FRED LUCAS PREDICTS THE FUTURE

Former News-Times state reporter Fred Lucas had a local politics blog here a few years back.

Current online editor Keith Whamond came across the following post, dated dated Nov. 30, 2006.

(Take it way, Fred from the Past)

This week was consumed with chatter about who is and isn’t running for president.

Some candidates have already announced. Other candidates are “exploring.”

Still I’m struck about the possibility of life imitating art.

A recent Quinnipiac University Poll showed that Illinois Sen. Barrack Obama was America’s second favorite politician, behind Rudy Giuliani.

Both are prominently mentioned as contenders for president, but I Giuliani won’t likely be nominated by the GOP because of his liberal views on social issues.

Instead, Arizona Sen. John McCain will manage to win the Republican nod. He’s no arch conservative, but he’s closer to one than Giuliani and has better name recognition than any conservative in the crop, such as Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Thus, we could be heading for a West Wing election.

For those who, like me, were huge fans of the NBC show, you know the final two seasons revolved around a presidential campaign between a character based on McCain (Sen. Arnold Vinick) played by Alan Alda, and a relatively inexperienced, but charismatic Democrat (U.S. Rep. Matt Santos) played by Jimmy Smits who could break barriers by becoming the first Latino president.

Though the Smits character wasn’t based on Obama, they have similarities. Obama is black, but he would still be a first if elected president, proving nothing is impossible in America. Even winning the nomination would be a watershed moment.

Sure, no one thinks Hillary Clinton can be knocked off her throne. She no doubts thinks it’s her turn to be president. But in the end, Democrats might actually want to win in November 2008. To do that, they might want a youthful, awe-inspiring figure like Obama, rather than one of the most polarizing politicians in America. In short, Obama is far more like Bill Clinton than Hillary.

That sets up a race between a moderate Republican, McCain (who like Alda’s character was often on the outs with his party) and a long shot in Obama.

On West Wing, Smits’ character toppled an incumbent vice president and former vice president to win his party’s nomination. Obama will be up against a lot of big shots in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Of course, the fact that I’m writing about this means it will never happen. I’m no expert on the national presidential winds. But, this West Wing parallel was starting to eat at me, so I thought I would make the comparison before someone else did.

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