Presidential campaign

Amye Buckley - Executive Editor

Amye Buckley – Executive Editor

Politics are like NASCAR, everyone has a favorite team. Folks turn out to support their team, they buy the hat, the T-shirt and hold signs – go team! The chief difference between the two is NASCAR fans are true to their man, or woman, no matter what. In politics there is no loyalty.

And it’s Obama coming up fast on Clinton with McCain taking the outside. Edwards is up close to the pack, looking for his groove. Guiliani is running tight with Romney right behind him. And who’s this? Sen. Sam Brownbeck the republican from Kansas is out on the raceway.

Just like NASCAR, but not quite as much beer.

It is more than a year until the first presidential primary and it seems the number of candidates is growing every day and their rise and fall in popularity comes just as fast.

No sooner did Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del) announce his candidacy but he turned around and almost sealed his own doom with some “misunderstood” remarks about his rival Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) who had not even officially joined the presidential race yet.

It is a team, but not a team. Democrats and Republicans, the great families of the American political race, line up their hopefuls and wait to see which one falls hardest or farthest or first.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz), who in his last race distanced himself from George Bush just as far as he could get, is now all cozy with the President, towing the party line and smiling at all the right events. McCain, campaign reformer, has set himself up for a more careful inspection than Michael Waltrip’s exhaust pipe.

Of course, in NASCAR no one abandons their driver when there is a controversy or when it has been a bad day or a bad race. Fans just shout “We’ll get ’em next time” and slap a few more bumper stickers on the truck to show support. In politics it is just the opposite. It is all about “this time” and endorsements change faster than you can say “pit crew.” Any unsuccessful campaigns are simply absorbed into the larger races, the ones with more money and better odds of winning.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass) is officially out of the race. Sen Bill Frist (R-Tenn), in what was probably a very good move for him, passed on the idea.

John Edwards (D) is back, beaming down upon us from his television blitz, but right now everyone is admiring Obama. A poster child for the great American dream, he is black, he is white, and as Biden would remind us, he is articulate and clean. He also interviews very smoothly and does not slip up and make off the mark comments which he has to apologize for the next day, not yet.

Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass) is already causing controversy, just by choosing the setting for his announcement to join the race and fmr. New York city mayor, Rudolph Giuliani (R) is back to save the day. If we ever have another 9-11 he will be happy to handle it.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has deep roots in the political system. She has been running ever since she left the White House, keeping the delicate balance of being a woman, a candidate and “wife of.” Can she run for president without running as her husband and, more importantly, can she win?

Now a really fascinating race, from my point of view, would be Rudolph Guliani, the Republican, against Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New Yorker. I hear “But I’m from Brooklyn” splashed over headlines everywhere. Maybe, since they are both from New York, they could save themselves the trouble of fighting over their New Yorkticity and run together. A mixed party ticket, something for everyone. Adams and Jefferson did it, of course it was not the smoothest working relationship ever chronicled.

With all the heavy-hitters out so soon, we can almost expect some unknown to come out of the background and win. Whatever happened to Harold Ford, Jr (D-Tenn)? How did Tommy Thompson (R), former secretary of health, get on the short list?

Everyone wants to run for president, so it seems. For the past four years we have heard them all deny it and write epic novels exploring every piece of information they wish you knew about them. The race is starting earlier than ever before, which leaves plenty of time for finding dirt on an opponent and spreading it around.

This political season is doomed to be a long and bitter one. Frankly, I expect it to look more like a demolition derby than a NASCAR race. Now where did I put that checkered flag?