Hope Springs Eternal.
One year ago today, the first entry was made here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River Near Milepost 606. It concerned the new Congress, especially our new congressmen here in Kentucky's 3rd and Indiana's 9th, and ended with the declaration that "[w]ith the swearing-in of the 110th Congress, America has returned."
Like rumors of Mark Twain's death, there may have been some hyperbole there that ultimately didn't exist. Many bloggers, myself included, have from time-to-time in the last 365 days lamented the fact that the Congress we thought we had elected wasn't the one we sent into battle with the president on January 4, 2007. But unlike former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld's comments from December of 2004, where he seemed willing to accept the shortcomings of his army - you'll remember his line, "You go to war with the army you have," we aren't willing to accept this Congress we have, a mediocre crew at times, unwilling to challenge the president and others for fear of being labelled soft on terror, or terra, as the Commander-In-Cheif pronounces it. And to change that, as I wrote just a couple of entries ago, we need more John Yarmuth types and fewer Ben Chandler types, those who have aided and abetted the president by compromising along the way, apparently with the blessings of the Democratic leadership of both houses of Congress.
In that same conversation of Rumsfeld's, he later added "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can be blown up." It seems we have some of the armor we need in the Congress, but we need more. Elections later this year will determine if we must accept the Congress we have as opposed to the one we need to see America out of the morass she finds herself in under the so-called leadership of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and others, including the Senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
One thing we know for sure is that whatever happens in the Congressional elections, the far bigger prize is that of the presidency, the election for which has been going on for nearly four years and finally got officially underway last night in the cold midwestern state of Iowa, where the population breakdown reveals the state is 94.6% white, 3.8% latino, and 2.5% black, all percentages totally removed from those of the nation as a whole, which are 80.1%, 14.8%, and 12.8% respectively for those same categories.
As you all know by now, Mike Huckabee, the Republican conservative former Baptist preacher selling himself as a populist and native of Hope, Arkansas won the Republican Caucus in Iowa. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, educated around the world and ultimately earning degrees at Columbia and Harvard, and politically on a roll since his 2004 keynote at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, where as a state senator he electrified the crowd and instantly became a national figure, won by a large margin over John Edwards and Hillary Clinton. The candidate I switched over to from Obama, who I had supported early-on, Chris Dodd, dropped out of the race last night leaving me without a first choice.
For Huckabee, the win wasn't just with his base of Christian-conservatives. He won up and down within his Party, whatever the internal constituency might be, defeating Mitt Romney and his millions of dollars. Two months ago he was a nobody. Two nights ago he played the guitar on Jay Leno and today his picture is in every daily paper throughout the land. He will have to do some very fancy footwork between now and Tuesday to keep from reverting to that nobody status. He has little money or organization and is headed to New Hampshire where his Christian-conservatism isn't as popular. If he can make it through New Hampshire, against Romney and McCain, he may well be on his way. Obama's next few days are much easier than Huckabee's. Obama has a strong campaign in New Hampshire and plenty of money in the bank. And he did last night what many said he couldn't - getting people out to the caucusses (caucuses?, cauci?) who normally do not play a role in such things. And from New Hampshire he rolls into South Carolina, a state rich with African-American voters which may make him strong enough to enter the Super-Duper Ridiculous Tuesday on February 5 as the unconditional front runner, which for the moment he is.
Winning Iowa isn't a ticket to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, but it sure does make the next few weeks interesting. Stay tuned.
Finally, I need to say THANKS to all of you, my five faithful readers, and all the rest. We will hit 7500 readers today as we enter the second year of posting. I am looking forward to a year full of politics, travel, religion, and history.
One more thing. This weekend is the birthday of my favorite American playwright. Happy Birthday Stuart.
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