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The Article

Midterm U.S. elections could spark real race

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The Governor’s Mansion is an intriguing place, but even though I’m an honourary member of Republicans Abroad, Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t invited me over yet.

Perhaps he’s heard I’ve only ever seen two of his movies and yawned my way through both of them.

Actually, when on initially learning a couple of years ago Arnie was contemplating running for the governorship of California, I naturally assumed he would run as a Democrat, being married to Maria Shriver of the Kennedy clan.

With that, I planned to pen a column deploring how an individual who personified violence on the screen could consider himself suitable for such a position.

Then, on learning he was running on the Republican ticket, I changed gears and lauded him for coming to the U.S. and with sheer hard work and enterprise, achieving almost legendary status.

Yes, a credit to himself, his adopted country and eminently suitable to be governor.

California is a little like B.C. politically.

It either swings to the Liberal-Left or the Far Right.

Unpredictable.

But at least Cindy Sheehan has decided not to run for the Senate, thus allowing people of all political flavours to breathe a sigh of relief.

Sheehan is the publicity hound whose son voluntarily twice enlisted in the military, was killed in Iraq, and at that point the mother, who hadn’t paid much attention to her offspring until then, decided to take out her anger on President George W. Bush personally.

Bush met with her once, but that wasn’t enough, so Sheehan hysterically started calling him all kinds of rude names, and was miffed when he wouldn’t meet with her again.

The Michael Moore and Teddy Kennedy types painted Sheehan as a heroic mother figure—ignoring all the details of her rather embarrassing personal life, which, this being the U.S.—were quickly revealed.

Anyway, another woman whose name is still considered newsworthy here is the long suffering wife of womanizer Bill Clinton, New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Hillary believes she’s the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, even though she changes her position on issues day-by-day.

At one time on the Liberal-left, Clinton has now moved to the centre, and is even described by some as a hawk on the war in Iraq, which puts her on the opposite side of her sister fanatic, Sheehan.

This women’s libber now refers to abortion as “a tragic choice” but in circuitous ways, never comes out against it.

Her convenient move to the centre is meant to appeal to mainstream America, but a hard core of her own party finds her now enthusiastic support for Iraq unsettling.

That said, if Clinton actually looks like she’s able to get the Democrats back in the White House, they aren’t going to ostracize her on Iraq as they have done to Senator Joe Lieberman, who has been pro-Iraq from day one.

Lieberman is an old-fashioned Democrat in that he holds principles which don’t shift with the tide and he doesn’t believe in always exhibiting the feigned outrage of Teddy Kennedy at everything Bush and the Republicans do.

It’s been mentioned Bush is so impressed with Lieberman he might even ask him to take Donald Rumsfeld’s place as secretary of defence in the Republican administration.

This would naturally have Democrats gnashing their teeth in fury—which would be a delight to see.

Some of the Democratic hierarchy are alarmed that Clinton would be a disaster for them—perhaps middle America won’t swallow her harridan-like persona—and are casting around for saleable alternatives.

Sadly, it won’t be the decent and dignified Lieberman, even if he doesn’t become secretary of defence, and who has taken a stab at the presidential bid before.

Three names being bandied about are John Edwards, the hapless John Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate in 2004, Virginia’s Mark Warner, or Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold.

Edwards is a rich, rich class-action layer, Feingold is as anti-Iraq war as anyone can get, and soft on national security. Warner is almost without blemish.

The November midterm elections will be a harbinger.

If the Republicans manage to hold their own, the Democrats will pause and ponder another presidential defeat, but if they make gains, the race will really be on.

 

Paul Jackson
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