The Washington Post picks up the “7 Questions” meme and asks some fairly straight-forward questions:
- Is the Clinton campaign a true juggernaut — or is that just what she wants everyone to believe?
- Is there a Republican front-runner?
- Is anyone on either side positioned to break into the top tier?
- Does the new, turbo- charged calendar make Iowa and New Hampshire more important — or less?
- Is it too late for Al Gore or Newt Gingrich to get into the race?
- Do ideas matter in this election?
- When do I really need to start paying attention, and should I trust the polls?
Let’s focus on question 6: Do ideas matter in this election?
Yes, but no candidate has yet seized the mantle of the ideas candidate — though Edwards has certainly tried.
“Ideas do matter,” a GOP strategist said. “The American people are sick of the nonsense. They’re cynical. They’re angry, they’re sick of the status quo. . . . They’re looking for someone to call them to action. . . . I don’t think anyone has effectively done that so far.”
Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin said the important ideas are not position papers but something larger. “What matters are big ideas about what’s at the root of our problems and what kind of leadership it will take to fix it,” he wrote. Reagan in 1980 and Clinton in 1992 found that chord. “I don’t think anyone has risen to that level yet.”
Dan Gerstein, a centrist Democrat and strategist, said: “The reality is both parties are brain-dead — they have no new big ideas to deal with the challenges we face today. Which is why I continue to believe that there is an opening for an independent, reform-oriented campaign to run against politics as usual and on a solutions-driven message.”
I’m telling you, 2008 is THE year for the independent run. You’ve got a war that’s pissing people off and a Congress that’s pissing them off even more. No party is able to truly lead, and people are sick and tired of the status quo.
Paging Mr. Bloomberg…Mr. Bloomberg you have a call from the American people…