Saturday, February 05, 2011

Race for the White House 2012

In addition to tomorrow being Super Bowl Sunday, it also marks a century since Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in a small Illinois town. Nearly 70 years after his birth, he would become the 40th President of the United States, and did much to inspire his country to further greatness and inspire the world to march toward freedom.

After a week, where a popular uprising in Egypt has been so much in the news, it is fitting that the legacy of Reagan is celebrated. Of course, the situation in Egypt and the great Mid East region is far more complex and perilous, as there are risks that a fundamentalist Islamic regime could potentially come to power, and the problems that could cause for the United States and our ally Israel. However, many Americans cannot help but identify with the peaceful protesters in Egypt who are clamoring for freedom and democracy.

In the weeks and months ahead, the potential 2012 GOP field will be called upon to give their own opinions over the Egyptian situation. Mitt Romney had several television appearances this past Tuesday, in which he commented on the situation by saying that after a rough start to the crisis, he believes the Obama Administration had mostly handled things well. After Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not seek a new term this year, Romney seemed to voice support for a transfer of power in Egypt. Other potential Republican candidates have been a bit more quiet on the situation. Tim Pawlenty went further in criticizing Obama, while Mike Huckabee, who has been in Israel, has been more circumspect in calling for Mubarak to step down.

The week began, in honor of the Gipper's upcoming 100th birthday, but various mainstream publications talking about how the Obama Administration is looking to the past Reagan Presidency as inspiration in how they conduct business and plan to go about winning reelection, after a tough midterm election. A recent Time magazine photo illustration even included the two very ideologically different Presidents together, as if they were best buddies, under the headline, "Why Obama (Hearts) Reagan" Obamacare is unconstitutional and should be voided. Republicans embraced the ruling, while the Administration plans to appeal. The matter is very likely to eventually come before the U.S. Supreme Court. In other 2012 Presidential related news, a Politico story indicates that South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune may now be leading towards not making a run in 2012.

Also, the Democrats formally selected the non-unionized city of Charlotte, North Carolina as the site of their convention next year. Republicans had previously chosen Tampa/St. Petersburg in Florida. If Obama decides to once again make his acceptance speech in a large outdoor football stadium venue, it would have to be at the ironically titled Bank of America Stadium. Would he make them change the name?

Next week, the annual conservative CPAC convention (all sorts of redundancy in there) will kick off in the Washington D.C. area. Despite some conservatively foolishly deciding to boycott the event, because of the inclusion of a gay Republican group, attendance is expected to be very high. Every CPAC weekend also concludes with a Presidential Straw Poll vote. It is a venue that has been kind to Mitt Romney before, but nobody should be remotely surprised if an army of very young Ron Paul supporters is bussed in to deliver him a straw poll victory for the second consecutive year.

Finally, as we continue to discuss the long process that will hopefully elect America's 45th President, we are mindful of the example of our 40th President. Whomever we elect next will face challenges similar to what we faced when he took office, and will need to call upon some inspiration from one of the great leaders in our nation's history to speak to our nation's sense of optimism.

During a different campaign, in 1984, President Reagan accepted the nomination of his party in Dallas, not far from where tomorrow's Super Bowl will be played. He concluded by speaking of the Statue of Liberty and spoke these words:

"The poet called Miss Liberty's torch the ``lamp beside the golden door.'' Well, that was the entrance to America, and it still is. And now you really know why we're here tonight.

The glistening hope of that lamp is still ours. Every promise, every opportunity is still golden in this land. And through that golden door our children can walk into tomorrow with the knowledge that no one can be denied the promise that is America.

Her heart is full; her door is still golden, her future bright. She has arms big enough to comfort and strong enough to support, for the strength in her arms is the strength of her people. She will carry on in the eighties unafraid, unashamed, and unsurpassed.

In this springtime of hope, some lights seem eternal; America's is."