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The Friday Line: Grading the White House Hopefuls' 2005

It's time for the final Friday Line of the year, a perfect time to look again at The Fix's favorite topic -- the budding 2008 presidential race. Rather than simply run through the five Democrats and five Republicans with the strongest chances to win their party's nomination, this post offers thoughts on which candidates had the best and worst 2005.

As always, the two ends of the spectrum are the easiest to identify.  Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) stands out as having had the best year; Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist (R) clearly had the worst.  Between those two poles (and pols) is a considerable gray area.

In several instances an argument could be made that some politicians included in the "worst" category could be included in the "best" and vice versa. Take this list as a conversation starter. Have quibbles or kudos? Post in the comments below. And remember: If you are running for president, it's far better to have had a bad 2005 than a bad 2007.

The Best

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) entered 2005 as a little-known figure on the national stage and leaves it, arguably, as the leading anti-Hillary candidate in the Democratic field. Warner took a major risk by making the November gubernatorial election a referendum on his four years in office and was rewarded when Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) won a surprisingly strong victory.

Warner also showed he was ready to compete outside of his home state by making a splash on both the staffing and fundraising fronts. He recruited Monica Dixon, former deputy chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore, to run his Forward Together PAC -- a hire that drew plaudits from Washington's insider crowd. Earlier this month he held an event that raised nearly $3 million for Forward Together -- a sum that wowed many in the donor community. Expect Warner's 2006 schedule to be packed with events in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as he seeks to capitalize on his current momentum.

The Best of the Rest

* Virginia Sen. George Allen (R): Pivoting off his successful chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2004 cycle, Allen used 2005 to solidify his status as the nominal co-frontrunner (along with Arizona Sen. John McCain) in the GOP field. Allen, like fellow Virginian Warner, played the staff game extremely well, landing coveted GOP operative Dick Wadhams to serve as his Senate chief of staff and political adviser. Allen's unique ability to appeal to both social and fiscal conservatives within the party has fueled his rise, as has his affability and charisma on the stump.  Allen drew some negative press for switching positions on alternative fuels and hate crimes legislation, but he will likely benefit from those reversals in the long term, especially in Iowa and among social conservatives.

* Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D): When Feingold was the lone senator to oppose the Patriot Act in 2001, he was seen as a laughing stock by many political observers. No one was laughing earlier this month when Feingold led the opposition to reauthorizing the controversial law amid revelations that President Bush had authorized the wiretapping of U.S. citizens without court approval. Feingold's willingness to put himself out on a limb also paid dividends earlier this year when he became the first prominent Democratic politician to propose a timetable for American troops to withdraw from Iraq. Both of those positions endeared Feingold to the party's liberal left, which is looking for an heir to the grassroots movement built by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004.

* Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R): Barbour prospered politically in 2005 as the result of a tragedy. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated Mississippi's Gulf Coast, Barbour emerged as an empathetic and confident leader -- in sharp contrast to the bungling of Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D).  Barbour, a former Washington lobbyist, also showed that he had not forgotten how to play the inside-the-Beltway game; he established a federal leadership political action committee -- Haley's PAC - that allows him to raise and donate dollars to candidates for federal office. Barbour remains a reluctant presidential candidate, but after his handling of the hurricane he would be a major factor if he decided to run.

* Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D): Following his defeat as the vice presidential nominee in 2004, John Edwards picked an obscure issue -- poverty -- to be the centerpiece of his political efforts.  Hurricane Katrina pushed the nation's poor into living rooms across the country, making poverty a major factor in the national debate and leaving many party strategists wondering whether Edwards has a lucky horseshoe stowed somewhere. Edwards also drew considerable attention for recanting -- in a Washington Post op-ed -- his 2002 vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

* Arizona Sen. John McCain (R): 2005 was the year McCain made it clear he was definitely running for president again. He re-formed his Straight Talk Express PAC and traveled the country promoting his latest book -- "Character is Destiny." In the Senate, he emerged as the leader of the "Gang of 14", a bipartisan group of senators that averted the abolition of the filibuster on judicial nominations and won a stare-down with President Bush and Vice President Cheney over a ban on torture. Neither move is likely to endear McCain to the Republican base, which is already skeptical of him, but both furthered his image as a maverick within the party.

The Worst

Singling out Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist (R) as the presidential hopeful who had the worst 2005 was a no-brainer. Everywhere Frist turned in the past 12 months he found bad news. In March, Frist was roundly criticized by the medical community for alleging that a comatose Florida woman -- Terri Schiavo -- may have been misdiagnosed by her doctors. Two months later, Frist's attempt to invoke the so-called nuclear option on judicial nominations -- a pet issue for conservatives -- was thwarted by a group of moderate senators from both parties, raising doubts about Frist's ability to lead his own caucus. Then in July, Frist announced his support for legislation that would expand the use of stem cells for medical purposes -- a move that drew considerable ire among social conservatives and was seen as at least a partial reversal of Frist's previous position on this issue.

Finally, in October, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced it was opening an investigation into a stock sale Frist authorized involving a company his father and older brother founded. Despite that laundry list of political pitfalls, those close to Frist insist he is still planning to run for president.  If he has any chance of winning the nomination, he needs his final year in the Senate to be much better than the year just past.

The Jury's Still Out

* Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R): Romney's announcement earlier this month that he would not seek a second term as governor ended (finally!) months of speculation and bad press.  Romney seemed to have little interest in risking his political future on a reelection fight, especially as polls showed him trailing the likely Democratic nominee. He was also dogged in late 2005 by questions of whether his Mormon faith will make it impossible for him to appeal to evangelical voters in early GOP primary states - especially South Carolina. Soon to be freed of the constraints of a day job, Romney needs to use 2006 to answer his doubters among social conservatives. Underestimating Romney's ability to win people over would be a mistake. He has charisma and affability to spare.

* New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D): Clinton leaves 2005 just as she entered it -- the clear frontrunner for her party's 2008 nomination. But small fissures have begun to appear, most notably on her positioning on the Iraq war. Clinton has drawn considerable criticism from anti-war advocates on the party's left for not standing up more forcefully in opposition to the war or proposing a timetable for withdrawing American troops. Longtime political strategists see Clinton's stance on the war as part of an effort to make herself acceptable to the independent and swing voters who will likely decide the 2008 general election. But in the process she is opening up her left flank to a challenge. With Clinton not likely to face a strong challenge in her Senate reelection race next November, her handling of the Iraq issue may be immaterial since she will be able to stockpile tens of millions of dollars that could be immediately transferred to a presidential race next winter.  It should also be noted that one of her possible '08 challengers -- Mark Warner -- is unlikely to move to the left on the Iraq war.

* Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel (R): Though Hagel continued to speak out intelligently and passionately in 2005 on key issues like illegal immigration and the war in Iraq, his presidential hopes took a hit as it became more and more likely that John McCain will run in 2008.  McCain and Hagel are seen as reformers within the Republican Party and share similar resumes, but the Arizona senator is far better known on the national stage and has a passionate following as a result of his near-miss presidential bid in 2000. It remains to be seen whether Hagel can carve out his own niche of support with McCain in the field.

* Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D): Talk to any Democratic operative in Washington about Kerry's chances of winning the nomination again in 2008 and they will give you a unanimous response -- zero.  Despite that decided lack of energy and excitement for Kerry among the party's insiders, he did take substantial steps to rehab his image after his 2004 loss. Most notably, Kerry delivered a speech calling for a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq that won him widespread praise. Kerry allies also note that the party's rank and file remains interested in him; he added 85,000 new donors through his Keeping America's Promise political action committee and has an e-mail list totaling more than 3 million -- the largest of any of the aspiring 2008 Democrats.

But What About ... ?

* Former Vice President Al Gore (D): Gore's start-to-finish opposition to the war in Iraq has resurrected his political viability in the eyes of many liberal activists within the party.  Gore has not yet given a Sherman-esque pledge that he would not run for president again but has come pretty close.  Should Gore run, he would be a major factor. But he ain't running.

* Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R): Of the high-profile members of the Bush cabinet, Rice had the best 2005 -- but that's not saying much.  Rice's appeal as a candidate is obvious -- an African American woman admired by most Republicans and even many Democrats.  But she has made it clear that she has no interest in running for office. Grassroots "Draft Condi" efforts are likely to continue well into 2006, but Rice is not likely to be swayed.

* New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D): Richardson drew national press attention when he declared a state of emergency in August to free up funds to deal with problems caused by illegal immigration -- an issue of growing importance across the country.  And as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Richardson will have a national platform for the next year.  With his reelection in 2006 a sure thing, Richardson is free to concentrate on his national aspirations and may just find his way into the top five contenders in The Fix's next presidential line.

* Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R): Huckabee continues to grow into a player in the presidential field thanks in large part to his shrinking waist line. Huckabee's "average Joe" appeal resonated in 2005, and many Democrats in Arkansas insist that the outgoing governor will surprise people with his charisma and creativity on the stump. Out of office in Jan. 2007, Huckabee needs to follow up his solid 2005 with an even better 2006 if he hopes to have a chance at the nomination.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 30, 2005; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
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Next: The Fix's Grab Bag of Celebrity Politicians


Evan Bayh definately didn't attend an Ivy League School- Indiana U. for undergrad and UVA for Law school. Personally, I think he would be a fantastic candidate.

Posted by: Indy to DC | January 10, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Let's get realistic, it's fun to throw all sorts of hats in the ring and then surmise as to whether each possible candidate has a chance at the nomination. There are only a trio, give or take, of real contenders with usually one alternating wild card. For the Democrats it's Clinton, Bayh, and Warner with wild cards Feingold and Edwards. The latter two only have a chance if there were a drastic change in the political landscape or a fundamental change in American perception of government policy. For the Republicans it is McCain, Allen, and Frist with a Giuliani wild card that would require a drastic change in Republican base election outlook, as well as compromising on convictions they hold in high regard.

Posted by: Daniel | January 10, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Liberals Hide and watch. The GOP will still be in charge because you don`t have a clue.

Posted by: chas bouy | January 6, 2006 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious as to whether liberals can mobolize and mount an effective primary challenge against Repulocrat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Or will the onetime maverick Republican Senator and former Independent Governor, Lowell Wieker pose any sort of threat by running an anti-war campaign?

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 6, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

One more thing - I really wish they would make it so the primaries were all one night too. I'm sick of being in a state where by the time we vote on our party's candidate they've all dropped out of the raise. I was so pumped about Clark last time, then he dropped out, so then I went to Edwards, then - right before our vote he dropped and all that was left was Kerry. Maybe we'd end up with better candidates if we did the votes all in one day or week. The Republicans have been in the executive power for 20 out of the past 28 years - pretty frightening if you ask me. We HAVE to win in 2008 or we'll end up being the minority party for many more years to come and you can bet this country will just continue to go to hell in a handbag! Say bye bye to all the progress of the 50s, 60s and 70s!!! It seems early to be preparing for a presidential election - but we need to and we need to make sure we vote and encourage those around us to vote - NO MATTER WHAT. It may really come down to which party can energize their base to get out and vote. And if the fact that we may never get this chance again isn't enough - I don't know what is!!!!!!

Posted by: Jennifer | January 5, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

My top pick is Wesley Clark (I really think if he'd been our Democratic nominee like I'd wanted - we'd have won in '04. Nobody could have called him weak on defense and their wouldn't have been swift boat adds all over the TV. He'd have kicked Bush right out of the white house!

The other guy I like is Feingold. Hillary I like, but the Republicans have felt she was a threat for a long time and have done a GREAT job of smearing her image for years now, it may be too late for her to recover and set the record straight. Unless these Republican scandals continue - in which case they won't have a leg to stand on when it comes to her or any other Dem and their constant moral grandstanding!

Barak Obama needs a little more experience before president - but I think he'd make a fabulous VP!!!

Posted by: Jennifer | January 5, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Good points about Dems needing a Southern candidate. While the blue states realize that there are smart people everywhere, and you can't judge a book by its cover, the red states seem unable to overcome their prejudice against the so called coastal liberal elite, judging people by the way they talk. Bush and Kerry are both eastern elites, but they vote for the drawl every time.

Posted by: cynical ex-hippie | January 4, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I really do hope "Character is Destiny," because John McCain's character when he was the XO of VA-174 in Jacksonville should influence his destiny. He didn't meet Cindy in Washington. He was already sleeping with her in Florida. She was my competition. He cheated on his wife with Cindy and cheated on Cindy with me. Cindy won..she had money and I was just a poor enlisted woman (and he was an's called fraternization). McCain had no respect for the chain-of-command. One would think it would have caught up with him by now. This man isn't fit to be the Commander-in-Chief. He's the last person who should write a book about character.

Posted by: B. Lewis | January 4, 2006 4:01 AM | Report abuse

In regards to Chicago JD, have you ever seen Wes in person? His "aw-shucks", "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" demeanor is not just an act. He genuinely gives each person their time, and listens as if the future of this country counts on what each person tells him.

His story is the quitessential American story. Born into poverty, growing up in a single parent, and then blended family, he took what this country had to offer, and committed to 34 years to the service of this country.

He's redesigned the schools at the NATO bases in Germany (for 44,000 children), he's led improvments in medical and psychological conditions for our veterans. He's been to the Middle East, and he's been around this country, listening to each and every one who will give him some time.

He ran in 2004 because this country needs him, and after the Kerry debacle, and Bush's horrible '05, that is even more true.

Posted by: ggrf928 | January 3, 2006 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I see, as others have pointed out as well, that the Clark militia have fully invaded to support their candidate.

I had the opportunity to work on the Kerry campaign with former 'Clarkies'. I don't know what was worse - the fact that Kerry's people weren't listening to what people wanted, or the love affair Clark's former people had for their general.

Unfortunately for Clark-lovers, I find him quite tepid, boring, and unimaginative. So what if he's a former general. The record of former generals (other than Washington) in the presidency is mediocre at best. You may blather on about what a great guy he is, but for me only one word comes to mind - unqualified. Sorry.

Posted by: ChicagoJD | January 3, 2006 1:12 PM | Report abuse

did you see the movie The Distinguished Gentleman with Eddie Murphy?

Or consider that Virginia Governor Mark Warner was a famous person even before he ran for Governor, even as a small businessman, because of longtime popular Virginia US Senator John Warner?

Maybe there are some famous names out there that are famous only locally. Like Koch in New York, Schaefer in Maryland, Goldwater in Arizona, Connolly in Texas, Stennis of Missippi, Daley of Illnois, and we may see some of these famous-names who are not part of any royal family but receive popular support because of a comfort level with the name. The researches who found President Eisenhower to be a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II could no doubt find a connection of the same-name candidate with the real thing. That's how Governor Warner came out of obscurity to top-of-the-fold.

Posted by: mike schaefer | January 3, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Mark Warner is our best chances in 2008, but he needs the liberal vote to win in the general election. We do not need them fleeing and voting for the third party. Since, he needs the liberal vote he needs someone loved by liberals for his VP. The two that are loved are Wes Clark and Russ Feingold. Considering voters think we lack foreign policy strength (yeah right) it would be smart to pick Wes Clark. A man loved by liberals, liked by moderates, and respected by conservatives that is an ex-Supreme Allied Commander of European NATO forces a position held be the expresident Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Posted by: CommonSenseDemocrat | January 2, 2006 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza, instead of trying to "Fix" 2008, how about taking
your lead from Tim Russert?

Yesterday, on New Year's Day, Tim Russert listed Wes Clark as a 2008 Presidential candidate during the roundtable discussion on MTP with presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham, NYT columnist William Safire & Washington Post's own Eugene Robinson.

MR. RUSSERT: We can look at 2008 presidential race.

MR. ROBINSON: All right.


MR. RUSSERT: Nobody can stop us.

MR. MEACHAM: That's right.

MR. RUSSERT: Here's the Democrats that are being mentioned for 2008 by the great mentioner. We have Evan Bayh of Indiana, Joe Biden, Delaware, Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, Bill Richardson, Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa, Mark Warner, governor of

Posted by: Cillizza forgets Wes Clark AGAIN | January 2, 2006 10:31 PM | Report abuse

I agreed which much of what you say. In particular I am interested in Bill Richardson. He seems to have the perfect resume being a governor of swing state, strong foreign policy experience and latino. If he ran a strong campaign he could really neutralize the Republican advantage in the south by doing very well in states like Nevada, Arizona, Colarado and Florida. Richardson could run as an outsider who has real beef to his record. No other Democrat has his potential.

For the Republicans I think the race is between George Allen and John McCain. McCain is the favorite of the media but I believe that the base of the Republicans don't trust him. This will give George Allen a good chance of winning. George Allen is the man to watch. He is conservative, has a positive personality and has been a successful governor and senator.

Posted by: Steve | January 2, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

to're right. clark was a beginner in 04 and is a smart guy who will learn from his mistakes. if he's on top of the democratic ticket, hopefully he surrounds himself with the right people and listens to them.

it still makes me a little nervous that he's not really a politician and hasn't won an election before. he became a general based on merit and ambition but he essentially got fired because he didn't play the politics well.

i don't think that means he's an unelectable candidate by any means...i'm just saying.

also, i don't necessarily know if it would be foolish for corzine to leave after two years as governor. nj governor is the most powerful gov office in the nation. he has a 49-31 party advantage in the state legislator. i think he'll clean up corruption, cut property taxes, and fix the budget. he'd have to do all this in two years and i agree that it's a challenge, but i think he can do it.

in 08 the economy is going to be a big part of the race...bigger than in 04. if he can smoothly exit from nj governorship and step into the race talking about how he cleaned up corruption, fixed the state budget, and cut taxes i think he'll be as viable a candidate as anyone out in the field. remember he's an economist, financier, banker by trade and he'll be able to speak most eloquently on people's individual economic situations. he's very skilled at speaking to people like a regular guy who has compassion. best part is is that it's his real personality.

Posted by: sam | January 2, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Being from VA I love Mark Warner but he is overhyped right now. Yes he's a democratic Gov in a red state, but guess so what so is the Gov the TN, NC and a host of other states. He's only getting attention right now becuase the lazy washington media can't look outside the beltway to see what's really happening in the country.

General Clark is the Democrats best bet in 08. He got a late start in 04 and becuase of that ran a rushed and halfass campaign. But the General is a smart guy and has learned from his mistakes. You will see Clark all over the 06 races.

Posted by: Brent Parrish | January 2, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that John Edwards has had an incredible opportunity to talk about poverty vis a vis Katrina impacts. Yet, where the hell is he? He needed to roll up the sleeves and get down there, help with the clean up, and in that southern drawl say that he and his vision were there to help anyway they could. He should be close to Frist on the biggest looser in my mind.

Posted by: BirdPAC | January 2, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

The strongest Democratic ticket would probably consist of a Southern or Midwestern centrist like Mark Warner or Evan Bayh paired with a Western running mate like Bill Richardson. To nominate a candidate like Russ Feingold would be electoral suicide. Democrats cannot continue to write off the South, the Great Plains and the non-coastal West.

Posted by: Right Democrat | January 2, 2006 12:56 AM | Report abuse

All I know is that Wes Clark is the only one that has a "presidential" presence about him and the "smarts" and "know-how" to go along with it. The rest all strike me as having to undergo "on the job" training and we've seen the evidence of that during the last five years. This country needs to feel "SECURE" again and the only one that can make us feel that way is General Clark. There is no question that if any horrific event or catastrophe were to hit this country under his watch, he'd know exactly how to react and what to do. How much better we could all sleep at night knowing our country was in his hands.

General Clark is a "class act" all the way!!

Posted by: westieforclark | January 1, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

To sam: Clark was a great campaigner in 2004 - he just made some beginner's mistakes which he won't do again. In 2004, he was the only Democrat besides Kerry who won a state other than his home state (Oklahoma). I like Corzine, but he's Governor and I don't see him being foolish enough to start campaigning for the 2008 primaries a year after he becomes Governor.

To Sandwich Repairman: Chris Cillizza has some serious short-term memory problems and just needed reminding.

To Real Values: bite me.

Posted by: CD2008 | January 1, 2006 5:56 AM | Report abuse


Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 31, 2005 11:56 PM | Report abuse

The idea of Haley Barbour as a presidential candidate seems ludicrous to me given his documented ties to the white supremacist Conservative Citizens Council. But then, the idea of Bush beating Gore struck me as ridiculous in 1999.

Yes, the West tends to be paid the least attention. Because there are no votes there. You want more influence? Move to another part of the country. As long as you have representation in Congress while DC doesn't, I see little justification for your complaint to begin with.

MakesEmLookSmart: I take it you never met Paul Wellstone?

Dave Rice: How exactly did Russ Feingold support the Iraq war? By being one of the 23 senators to vote against it?

I'm beginning to think the Clark campaign has paid Chris off to omit him just so his internet supporters have an excuse to make a fuss here. ;)

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 31, 2005 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Grazing rights in Wyoming-that's an obscure issue (unless you live in Wyoming)
Poverty is NOT an "obscure issue"!
Or I guess it is if you're an ethicly challenged mandarin who lives inside the beltway.
And hey, maybe John Edwards doesn't have a lucky horseshoe, may he actually CARES about poverty, what with his record of consistantly and passionately addressing this issue. Not that you would notice.

Posted by: bonnie | December 31, 2005 8:53 PM | Report abuse

my case for corzine from a previous fix posting....i hope he gets good coverage nationally as governor in nj. i hope for all of us he runs:

the midwest gave corzine his values. you can't take that away from someone. the fact of the matter is corzine grew up on a farm and he's the only candidate who can say that to the farmers who populate the midwest.

the reason why corzine is the best candidate is because he's got an all-american story that will energize the progressive base and have cross-over appeal in the heartland. let's not forget his initials are JC and that might have a subtle affect on some christians.

he's clintonesque when it comes to one on one campaigning and he's also like clinton because he's brilliant and humane. he's got an added advantage that clinton never had because he was a ceo of a good company (all based on his merit as composer pointed out..his dad didn't get him into business school like in W's case. JC was also sober and awake during class).

i compare him to clinton because it's important to highlight JC's similarities to the last democrat who's been the only two-term president. african americans and other minorities love corzine and proved it by voting for him in large numbers.

keep in mind that despite what the numbers say on the surface, the economy is not going well for a lot of people. the economy is also based solely on a leverage consumer who has easy access to credit because rates are low and his house is inflated. no market ever goes up and up and up. when the housing bubble starts to cool off, it's going to act like a car brake on the economy.

in 08 the race is going to be about the economy, security, and the cost of energy. jc a top mind on finance, economics, and the US treasury and he'll be able to feel the average man's pain and talk about what he would do to help. (he's got sarbanes-oxley on his record to back it up).

his policy on the environment and alternative energy sources are amongst the best in the senate. he's very skilled at communicating how the governmetn can help the private market reduce energy costs, pollution, and bring the US some sort of energy independence. he shows that it's good for business and job-creation as well as the environment and national security.

on the security front he's served on the intelligence committe and fought for 4 years to try and get a homeland security bill requiring chemical companies to guard their toxic facilities passed. the only reason why he failed is because the chemical industry owns stock in republicans inc.

politcal campaigns are all about marketing and approaching the citizenry as a market of voters (no one knows this better than karl rove). it's simple economics and as everyone has pointed out on this blog, different candidates are good for some markets but not good for others.

jc appeals to a universal electorate, knows how to raise money, and MOST IMPORTANTLY knows how to SPEND it on a campaign.

Posted by: sam | December 31, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

thanks to retired in ohio for posting that wes clark interview on fox. no democrat except clark should be allowed to speak in public about iraq. or at least they should copy what he's saying and maybe UNIFY their voice on iraq policy. the other dems have good intentions but are trying too hard to be different and stand out as that unique voice on iraq. clark knows what he's talking about and he really is a true and proud progressive democrat. he would be a phenomenal president.

unfortunately though, clark is a terrible candidate/campaigner. instead of being the articulate and intelligent expert as he is in that fox and other interviews, he instead comes across as someone who's trying too hard to be something he's not...and that is a politician. that's actually a compliment to say he's not a pol, but unfortunately a presidential race requires a skilled politician. he just doesn't sound good on the stump and you can tell he's not being himself.

i would say throw him on the ticket as vp because he's great/souther/military but the vp has to be a skilled pol who can work crowds and cheerlead his ticket mate and party policy. he also is way too valuable and qualified to be thrown in the black hole that is the vp. as we all know, he's greatly experienced and intelligent, so we need to utilize him as secretary of state. he's got credibility in manners of peace and diplomacy and he would be a great representative of america to the rest of the world.

so yes clark is the man but unfortunately i don't think he can win. i do think however, there are other dems along the lines of clark (ie progressives who can actually make people be proud to call themselves democrats) who will enter the fray in 08. i'm one of the very few people who think jon corzine is that candidate. i hope wes utilizes his grass roots and money to support him come 07.

Posted by: sam | December 31, 2005 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Voters vote in trends. For the past few years, especially this year, the county has experienced major problems suchs as Iraq War, Katrina, Terri Shciavo, Federal Budget Deficit, Republican Corruption, CIA Leak Scandal, NSA Wiretapping, and the growing power of the federal govenrment will cause a voter backlash. Who is in control? The Republicans in 2006, and 2008 the voters will punish the party in control. The disappointed Republicans who see their party go against the party orthodozy, of small government, fiscial disipline, and states rights will stay home. The Democrats are fired up and ready to take back the White House and will comeout in large numbers. Independents will reward the out of party Democrats with votes. I think since the Democrats are out of power will be the main reason the Democrats win in 2008. In 2004, Bush was able to unite the Republicans and pump the up to a point they came out in large numbers. Like I mentioned before lots of pissed off conservatives will not vote especially if they nominate a Democrat lite candidate like John McCain or Chuck Hagel. If the Democrats nominate someone who is percieved as a common sense Democrat one not bogged down by an ideology like Bayh, Edwards, or Warner they can coast to a win in 2008. If they nominate Hillary Clinton she will be the lightning rod the Republicans need to pump their base up to come out and vote wether it is Chuck Hagel, or McCain. Bayh, Edwards, Warner, or Clark you will not get the base rallied up because these men are all common sense respected by Republican candidates. Right now, the Republicans approval rating are low, the Democrats are low too but still are 9-10% higher in opinion polls. These low approval rating amongst both major political parties could set up a win by a third party candidate if a reasonable one is offered. The problem is their is no third party candidate that can fund their own campaing like Perot or seem Presidential and mainstream enough to get voters to jump ship from their parties. If a well funded one, that was centristm could win by getting disenfranchised Democrats, Republicans and most significantly Independents to vote them in. Will this happen? No, the Democrats will win in 2008.

Posted by: Independent | December 31, 2005 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I would accept a Bayh, Warner, Clark, or Edwards nomination. Wes Clark is adored by liberals, but his military credentials and his good press amongst conservative press like Fox News has gained him respect amongst conservatives and moderates. Hillary has positioned herself as a moderate conservative, a main reason the left hates her that coupled with conservatives think she is the devil would lead to a very polarized election something this country does not need. Can she raise a lot of money? Yes, can Mark Warner raise a lot of money...hell yeah. He raised over $2.5 millon dollars in one night, a rare feat. Evan Bayh as his record shows has no problem raising cash as well. What kind of record does Hillary have? Has she been rated the top Senator in America? Mark Warner has been rated a top Governor and under his control his state won the best managed state in the nation. He also can win in a Red State. He proved that he can have a high approval rating in a red state hovering around 70-80%. Hillary won last election by 55% far less than Kerry or Gore pulled the state, and that is not even their homestates. Her race was in 2000 also, so all the Dems came out to vote too. Mark Warner has shown that he can at least mute the differences between the left and right, and with his fiscal conservitism has seen many Republicans praise his budgets. Mark Warner can also communicate his policies to the general public something the Democrats have a hard time doing. THis has been shown by us being out of power despite the public agreeing with us on key issues. Especially, abortion where Republicans pushed to the front depsite the general public backing the Roe V Wade decision by more than 65%. The only issue we need to shore up is National Security, and Foreign Affairs that a respected throughout the political spectrum Wes Clark could not fix as VP. Plus, the Republicans bungiling of Katrina helps us out by a whole lot. If the Democrats nominate a Warner/Clark, Bayh/Clark, Warner/Bayh or even Edwards/Clark instead of hated by left and right Hillary Clinton we will primed for a strong showing in 2008.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 31, 2005 1:18 PM | Report abuse

There is no real choice electorially, but the oligarchy beginning to loose it's mask. It's not the government that is against the citizens. It's not the Republicans or Democrats that are trying to feed you lies and disinformation.

It's the people that have control of the economies of the world using the governments of their friends to control resources and create subtrafuge to make things happen thier way.

Old money talking to money and cutting deals so that their money network gets fed....the fact that your country used to have enough to share with you has gone by the by....

They're selling land to Saudi's, Japan, Germany, Italy at a record pace.

Whoever can pay more gets the benefits of being an American citizen now.

They don't need you to turn the wilderness into something useful.

You'll slowly be turned out to pasture and begin getting less and less for your buck. The elections will become more noticably fixed and your candidates preselected.

Dennis K. never had a chance, and Kerry rolled over on the electorate....what deal did he cut?

NSA is an extension of the ruling class, not a government agency.

War was declared to sidestep certain procedures that include disclosure....the reason for the war is simple:

1. controlling scarce resources
a. making sure China and Pakistan don't
form an alliance, either
economically or tradewise.
b. with a military presence they can
under the guise of fighting a war
control a region that is evolving in
a way that benefits their contacts
and alliances.
2. changing policy in the united states to
reflect the agenda that best serves the
monied... point: any citizen that lied
or used corruption to do the things
that these politicians have done to the
citizens of this country would be
jailed. fraud, chicanery, embezzelment,
constitutional murder, murder...

your president and his staff would be
on trial at the Hague if he was
president of Venezuela....and he would
be found guilty. No cause has been
delivered that would justify the current
occupation of Iraq. That's a fact.
Anyone saying otherwise is doing a fan
dance to make sure you can't see what
you want to....the current adminstration
is corrupt....nothing new, but the level
of inadequacy and obviousness.

That's thanks to a loving father who
bought his kid the presidency. Thanks
Dad from all of if you'd
just treat us the same way.

ANALyze this. !

Posted by: Anonymous | December 31, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Blogs are filled with Right wing zealots who are actually afraid of a women president. Other than the Health care fiasco she led and the fact that she staunchley went on the offensive by correctly characterizing many of the whitewater charges as a right-wing conspiracy, Hillary Clinton has been an excellent Senator. SHe is bright, articulate and she does have a position on Iraq. A position that is opposed by the left. Her position is no different than Biden's, Warner's, Bayh's, or Visilks (sp?).

Let's get serious here folks, anyone who thinks there is a candidate out there, DEM or REP, who can unite this country that is dominanted by right wing zealots called social conservatives on one spectrum and left wing tree huggers at the other end have not a clue to the reality. Neither sprectrum will compromise on their positions.

The next president will NOT be a social conservative as Bush backlash is already a reality. This will rule out Brownback, Allen, Haley Barbour, Bill Frist and Santorum. However, a dark horse that may make the VP list and is liked by the social conservatives and moderates and fiscal conservatives is Kay Bailey Hutchison from TX.

Likewise, no left wing candidate can win the general election. Any of the following, Wes Clark, Joe Biden, Howard Dean, Russ Feingold, Kerry or Gore, could win a primary or two, but could not win over conservative dems (progressives from Montana and western staes, Centrists from the south, and fiscal conservative but social liberals from the east coast and midwest. None of these candidates can win a general election.

On the GOP side, forget a pro-choice candidate, they can't win the primary. So Guliani, Romney, Pataki, and Bloomberg are dead in the water.

IMO, the only viable candidates for the GOP to win a general election in 2008 is McCain IF he can win the primary which is a big if and Hagel who is somewhere in the middle.

The problem with both the DEM and GOP parties is they try to put forth the candidates from that are farthest from where mainstream AMerica values and views are generally held. I dont get why the Left in the Democratic party cant see why they dont have a voice on the national stage. They cant win the general election, or take back the House and/or Senate with a left wing only agenda. AMerica' days as left leaning are over as the population has aged. It does not mean the left should not have a seat at the table, but look what has happened over the past 10 years, if you dont work to elect Dems that are centrists, moderates, or progressives from some of the red states, you will never have a voice on the national stage again. Dems made a huge mistake of putting a Mass Liberal in Dukasis and Kerry at the top of the ticket in 1988 and 2004. Dems can ill afford to follow this same strategy in 2008. Clinton won the first time because Ross Perot took away votes from Bush. However Clinton won on his own the seocond time round because AMerica accepted his agenda of a balanced budget, a focus on domestic issues, a strong environmental record, a strong national economy, lower taxes on the middle classes and the most important thing was the government was perceived to be well ran. Clinton surrounded himself with bright people for the most part, especially in regards to domestic policy which was the number one priority after the deficit run up of two Republican Administrations (Reagan and Bush 1).

In 2006 and 2008, Middle class Americans will find themselves again being squeezed by stagnet wages, rising health care costs, a war that was ill-conceived and one that is consuming all our national resources.

I believe AMericans will want a pragmatic, fiscal conservative that will protect and restore our constitutional rights to privacy and separation of church and state. I dont believe AMericans want a President who represents either the neo cons or left wing factions of eithe party. I also dont believe Americans will want a president who will drive further wedges between classes of AMericans based upon race, religion, or social class. I believe Americans are fed up with the current culture of corruption (see article in todays Post on Delays and Abramoff front man org called I think Americans for Family Values. COrruption will be a big issue in 2006 possibly in 2008.

All that said, and it was a lot, the only viable candidates in the DEM party I see are Warner, Bayh, and HRC. I give the edge to HRC due to her fundraising ability and the people she will surround herself with. This is one smart woman and one political savy woman. Folks who think she cant win the presidency are not looking at the big picture... women will vote for her in droves. Women voters are generally independant minded and lean Democratic. Blacks and Hispanics will turn out in droves for her as well. She has star power from coast to coast. What she does not have is the vote of the angry white male that tends to be uneducated and listens to Rush Limbaugh or Liddy and those that watch Fox News. Here's a bulletin, NO democratic candidate will ever be treated with any sense of dignity or seriousness on these far right wing media outlets, so the DEms can write off this group now.

MY predicton: HRC vs Hagel. HRC choses Tom Daschle as VP and Hagel goes with Huckabee or Barbour for VP to appease social conservatives.

Posted by: NOMoreBushes | December 31, 2005 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Clark is the only one with the balls to take the republican war machine.

Posted by: Malcom Beasley | December 31, 2005 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Hillary? Hell no, and I'm a liberal! I'd love to see a woman be elected president someday, but let it be someone who earned prominence solely for her deeds, not whom she married. Hillary's no liberal; she's a phony opportunist, largely lacking in the best qualities her husband possesses.

And please, no more Ivy League lawyers (of either gender)! Let's have leadership from a different perspective, from someone who isn't part of the elite class, someone who genuinely knows what life is like for those who don't make boatloads of money or can send their children to schools and colleges where they're safely isolated from the rest of us.

The Democrats don't have the guts to wage a class-based campaign because the finger would point back at them just as much as it would Republicans. Rather, they focus on inane, largely irrelevant cultural issues like abortion, instead of economics and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Posted by: Vincent | December 31, 2005 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Hillary makes me puke. Hell no to Hillary in 08!!!!!! Let's nominate a Democrat that is actually on the left side of the political spectrum, and can win.

Posted by: Josh | December 31, 2005 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton for President!

Posted by: Alex | December 31, 2005 12:02 AM | Report abuse

KC, who the hell Clark is, is a distinguished, intelligent, articulate general who has brains, who isn't driven by the political winds, and who will lead America back to some semblance of unity. Of course he is the complete opposite of the dufus-in-chief in the WH and the bunch of morons in the Republican party vying for the spotlight in '08. That's who the hell he is!

Posted by: Marve | December 30, 2005 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I see that as usual the internet Clark brigade has given out the battle call on this article. Sorry Clarkies, but a few zealous internet supporters ain't going to do it in 2008. Clark will be in the class of a Kucinich or Sharpton in terms of vote getting power. The reason Clark isn't mentioned much in political horse race articles is most people don't know who in the hell he is and it's likely to continue.

Posted by: KC | December 30, 2005 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Haley Barbour is not a serious contender based on anything he said or did this year.

Al Gore is a serious contender and the most likely next president. He is well positioned on the Democratic side to step in as it becomes clearer that George Bush not only messed up Iraq but relations with the Russians. Bush essentially set back the US twenty years with his retro presidency.

Posted by: Zhenren | December 30, 2005 10:38 PM | Report abuse

To Tired of Left Wing Lunacy

I woudn't say " ______ the Prez" because I was taught manners than that by my momma. I don't hate him either, for the same reason I don't hate all the other frat-rat, party boys who haven't yet grown up.

Mostly I feel sorry for their parents.

He was a joke in Texas as a governor. Lt. Gov Bob Bullock -- a Democrat, BTW ran the state. Real leaders surround themselves with the best of the best and leave behind a legacy that looks promising for the future.

Bush surrounds himself with cronies, hangers on and yes-men and the only legacy Texas got was Governor "Goodhair" Rick Perry.

If it didn't have such serious consequences for the country and your (and my) children's future, I'd say Bush was the biggest practical joke that any state has ever played on the nation.

Is that specific enough for you?

A Texas Patriot -- I was born here, where are you from?

Posted by: Texas Patriot | December 30, 2005 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Hey note to the Clark supporters - never elected, terrible candidate, over-handled, doesn't have a prayer in '08.

Sharpton was a better candidate.

Posted by: Real Values | December 30, 2005 7:19 PM | Report abuse

A few things: 1. Chris isn't listing everyone who's running for President on this list,so that's why some people aren't on it.
2. For those of you asking about Biden, he has no shot, and that's why he's not on the list. He's unacceptable to the left after voting for the bankruptcy bill and not going far enough in opposing the war in Iraq. Kerry doesn't have a chance either, and he should probably just disappear from the list.
3. Evan Bayh did prove his fundraising skills; however, he's done nothing in the senate except for join Hillary on a quest against video games.
4. Feingold and Warner are rightly placed on the list. Feingold stopped reauthorization of the Patriot Act and was the first to call for a time table for withdrawal from Iraq. He is now the progressive netroots favorite for the nomination,and he has raised his profile. Warner, on the other hand, is the more establishment democrat who has proven that he can raise money, and VA was named best governed state this year. Warner should definitely be on the list as one of the best for 05.

Posted by: schwompa | December 30, 2005 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Get-a-clue, you need to get a clue. You have completely missed the point Gallow was trying to bring across. Sure, "50 cent, Tupac Shakkur, Harry Belafonte, or "Tookie" Williams" and some others have brought tepid disgrace to blacks. And I would venture to say that most blacks are not necessarily completely disgraced by the actions of these entertainers unless they choose to be. The issue is not that Clarence Thomas has not had success as a person, so much so, to come from poverty with, and with a bright mind, to study in the America's top school to being appointed an associate justice. He deserves a standing ovation for "reaching the top" as anyone should who come from his circumstances. Also, neither is the point relevant that he thinks outside the mainstream ideology of blacks. Who wants all peoples everywhere to think like everybody everywhere? He could certainly have his own thoughts and desires. However, it's the fact that he has absolutely no desire to help other blacks and minorities by his conservative decisions on the court. That's where his disgrace comes to bear on the point Gallow is making. After all, Thurgood Marshall was a black associate justice but had ordinary Americans in mind throughout his tenure on the court. Gallow didn't even mention that because it's a mute point. I think your argument is folly at best and I think you are barking up the wrong tree in trying to respond to Gallow's implicity point.


P.S. To the side, I think your point about "the mainstream men of your race that constantly keep them down" seems a bit dishonest. Are all mainstream black men a disgrace who keep people like CT down? Don't get you man...

Posted by: Marve | December 30, 2005 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is a joke!! He was a Baptist minister before becoming Lt. Gov. I heard tell that he lost all that weight not from diet and exercise but a stomach stapling.
Zero foreign policy experience, just another borrow and spend Repub. Prez Huckabee?? BWAAAHAHAHA! Pul-eeese!

Posted by: Starchly Arky | December 30, 2005 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Mike in Alberquerque writes of Bill Richardson:

"Sorry folks, but he's the only democrat with foreign policy chops..."

You gotta be kiddin' me! Wes Clark has more experience with foreign policy than all the Democrats on Cillizza's list combined.

Wes Clark would bring in the veteran's vote across the country and he'd be a major draw in the South. Richardson couldn't even turn his purple state blue in 2004. There are more military votes in the country than Hispanics, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic anyway. We need swing votes.

Who do you think delivered Virginia Beach military votes to Tim Kaine this past November? It wasn't Mark Warner. Here's a clue: Wes Clark campaigned heavily for Tim Kaine in the run-up to the election. Do you think Richardson could do that? No way. I wouldn't vote for a stuffed shirt bureaucrat like Richardson or a millionaire one-termer like Warner either.

Posted by: Red-State Vietnam Vet | December 30, 2005 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Gallow............If you seriously think that the legacy of so many black men and women have been disgraced by appointing a man like Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, you quite possibly could be the dumbest human being that I have ever encountered. Disgrace to blacks? How about 50 cent, Tupac Shakkur, Harry Belafonte, or "Tookie" Williams. Apparently just because a black man choses to think outside the mainstream ideaology that the majority of blacks are brainwashed with, he is a disgrace? When did someone who came from extreme poverty to graduate from Yale Law School to become an Associate Justice on The Supreme Court constitute a disgrace. I think it would be best for you to re-evaluate you thought process. Blacks ought to admire a man like Thomas not only for his intellect and his ability overcome adversity to succeed but for his ability to break away from the mainstream men of your race that constantly keep them down.

By the way, if you think men and women should not be appointed or elected to public office based on color than I would naturally assume you are against affirmative action all together, right?

Posted by: Get a Clue | December 30, 2005 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The people that have been talked about the most on here is Wes Clark and Mark Warner. Mark Warner is our best shot at taking back the White House. Many think that Mark Warner would run to the right of Hillary I disagree. In 2005, Hillary tried to triangulate and positioned herself as a moderate conservative. Mark Warner stans for classic liberal ideology but is not brought down by a fundamental ideology. He bases his policies on results because he knows most people do not care if they are liberal, moderate, or conservative only if they are good successful results. Mark Warner brings that philosophy to the table, and is successful and extremely popular because of it. He knows that when the Democrats are at their best is when they are the party of ideas, like the days of JFK and FDR. I am extremely excited for a Warner nomination, we would finally get a unpolarized candidate that can unte this country. Wes Clark is a essential member of the Democratic Party and his service to this country is very admired, he is a brillant moral man that is a Democrat Dwight D Eisenhower. He would make an excelllant President, and an excellant running mate that foreign policy advice would be very important in the Democrat administration. Evan Bayh would make a good candidate too, if he and Mark Warner were paired together they would bring the South and Midwest states like Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana and most imortantly Ohio to their side.

As for Hillary Clinton she would run a 16 state strategy and bank on that last state to put her over. We do not need a candidate like that. She is too polarizing, too conservative for Democrats. We need someone to unite this country and only a Warner/Clark or Warner/Bayh can do it.

Posted by: Jack | December 30, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Gallow............If you seriously think that the legacy of so many black men and women have been disgraced by appointing a man like Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, you quite possibly could be the dumbest human being that I have ever encountered. Disgrace to blacks? How about 50 cent, Tupac Shakkur, Harry Belafonte, or "Tookie" Williams. Apparently just because a black man choses to think outside the mainstream ideaology that the majority of blacks are brainwashed with, he is a disgrace? When did someone who came from extreme poverty to graduate from Yale Law School to become an Associate Justice on The Supreme Court constitute a disgrace. I think it would be best for you to re-evaluate you thought process. Blacks ought to admire a man like Thomas not only for his intellect and his ability overcome adversity to succeed but for his ability to break away from the mainstream men of your race that constantly keep them down.

By the way, if you think men and women should not be appointed or elected to public office based on color than I would naturally assume you are against affirmative action all together, right?

Posted by: Get a Clue | December 30, 2005 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Dave Rice, just FYI, Senator Feingold did not support the war in Iraq and voted AGAINST the Iraq War Resolution (as did a number...although, sadly, much too small a number...of other Bob Graham, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Paul Wellstone, to name a few) so I'm a little confused as to your statement about him.

Personally, as a lefty New Yorker who fully opposed the War myself since the beginning, I could live with a Clark/Feingold ticket just fine.

Posted by: Carol | December 30, 2005 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Dave Rice, just FYI, Senator Feingold did not support the war in Iraq and voted AGAINST the Iraq War Resolution (as did a number...although, sadly, much too small a number...of other Bob Graham, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Paul Wellstone, to name a few) so I'm a little confused as to your statement about him.

Personally, I could live with a Clark/Feingold ticket just fine.

Posted by: Carol | December 30, 2005 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Are there ANY candidates out there, especially on the Democratic side, who didn't attend an Ivy League college, either as an undergrad or law school? Has the meritocracy become so solidified that it is now a prerequisite for the White House? How sad.

There are plenty of talented people whom the political wonks wouldn't dream of considering, simply because they didn't go to the "right" schools.

Posted by: Vincent | December 30, 2005 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Assuming that the Demos need to take away a medium to large red state in order to win Mark Warner (& Virginia fill the bill.

Edwards failed to bring anything but his bright smile last time around and shows no sign of being able to bring either of the Carolinas next time.

Hillary, as VP should be able to appeal to undecided women and the party's liberal base (regardless of her moderate
approach) and turn it into a real race.

For the Repubs if it looks like Warner they would have to nominate Allen and turn it into an all Virginia race.

To counter Hillary I suggest Condi Rice and get the attention of the American voter.

Posted by: Peter of Sun City Roseville | December 30, 2005 4:01 PM | Report abuse

WHERE IS WES CLARK?--He's the VERY best of the best!

Posted by: Tricia | December 30, 2005 3:53 PM | Report abuse

How could anyone consider Joe Biden a serious candidate. He was duped into the war by the administration and personal political expediency. Having swallowed the poison pill, he now spends every sound bite telling us how that "window of opportunity" in Iraq will be closing at any minute.

Cilliza's statement that Feingold's comments on setting a date and pulling out appeal to the left wing of the Democratic party is typical Washington-speak. This guy writes for a major national newspaper and yet he is so far behind the rest of the country that it's laughable. It is just a matter of time before we pull out. Bush will do it rather than lose the Senate and maybe even the House in 2006. No Democrat who supported the war in Iraq can be elected president, including Hillary and Feingold.

The next President will be a governor or former governor, not some silly Senator who has never run a government before and didn't have the judgment or the courage to stand up to Bush when he and his administration were running around like Chicken Little after the WTC bombing.

Posted by: Dave Rice | December 30, 2005 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't believe that Hillary has a strong chance of winning the Democratic nomination. It's been the topic of conversation immediately following the 2004 election, but it's just a bunch of hype. She hasn't done anything significant, and her "move toward the center" has left her without strong opinions on the major issues of the day. Plus, she will not appeal to the South. Please, Democrats, learn the lesson from '04.

Enough already about Kerry and Edwards. The Dems need fresh, inspiring faces. Warner is defintely the strongest candidate right now, and maybe with Richardson in 2nd place.

Of course, I'd love to see McCain for the GOP, but there are enough people against him within the Party that he won;t get it. Possily, Allen may get it, or someone similar to him.

Posted by: BAL | December 30, 2005 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I Was There wrote:
"MakesEmLookSmart, Warner was reading from notes at his $3 million dollar shebang and he sounded bad. Ask any reporter who was there."

I was not there, but I have heard Mark Warner speak at a lot of other events and thought he was extremely intelligent and articulate. I will probably vote for the Republican Candidate, regardless, but I wouldn't be upset if Warner was the next President. He's probably more conservative than Guiliani, and much more conservative than Schwarzenegger.

Posted by: Mike M | December 30, 2005 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Corbett wrote:
"Many will call me crazy, but it would be my Christmas 2005 wish-above-all-wishes for Al Gore to run."

Me too, Corbett, but for opposite reasons...

Mike wrote:

"Chris. It is disappointing to see that once again you neglect General Wesley Clark on your list of contenders. Overall he had a good year in '05. He put forth a bold and original plan for dealing with Iraq..."

I think you and I are one of very few Americans who even noticed his "bold" plan. The fact of the matter is that Wesly Clark does not have enough appeal among Democrats to win the nomination, nor does he have any real appeal among the majority of Americans.

Anway, Mark Warner is the most "electable" of any of the Democratic Candidates. But I see him having an extremely difficult time running to the right of Hillary and still picking up the party's nomination when the vast majority Democratic primary voters are a bunch of far-left activists.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 30, 2005 3:14 PM | Report abuse

As a person of African-American decent I strongly urge every one to stop looking for that one "black" candidate for President of the United States (the legacy of some many legendary black men and women is disgraced when we nominate individuals based on their color - i.e. Justice Clarence Thomas); we need to find an articulate, intelligent, statesperson. Personally, I am glad the Dr. Condolezza Rice is not running for elected office. I admit that she is extremely well versed, but I do not believe that she is interested in the art of diplomacy. Her support of preemptive war, rendition, supreme secrecy and many other policy decisions has confirmed the international deep seated belief in the hubris of America.

Posted by: gallow | December 30, 2005 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It appears by counting the anti's that the person other candidates in both parties fear most is Bill Richardson.
And why not. New Mexicans of all stripes love him because he has brought real hope and a financial future to an impoverished state.

Sorry folks, but he's the only democrat with foreign policy chops, he's a democratic governor in a blue state, he has implemented programs benefiting education, employment and alternative energy all while lowering taxes. Plus, he can reach Hispanics like no other democratic candidate can. (The real reason for the fear?)

As for the moronic posts about a forty year old baseball draft story and the out of context alleged touching of an intern. It's just a smear attempt that originated with the throw everything against the wall and hope something sticks, owner of the Albuquerque Journal. Whom all New Mexicans know as a bizarre fringe figure.

Posted by: Mike in Albuquerque | December 30, 2005 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I see hyperlinks don't work here. What was meant to appear above was:

"As for the '08 election Clark is the best bet for all you dem's..."

That's right. I finally agree with a rightwingnut.

Posted by: Cillizza Is Clueless | December 30, 2005 2:38 PM | Report abuse


That's right.

Posted by: Cillizza Is Clueless | December 30, 2005 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Talk about having a good year in 2005.

NYC's Republican Mayor Bloomberg had a big victory, by a big margin, in November when Democrats were otherwise doing well in other places nationally.

No mention of him?

Posted by: VARI | December 30, 2005 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Talk about having a good year in 2005.

NYC's Republican Mayor Bloomberg had a big victory, by a big margin, in November when Democrats were otherwise doing well in other places nationally.

No mention of him?

Posted by: VARI | December 30, 2005 2:28 PM | Report abuse

MakesEmLookSmart, Warner was reading from notes at his $3 million dollar shebang and he sounded bad. Ask any reporter who was there.

Posted by: I Was There | December 30, 2005 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Texas Patriot........Why don't you just come out and say f*$% the President, your obvious hatred of the man is transparent! I fail to see that Iraq is an, as you put it, "unwinnable" war, apparently you must be wearing the same blinders that your hippy relatives wore while protesting Vietnam. We are currently winning the war and will ultimately prevail in this current WAR ON TERRORISM!!!!! "Threaten our civil liberties?" I assume that you are referring to the eavesdropping on phone calls etc... Well I hate to tell you but sometimes, in this terrible and hateful world, it is necessary to impede on the rights of a few in order to save many. Besides I have nothing at all to hide so let Bush or Clinton or Kennedy or whoever wants to listen to my phone calls, go right ahead! Do you have something to hide otherwise why do you care. They are only looking for ways to find terrorist before they strike. They wouldn't care if they heard you talking about doing drugs or what have you. Maybe if we had eavesdropped on conversations 5 years ago 9/11 might never have happened. As for sold out the education, what? President Bush has spent pumped more money into the education system than his predecessor but I guess you wouldn't want to admit that because GOD forbid any left wing loser acknowledge President Bush has done anything for his country other than "lie to fight a war for oil" or some other bs you all come up with. By the way give me three examples how Bush has sold out the environment to the higgest bidder!!!!!

As for the '08 election Clark is the best bet for all you dem's, Clinton would never win the general b/c she would alienate too many democrats from all sides of their political spectrum.

Posted by: Tired of Left Wing Lunacy | December 30, 2005 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Superduperman, I think you are right on Clinton's chances in the general election. She just has too many negatives out there. Name recognition does mean a lot 2-3 years out in an uncontested election--when the sitting VP has taken himself out of the race. She appeals to many people, but she equally turns off people because of the baggage. I personally think she should NOT run and wait 8 years if that is her intentions. Maybe by that time the GOP will tire of using her as a fund raising tool and actually have to go out a get money based on a real message for the future and be forced to put candidates out there with brain matter between their ears.

Quite frankly I don't think this country could handle or deserves (since '88) Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton. We need to move on!

Posted by: jenniferm | December 30, 2005 2:26 PM | Report abuse

John McCain is the Joe Lieberman of the Democrats. We hate Joe Lieberman and they dislike John McCain. Chuck Hagel is the darkhorse, I could see him winning the nomination, but I could see him more as a VP same with McCain. Barbour could be on the ticket because he is one of the only Governors in the field. George Allen cannot be counted out and is a strong contender for the nomination, but polls show a Mark Warner vrs Allen for President shows that Allen would lose to the other native Democrat Mark Warner. Mitt Romney would never win, too liberal, used to be prochoice, and I doubt the GOP would pick someone from MAss. Rudy G. too liberal, prochoice no way religious right who controls the GOP would pick him. For the Dems. Mark Warner would be the best option followed by Evan Bayh. The team would do some major damange to the GOP base in South and Midwest.

Posted by: Josh | December 30, 2005 2:25 PM | Report abuse

The guy raised money in 2004 second only to Dean and had the second largest grassroots base and he's clearly running without all the baggage of defeat that Edwards and Kerry will have to overcome (He ran a short 4 month race -- many feel he would've won the nomination if he had been in early enough to contest Iowa).

And he's omitted? How much money does Bayh have in the bank and he's omitted?

Somebody better convene a blogger ethics planel ASAP!

Posted by: Ummm...Clark? | December 30, 2005 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Wes Clark is a four-star general, former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe NATO, and a former Presidential candidate with a strong grassroots following, a very active PAC and blog ( that's dedicated to supporting 2006 Democratic candidates and making the case for Democratic Party national security solutions. WTH isn't he on your list? Tell me what other Democrat has the experience and guts to talk like this (on FOX News, no less):

I think you're prejudiced against anyone who isn't a Beltway
favorite. I think you're deliberately leaving out the best Democrat for these times in favor of people who have a few years of governing under their belts or who have spent most of their lives arguing on the Senate floor.

I wouldn't vote for a politician this time around, much as you and other Beltway bloggers seem to like them. Politicians and their media cheerleaders are the reason this country is in the mess it is in.

• Give me a Democrat with real experience serving his country under the most trying circumstances, who fought and won the only war NATO has ever waged and saved 1.5 million Albanians from genocide.

• Give me a Democrat who has worked in the executive branch for 35 years (aka. the Army) and didn't dodge service in Vietnam.

• Give me a Democrat who's served in the White House in the Office of Management and Budget, who has advanced degrees from Oxford University, who has taught economics.

• Give me Wes Clark in 2008, who's proud to be a liberal Democrat.

Posted by: Retired in Ohio | December 30, 2005 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I could see Mark Warner being the Democrat nominee in 2008. He has everything we could wish for: Southern, good press, no negatives, raises tons of money fast, can win red state, rated top governor in the nation, state under his control rated top managed of 2005, and his message is one of uniting the country. He would mute the ideological differences and focus on issues. A candidate that can do that will win the Presidency. Evan Bayh should be on this list, he had a good year, and could play well in the native Midwest state of Iowa. I could easily see him as being a strong VP for Mark Warner. He is on the Select Committee on Intelligence, and Armed Services which would complement, and has loads of experience; two term governor, two term senator, one term Sect of State. Wes Clark has to be mentioned adored by the left, respected by the middle and the right. He has the most foreign policy experience than any candidate out there, and would be a nice complement shoring up the foreign policy for any candidate. The best choice for Democrats is a Warner/Bayh ticket, liberals who can unite the country, and lay inroads for Democrats in South and Midwest.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 30, 2005 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Having reminded myself that I am writing this anonymously, I think I should probably mention that Frist and Romney are stuffed shirts of the Quayle school - yes he has his own school now. I mean lights on, nobody home, dumb as posts, with apologies to posts everywhere. While I base this on mkeetings I attended with them, the fact that they think they have a reason to run for president is all the proof you should need.

Posted by: MakesEmLookSmart | December 30, 2005 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm a DC based consultant who has actually worked with the majority of the people on this list, Democrat and Republican.

I find the list very insightful and well-considered, and I like the choice of Gov. Warner. Warner is unlike any politician I have ever met, in or out of elected office. He's often criticized for his halting public speaking style - I think the Post once used a 'deer-in-the-headlights' analogy. But that is because Warner, again unlike any other American politician I have ever encountered, does not read from a script. His response to questions is to give the best answer he can, not to get across some pre-determined agenda item whether or not it relates to the question itself. It's a sign of Warner's respect for both the inquisitor and his own intellect.

This hardly seems revolutionary, and I don't mean to be cynical, but the modicum of sincerity Warner would bring to the national stage - to whatever extent it could catch on - could turn American political discourse completely upside down. People could actually start *expecting* real answers to their questions instead of the same garbage we've been fed for the past 25 years. It's an unlikely but tantalizing possibility.

The strength of this field as laid out is impressive. My personal politics are left-wing, but I actually admire a number of the Republicans on the list, and you may have guessed that politicians don't easily earn my admiration. Chuck Hagel is one of the few true patriots in the GOP, and Haley Barbour has a heart. Both are amazingly bright, are effective and capable leaders, and they sweat the details.

These are diamonds in the rough, which is exactly what we need in these times. So I found the entire article refreshing in that it confirms they are catching a little more light than they were a year ago.

Posted by: MakesEmLookSmart | December 30, 2005 2:02 PM | Report abuse

There is one thing that comes along with Wes Clark. He is in very tight with the Clintons. I just can't see him going up against Hillary in the primary more out of loyalty then anything. I personally like to think that Hillary is not as egomanical as she is made out to be. She knows that the first woman president will have to be well qualified (ie Vice-pres) before most of the country will embrace the idea. That is why I think she is angling for a Wes Clark/hillary Ticket in 08. Then a Hillary/Obama in '12 or 16.

Posted by: Andy | December 30, 2005 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Hate to tell you this CHRIS - But Hillary is only the Dem frontrunner in the eyes of liberal wing nut/Gloria Steinem posse, Hillary herself, and the MSM.

Mainstream Dem's know she is a guaranteed Presidential loser on a pedestal.

Being a "Clinton" doesn't make her "Bill".

Posted by: Reality, USA | December 30, 2005 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Warner is 2008's version of Edwards: a one-term wonder and Bilderburg Conference pick with not a clue about foreign policy or national security. He refuses to criticize Bush at all and doesn't want to question Bush's Iraq war rationale . Warner says he wants to run the country like a corporation....hmmm, where have I heard that before? He's a fake Southerner, however much he wants to milk that cow. The man spent most of his time growing up in CT and only landed in Virginia after college. I wouldn't vote for him in 2008. He's all hype. Who cares what he did in three+ years in Virginia? Big deal. How much support does he have among the black population in Virginia? I can tell you, not much. Running America is not the same as running a telecom company.

Posted by: Virginia Democrat | December 30, 2005 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What about Zell Miller? Who else could unite both parties quite so completely?

Posted by: slam | December 30, 2005 1:44 PM | Report abuse

For almost 2 years, Wesley Clarks', WesPAC at was likely the most "popular" among actual democratic advocates/voters in the blogosphere.

The Dems lost Congress and the White House on "national security", and the over-reliance of popularity contests. In contrast, the GOP won on its fear-mongering campaign by withdrawing American liberties and rights, and freedoms to privacy.

Unlike most of those "candidates" on your list, who rely on "popularity and "name recognition", Wesley Clark campaigned on national security, as well as leadership, character, accountability and integrity; afterall, he has the gravitas to appeal to both sides, especially a Moderate Senator insider, like John McCain.

Posted by: Dom M. | December 30, 2005 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Again - I feel like we are being completely ignored in the west. I am a staunch feminist and progressive Democrat, and it makes me cringe to hear "Hilary is the decided front-runner." There is talk of making a western primary date, which I hope will happen so that some credence will FINALLY be paid to the Western states, minus California. We have absolutely no say in which candidate should represent our party, and frankly, the Northeastern, Southern, and mid-West Dems have done a poor job of picking candidates in my opinion.

Posted by: WesternDem | December 30, 2005 1:23 PM | Report abuse

For those who think just being elected to office qualifies someone to govern, I'll hold up the example of the current dufus in the WH.

Didn't have a clue about foreign policy or international diplomacy when he was elected (and didn't expect to ever have to know anything about it). Assumed he could crib his foreign policy from his VP. BUT, he got elected twice in Texas as governor and carried the right-wing's message eloquently.

Now that this guy's been in office for 6 years, he's managed to mangle foreign policy, get us involved in an 'unwinnable' war, revoke or threaten many of our civil liberties, dumb-down the leadership of many vital governmental agencies, sold out the environment, education and healthcare to the highest bidder... and on and on.

I'm more interested in finding a leader with principles than looking for another marketed-to-death candidate for President.

Give me the smartest, most qualified guy in the room. Don't give me another candidate that barely makes the grade.

In 08, that guy looks to be Wes Clark.

Posted by: Texas Patriot | December 30, 2005 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, by all means, Wes Clark.

The one Democrat who could actually WIN.

Posted by: dem4life | December 30, 2005 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Good grief. Who, exactly, has Bill Richardson paid off to get all this favorable publicity?

Aside from his personal cowardice in handing Wen Ho Lee over to the flying monkey crowd, it is difficult to think of any reason why history will remember this man.

I'm trying to be charitable, but Richardson is the ultimate get along/go along type. This works in state politics, and one can slide by in lower profile positions such as Cabinet Secretary, but it is not what voters look for in presidents.

Posted by: Charles | December 30, 2005 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll add my voice to those who say Wes Clark is the best of the best. Expect a formidable Clark candidacy in '08!

Posted by: Grant Foster | December 30, 2005 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reply (I guess I was exasperated about the buzz on Clinton so I had my caps for emphasis, not for shouting). that case I can see the rational for a presidential campaign, it just seemed to me that the media was hyping her for nothing other than the fact that she is hilary clinton. But just on the EV numbers out there, I can't see her breaking past 200. I'm a democratic primary voter (not regular but reliable in crunch time) but I won't vote for her (primary or general), neither will any of the Dems I know. But that is democracy non?

Posted by: Superduperman | December 30, 2005 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cillizza, why are you touting Condi Rice and Al Gore? Is this another fantasy poll? You are also sadly wrong about "Al Gore's start-to-finish opposition to the war in Iraq" by the way.

Gore, Championing Bush, Calls for a 'Final Reckoning' With Iraq

'Al Gore said last night that the time had come for a "final reckoning" with Iraq, describing the country as a "virulent threat in a class by itself" and suggesting that the United States should consider ways to oust President Saddam Hussein.'

'Mr. Gore, speaking four miles from the ruins of the World Trade Center, applauded Mr. Bush for singling out Iraq, Iran and North Korea as an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address.'

"In advocating that the administration consider whether the time had come to try to remove Mr. Hussein, Mr. Gore seemed to be in line with Mr.Bush's emerging policy."

"But if Mr. Gore found himself on the same side as the White House about what to do now about Mr. Hussein, he was sharply critical of the way Mr. Bush's father had handled the matter during the 1991 war against Iraq. Mr. Gore noted that, back then, Mr. Hussein "was allowed to survive his defeat as the result of a calculation we all had reason to deeply regret
for the ensuing decade -- and still do."

"So this time, if we resort to force, we must absolutely get it right," he said.

Posted by: Cillizza Is Clueless | December 30, 2005 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Superduperman, turn off the caps lock.

I would say Clinton is a US Senator, who will have served 8 years by the time the 08 elections happens. That doesn't in and of itself warrant a presidential campaign, as you say, however, I would compare that to six years as governor of Texas with no previous elected office.

You could look at numerous people who have ran for president and had much less on the resume than Clinton--Elizabeth Dole, Wesley Clark, Pat Robertson, Jesse Jackson, Robert Kennedy, I could go on and on.

If your preference is to not vote for Clinton, for whatever reason, is your prerogative. However, history has shown a lot less qualified individuals who have sought higher office than the Senator.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 30, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I do hope that the average citizen is paying more attention to General Wes Clark than the main stream media seems willing to do. He was our best hope in 2004 and I see no reason why he won't be the same in 2008...not just the Democratic Party's best hope but our country's. It's about time we have a real leader, rather than just another politician, in the White House...

Folks can check out his activities here:

Posted by: Carol | December 30, 2005 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh for goodness sakes!
Leaving Wes Clark off your list again I suppose shows just how blind Washington insiders can be. Sometimes I think DC may just be watching the rest of the country like teevee with the sound turned off.

Edwards has done what? Said there are poor people in America and apologized for sending 2000+ young men and women to die needlessly in Iraq? Oh, well his apology makes it all better.

Richardson? I thought he was being drafted into a minor league baseball team (oh, sorry--that was earlier in his career-- before he got Monica that 'job offer'). Apparently he's not even the darling of New Mexico, how's that going to help him in other red states?

If Al Gore had any intention of running in 08, he wouldn't have just purchased that multimillion dollar condo at the St. Regis highrise in San Francisco complete with 24-hour room service, butler service, a fitness center, spa, lap pool, even a world class restaurant. Try selling that in Middle America.

Warner? A stock Democrat from a red state (and not a particularly eloquent one at that). Having listened to him stumble over his pre-written and ill considered sound bites on foreign policy, national security and Iraq made me wince. Here we go again, another Democrat who hasn't a clue about how to deliver the Democrat's message that "We are the party of national security".

I'm not going to say a word about Feingold, except to ask... what red state is he going to campaign in again? (Notice I didn't ask which one he might win, 'cos I know the answer to that one).

Posted by: Red State Dem | December 30, 2005 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Gov Huckabee will be out of office in Jan 2007 not next month (same thing for Gov Romney but I don't expect him to go far)

Posted by: Bentonville Voter | December 30, 2005 12:35 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing what a little distance will do for you... I was relieved when Gore didnt run again in 2004, and now I think Gore could be the one figure who could unite Democrats.

Posted by: Real Values | December 30, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Last one, I promise. Billy Bones. You're an idiot. 1. This forum is about '08 possibilities, not mindless partisan slime attacks about hypotheticals. 2. You have no idea what Gore would have done, because he wasn't president. Maybe, because he's such a spineless poll-watching democrat, he would have seen the polls of angry and frightened Americans and would have gone ape on some random country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (oh wait...). More likely, he would have attacked Afghanistan but not Iraq, using more of America's military in that operation, and focusing on creating a stable and secure democracy in that nation, rather than stretching us so thin. Gore was not a dove, and I believe would have been a better president than Clinton. But this isn't about the past...

Posted by: stan | December 30, 2005 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Last one, I promise. Billy Bones. You're an idiot. 1. This forum is about '08 possibilities, not mindless partisan slime attacks about hypotheticals. 2. You have no idea what Gore would have done, because he wasn't president. Maybe, because he's such a spineless poll-watching democrat, he would have seen the polls of angry and frightened Americans and would have gone ape on some random country that had nothing to do with 9/11 (oh wait...). More likely, he would have attacked Afghanistan but not Iraq, using more of America's military in that operation, and focusing on creating a stable and secure democracy in that nation, rather than stretching us so thin. Gore was not a dove, and I believe would have been a better president than Clinton. But this isn't about the past...

Posted by: stan | December 30, 2005 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The GOP darkhorse is Mike Huckabee/some senator and the Dems should pick Mark Warner/Evan Bayh, if they are smart...but that might be asking too much!

Posted by: Watchman cometh | December 30, 2005 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Also, Richardson may have a budding sexual scandal in the works, with reports that he might have inappropriately touched an intern. Democrats need to pick a candidate who can actually manage to keep his/her hands to him/herself to get over the image that Bill so thankfully laid upon all democrats.

Posted by: stan | December 30, 2005 12:23 PM | Report abuse

CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE (I'm serious)..PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HILARY CLINTON HAS DONE TO WARRANT A PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?? I'm really serious..I would love anyone, left, right or center to explain it to me cos (maybe I'm stupid), but I seem to be missing something here.

Posted by: Superduperman | December 30, 2005 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Obama hasn't done anything significant yet. Let him win reelection Senate first in 2010, when he'll only be 48. By then, he should have some major bills to his name and other accomplishments. He has plenty of time to become the nation's first black president.
Far left activists prefer candidates who are not viable in the general election. My hope is that they do not control the Democrat primary process. Their stated preference for candidates who are "anti-war, anti-corporation" will only spell trouble for the general election. Having a hard-left candidate go up against a hard-right candidate is nothing but trouble for this nation. Liberal and progressive are good things, but searching for the candidate whose policies most resemble Nader will guarantee another 4 years of GOP executive leadership. The country will vote for a president who they feel will keep them safe.

Posted by: stan | December 30, 2005 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that republicans get all hot & bothered when Al Gore’s name is ever mentioned. They say they get upset because of terrible things he’s done or would happen if he were to become the President. The truth is they know that Gore would be a very strong candidate and beat the republican candidate. That is really why "These folks doth protest too much, methinks."

Posted by: Paul | December 30, 2005 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Neither Romney nor Huckabee is out of office next month - they are out of office the following January.

Posted by: Jeff | December 30, 2005 12:14 PM | Report abuse

What do you have against General Clark???

He's been speaking out against the war with unique insight and he's raising money for candidates all over the country. He's certainly done more this year than Edwards.

Posted by: Brent Parrish | December 30, 2005 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The last time an US Senator became President was 45 years ago (Kennedy). Since then, only VPs (Bush Sr.) or governors (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr.) have made it to the White House. I see no reason why this trend -- to elect a candidate with executive rathen than legislative experience -- will be reverted in 2008 given the ongoing war and a need for better responses to natural disasters. Sure, the 2008 election may turn atypical if the sitting VP decides not to run as widely expected. Senator vs. Senator then become a possibility. But again, governors will still have an advantage over Senators.

For Democrats, this gives an edge to Warner, Richardson, and perhaps Bayh (a former IN governor) over Clinton who would do herself a favor by forgetting for awhile about presidency and istead running for NY governoship. For Republicans, this favors Barbour, Huckabee and even Romney, effectively eliminates Hagel and Allen, and makes lige difficult for McCain. Even Frist and Gingrich are doing better having served in the Senate leadership positions.

Posted by: Eugene Ivanov | December 30, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

biden is good when he speaks about foreign policy and iraq, but he's a career politician who, as intrepid liberal points out, is beholden to special interests from his state. he's not going to win any friends in the base with his vote for the bankruptcy bill that benefited MBNA and may potentially screw a lot of everymen.

this brings up the point that sitting senators almost always lose when they run for president. harding and jfk are the only two to do it. every senator on this list is going to have something on his voting record that's going to come back and bite him/her in the a$$.

in hillary's case it's her hawkishness on iraq and her tendency (as is dlc poicy) to be buddy buddy with big corporations.

keep in mind that the political climate will change in the next two years. the economy is likely to get worse and things in iraq are two seconds away from civil war. God forbid there's another terrorist attack.

we can talk about who's raising money and who's making speeches and visiting primary states, but ultimately i believe it'll be a dark horse who will be under the radar and be able to approach the political climate as it is in late 07 and early 08.

i personally think jon corzine might be that guy. a true progressive who has the guts to stand up for his beliefs. great voting record in the senate (against the war) and by then, i'd bet a successful couple years as a governor. jc/mw would be a great ticket that provides balance and crossover appeal.

Posted by: sam | December 30, 2005 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I can only hope that the far right is stupid enough to take a pass on Rudy or McCain. Either one of them would spell BIG TROUBLE against any Democrat in a general election.

Posted by: Jason Reagle | December 30, 2005 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Russ Feingold's religion might become an issue among America's fringes, but let's also keep in mind that in 2000 a majority of Americans, by a margin of over 500,000 votes, voted to elect someone who was also Jewish to be Vice President of the United States.

Also, why no mention of Feingold's PAC? It can be found at

Posted by: WhyGuy | December 30, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

billy b. this is a comment section on the '08 presidential race. Go back to your boss and verify where you need to be posting your comments to, okay? I'm sure Ken will help you out, okay? Good post, though. Got your point across: Gore, bad; George, good.

Posted by: jenniferm | December 30, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Billy Bones, please don't continue to drape the world in the flag of 9/11. Bush did not use "political" courage to kill people; he's using the lives and blood of our children to secure his buddies' interests in the oil fields of the Middle East, pure and simple. And the citizens of Iraq who are now dying were NOT involved in 9/11.

Also wanted to say: maybe Obama as VP, Gore as President? Would be a very interesting combination. Hillary is too hot button still, UNLESS the Bush admin. goes up in absolute flames in the next couple of years, and the censoring/impeachment process actually uncovers some facts that show how terrible his decisions have been. Then maybe there will be some perspective on presidential behavior upon which she could draw.

I've been listening to Biden, but I don't think it's there, but I think that Richardson is a VERY interesting person, and I have liked what I've heard from him.

Posted by: Anne Olivia | December 30, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson? He of the faked resume? Who had to "research" whether he had actually been drafted by the Kansas City Athletics?

And when was the last time Hilary took ANY position without first weighing the political benefit/liability?

I hope Democrats can do better than these two. Otherwise, it's gonna be a long four years. Win or lose.

Posted by: Joe Inkwell | December 30, 2005 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Maybe if you stated your position more clearly I could "get a clue"...

Posted by: Billy B. | December 30, 2005 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Chris. It is disappointing to see that once again you neglect General Wesley Clark on your list of contenders. Overall he had a good year in '05. He put forth a bold and original plan for dealing with Iraq, established ties with Congressional Democrats and has been lending his name and national security credentials to Democratic candidates in the '05 & '06 elections.

Posted by: Mike | December 30, 2005 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Who are we fighting, again! Just like an ostrich with your head in the sand. Get a clue man!

Posted by: *** | December 30, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Just try to imagine Al Gore as President when the planes attacked our country....

A likely response would have been to go to the UN and ask for a resolution condemning these actions "in the strongest terms". Isn't that what Clinton did when Castro killed some American pilots who were flying over international waters?

You people should be thanking George W. Bush for having the political courage to stand up and fight those murdering terrorists. Instead, all you do is look for some cheap political advantage - no matter how costly to the country.

Posted by: Billy Bones | December 30, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Yep! Rudy should have gotten a knod as well.

Posted by: John | December 30, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

What about Rudy Giuliani? Not even a mention?

Personally, I would have to put him in the "jury is still out" catgeory myself....

Posted by: Fred | December 30, 2005 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I think you have all forgotten someone on the sidelines right now just waiting to get into the office and that's GWB's smarter and more well spoken brother Jeb.
With the Insurance commissioner making a serious run at his post, and doing very well with the people of Florida during all of the hurricanes he is full of potential.

Posted by: John | December 30, 2005 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Can someone who Bill Clinton or Vernon Jordan called to get a job for Monica and who let Wen Ho Lee walk out with classified information ever be considered for national office?

Posted by: jon | December 30, 2005 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Since this was a column on who had the best and worst years among the contenders, I think Santorum has to be up there with Frist among the worst. He started the year as a serious candidate on par with Allen, at the very least, and is now an after thought likely to be defeated for reelection in November. He did not even have the brains to do what Romney did and duck the reelection fight, or what Warner did in ducking Allen.

Posted by: jon | December 30, 2005 10:47 AM | Report abuse

2008 will be one of the greatest primary battles on both sides. Chris- does your top 5 list change if the DNC changes the 08 primary schedule from the traditional IA, NH, SC lineup? For example, if Michigan or some type of Western primary emerges?

Though many are focusing on the South, I believe the Midwest is where it is at; a Bayh/Vilsack ticket may be the strongest. Kerry did not win too many of our Midwest states by too much in 04. If Dems do not hold on, we can kiss the presidency goodbye in 08.

I think the anti-Hillary will be the candidate who wins an early contest, i.e. Kerry, and will roll to victory. The primaries are too front loaded these days to give an underdog a true fighting chance over a length of time.

Posted by: Dem08 | December 30, 2005 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Santorum is toast. Anyone think Obama would run? VP candidate? He has to be the best politician the Dems have.

Posted by: TDG | December 30, 2005 10:44 AM | Report abuse

A good review of former Vice President Al Gore runs he wins! Or should I say we all win!!

Posted by: Paul | December 30, 2005 10:41 AM | Report abuse

That two Republican blowhards like George Allen and Haley Barbour might run for President should warn us that George W. Bush was no accident: the GOP has not lost its love for idiots with appeal to rednecks and evangelical morons.These two, along with malpractice Dr. Frist, must be driven off the presidential field.

Posted by: candide | December 30, 2005 10:41 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering why Wesley Clark isn't on your list. Is he not out there raising money?
Also Biden doesn't have a snowballs chance. He is old news and the plagarism scandal will come back to haunt him especially with the character issue barreling in as the issue of the year.

Posted by: Andy | December 30, 2005 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Santorum? He'll have enough trouble holding on to his Senate seat next year, let alone worry about running for president. I'd say he's a "no."

Posted by: Huh? | December 30, 2005 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Those who asked about Senator Biden are off base. Senator Biden voted in favor of the Bankruptcy legislation that was supported by the financial services industry, pushed by Republican power barons, and signed into law by President Bush.

This is a classic example of supporting class warfare waged on behalf of the super rich against the little guy. Joe Biden is a long time poodle for the banks and credit card industry. That makes him unworthy of his party's nomination.

Intrepid Liberal Journal

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | December 30, 2005 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Correction: Huckabee is not out of office until January 2007.

Posted by: Matt Mackowiak | December 30, 2005 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree on Bayh. He's got to be on a list, and for those who would say he's too cautious, I think thats a misperception out there. I saw his Jefferson-Jackson day speech (by the way, can be rename that day and call it Jefferson-Roosevelt or maybe Jefferson-Kennedy, I mean c'mon, Andy Jackson isn't exactly, well, a great example) in NH and he was incredible. It's funny, how sometimes a politician with an impeccable record is too bland, but one with serious question marks (see: Clinton '92) is considered flamboyant.

Posted by: BD | December 30, 2005 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I strongly believe that Evan Bayh had one of the best years. Warner did raise $3million, but look at what Bayh has raised this year, building a strong network across the country. Warner has peaked too early. Bayh has the perfect mix of exec experience as a former governor and critical foreign policy experience in the U.S. Senate that is required in our post-9/11 world.

Posted by: Midwest Dem | December 30, 2005 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Didn't you just run something on Sam Brownback this week--yet he doesn't show up on your list? Anyone who has the 100% backing of the extreme right belongs on the list if only because of the money he would get. He wouldn't get the votes unless he stealths himself, by the way.

Santorum? Don't think so, if he can't win his reelection efforts in 2006 he done with politics and on to the money making lobbyist world.

Clinton? She can easily win the nomination but at this point cannot win the general election, she still has too many negative perceptions out there. The right can't wait for her to win the nom because then they won't have to defend their candidate, a la Bush, just slime the other candidate.

Posted by: jenniferm | December 30, 2005 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, what about Biden?! Sorry for piling on, but didn't he admit to an interviewer (Tim Russert? Jon Stewart?) that he was running?

Posted by: Mike B. | December 30, 2005 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I surprised by the absence of Evan Bayh from this list. He's a clear contender for the VP slot...

Posted by: Indy | December 30, 2005 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Seems interesting that you left out Evan Bayh. There's been some buzz about him, but he didn't seem to do anything this year to really break through. I've had friends tell me they think he's too cautious a politician to really catch fire.

Posted by: AR | December 30, 2005 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Any comments on Rick Santorum? Earlier in the year, he was positioning to be a frontrunner, but we sure haven't heard much about him recently.

Posted by: Ryan | December 30, 2005 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, what about Biden? His gestures toward running are more concrete than Gore's or Richardson's.

Posted by: BL | December 30, 2005 9:44 AM | Report abuse

What about Biden? I thought, of all the Democrats, he struck the best middle ground between the Feingold camp and the Bush camp on Iraq. Call me crazy, but I think he has just the right mix to give Hillary real headaches (Biden/Warner '08)

I want to know who is telling John Kerry he has ANY chance at all. If he believes 59 million people voted FOR him, he is sorely mistaken.

Posted by: BD | December 30, 2005 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Many will call me crazy, but it would be my Christmas 2005 wish-above-all-wishes for Al Gore to run. He's got to change his mind; if he did this, it would shake up the field and be THE story of 2006. He doesn't even need to actually say he's running, he just needs to playfully hint at it.

Posted by: corbett | December 30, 2005 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Senator Hagel is my longshot bet for the GOP nomination. Beyond Senator McCain, he is the candidate least tied to the Bush Administration who can take the country and the party in a different and new direction. I would not be unhappy if John McCain won the nomination, although his comments in support of Intelligent Design get me a little nervous, but I wonder also if he and Hillary Clinton have not maxed out on their popularity.

If Hagel can do well in Iowa, NH and then SC, he has a chance. With so many candidates in 2008, it will be interesting to see which way the GOP base goes.

It would be nice to see a Republican promote Goldwater GOP values, like limited government, low taxes, free trade and civil liberties, especially in light of the direction this administration has taken us on security.

Posted by: FPR | December 30, 2005 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I am fascinated by the prospect of a Feingold or a Rice presidency, really I am. Frankly, if I could personally pick the 2008 showdown, i think Russ and Condi would be my sentimental choice.
But it's hooey to kid ourselves that america is anywhere close to electing a Jewish or Black president. As a progressive, feminist-minded kinda guy i hate to admit this, but putting a black woman and a jewish person on this list remains wishful thinking. Neither Dr. Rice or Senator Feingold, as realistic candidate, belong among the "best-of-the-best" category. Rather, they should likely be in the "sadly-won't-happen-this-lifetime" camp.
To me, these types of lists are still a lot of fun, akin to "fantasy league" sports pics that i sometime do. such lists contain choices that actually *can* win and others i *hope* to win.

Posted by: jay lassiter | December 30, 2005 8:31 AM | Report abuse

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