Matt Towery

There are hidden potentials arising from two seemingly unconnected political events in the making. Both could greatly impact the 2008 presidential race.

 First, there remains a general consensus among those in the know that Florida, the state that has become the nation's new microcosm of national political sentiments, will attempt to move its 2008 presidential preference primary up to one week after the contest in New Hampshire.

 It's being pushed by the next state Speaker of the House in Florida, a dynamic young leader named Marco Rubio. This rising star is generally seen as being in good favor with the ever-popular Gov. Jeb Bush. The governor will finish his second and final term in January.

 Democrats are also reportedly interested in the earlier primary, particularly those who support the nomination of Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. She polls well among the diverse Democratic constituency in Florida.

 Such a move will mean that Republican candidates hoping to win their party's nomination in '08 will first have to deal with conservative elements of the often quirky Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.

 But they also will need to align their policy views with those of the more moderate GOP voters in Florida, as displayed in past statewide elections. That could open or close doors to various candidates. It also might give rise to new political stars whose names have hardly been mentioned yet.

 This is particularly the case given the recent rejection in the U.S. Senate of an amendment by Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia to the proposed immigration bill. The amendment would have required that before any provisional guest-worker program -- also deemed "pure amnesty" -- can be implemented for illegal immigrants already in the country, there would have to be a complete securing of the nation's borders.

 Isakson, who served six years in the House before being elected to the Senate in 2004, is a moderate conservative who takes a pragmatic approach to most issues. Since his early days in the Georgia Legislature, he's been tagged as an unassuming but popular lawmaker with a businessman's approach to politics that usually pushes him to the top of whatever organization he's in.

 Isakson has shown no interest in a White House run. Still, don't be too shocked to hear his name bantered about as an early vice-presidential possibility.

 His stand on the immigration issue polls well; it has conservative icons, such as radio's Rush Limbaugh, extolling his virtues, even though Limbaugh was unsure how to pronounce "Isakson" (EYE-zik-son).


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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