Premonitions of change

THE confines of the sober Iowa caucus are far from a final verdict, especially considering historical precedent, but the way Barack Obama’s ‘resurgence’ humbled Democratic frontrunner Hilary Clinton in the first test of the presidential campaign speaks volumes of how the American people want change.

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Published: Sun 6 Jan 2008, 8:49 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:58 PM

The Republican upset owes more to surprising winner Mike Huckabee’s Baptist leanings appealing to Iowa’s evangelical Christian base, but the public response for Obama’s charismatic message betrays premonitions of change in the American polity. Is it that the revolutionaries have finally started winning, that immaculate realpolitik experience may no longer be the most ideal credential to boast on the sole superpower’s presidential resume?

Again, Iowa is far from a credible pointer. Quite the opposite actually, considering recent history. Regan, Bush senior and Bill Clinton also did poorly, and it is the last’s rebound that won him the “comeback kid” nickname that Hilary is looking to mirror in New Hampshire a few days from now. Only two things are strikingly different. First, there is a qualitative as opposed to quantifiable tax and foreign policy issues difference between the two leading Democrats. Second, the contracted schedule leaves much lesser time between Iowa and New Hampshire this time around. And while the Republican equation is also far from settled, with Vietnam veteran proving critics wrong by staging a comeback of sorts of his own, it is clearly the Democratic nomination race that is generating by far the greater interest.

And lest the furore carries sentiments too far, voter-debate will soon revert to what is at stake —the presidency of the United States, in ways the dirtiest ball game in international politics. And New Hampshire is no Iowa. As the debate progresses, Edward’s middle-class values will get lost in the intricacies of more pressing political requirements on the Democrats’ side, and Mitt Romney’s billions will quickly subdue born-again Christians trying to sustain Huckabee’s sudden dream run in the Republican race.

However, as things are progressing, the Republican field is still wide open but the Clinton-Obama Democrat tie is likely to be closely fought, at least in the immediate future. Neither Democrats nor voters need reminding of the tremendous service the present team occupying the White House has done the Democratic nominee that’ll contest the presidency, so in all likelihood it will be a tie between the first black or first woman to be American president. And the way the 46-year-old political rookie has started in the race against the far better placed 60-year-old warhorse —getting “whiter than the North Pole” Iowa, including women and the youth to back him —there may be a few more first timers as this race for the White House seems set to generate unprecedented interest.

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