A few observations regarding the race for president...some 19 months before election day.

Barack Obama kicked off his campaign with a pre-recorded message on the internet, rather than a rally or press conference.  Expect that trend to grow, because it gives candidates more control over what the voters will see.

One advantage for Obama:  $$$.  He can now raise money, and it's expected that he will raise $1 billion for the campaign.  It seems unlikely that Obama will have a serious primary opponent, and that means all that money can be used against the Republican candidate.  Even if a Republican manages to raise as much as Obama, he/she will have to spend a chunk of that to get the nomination.

Another Obama advantage: incumbency.  That still helps.  To some degree, a president can control the agenda in a campaign.  For example, the administration's decision to keep Guantanamo Bay open and prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other defendants before a military tribunal could mean that Obama can celebrate convictions of some of the 9/11 defendants before the election, which could benefit him politically.  It wouldn't surprise me to learn that was one of the reasons Obama did an about-face regarding Gitmo.  In my opinion, moving the trials to Gitmo  makes it more likely there will be some convictions before the election, in which case Obama will try to claim some credit.

One more possible advantage for Obama -- a possible split in the Republican Party.  What will be the impact of the Tea Party?  Will the Tea Party continue to energize the GOP, or will there be a split in the party.  If the Republican nominee is perceived as a RINO by the Tea Party, will the Tea Party sit out the election?  Big question mark.

That's all for now.  Stay tuned for a look at Republican advantages in an upcoming blog.