Here is my take on the upcoming election;
There are a few parallels between President Bush and Richard Nixon. Like Nixon, Bush is a divisive figure. He is admired by the older, "silent majority" who believe in backing the President all the way, no matter what. Bush, like Nixon, is leading the country in a confusing, unpopular war. (Although Iraq is different from Vietnam). And, like Nixon, I feel that President Bush will be re-elected despite the strong feelings of dislike he has generated.
In 1972, George McGovern ran as the Democratic candidate on a platform largely based on opposition to the Vietnam war. President Nixon stayed in the White House until a few weeks before the election when he emerged and ran as "President Nixon", not Richard. He drew huge crowds wherever he went; adoring crowds in the midwest and large crowds of protesters on the coasts. He thrived among the protesters by making himself look like a great crusader saving America singlehandedly from Communism in S.E. Asia. He made the protesters out to be a few "kooks" and spoiled rich college kids who should have thanked him (and their parents) for giving them the freedom to protest.
With nine Democratic candidates in the field, and Howard Dean seemingly the frontrunner, I see a distressingly similar scenario. Whomever emerges from the Democratic primaries will be a bloody mess from the attacks of the others and will be met by a strong, well funded Bush team. I think Bush will wait until late in the campaign, emerge from the White House, make a few strategic campaign stops, and walk away with four more years. All he has to do is go to the WTC and the Pentagon, wave the flag, remind us all about 9/11 and say "let's roll" and count the votes.
Personally, this is not what I want. I would feel a whole lot better if someone, anyone, would challenge Bush from the Republican side. At least that would show that not everyone is happy with his leadership and give Bush a challenge before the general election. I think that someone might be mulling over the decision to challenge him, but they are waiting until January or February to announce lest Bush's team get the jump on them. Howard Dean, if he is nominated, would be this year's version of McGovern; an anti-war candidate with not much else to offer. I think he is seen as too much of a maverick and a little too liberal for most people. I am sorry that there has not been a Robert Kennedy or a Wendell Willkie emerge. Someone who really captures the American people and who can rally different people to his cause.
Barring an unforseen circumstance, I am resigned to four more years of Bush, although I will not be voting for him.
"Truth is the greatest of all national possessions. A state, a people, a system which suppresses the truth or fears to publish it, deserves to collapse" Kurt Eisner