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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Predictions for a New Year

The last day of 2007: End of the year.

Looking ahead to 2008: What will the New Year bring?

Or better yet: What will it not bring?

Our destiny of late seems determined more by what doesn’t happen. With that cheery thought in mind, here’s our predictions on what probably will or won’t happen in 2008:

President George W. Bush’s Presidency will not end in 2008. It will end on January 20, 2009, unless he finds a way to complete his seizure of absolute, dictatorial power over what used to be a Democratic Republic called The United States of America.

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Stepping up the pace

New polls Sunday showed Democrats waging a desperate single-digit struggle four days before Iowa’s leadoff US presidential nominating contest, and Republican Mitt Romney on the rebound.

Former Democratic vice-presidential nominee John Edwards put on a spurt in one new survey, and Hillary Clinton led another, with Barack Obama closing out a nervy dead heat heading into Iowa’s critical caucuses on Thursday.

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Going on the attack

Mike Huckabee says John McCain is a hero. McCain says Huckabee is a good man. And they both seem to agree on this: Mitt Romney is neither.

The Republican rivals joined Sunday to criticize Romney — McCain in New Hampshire called him a waffler and Huckabee in Iowa questioned whether he can be trusted with the presidency, a sign of Romney’s strength in both states.

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For 2008 the goal is win, win, win

A bit of bubbly, a few verses of Auld Lang Syne and candidates, candidates and more candidates. It’s New Year’s Eve in Iowa and New Hampshire.

With the caucuses and primary just days away, many presidential hopefuls are spending every precious minute campaigning — even if it’s while voters and the rest of the world ring in the New Year with celebrations, not politics, on their mind. The Democratic and Republican contests in Iowa, on Thursday, and New Hampshire, on Jan. 8, are essentially dead heats.

No candidate can afford to take time off, except perhaps for a sip of champagne.

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Romney’s candor gap

As a presidential contender, Mitt Romney has the looks, the money and the campaign machine. He also has something of a candor gap.

When confronted with questions that might conflict with his message of the day or political record, the Republican candidate has shown a tendency to bob and weave or simply dismiss history. He has done so all year, providing an easy target for his opponents.

“If you aren’t being honest in obtaining the job, can we trust you if you get the job?” Romney rival Mike Huckabee asked on Sunday during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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Can Montana help Ron Paul?

Supporters of long-shot presidential hopeful Ron Paul say the Montana Republican Party’s quirky caucus rules could create an opening for their candidate that other states don’t offer.

Under the “closed caucus” system recently adopted by the Montana GOP, voting in the Feb. 5 caucus will be limited to about 3,000 Republicans who hold party posts, such as members of Congress, statewide officeholders and precinct captains. That includes hundreds of volunteer precinct posts that have long been vacant and that some candidates are now scrambling to fill with supporters.

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Shuffling the pawns in Iowa

“You want to talk why Iowa is three-dimensional chess, it is the ultimate. I think it’s more five-dimensional chess, if there’s such a thing … ” — NBC political director Chuck Todd put it well on Meet the Press last Sunday.

Here’s what we think he means.

Iowa caucus strategy isn’t as simple as moving around a few pawns and trying to rook the fellow on the other side of the board.

There are multiple games on multiple tiers. “Winning” is not a simple as “winning.”

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Ten foreign policy wishes for 2008

My list of my top 10 foreign policy wishes for 2008 is presented in reverse order of urgency:

10. Continued frustration for Hugo Chavez.

His presidency-for-life derailed by voters smart enough to see the writing on the wall, Chavez will become more nakedly aggressive in his quest for oil-fueled dictatorship. Meanwhile, Venezuela’s oil production drops for lack of foreign investment just as all eyes turn to Brazil’s substantial offshore oil discovery.

9. Less hyperbole on global warming.

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