Originally Published on NevadaNewsmakers.com, 10/23/2007 1:09:27 PM
At last, we spot the rare creature that’s evaded us since John McCain made a swing through Reno in the spring.
Here’s how long it’s been since Reno voters caught sight in public of a Republican presidential candidate. At the McCain town hall, the candidate was optimistically pitching the brand of immigration reform that shortly thereafter moved voters to flood the Capitol switchboard with angry calls. That was the last Reno saw of the GOP, unless you count Rudy Giuliani’s strange shopping trek through Costco. Or the virtually apolitical Olympic pep rally at Mount Rose Ski Resort, where Mitt Romney urged the Reno-Tahoe Winter Games coalition to work with all its might to become the host city in 2018.
Romney and Duncan Hunter both appeared last weekend in Sparks at the Conservative Leadership Conference. (Romney’s smooth town hall performance was still top-of-mind a week later when the equally smooth Barack Obama appeared at the Grand Sierra. Obama’s presentation led the Reasonable Reporter to yearn for a debate between just the two, for no other purpose than to savor the aesthetic and verbal symmetry of such an event. Romney and Obama are suitably matched: stylish, civil, and artful in their language.)
Romney got a polite reception at the Conservative Leadership Conference, but it was Duncan Hunter who brought the crowd to its feet. Hunter promoted a border fence, protectionist trade policies and touted his son’s multiple tours of duty in Iraq. Both men, it should be noted, lost the CLC straw poll to Ron Paul, who didn’t even show up.
For philosophical symmetry, one might stage a debate between Duncan Hunter and John Edwards. Each man rails in his own way against free trade, and in favor of reinvigorating U.S. manufacturing. The candidates’ narratives taken together offer a wider lens through which to ponder the relevant economic questions than does either one alone.
Fred Thompson, who caught fire at last in Sunday’s Florida debate, is scheduled for his first Nevada visits in November. The Reasonable Reporter awaits a closer look.
Identity Politics: Dead or Alive?
Barack Obama declines to make more than a passing reference to his status as an African-American candidate for the White House. At the recent Reno town hall, he was asked whether said status causes him to feel additional pressure. In a masterful dodge of the race issue, the candidate:
1- Made a joke: if you don’t feel pressure running for the presidency, maybe you shouldn’t be the president.
2 – Shifted into more serious matters with a segue acknowledging the race question, sort of: the next president, black, white, brown, yellow, red, male, female – the next president will have a huge mess to clean up.
3 – Jumped right back into the meat and potatoes of his message: You know what pressure is? Somewhere in Iraq today, there’s a kid getting into a humvee… it’s hot, it’s dusty, he’s loaded down with heavy equipment. He lost a buddy yesterday and he might lose a buddy tomorrow. That’s pressure. Pressure is raising a family without enough money to pay for health care expenses. That’s pressure
4 – Wrapped it up with a bow: My job every day will be to think of ways to take the pressure off of you.
Uh. OK. What was the question again? In Obama’s world, Identity Politics is dead.
In Hillary Clinton’s world, identity politics is alive. Women have been the center of the Clinton bull’s eye from the beginning, but the effort intensified this week, with a focus on “Women Changing America.” The exclamation point on the full-court press for the female vote came from senior Clinton strategist Mark Penn, who predicted a quarter of Republican women will abandon the GOP for Hillary in 2008.
The unanswered question: Is identity politics dead or alive among Republican women, who would tend, one might think, to reject identity politics?
Penn also foresees young women voting in droves for Hillary, in a show of support for the symbolic progress represented by a woman in the White House. A view shared by the Reasonable Reporter, who, in a parallel line of reasoning has predicted same for months.