain his rise in popularity.

Huckabee is quoted as saying, "Carrots. I just don't like carrots. I banned them from the governor's mansion when I was governor of Arkansas because I could." Nowhere in the article, however, does one find Huckabee expressing any disdain for the slimy green vegetable to which he might owe his success.

That's why, I think it's safe to conclude, that this one-time long-shot candidate does indeed owe his success to something -- most likely, the Okra Effect.

I won't be surprised if his campaign rallies begin to feature segments during which throngs of Huckabee supporters chant a new slogan, "ALL HAIL OKRA!™"