Bhutto’s Death & 2008 US Politics

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is currently having a huge ripple effect across Pakistan but I also think the event will have an impact on Democrats & Republicans in America’s 2008 presidential race.

On the Democrat side, I think Hillary Clinton will benefit from the latest turn of events. She’s tried to stake out a measured, moderate approach to foreign policy as a sharp contrast to Barack Obama’s “we-are-the-world” idealism. Bhutto’s death will remind sensible Democrats that we still live in a dangerous world & now is not the time to hand over the awesome responsibilities of Commander-In-Chief to a political neophyte. John Edwards’ claim of speaking to current Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf & urging him to continue the path of democratiztion is a desperate bid on Edwards’ part to come across as relevant on foreign policy even though his campaign’s focus till now has been almost obsessively domestic. If Clinton can skillfully exploit this moment, she might win her party’s nomination.

On the Republican side, I think Bhutto’s assassination will provide a lift to John McCain’s campaign. He’s been unapologetic about fighting Islamofascism & defending American interests. His “straight-talk” character will appeal to a lot of GOP voters who have become disgusted with candidates who are percieved to be glib or plastic. Because strength of character is viewed as important to Republican voters when they choose America’s next Commander-In-Chief, I think that mindset will continue to hurt Giuliani in spite of his get-tough-with-terrorists approach forged since 9/11. I also think said mindset will turn away from perceived flip-floppers like Mitt Romney as well as being against politicians like Mike Huckabee, who has no experience in foreign affairs. Is this McCain’s big chance? We’ll soon find out.

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