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The Friday Line: 21 Months to Iowa...

In the last month we've seen Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) make nice with conservative preacher Jerry Falwell, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) call for the censure of President Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) lead an effort to provide health insurance to every person in his state.

And that's not to mention the behind-the-scenes scrum by the potential candidates for key fundraisers and staff -- important jockeying despite the fact that it's still 21 or so months before Iowa voters gather for their first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.

For those who wonder why the 2008 candidates are so active before the 2006 midterm elections are even concluded, just look at the way the nomination fight has evolved over the past two cycles. In both cases, the year before the presidential election year was decisive in winnowing the field down to a few candidates who would battle it out in the primaries for the nomination. Because of the millions of dollars a candidate must raise and the type of national organization that must be built, anyone not running hard by early 2007 is likely to be too late to the game.

The 10 candidates listed below are people who, for all intents and purposes, are already running (Romney, McCain, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards), and those who have the luxury of waiting until the start of 2007 or later to make a decision (New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry).

Just to spoil the surprise, we didn't include Gore in this month's Line after he reiterated his lack of interest in another presidential bid in an interview with Vanity Fair. But until we hear a Shermanesque "no" from Gore, we still believe he could make the race and be a serious contender. Gore's lonely quest to highlight the dangers of global warming doesn't seem so strange now after Time and Vanity Fair featured the issue on their covers recently.

A few reminders about this list: The Fix thinks it's a bit early to start assigning number rankings to the various potential candidates. The names below are top five politicians from both parties who should be taken seriously at this early point in the cycle; they are listed alphabetically.

As always, use the comments section below to let me know where you agree and, sigh, disagree with The Fix.


George Allen: Just as we were preparing to write about Allen's struggles to balance his 2006 reelection race with his need to cultivate a national network for a 2008 bid, a note arrived in The Fix's inbox announcing that top GOP strategist Mary Matalin had joined the Allen effort. While Matalin's move is ostensibly aimed at aiding the Senate reelection effort, her decision to sign on with the Virginian is sure to give him a boost among those tracking every jot and tittle of the 2008 campaign. Allen is far from out of the woods, however, as his two potential Democratic opponents -- former Reagan Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb and ex-tech lobbyist Harris Miller --continue to hit him for being more interested in running for president than serving in the Senate. (The Post's Michael Shear writes about the latest example of this on his Richmond Report blog.) Read The Fix's interview with Allen.)

Rudy Giuliani: Hizzoner makes the Line not because we think he can win (or even that he will run) but because no one else we considered would impact the race as much as Giuliani if he decided to get into the contest. Although Giuliani's candidacy is seen as a non-starter by most Republicans because of his liberal social views, he would begin at or near the top of the field in all of the early primary and caucus states. Why? He has amazing name recognition nationally thanks to his starring role in responding to the 9/11 attacks. Then there's the fact that Giuliani's fundraising base in New York and his celebrity status overall would make it easy for him to raise the tens of millions necessary to compete for the nomination. With all of that said, we're betting Giuliani will choose to stay on the sidelines, make money in the private sector and be courted for an endorsement by all of the other candidates.

Mike Huckabee: The Arkansas governor blew a prime opportunity to become the buzz candidate coming out of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll last month. His speech, which blended the sacred and the secular nicely, got a rousing response from the audience but didn't translate into votes (despite the fact Huckabee could have easily bused in a cadre of supporters from neighboring Arkansas). Huckabee wound up finishing a disappointing sixth, behind even McCain who had urged attendees to vote for President Bush. Huckabee, a Baptist minister before entering politics, is the candidate best positioned to consolidate support from the party's religious voters, although he will get a run for his money (literally) from Sen. Sam Brownback (Kansas) for this key voting bloc.

John McCain: The Arizona senator continues his courting of conservatives with a speech at Falwell's Liberty University on May 12. While McCain is sure to risk losing some of his Democratic and independent supporters with his move rightward, his gains among conservative voters -- the most influential voting bloc in the GOP nominating process -- will more than make up for it. One potential hurdle for McCain among conservatives is the prominent role he played in the Senate's compromise legislation on immigration reform. Conservative Republicans tend to favor a more hard-line stance than McCain on the amnesty question. Issues aside, McCain scored a major coup on the staffing front by signing on Terry Nelson, national political director of Bush-Cheney '04, as a senior adviser to his Straight Talk America political action committee.

Mitt Romney: We have turned 180 degrees on Romney's chances over the last few months. We once viewed Romney as an also-ran because of his Mormon faith (potentially a turn off to evangelical voters) and evolving (at best) position on abortion. But he seems to have a horseshoe stowed somewhere; in the last week the Massachusetts Supreme Court handed Romney a small victory in his opposition to same-sex marriage, and he forged compromise with the Democratic-controlled Massachusetts legislature to require every Bay State resident to register for health insurance. And don't forget Romney's surprise second-place showing at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference straw poll last month. Put it all together and Romney had the best month yet for his presidental campaign-in-waiting.


Evan Bayh: In the last presidential Line, we described Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana as the tortoise of the 2008 Democratic field. That description still fits. Those who believe Bayh is too wooden and programmed to win the nomination may have spoken too soon as he has gotten noticeably better in recent months, letting a bit of his personality peek out. Bayh is never going to match Edwards in the charisma department, but he has the kind of resume that will ensure he gets a look from primary voters. Bayh also has found an issue -- security -- that he seems to be genuinely passionate about and speaks authoritatively on. (Read The Fix's interview with Bayh.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Advisers for every other Democrat considering the 2008 race have a theory of why their guy will be the last one standing to battle Clinton for the nomination, but each one of them acknowledges that Clinton will be there at the end. They are right to focus on Clinton. The New York senator will show roughly $20 million on hand as of the end of March, and without a top-tier Republican Senate opponent on the horizon this year, Clinton will continue to stockpile funds that can be directly transferred to a presidential bid. Match that huge fundraising head start with Clinton's bulky lead in every state and national poll with her status as the only woman in the contest, and it's easy to understand why she is the prohibitive favorite for the nomination. Clinton is vulnerable from a challenge from her ideological left. But her husband is beloved by the party's liberals and can give his wife cover among these voters, not to mention his astute political advice.

John Edwards: Edwards is taking a very different approach to the nomination fight in 2008 than he did in 2004. In the last presidential election, Edwards spread millions of dollars around early primary and caucus states in order to curry favor with activists who had never heard his name before. Now the party's '04 vice presidential nominee is a known commodity, allowing him to follow an entirely different blueprint -- focusing on moving around the country to discuss the issue of poverty and emphasizing his outsider credentials. If Gore decides not to run, Edwards seems to be the candidate best equipped to run to Clinton's ideological left, but it remains to be seen whether liberal voters will accept Edwards's explanation and subsequent apology for his vote in favor of the 2002 use of force resolution against Iraq. (Read The Fix's interview with Edwards.)

John Kerry: Since the start of the Friday presidential Line last fall, The Fix has included Kerry's name. The Democratic establishment was sick of him after the 2004 loss, and there appeared to be little energy for another Kerry presidential bid. But Kerry continues to prove that he belongs in the top five as he has emerged as the most forceful voice among Democrats when it comes to an exit strategy in Iraq. Kerry's call for most American troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2006 bolstered his standing among the party's liberals and even drew praise from Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold -- a potential rival for the 2008 nomination. Kerry still has to overcome the sense that he is yesterday's news, but his outspokenness on the Iraq issue has made him relevant again.

Mark Warner: The hottest candidate of 2005 has (not unexpectedly) cooled somewhat in 2006. The former Virginia governor is now settling in to the day-to-day grind of a presidential candidacy, traveling the country in search of wealthy donors and adding staff to his Forward Together political action committee. One potential problem for Warner is that unlike Clinton, Bayh and Kerry, he is unable to transfer money he raises for Forward Together into a presidential campaign. That may prompt Warner to create an exploratory committee for president sooner than any of the other top-tier Democrats in order to begin raising the tens of millions he will need to be competitive. Although the buzz on Warner has subsided a bit, the fact that he merited a recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine shows just how far he has come since being elected governor of Virginia in 2001.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 7, 2006; 7:22 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Mary Matalin Joins Team Allen
Next: Insider Interview: A Granite State Republican's Early Take on '08


Why is the article on the frontpage today? We read it 2-3 weeks ago.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't surprise me a conservative group is hunting for corruption against liberals, but really DC is full of this incestous corruption and always has been the only difference is this administration isn't hiding its contempt for labor, voters, and the poor. The democrats as a whole believe they are able to carry the day by allowing a blanket amnesty of illegals and giving 400,000 tech jobs to legals from china and india, the problem is the rank and file are now in a pickle because we are sick of the lies and contempt of the republicans and don't trust the liberals now because they are willing to give our jobs to illegals. Any gains liberals had are gone now.

Posted by: charles knicely | April 13, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Erin Go La Raza (April 7 post slamming Richardson) would do well to read up on Christianity. When England ruled Ireland, there was no need for the Catholic Church to use the shamrock "to secretly teach believers about the Trinity"; the Church of England is also Trinitarian, no secret about that. The story might make sense if the priests had been secretly teaching about transsubstantiation or Papal supremacy or the Assumption of the Virgin--or if it were told right, i.e. with regard to St. Patrick's illustration of the Trinity in his conversion efforts centuries earlier.

Posted by: Kakuzan | April 12, 2006 6:48 PM | Report abuse

A Mark Warner/Obama ticket (setting up a Obama run in 2012) would be a winner in the liberal blososphere and in the general.

Posted by: the last moderate dem | April 12, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

According to the FEC

Leadership PACs
Members of Congress and other political leaders often establish nonconnected committees, called leadership PACs, to support candidates for various federal and nonfederal offices. While these PACs might be associated with a candidate for federal office, they remain legally unaf- filiated with the candidate’s principal campaign com- mittee and operate under the same rules as other nonconnected committees. 100.5(g)(5). See Advisory Opinions 2000-12, 1986-6, 1985-40, and 1978-12 and the Explanation & Justification for 100.5(g), 68 Fed. Reg. 230 (December 1, 2003).

Additional requirements apply to Leadership PACs that do not apply to other nonconnected committees. Because of restrictions on the types of funds that federal candidates may raise and spend,, any PAC that is directly or indirectly established, financed, maintain or controlled by a federal candidate may not raise or spend funds outside the limits and prohibitions of federal law. 300.60(d), 300.61 and 300.62. See Chapter 2, Section 1 for more information.

In addition to contributions and other financial assistance, political committees may also distribute communications which support candidates, issues and parties.

Posted by: RMill | April 10, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

can you have a PAC with no reported spending on other candidates? Isn't that what the definition of a PAC is legally?

"Edwards- PAC raised $1.25 M; $23 K on-hand; no reported spending on other candidates."

Posted by: How | April 10, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Kerry is a buffoon and yesterday's news

He should be ignored

Posted by: Sandy | April 9, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Stop. Enough comments already... Chris, next topic please...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2006 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to vote for Warner.

Warner/Clark would be ideal ticket. Competent executive together with strong national defense.

Posted by: VA resident | April 9, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the Democrats: Senator Clinton is the obvious leader at this point, but this has more to do with her name recognition and husband than it does because of good policy proposals or executive leadership experience. While I feel she could win the Democratic Primary, she is too divisive to win a national election. Instead, the Democrats should nominate someone who has a better chance in a national election; this means someone less divisive and someone that can appeal to both coasts and middle America. Specifically, I think that Senator Bayh of Indiana offers a good "moderate" choice that could rally Democrats and many Independents. He has shown leadership experience as both a Governor and Senator of Indiana and is campaigning with a positive tone which I feel is key in winning (winners aren't negative in tone). Other Democrats that would perform better than Clinton in a national election also include Governor Richardson (New Mexico), former Senator John Edwards, and former Virginia Governor, Mark Warner. All these men are offering a more positive tone than Senator Clinton and will stand a better chance of reaching out to those who didn't vote Democrat in the past two elections.

Posted by: Matthew | April 9, 2006 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Dang! You guys sure aint quite the HOTLINE are you? The one Dem who has said that he IS running - you dont include. Joe Bide, Senator for 34 years - who is out in LA right now raising dough...get a clue will ya - and stop just asking other reporters what they think! The HOTLINE is still a bargain compared to this amateur bs...

Posted by: Timl | April 9, 2006 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Lots of other people lacked "certain credentials" when they ran for President, including the vast majority of the ones who were elected. The current President's father, on the other hand, who was perhaps better prepared than any other person in history for the job, turned out to be somewhat underwhelming in office and was turned out after a single term. What matters during a campaign is a combination of momentum, communication, platform (candidate's platform, not the virtually meaningless document composed by committee for the conventions), and the candidate's rapport with the public. Perceived confidence may be a part of that last one, but very few voters make their decision based on exact contents of a candidate's resume.

The only thing about Warner's experience which really falls short is the fact that because of VA law, he was limited to a single term. The election of Tim Kaine, however, demonstrated that Warner would almost certainly have been reelected had he been legally allowed to run.

Posted by: Staley | April 8, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Jason- I had posted this earlier in response


While it is true that avoiding the many pitfalls of running a national campaign is beneficial, it is not often beneficial to have lost on the national stage, as confronts Kerry, Gore and Edwards (less so as he was not seen as "in control" and loss falls mainly on Kerry).

Mark Warner is seriously lacking in certain credentials and will not be able to build them prior to the election without a job.

Grad. George Mason Univ. and Harvard Law.
Cahri, National Gov Assoc., Southern Gov Assoc.

Staff, Sen. Chris Dodd; campaign manmager Gov Doug Wilder; VA State Party Dem Chair,
Co-founder: Nextel

Approval 2005 WaPo 80%; Mason Dixon 76%

Issues: Education, Telecomm and IT, Health care

Commuted death sentence of convicted murderer Robin Lovitt

Elected Experience: One term (limited by VA law) Governor of Virginia

Posted by: RMill | April 8, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Bush Censure: No Chance in Hell

Friday April 07th 2006, 8:03 am

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat from Iowa, is embarrassed. “I’m embarrassed that more democrats haven’t lined up on this,” Harkin told the Bill Press Show. “The democrats don’t have the guts to stand up to censure a president who misled us, who lied to the American people, who broke the law and violated the Constitution of the United States in spying on the American people.” Harkin would have us believe there is a significant difference between Democrats and Republicans when in fact both represent the only party in the Washington—the Mass Murder Party, the Big Brother Snoop Party determined to wipe their feet on the Constitution. “We need to hear from people. We need to hear from people. The American people need to know, and to show support for this resolution.”

Of course, some of us have complained mightily for years, and scant few in the government or corporate media listen because they are too busy kissing the posterior of their corporate masters, too busy attempting to demonstrate they are onboard with the Straussian neocons and their mass murder abroad and police state at home agenda. Democrats and Republicans are cut from the same cloth and corporate media is little more than a lickspittle.

As an example of how Congress treats those who buck the mass murder and Constitution chomping orthodoxy, consider Cynthia McKinney, Representative from Georgia. McKinney was targeted for elimination because she is a troublemaker—she continually raises questions about covert CIA activities, about the existence of Dyncorp slave rings, and the unresolved issues surrounding nine eleven. “Throughout my tenure in Congress, I seem to evoke memory loss, especially from certain police officers who claim not to be able to recognize my face while I go to work everyday, representing the people of Georgia’s 4th Congressional District,” declared McKinney in a statement after she was accosted by a Capitol Hill cop. In fact, it is the exact opposite of memory loss—the Mafia dons who run the plutocratic whorehouse otherwise known as Congress recognize McKinney all too well, as do their cops, and they are determined to get rid of her for asking embarrassing questions capable of making Tom Harkin blush like a school girl.

A grand jury should be investigating Bush and crew, but instead one is investigating McKinney. “I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all, and I regret its escalation, and I apologize,” said McKinney from the House floor, akin to the floor of a Chicago slaughterhouse. “The March 29 incident has embarrassed Democrats, including fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus, none of whom has publicly defended her behavior,” reports the Associated Press.

It seems Democrats are embarrassed about a lot of things. Democrats no doubt will breathe a sigh of relief after formal charges are brought against McKinney and she is bounced from the House of Whores. Only then will they be able to return sans embarrassment to the business at hand—kissing the feet of their corporate masters and squawking ineffectually against Bush’s management style.

Democrats are running for the exits now that Russ Feingold’s censure of Bush has grown miniscule legs, soon to be cut out from beneath. “In fact, only two Democrats have co-sponsored Feingold’s resolution: Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Barbara Boxer of California. The rest have distanced themselves from the proposal, with many saying the resolution is premature because a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of the eavesdropping program has not concluded,” reports CNN. “There can be no serious question that warrantless wiretapping, in violation of the law, is impeachable. After all, Nixon was charged in Article II of his bill of impeachment with illegal wiretapping for what he, too, claimed were national security reasons,” writes John Dean, Nixon’s lawyer.

Bush will not be impeached, let alone censured. Our country will continue its unabated slide toward tyranny. Instead of concentrating on Bush’s crimes, the corporate media will focus on Cynthia McKinney, the “immigration” (illegal alien) bill, weepy witnesses at the patsy Moussaoui sentencing trial, and Mick Jagger’s jibe at “expat bankers and their girlfriends” who will show up at a Rolling Stones concert in the slave labor gulag known as China. Jagger, at least, understands what side of the bread gets butter.

Posted by: che | April 8, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Remember how everyone in 2004 was saying the Democratic contest would boil down to Howard Dean vs. someone else. Well, it didn't. It was John Kerry vs. John Edwards. Now everybody is saying it's Hillary Clinton vs. someone else. Sen. Clinton will not be able to keep taking vague positions on the issues and expect to win the nomination.

Posted by: Q | April 8, 2006 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Some guy was dead on earlier: Romney's impressive. Watch out for him. He could give McCain a run for his money.

Maybe a McCain-Romney ticket? I think this would be a good ticket, and a one that could and would win.

For the Dems: I still like Evan Bayh. His record is very impressive, and is just right where the voters are: in the center.

Perhaps a Bayh-Edwards ticket? I have to face the fact that there will be a liberal somewhere on the Democratic ticket in 2008. Hopefully, not THE nominee. Edwards is the only liberal/populist (well, to be fair, he's more center-left) guy that I like who is mulling over a run in 2008.

Posted by: UT Student/Centrist Dem | April 8, 2006 2:19 AM | Report abuse

in a way,

that what he does in his marriage is

_his business_

not yours,

and he still did a better job than this president while being assaulted by

the media and republicans 24/7

and he and his wife still work together on some level...and you know if she were running, she'd have an advisor that could tell her a thing or two, and she's already been second in command....

why do you think the Republicans hate her?

is it really fear?

I don't have any preferences, but I'm tired of the everything looks like a screw because we are used to using a screwdriver a lot........DEFENSE DEPARTMENT would be the screwdriver here

BIG Employer....lot of influence...why I bet they even lobby..........

speaking of Clinton,

and you know, town hall meetings make a lot of sense...

look what the one in Charlotte, NC did for Bush...

draft dodger, coke head, alcoholic, marginal student, business failure, ill-spoken....

I mean with his credentials anyone could be president right?

with his credentials you couldn't get a clearance to work as a civilian for a govnernment agency...

so how did he get to by your president?

connections? is he really president or just the visible hand in the puppet show?

this is what the geese analogy is about.

you can talk/honk all you want to but if you don't know what you're looking at, your conclusions are meaningless...

sort of like scientists before Copernicus discussing how the planets revolve around the earth........theory is nice

but if you can't see what is in front of your faces.....well,

you can't possibly vote correctly...

reread my posts, especially the one about making politicians responsible...

maybe Teddy needs to leave, maybe Mary Jo is important...


Posted by: You know, Bill Clinton also showed you... | April 7, 2006 11:43 PM | Report abuse

To Dan:

Poverty is an issue, it's just not really an issue most people have much interest in talking about. For one thing, there isn't really any specific political moves any Presidential candidate can point to that will have any major or significant effect on it. Poverty has always been here and always will be here--and it might be an important topic for discussion during a campaign at times when economic conditions are especially bad--but they aren't right now. Bill Clinton learned and showed the rest of us how improving the lot of the Middle Class is what really pays in politics. That still applies today.

Posted by: Staley | April 7, 2006 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Feingold's policy about raising money in WI would probably change in a Presidential run is the point I intended to make. I think Clark or Feingold would raise the money after they declared candidacy. The blogosphere is still a place for money.

Posted by: college kid | April 7, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Richardson (and his advance staff) had better learn his audiences.

I almost fell on the floor laughing uncontrollably when I saw him on C-SPAN addressing a Manchester, NH Saint Patrick's Day breakfast. He said that they were gathered to celebrate Saint Patrick and four-leaf clovers. Four-leaf clovers may come into play in some parts of Irish folklore, but surely not on St. Patrick's Day.

If Ted Kennedy was to refer to Emiliano Zapata as Speedy Gonzales at a Cinco de Mayo celebration, it couldn't have been worse.

Bill, we use Shamrocks in the celebration; and Shamrocks have three leaves. (Used by the Catholic Church during the English Opression to secretly teach believers about The Trinity)

Posted by: Erin Go La Raza | April 7, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Wesley Clark is the quality in the Democratic field. I saw him speak for (a total of) six hours in the NH primary and was tremendously impressed. He's the liberal version of what people think John McCain embodies. Put me down as yet another reader of this column who wants him in the "Wes Wing!"

Posted by: Disgusted Liberal Republican | April 7, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Bredesen is a fairly popular Democratic governor of a red state but if you look at just how many popular red state Dem governors there are you see that he is really not special. Bredesen has a net approval of 18%.

West Virginia Gov Joe Manchin(D) has a net approval of 55%.

Wyoming Gov Dave Freudenthal(D) has a net approval of 44%.

Montana Gov Brian Schweitzer(D) has a net approval of 42%.

Oklahoma Gov Brad Henry(D) has a net approval of 39%.

Kansas Gov Kathleen Sebelius(D) has a net approval of 26%.

Iowa Gov Tom Vilsack(D) has a net approval rating of 23%.

New Mexico Gov Bill Richardson(D) has a net approval of 23%.

Arizona Gov Janet Napolitano(D) has a net approval of 22%.

Virignia Gov Tim Kaine(D) has a net approval of 20%.

North Carolina Gov Michael Easley(D) has a net approval of 19%.

And of course you have to mention arguably the most popular red state Dem governor ever in Mark Warner, whose approval rating was in the high 70's low 80's when he left office. Warner, Richardson, Vilsack or Napolitano would all probably do much better on a national ticket then Bredesen.

Posted by: Ohio guy | April 7, 2006 5:23 PM | Report abuse

No Frist?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse


I did not try and hijack the issue - my earlier point was - I believe people are looking for a candidate who can define what it means to be an American -

the response was we will never agree -

I just tried to given an example -

It is like on the immigration issue - under the two year you are out rule this means women who are here illegally with a child, and married to someone legal, then we as Americans are mandating the break up of the family - does she take her American citizen child back to god knows where or abandon her child to her American citizen husband? ( I can type pages on the child support nightmare the two year rule is going to create - welfare roles are going up because good luck getting payroll deduction in Mexico)

As Americans we can agree it is wrong to allow for the foregoing result - all I am saying is I believe we as a people are looking for someone who can speak to the bigger idea of what it means to be an American instead of trying to micromanage every issue to the point of division

As I said b4 I will vote for the Democrat or Republican who can accomplish this goal.

For the record and in support of your position on marriage - if you review the common law summaries of Blackstone he said - more or less "it is the sole provence of the church to decide when a marriage is scriptual and the roll of the state to enforce the marriage contract as recognized by the church."

The slippery slope began mid 1800's over the issue of property and support - men were abandoning their children and wives with no liability - the courts intervened and slowley took control over marriage - something which at the time of the Revolution was the sole responsibility of the Church - I say give it back to the church - the church can have marriage and the state can have registered civil unions.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 7, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

For RMill and any other poster is knowledgeable and is high on former Viriginia Gov. Mark Warner:

Doesn't he lack foreign policy experience and knowledge compared to other candidates? I asked this question earlier but no one answered which is understandable since there have been so many posts here.

Also I will repeat another question I asked earlier:

Don't you think a repeat candidate such as former Vice President Gore, Sen. John Kerry, and Gen. Clark would be better candidates than a first-time candidate because they've learned from experience? To me this is similar to having a rookie pitcher going in a big game against a veteran.

Posted by: Jason | April 7, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse


It doesn't surprise me in the least that Kennedy makes that mistake. There's a dinosaur in need of political extinction.

If we all agreed on the issue, would it really be an issue?

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Bobby WC,

My last boss was been Gay and when I met his husband the world didn't stop.

Have we discussed candidates long enough that we can hijack to issues?

As far as I am concerned, the term "Marriage" is a religious term that has no place in government. Call them all civil-unions, you know a personal contract between 2 people, and let teh religions have their marriage. A marriage should have the Legal status as a Civil-Union but religions should also have the right to have their own marriage laws. In fact, the Jewish church does. The Jewish faith does not consider a couple divorced until the divorce is final through the church.

As far as laws are concerned, all legal benefits should derive from and pass through the Civil-Union. Marriage should not carry any legal weight as it is a product of teh religious institution and we have this little thing called separation of church and state.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the good people of Maine can get Susan Collins to switch parties and the ticket can be Richardson/Collins -

It could happen

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 7, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I do believe a Republican or Democrat can bring a sense of US Americanism to the fore front without having to piecemeal every issue -

Does anyone disagree that it is part of our values that everyone have an equal opportunity to an education, to a job, to housing, to speak their mind - o be free to follow their heart

Yes we are divided on the issue of gay marriage (polls are changing on this though for gay marriage) on these divisive issues we are divided because no one will speak to the greater issue - is it who we are are as a nation to regulate a person's heart or intimacy? no one ever asks the larger question.

Is it me or is it silly to believe that the world will end if two men introduced themselves as married - we ignore the fact they are living together in all ways as married, but are okay so long as they do not refer to it as marriage.

This is why we are a bankrupt nation - morally and financially - the politicians keeo us divided so they can destroy everything American

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

If we do not stand for such larger ideas, then what do we stand for?

The candidate, Democrat or Republican who can answer this question will have my vote -

Posted by: Bobby WIghtman-Cervantes | April 7, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Phil Bredesen is the Governor of Tennessee and there have been recent rumblings, since he is from a red state and is cruising to an easy re-election, that he may be good for the ticket.

Survey USA has his approval rating at 56%.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I would really like it if people on the right would stop telling me who among the Dems 'has a chance to win'... you know, because whomever they suggest is someone that activist Dems -- you know, the people who donate, who volunteer, who man phone banks, who work their hearts our for the candidate -- would hate. Bredesden [?] I've never heard of, Warner I'm lukewarm about at best.

I don't see a similar phenomenom among Dems. I don't say to Republicans -- 'the only chance you've got is with Rudy Guiliani' just because even though I can't stand him, I can't stand him less than the other potential candidates.

Oh, as for Biden? I called his office the day he voted for that vile bankruptcy bill and he couldn't even tell me why. Couldn't figure out why voted for it. Not a single reason came to mind.

No thank you. Not only that, he never shuts up.

Posted by: Drindl | April 7, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Richardson can be a really strong candidate-definitely has the right background. Obama needs a few more years so he doesn't fall into the same trap Edwards did. He's definitely a rising star in the Dem. party. (Although its a bad sign when Ted Kennedy can't distinguish between 'Obama' and 'Osama')

I think the only common set of values you're going to find is the core set of freedoms written into the constitution. Speech, religious freedom, press, etc. I think differing ideas and debate make for better public policy in the end. Personally, I would be suspicious if we all agreed on everything.

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Too soon for Obama.

I'll take Richardson any day at either end of the ticket.

Richardson- Bayh

He is definately in my Top 2. He needs to get through re-election and then get stumping. He will be well behind in the game by January 2007.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Not much support for my ticket of Richarson/Obama -

I love this forum for the people who accuse Chris of being on the left one day and then the next on the right - maybe he is just beltway and not mainstream America

Everyone I know is tired of he said she said - every one I know is tied of "he lied first so his lie is bigger"

The US is at a crossroads wherein it will divide itself and become weaker or unite and become stronger.

At the end of the day I believe the super majority of US Americans are looking for someone who has the ability to unite us on common values.

I am so tired of being divided on issues of gay rights, abortion, immigration and on and on while Washington bankrupts our nation while playing golf in Scotland -

here in South Texas both Democratic Congressman do not even dispute the allegation that they spend more time in China making money than they do in South Texas.

I am voting for some one who can tap mainstream US Americanism - positive morality - not this everyone is going to Hell by the radical Religious right-

We need a candidate who can define what it means to be a US American and then unite us behind that definition.

This is why I am equally open to Democrat Bill Richarson, and Republican Susan Collins

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 7, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Do you remember Biden's performance in 1988? Press won't let him forget either. And all those corporations may be his friend if he is only the Senator from Delaware, its another story running for President.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

college kid-

My apologies, I assumed nothing but my post was erased accidently and I retyped quickly and made an error.

I still say the hole is in the premise that internet fund raising is the answer. If Feingold and Clark are so popular, why haven't they raised any money? You made the point that Feingold raises from Wisconsin contributors purposefully, which is great if you want to stay a Senator from Wisconsin, not if you want to run a national campaign.

And what do you define as plenty? It was a novelty in 2003-04 and Dean tapped in. Now everyone has on-line fundraising as part of their campaigns.


Who is this Richards you are referring to? Do you mean Richardson? Just want to clarify.

Not sure about everyone else, but I don't live in the Beltway either (Cleveland, Ohio).


I am mildly surprised about Lindsay Graham. After his performance in the Clinton Impeachment, I must say I am impressed with his moderation. I think he has positioned himself well for a shot at the Republican ticket as VP.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

oops, Richardson, not Richards, nonetheless A's-gate kills his chances.

Posted by: otis | April 7, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Allen is definitely way too similar to Bush, and the fact that his name is George doesn't help.

What do you guys think of Lindsay Graham as a VP candidate for someone like McCain? He loves the press and is a great bipartisan guy. If McCain has to pull to the right a little bit, Graham might be a good counterweight for the moderates

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The only chance for Dems is Warner + either Bredesen or Richards (although A's-gate argues against Richards). Except Edwards, the others are legislators who have to compromise to get things done--ergo "waffle." Edwards is too closely associated with Kerry to win.
Other possible win for Dems would be the other Kerrey, Bob. Any pair of Bob Kerrey, Warner, and Bredesen could win, the other Dems cannot.

Posted by: otis | April 7, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Greg, the second part of Cal-Gals post refers to Romney as does my post. Sorry for being uncler.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Dan, Allen has the "ability to work with Dems"? With all due respect, that sounds like what they said about Dubya in 98/99. I think there's going to be significant Bush fatigue by the time 08 roles around, and Allen is waaaay to similar to Bush. Romney would make for a much more interesting candidate (or anti-McCain if you prefer)

Happy Friday!

Posted by: Greg-G | April 7, 2006 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I actually think Joe Biden would make a good Presidential candidate, but he may be past his prime. He is well-spoken and probably the best versed in foreign affairs out of all of the Dems.

And I have to disagree a bit that DE is a "lousy" launching pad, although it is not ideal due to its obvious lack of political clout. The state DOES have a ton of corporations based there due to their tax laws, a lot of which (esp the credit card companies) have become good "friends" with Biden over the years, giving him a fairly decent well of campaign cash to tap.

Posted by: Greg-G | April 7, 2006 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Yep. And all the right positions filled. If he wins the Primary, he will be pretty tough to beat. And he has a demonstrated ability to work with Dems.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

The appeal of George Allen is just a mystery to me. Sure, he looks good on paper--all the "right" positions (pun unintended but there anyway)--but the guy can NOT talk! His spouting of talking points is the MOST wooden of any politician I've ever seen.

Romney, on the other hand, is slick as a mud wrestler.

Posted by: Cal Gal | April 7, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

you're still geese to me Dan.

pretending I'm a dog doesn't change that.

ha ha ha.

Posted by: that's cool... | April 7, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

there isn't enough to go around for everyone, but there will be probably be plenty to go around to feingold.

Posted by: college kid | April 7, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Outside the Beltway (where I live) people are more interested in having a president who's competent, talks straight, and is honest. Evan Bayh has all of those qualities, and then some. We are not electing an "American Idol" or a cheerleader-in-chief, but rather somebody who is going to lead this country out of the mess that George W. Bush has handed us. Sen. Bayh has the experience and the brain-power to do just that.

Posted by: Rich | April 7, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

OK. Thanks nameless. But you realize that you just put yourself in with the likes of Che in our hearts and minds.
Good bye.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

it's college kid, and why call me college boy? i'm a female. did you just assume?

yes, many people will try to get money from blogs, but certain candidates are more popular.

so, that *was* a hole in your reasoning.

Posted by: college kid | April 7, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I am not really worried about the way I'm coming across...

I'm not trying to fit in or stir you up.

I view you as a group of geese grazing on grass around the myriad pools of water that exist in the Washington Metro area.

Oblivious to the rest of the world...

I'm the rest of the world.

I'm also a former Washington DC resident that knows a few things besides the DC area, I've traveled from coast to coast, by car several times in the last five years and have talked with and even interacted with people in ways besides "reading" about them.

thanks for trying to include me and teach me the styles used here.

as far as remaining nameless, it started out as a joke, and I enjoy it...

I like the idea of having the leading sentence included in very bottom line...

posted by: it's humourous to me, sorry if it makes your box seem threatened.


Posted by: Dan, thanks for your comment... | April 7, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Kerry failed agains Bush in 04. I'm in his state and I voted against him.

Put him against McCain... PLEASE, I beg you. We haven't had a landslide like that since Reagan v. Dukakis.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Kerry in 08, watch out, he is coming back and will win!

Posted by: 08 we will make right | April 7, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse


Its not the issue its the way you are coming across. If you want to discuss Illegal Immigration or even Immigration reform we'll be happy to partake in the discussion. But it would be nice if you used a more standard format and included a name, even if its HeyYou.

Most of us would even consider it to be on topic since McCain is driving a bill on the issue.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Joe Futrelle

As a general rule our two party system totally hoses the third parties. I guess that's why they are all called third party.

I'm all for dumping the two party system. The Rep party has all but split anyway.

But tell me, when was the last time a third party took an electoral vote?

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 3:01 PM | Report abuse

racial is not what I was feeling...

that was a mocking of racially motivated responses to the _illegal_ immigrant issue...

ususally by the illegals or their friends, as it is their only response to the idea that hiring _illegals_ or

the act of butting in line in front of those that are trying _legally_ to become immigrants on the path to citizenship

and vehemence is not the same as venomous, although to ones threatened by fact it may appear that way.

are you friends with the former democratic senator from NM, lobbying for Mexico in favor of illegals, because it brings money to Mehico?

I happen to have a lot of friends that are being displaced by illegals,

in the formerly middle-class blue collar world...

hiring _illegals_

is effectively the same thing as outsourcing domestically all jobs that require you to be present to do them:



electrical contracting,


factory work with false documentation,



iron work.

they _are_ citizens

that are being marginalized by your,

"oh I didn't know that, attitude."

Posted by: oh, that was nice... | April 7, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"Both" parties?

What about the Green Party? Given how fast we're growing (more elected Greens every election), and that we're the only party that has consistently opposed the Iraq war and has never equivocated on global warming and the end of cheap oil, I'd say we're worth watching.

Posted by: Joe Futrelle | April 7, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse




it means asking for permission

to be yourself.


Posted by: I further put forth that you dont' understand what | April 7, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

as to the war on terror...

Funny how I did not feel the least bit threatened by the protests on the immigration issue. No one was shaking a flag at me.

The obvious racial bias you showed in your post shows that you feel threatened (although I can not fathom you racial epithat). I am just wondering how? Or is it easier to spill out illogical venom instead of making a valid argument.

Guess I am just not real clear at what exactly your point is in posting what you did.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

pointed that out I will feel really good about obviously ignoring your


pander on bucky.


Posted by: no I've not noticed that but not that you've | April 7, 2006 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Have you not noticed yet that the first form space is for your username, not subject line obsequious and anonymous user?

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Forever a democrat...

Some retreads on that cabinet list. Subordinating your ambitions and personal philosophies is difficult and up and coming candidates like the ones you mentioned are not likely to do so for 4 - 8 years. Spitzer will be a leading contender in 2012 (if we are still on the outs) even he is Governor of New York. Obama from big state Illinois is inexperienced to provide depth in a cabinet positionby 2008 and is young enough to want to pursue his own agenda.

Gore and Clinton would find a cabinet post hard to swallow after being the top executives.

Huckabee is a Republican and don't know of any value he would have in a cabinet.

Rubin could be back. Vilsack still wants to be president but could take a cabinet post.

I mentioned Clark and Biden.

Other possible cabinet members in Dem admin:
Gephardt for Labor Secretary, former Sens. Mitchell and Nunn could be possible for Homeland, Defense or State. Sen. Paul Sarbnes at HUD, Commerce or Treasury. Sens. Jeffords or Feinstein for Interior or EPA, and Sen. Akaka for Veterans Affairs.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

is by and large a non existent vote...

Mexican Mafia, I think not:

it's so effective that 12 million towel head lookalikes managed to sneak, nay may I say _saunter_ in

and now they're waving Mexican flags at you as if to say....

"we're Mexicans not Americans"

while they beg for you to help them out? They're not begging, they're threatening you....and you weak kneed pollyanas know it....

you'd better vote them citizenship pendejo's


Posted by: the hispanic vote... | April 7, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson is a far better politician than any of the five Democrats you listed, and he IS running for President. He enjoys unprecedented bipartisan support as governor of New Mexico, and the Hispanic vote is the fastest-growing sgment of the electorate.

Posted by: WK | April 7, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

poseurs, not poisers...


Posted by: sorry that's | April 7, 2006 2:25 PM | Report abuse

it's so effective that 12 million towel head lookalikes managed to sneak, nay may I say _saunter_ in

and now they're waving Mexican flags at you as if to say....

"we're Mexicans not Americans"

while they beg for you to help them out? They're not begging, they're threatening you....and you weakneed pollyanas know it.

The war on terror could be ended by arresting bush, cheyney, rumsfield for foisting a PNAC agenda on an unsuspecting nation and his staff and putting someone of substance in until the 2008...

hint hastert wouldn't be in the list or Ted Stevens....

perhaps you could tap Hilary and Bill Clinton...they seem to know what is going on...

ha ha ha...what a bunch of posuers you are.


Posted by: as to the war on terror... | April 7, 2006 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

college boy

The mythical blogsphere fund raising machine is not the silver bullet. Everyone who has not proven to raise money is magically going to be a contender for President through the internet. There isn't enough to go around for everyone.

This is not a hole in my reasoning as much as it only further proves the point I was making, that these candidates have not proven to have the national network required to be considered credible national candidates.

New England with the exception of NH, voted against Bush with a vengence then.

Only NH (51% to 49%) switched red to blue from 2000 to 2004. Kerry won by a minimum of 53% in every state, some over 60%.

1988 was the last year any other New England state voted Republican.

Still, my point is that Delaware is a tough presidential launch pad and New England is perceived national as the bastion of liberalism (along with the West Coast) in the US.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Luis, it is "their".

Posted by: Neal | April 7, 2006 2:08 PM | Report abuse

you know watching bush, I can see that he's _pulling_ McCain...

just to let you know where I stand.

I think McCain is an embarrassment as well. Pandering to the religious right?

Using bushes campaign manager, asking us all to give up our morals and "just support the president?"

is he a man or a panderer?

who wants another smarmy, lieing through their teeth adherer to standards of sanctimonious theivery?

we're in Iraq because of the oil,

because the president and his friends like oil and they also love and make money from defense....


is the embarrassment that McCain is linking himself with.

who can trust someone like that?

he's a distinguished war vet?

what was Cunning Ham? what kinda guy was he?

thanks so much, continue with your learned honking...

hope you find some nice grass.


Posted by: regarding McCain... | April 7, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Richardson, Vilsack, Obama, even Spitzer are names that deserve to be on this list, even with circumstances that suggest their futures might have a longer time horizon.
One way I like to think of it is a little backwards - these names would fit nicely into a cabinet, joined by the likes of James Lee Witt, Mike Huckabee, Al Gore, even Bill Clinton (as sec of state), with Robert Rubin, John Podesta and maybe a David Gergen or two, emphasizing the need for a renewal of the country's bipartisan heritage.
A Clinton/Feingold or Kerry/Warner ticket in '08 might need to gather a group like this to restore some civility and inclusive pride to our presently demoralized political discourse.
Put these people in a Clinton/Feingold administration

Posted by: Forever a democrat | April 7, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

McKinney is an embarrassment, to somehow act as_if that weren't true is to call forth questions of your own honesty...

and thanks for not speaking off topic...

and speaking of sitting members of congress let's look at their mores....

I think the focus should be on making those that _hire_ illegals into criminals, felony criminals...

I think congress people should be _less_ exempt from getting away from commiting crimes...

the reason congress people should be not at all exempt from being prosecuted for crimes, _any_ crimes is that they handle laws...

how can we be assured that the congress people are acting in _our_ best interests IF they don't adhere to the laws that they pass...

I think it's time to arrest a few congress people.

I like the idea that Rudy Guilliani had in New York City, they were knee deep in murder, flagrant robbery, rape, assault, and so on...New York City was a CRIME CAPITAL....

then he pressed the New York City Cops to arrest anyone commiting a crime, scofflaws, subway vandals, what-have-you...

turns out crime went to zero.

the reason being, the people that think nothing about

not paying for lunch
not paying a parking ticket
not reporting honestly on their taxes
hiring illegals
shop lifting
not paying for a subway pass/jumping the turnstile
punching a cop because they don't need to respect the law,

were the same ones murdering, raping, assaulting and what not

if you arrest congress people for their daily inability to simply follow the law of the land, then you won't be troubled by the ones that they are passing to
rape you of your rights as a citizen.

prosecute fully for hiring illegals...

thanks so much.

Posted by: dear're a jerk... | April 7, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

A few of you are holding Mitt Romney to a much tougher standard than the other candidates on the "flip-flop" issue. My own former governor, Mark Warner, ran on a no-new-taxes pledge and then raised taxes. HRC was railing against illegal immigrants a few months back and then a couple of weeks ago used the name of Jesus in support of them. Edwards/Kerry were for the Iraq war and now.... It seems to me as if Romney is doing what almost all smart presidential candidates do: first run right or left (depending on the party), then run to the center after the nomination is assured. Romney is a governor who can point to significant accomplishments in government(including, probably, the recent health-insurance bill), public service (the 2002 Winter Olympics) and the private sector. Plus he has a beautiful wife and family and has advantages over the other likely GOP candidates in New Hampshire and Michigan. Plus, he's going to have the money to compete and win.

Posted by: Mark | April 7, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Republican Contenders Money Watch

Allen- $6.8 M raised; $4.94 M on-hand; $221,417 spent on other candidates; PAC raised $61 K; $3 K on hand; spent $2,500 on other candidates.

Brownback- $213 K raised; $153 K on-hand; $2,100 spent on other candidates; PAC raised $242 K; $107 K on hand; $32,500 spent on other candidates.

Frist- Raised $81 K; $0 on-hand; $0 to other candidates; PAC raised $4.275 M; $522 K on-hand; $81,000 to other candidates.

Giuliani- PAC raised $303 K; $295 K on-hand; $58,000 spent on other candidates.

Hagel- $259 K raised; $159 K on-hand; $34,000 spent on other candidates; PAC raised $741 K; $225 K on-hand; $94,116 spent on other candidates.

Huckabee- NO INFO currently available

McCain- Raised $153 K; $1.1 M on-hand; $15,500 spent on other candidates; PAC $2.8 M raised; $1.05 M on-hand; $197,914 spent on other candidates.

Romney- Old Senate campaign fund has $20 K and is $3.1 M in debt. PAC raised $59 K; $30 K on-hand; $12,000 spent on other candidates.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Gerrymandering will be needed at all. Once being in the middle is "IN", candidates can campaign by saying they are in the middle.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse


Why isn't Poverty an Issue. (and this from an uncaring Moderate - me, not you).

With HUGE apologies to Staley for posting in his name before. I was trying to talk TO him, not AS him (or her).

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:42 PM | Report abuse


Moderates have more pull now than they did, but thats the void of conservative leadership in both Chambers created when DeLay left...moderates are more emboldened. The RSC still as a lot of pull with their ~115 House Members.

Just look at the immigration bill...Bush is definite on the moderate side of that debate and conservatives are torpedoing the whole deal b/c of the guestworker provisions. The right isn't currently on the fringe, and I suspect that it won't be until at least 2010 after the next round of gerrymandering.

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 1:41 PM | Report abuse


Don't be so sure that New England is so strongly Blue. Most of the people I know (admittedly not a valid polling sample) are strongly in the middle and voted as a block AGAINST Bush.

I have never had a conversation with someone who admitted they voted FOR Kerry though many say they voted against Bush. A strong moderate Republican espousing a modest social agenda would do well. remember we DID elect a republican governor.

Why Kennedy and Kerry keep getting elected is beyond me though the fact that Kerry ran unopposed in the last senate election might have something to do with it.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

You say Feingold shows limited fundraising ability outside of Wisconsin. In his 1992 campaign, he promised to get the vast majority of his campaign contributions from Wisconsin residents.

If he were to make a national run, I think his best bet would be the blogosphere. He hasn't really asked for their money yet, but if he runs, I think a lot of folks on the blogs would be willing to help.

So, that's just pointing out a hole in your comments.

Posted by: college kid | April 7, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Character is the issue I have with Romney. While he has not done anything Unethical or which would give him a bad name, quite the opposite, he is a good Mormon boy.

However, it was a mistake for him to suppress his Mormon roots for so long to gain the seat in Mass only to now try to reassert them in his bid for Pres.

I think it shows a "I will say what I need to say in order to get the job." mentality. That is what I can't stand. While he will truly believe what he says in his statements, it reflects a policy of catering to the polls rather than governing based on sound policy.

We are elcting the Pres based on the beliefs of Now. If those policies change next year, then you will no longer the person we voted for.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse


While it is true that avoiding the many pitfalls of running a national campaign is beneficial, it is not often beneficial to have lost on the national stage, as confronts Kerry, Gore and Edwards (less so as he was not seen as "in control" and loss falls mainly on Kerry)

Refresher on Campaign Fund Raising Totals:

Bayh- $3.3M raised; $9.6 M on-hand; spent $0 on other candidates; PAC raised $1.5 M; $819 K on-hand; spent $74 K on other candidates.

Clinton- $23 M raised; $17 M on-hand 12/31/05; spent $358,350 on other candidates; PAC raised $1.5 M; $165 K on-hand; spent $110,000 on other candidates

Edwards- PAC raised $1.25 M; $23 K on-hand; no reported spending on other candidates.

Kerry- $5.5 M raised; $297 K on-hand; $6,500 to ther candidates; PAC raised $2.3 M; $259 K on-hand; spent $25,485 on other candidates.

Warner- PAC raised $3.3M, $2.5 M on-hand 12/31/05; spent $51,900 on other candidates.

Biden has $240,000 in his PAC and $2.5 M in his Senate campaign fund. Not staggering numbers when you consider that Warner raised something like $1.5 M in one day in December on his birthday.

Also, Delaware is a tough launch pad for a national campaign (not as important but relevant) and New England is strongly blue already.

He is a good candidate for Secretary of State or Supreme Court in a democratic administration.

Feingold has $310 K in his PAC and $793 K in his Senate campaign account. Shows little fund raising ability outside of Wisconsin.

Clark's PAC has $22,543 on-hand through Feb 28th (took in only , having spent over $576 K and only $10,000 to candidates. Had $447 K on-hand at last check in his 2004 Presidential account. This is not a sustainable generator of funding for a national campaign. Should however, be considered for Secretary of Defense or CIA Director.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I was kind of cheered by Chris's inclusion of Gore and the positive response by some of those posting here to his potential candidacy. I fit the category if Gore isn't running, then I support Edwards camp.
Perhaps, I took his non-Shermanesque intension not to run in 2008 too literally. I see he is still running third behind Hillary and Kerry in a recent poll, with Edwards close behind.

I actually think unlike other posters that Kerry has improved of late, but his call in from Davos during the Alito hearings, shows he hasn't learned all the lessons he needs to learn from 2004. Both Gore or Edwards would run more convincingly as populist candidates. Kerry would be superior to any of his Republican competitors, including the New and Improved John McCain who has embraced Bush and Falwell. Even his charming appearance the other day on the Daily Show can't overcome this fact.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | April 7, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Poverty an Issue. (and this from an uncaring Moderate - me, not you).

Posted by: Staley | April 7, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I could not let the comment about "The Fix" living in a bubble go un-answered.

I have to wonder if scootmandubious and the other Dems will wake up and realize that it's time to abandon the "we are right, why won't anyone realize it?" strategy. While it may be emotionally satisfying to regard 51% of the country as morons, the fact of the matter is that politics are about persuasion - not sitting around shouting the same thing over and over again and thinking that there will be some revelatory miracle that suddenly shifts everyone to your side.

There is a growing moderate segment in this country of economically conservative, socially liberal voices who are absolutely dying to have a candidate come forward with NEW ideas. If Democrats really think that Bush-bashing censure resolutions and rabid anti-war sentiments are the path to change, then you are adopting the same strategy you used in the last election: "We do not have to present new ideas because SURELY by now everyone hates Bush like us?" Oops - 4 more years.

Lest you think I am biased, Reps are not going to do much better if they rely on the "everyone hates gays" and the "Iraq war is a huge success/look out behind you it's Osama!" strategies.

The party that comes to the middle is going to win the next election, which is why you'd love to see the HRC-McCain faceoff. Bubba was no hard left-winger in spite of the way BOTH parties have tried to paint him and his wife is the same. And as soon as McCain convinces the Republican right that he is the only hope of defeating HRC and gets the nom, he will return to his rightful place in the center. Leaving us with the kind of debate we deserve - real issues.

Posted by: JG | April 7, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse


You are assuming that McCain will need the ultra conservatives to get his agenda through congress.

The country is moving to the middle. How many of the Dem front runners are considered "Centrist".

Much of McCains itinerary will get strong support from the middle from both parties. Congress will no longer be R/D, but will actully become Liberal/Centrist/Moderate/Conservative where the moderates and centrists form mini coalitions (for want of a better word) ala the agreement of the 12.

Can we get a better word than Centrist?

And I apologise for coming down so hard. The war is over, its time for the media to catch on to that fact.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse


Exactly. McCain's big advantage has always been "I do as I say". He never needed to SAY anything. You needed to just look at his record and know where he stood. By going to the right to appease the Religious base of the party, he risks opening himself to "But you said during the election that you would..." He has never had that problem before. Integrity has always been his most valued treasure.

By saying one thing to the right during the Primary and then possibly going back to his true positions during the general, he risks alienating those who disagree with him on certain issues but would vote for him solely on the strength of his character.

Lets discuss the character of these 10 people.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse


I agree with Iraq comments. I suspect you and I are pretty close on the spectrum. Didn't mean to say that the war phase was handled badly-quite the contrary. The term "Iraq war" is just the vernacular for our current situation-which is what I was referring to.


Good point, although I think realistically every professional politician has to play the game, so to speak. McCain is a straight shooter, and I think he'll govern from the middle-right. Doing so while listening to the base of his party isn't a mutually exclusive proposition. Were he to become POTUS, he will have to deal with the conservatives or he won't get any of his moderate agenda passed-esp. with such low ratings from his Republican breathern in Congress...

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry everyone.

Um, it seems that alot of the Dems have a line like: "As long as they can get over their support of the war vote..."

I guess I am WAY out of the loop on things but if everyone is Blaming the war on GWB then why should the Dems need to apologise for doing what they thought was the right thing at the time. Forget looking at the vote in hindsight. Look at the vote in terms of the then and there.

WMDs are no joke. Congress was 100% correct to go in and stop them. And that is exactly what the Dem congressmen thought thye were doing. Why are they taking such a beating for doing the right thing. As for not leaving... Its our mess, our responsibility to fix the damage. Again the right thing to do. Seems to me, a Dem that stands up and says, yep, I voted because I wanted to keep the country safe, and I voted to stay because we need ANY form of stability over there.

Now can we get to the real issues?

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I hate to sound overly cavalier or possibly even uncaring, but Edwards has made a mistake making Poverty his signature issue. Poverty is sad, depressing, and something to think about, but it's a complete nonstarter as a political issue.

Posted by: Staley | April 7, 2006 1:02 PM | Report abuse


No need to hijack another forum. You seem like you're in a unique position to illuminate how Romney might alienate so called "swing voters." That's why I asked. Not to debate, to learn.


On McCain, the move to the center to appease the base WILL cut into the advantage he has with moderates and admiring democrats. He might have enough advantage to spare, and I suspect he does. However, as to governing contrary to how he campaigns, doesn't that seem rather un-McCainian? Isn't he supposed to be a straight shooter?



Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse


The war was executed wonderfully. You could not ask for a better implementation of go in and kill the enemy.

The after war... Different story.

[Rant]I've said it before and I'll say it here: We have never had a military designed for maintaining a peace. We take young kids (remember these are the same kids we don't allow to drink because we consider them too irresponsible) give them guns and put them in hell under attrocious conditions putting in 18 hour days MINIMUM, often 24 (or more) and then get upset when they act like, well immature young adults. Please don't say the war was done badly. It REALLY bothers me.[/Rant]

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse


There are some elements in Iraq that are better off, and some that are worse off..but I think the potential for a stable, prosperous country is much greater now than ever before. If you look at the political progress the Iraqis have made, its really astounding. Sure, there are challenges. Training the Iraqi forces can not happen overnight. It takes years of training and indoctrination to build a competent army because of the practical experience factor. We wouldn't send a unit of newly graduated privates into battle without seasoned NCO's and officers, so we shouldn't expect the Iraqis to do any differently.

Iraq was already harboring terrorists...not Al-Qaeda, but there are many others groups (i.e...Abu Nidal and Saddam's payments to Palestinan suicide bombers), so that isn't different. Iran has been a challenge since the late '70's...but I think having a friendly government to us on their border is a definite strategic advantage.

Sorry to everyone that this is off-topic...

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Washington snake pit and Cynthia McKinney

By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Apr 6, 2006, 21:48

There is no question that Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is the target of persistent and ongoing efforts by both Republicans and Democrats to prevent her from doing her elected duties. One of the very few honorable representatives in a hopelessly corrupt and venal US government, McKinney---a longtime critic of covert operations and the CIA, US foreign policy, and the only member of Congress to address 9/11---has been singled out for intimidation, repeated police harassment (“security”), racial profiling, and a special brand of national mass media character assassination. And now, even the threat of jail.

McKinney gave a powerful defense in her original statement about the incident [my emphasis in italics - LC]:

“I have served as a Member of Congress for more than 11 years. Throughout my tenure in Congress, I seem to evoke memory loss, especially from certain police officers who claim not to be able to recognize my face while I go to work everyday, representing the people of Georgia's 4th Congressional District . . .

“Why my face is continually unrecognizable can only be answered by these offending police officers. Capitol Hill Police are given face recognition instructions as a part of their official training. Capitol Hill Police are required to recognize, greet, and distinguish Members of Congress as a part of their official role and responsibilities. In fact, according to the US Capitol Police, their mission is to protect and support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. The US Capitol Police mission statement makes no distinction about selective application of its mission depending upon whether a Member of Congress is black, woman, or has a new hairstyle.

“But, honestly, this incident is not about wearing a congressional pin or changing my hairstyle.

“It is true that I have changed my hairstyle. It is true that at the time I was not wearing my pin. But many Members of Congress aren't wearing their pins today. Just in the last hour, at least eight Members of Congress have been spotted speaking from the well of the House without their pins and even more have been seen on the Hill today not wearing their Congressional pin. How many of them were stopped by Capitol Hill Police? Do I have to contact the police every time I change my hairstyle? How do we account for the fact that when I wore my braids every day for 11 years, I still faced this problem, primarily from certain white police officers?

“This morning at approximately 8:57 a.m., I was going to a Budget Committee meeting due to start at 9 a.m. I was rushing to my meeting when a white police officer yelled to me. He approached me, body-blocked me, physically touching me. I used my arm to get him off of me. I told him not to touch me several times. He asked for my ID and I showed it to him. He then let me go and I proceeded to my meeting and I assume that the police officer resumed his duties.”

Anybody who knows military/police brutality understands what McKinney has endured. Anyone who understands provocation and setup knows the drill. Ask any African-American who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, anywhere in America. Ask any Palestinian who is in the crosshairs of Israeli “security” forces. Ask any Iraqi, under the yoke of US occupation. Ask any Hurricane Katrina victim in New Orleans, who watched Blackwater Security mercenaries take over their neighborhood.

Ask anybody on the wrong end of things in Bush’s post-9/11 abyss.

The idea that McKinney is now under grand jury investigation, for assaulting the cop who manhandled her, is beyond absurd.

Nevertheless, McKinney, the daughter of a police officer, immediately made amends:

“I have counseled with the Sergeant-at-Arms and Acting Assistant Chief Thompson several times before and counseled with them again on today's incident. I offered also to counsel with the offending police officer. I have agreed to try to remember to wear my pin and to notify Capitol Hill police every time I change my hairstyle.”

To no avail. The McKinney “slapping incident” has become 24-hour fodder for Fox News and other right-wing Bush psychopaths. Right-wing talk show host Neal Boortz called McKinney “ghetto trash.” The worthless Dennis Hastert rambled about McKinney being a “security” risk. The supremely criminal Tom DeLay, on his way out in disgrace, could not help calling McKinney an “arrogant racist” in his parting shot. Virtually every mainstream news broadcast, from national to local, have repeated the Republican sound bites, exclusively.

More telling is the fact that a day after the incident, not one Democrat came to McKinney’s defense. Not one.

This worthless and brutally corrupt neoliberal faction, led by the shameless Nancy Pelosi (no friend of McKinney’s) and the power-mongering Democratic Leadership Council, want McKinney muzzled as badly as the Bush forces do. They spent the better part of the days accusing McKinney of creating a distraction.

Is the targeted intimidation of a sitting member of Congress a distraction? Or is the shameless deception of the Democrats in this “election” year the real distraction from the truly brutal realities of the “war on terrorism” (which the Democrats enthusiastically support), and a planetary Peak Oil/natural resource crisis, the real distraction? As the Democrats shamelessly claw, shill and collude for their seats on this sinking Titanic called the American empire, they are more than happy to toss an outspoken outsider and maverick to the wolves. It is these Democrats who deserve a good slapping.

Today, McKinney issued an apology, even though she has nothing to apologize for. The African-American community knows it.

As Wilbert Tatum wrote in a blistering editorial in the New York Amsterdam News, titled "Cynthia McKinney as role model":

“Is this country fair? You'd better bet your ass it isn't. Must Blacks do something out of the normal political process to express their rage, anger and resentment? Once more, you had better bet your ass we should because we are faced with the most hostile government in recent memory, not only a government that is rabid and greedy in the worst kind of sense but a government exploiting a leader who is little short of crazy.

“Cynthia McKinney and Maxine Waters and the other Black women in Congress had better watch out. If they have been targeted, as many of us believe that they have, there must come a defense for them. It must not necessarily come from the Black Caucus or the Black men in the Black Caucus, but it must come from somewhere.

“The Black men are afraid for their political lives. The Black women are afraid that their constituents will lose their lives if they are not protected by those who are supposed to represent them -- two different agendas made necessary by this peculiar institution of slavery which we have inherited.
“Retaliation . . . though foolish it may be, is the only way that is going to give us immediate satisfaction. And don't we really need satisfaction now? We have lost in every quarter, and the current administration is taking out the losses in the other quarters that remain in this administration. Think about the fate available to us in America now and decide which way you are going to go between now and Election Day 2006. As Edward R. Murrow would have said, ‘Good night and good luck.’”

Posted by: che | April 7, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse


Yes, I am a right leaning moderate. My problems with the Governor stem from the changes that have been taking place in his philosophies to reorient himself with the right of the Party.

First, he has been changing his stance on both Gay marriage and abortion. The Romney that was elected was ideal. He had basically a hands off approach to both issues. Perfect in my book as neither is an issue for government. (If you want to discuss that fact lets go hijack an older forum.) Recently his Mormon roots are coming to the fore and asserting themselves on his politics.

I cannot support anyone who thinks Gay marriage is a government issue and he flip flopped his political view on abortion. Isn't that the reason we hate Kerry. (Don't even think of asking my views on him).

Finally, this health care fiasco is truly going to kill him. A person who passes that kind of ill-conceives legislation has no business being president. However, I haven't seen how he will use his line-item veto tomodify the bill yet so I will give him a little benefit of the doubt here.

However, if the final result still REQUIRES middle america to buy health insurance without assistance (which of course I am agaist as well, another topic for that hijacked post...) then he will suffer the full wrath of the American people and the full censure of the press.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse


A podcast is an audio file that you can subscribe to. A way to get a message out that isn't dependent on the MSM or on text.

Although iTunes is the most popular way to subscribe ( there are many others. You don't have to have any special equipment (like an iPod or mp3 gadget) just a computer and a free copy of iTunes.

Posted by: Texas_Kat | April 7, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Just a correction to my previous post:

I meant in the second sentence to say Iran's neighbor Iraq.

Posted by: Jason | April 7, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I agree with all you said there. I was talking about how McCain needs to avoid slipups when people question whether he flips positions to do what is politically convienent. The right-wing of the party is his biggest problem, in both the primary and for a GOTV effort. There's definitely a tight-rope he needs to walk. I do think, however, that the latest efforts to go after their votes will offset any moderate votes he might lose. Personally, I think he'd govern very moderately on certain issues just like he has in the Senate. So as long as he's not lying to people about his positions, I could care less about who he talks to.

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Jeff, I realize as you pointed out this is off-topic, but don't you think Iraq is in worse shape now than before? Iran is much more forceful now in it's rhetoric and actions with a potential partner in neighbor Iran. Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups have a greater likelihood of functioning in Iraq as well.

Posted by: Jason | April 7, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

You still cannot escape basic facts about politics. It is a largely a game of money. Recruiting advisors and consultants builds the infrastructure to run a national campaign. Done properly, it takes roughly $50 million to get through the primary season before the federal matching funds start kicking in.

Having a website and volunteers just does not consitute a national campaign.

Bayh has served as president of the National Governors Association and the DLC. These have extensive built-in consitutencies and networks needed for a national campaign. He also has close to $10 M already. You cannot ignore the facts. Clark and Feingold have no money and campaign infrastructure. Clark is giving money to candidates now because he does not have a national campaign infrastructure.

Edwards, now that his more well-known, does not need to do as much of this cultivation work.

Feingold gets high marks only if the censure thing really gains traction, otherwise, his profile will not be raised and he will have to do a lot of work to play catch up.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I used the anti-war stance as a catchall, my mistake for not being clear...I think in another year the Dems might nominate someone more moderate (like a Bill Clinton), but the current political climate is such that a leftist will get through the primary, unfortunately for the Dems.

as for the war...I think it was a great idea that wasn't executed how it should have been. The Middle East, and thus our long term strategic interests, is better off with Saddam out of power and a fledgling democracy trying to root itself in a culture that has never experienced it. This isn't the forum to argue about that though...I just think its interesting to see what other people are thinking about the nominations.

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I've been in the third-world for 3 years and I must admit that I'm not entirely sure exactly what a pod-cast is. I feel like an unfrozen-cave man.

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"I voted for the war before..." Can be summed up in 4 words: "They lied to us." or more politically: "We weren't given correct intelligence." Based on the information given to congress, going to war to evict a dictator with ties to terrorism who is trying to get the BOMB and who is systematically killing his own people. Well that was the correct decision to make at the time (remember we're only talking information available at the time).

Support since then: Well how can we leave all those people to anarchy and ruin when its our fault they don't have a government.

We will pull out troops as fast as the Iraqi's develop a police force capable of taking our place on a two for one brigade ratio.

That gets any politician out of hot water for supporting the war and gives them a timeline for pulling troops out of the area.

But you are assuming the party fanatics are going to vote for someone who can win rather than someone who is going to pledge to 1) Make Abortions Illegal and 2) make Gay marriage Illegal.

Gravy: I'll respond after I collect my thoughts a little.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 12:25 PM | Report abuse

I think I know what's aggravated the Fix about Wes Clark. Clark's podcast is #1 among political podcasts and Chris's is an anemic #58.

A classic case of 'cast envy.

Posted by: Texas Kat | April 7, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Another point I'd like to make that I think is important and gets overlooked when it comes to running effective campaigns is that experience counts. People who have run before learn from previous campaigns and are better candidates as a result. I think Sen. Kerry, Gen. Clark and Sen. Gore will be much stronger candidates (if they run)as a result. I think rookie candidates have the same liablity as rookies in sports--lack of experience. That's not to say there are not exceptions to this--I'm just saying don't be surpised if there are rookie mistakes and do you want a rookie candidate going up against an experienced candidate (e.g. Sen. McCain) in the general election?

Posted by: Jason | April 7, 2006 12:23 PM | Report abuse


You seem to misunderstand the purpose of this forum. This is a blog about beltway politics and is intended to be pretty much 'inside baseball' stuff about federal elections. There are plenty of other blogs and other forums for the type of reporting that you are inappropriately trying to foist on us and goad Chris into writing about.


A good run-down and pretty fair and accurate all around. I'd like to hear what you think about how Mitt Romney's heath care policy for MA will play in the GOP primary. Isn't this more likely to be turned into a negative amid cries of 'HillaryCare' and 'socialist Massachusetts liberal?'

Posted by: Jackson Landers | April 7, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I do think we should pay heed to Gravy's perceptive post where he shows he understands that campaigns are controlled by strategists and advisors and do not necessarily reflect the candidate.

Also, for those who support former Virginia Gov. Warner, how do you think he will stack up compared to other candidates on foreign policy and is he liberal enough on the issues to satisfy the Democratic base? As a Californian, I am not that knowledgeable about him. To me, he doesn't seem like a candidate who would do well in a debate when the issue turns to foreign policy, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Posted by: Jason | April 7, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't the dems nominate an anti-war candidate based on something other than pure disgust for Bush? Like, say for instance, that the anti-war stance is right?

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Chris Cilliza continues to sink further into the DC CW mire. You cannot seriously think you have a grasp of national politics if you produce this list for presidential nominee frontrunners.

You seem to have some Bayh fetish that won't die, unlike his candidacy -- which won't survive a drubbing in Iowa (Vilsack will make this field shaky there, and Bayh just doesn't draw in IA the same as he does in IN, unlike a Warner (who is starting to wire the state), Feingold, Clark or Edwards). He's weak on issues and not beloved by any one part of the Democratic base or potential voting bloc. You say Bill Clinton is loved by liberal Democrats, but he's no more beloved by liberals than is George Bush. Clinton was the first prominent Republican-lite Democrat, vascillating on issues, toeing the DLC-line while losing a connection to FDR-style liberalism and couching things more in terms of bloated late 1970s liberalism. His attempted reforms of welfare and taxation were poor policy and very un-progressive. Not to mention he stimulated the ridiculous free trade movement. And if you think Hillary is loved by liberals, you're living in a 1997 fantasy world. Remember, she has a record in the Senate now.

Feingold has all but declared (but unwisely, or wisely, depending on how you look at it -- has not started to form a campaign team yet. Clark is probably a sure bet, having worked the country and building a lot of relationships with Democratic leaders, grasstops and grassroots as well. Warner has started wiring up not only Iowa, but the rest of the country too, and is doing a darn good job of it. And Edwards has maintained and built (better than pre-2004) a network of people who are comfortable with him and like him. And Al Gore is probably the best candidate there is out there. Known to all. Loved by liberals and progressives (more and more now that he has ditched his old Clintonian DLC ways) and is able to actually connect with all sorts of different voters. not to mention that like the other four, but to a larger degree, he inspires passion, energy, and money-giving from a large swath of people, not just some narrowly conceived "left," "center-left," or "far-left" notion of ideological identification. Of these five candidates, you include only Warner and Edwards seriously, and miss the boat on why they'll be competitive. Like Feingold, Clark, and Gore, they are part of a group that actually gets people excited, they offer a clear alternative to Bush-style politics and policies, and they are starting in many different (yet effective) ways to prep a presidential run (including standing up to the Bush admin and Bush Congress, connecting to grassroots Democrats, and the netroots -- far more misunderstood and underestimated than any single pundit in the national media speaks about). The CW in Washington keeps missing it because it is so insular and quasi-elitist, not to mention uncreative and backward-looking in their analyses. It's unfortunate that they continue to keep spewing out this junk because people really deserve a look at what's going on with the '08 elections, a set of races that will be far more transformational than 2004 was or could have been.

Posted by: Peter | April 7, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I was surprised at myself for forwarding Feingold. I still don't think he is ready for national stage but if he becomes more engaged in the requisite activities in building a national campaign, at this point, he should be considered.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse


If McCain's biggest hurdle is getting through the primary (which I absolutely agree with) he needs to show the conservative wing of the party that he's at least listening. Speaking to them doesn't necessarily represent an endorsement of their views. They know that, but conservatives want to know he'll be a team player if he has to be.

I think ultimately his centrist supporters will be faced with a choice between him and someone on the left-wing of the democratic party and choose the lesser of two evils. (Assuming the Dems nominate an anti-war liberal out of pure disgust for Bush...this is definitely dependent on the progress in Iraq)This is also why I don't want to see a guy like Warner on the Dem. ticket

McCain's biggest problems in the general election will age (read stamina) and his GOTV effort. He also can't afford to blow up in a "I voted for the war before.." type of statement when the charges of pandering happen during the general election...

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks so much for putting in the work to learn about the true contenders so you can provide your readers with accurate information.

Posted by: BSR | April 7, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I think I get what's happening with the 'pundits-in-a-bubble.' You know, folks like Chris Cillizza.

They seem to think that a Democrat who has the chutzpah to take on George Bush and also have the audacity to support gay marriage, has no chance of winning.

The lie that folks like Cillizza, Chris Matthews and the rest like to propogate, is that a Democrat cannot win unless they pretend to be Republican. I call it GOP-lite. As if America is in love with the Grand Ol' Party.

Let me clue you folks in on a little will be a true, progressive in the tradition of Sen. Feingold, that will be the new fund-raising force in Democratic politics. With that money will come a much higher public profile, much higher polling numbers, and a true shot at winning both the nomination and the presidency....conventional wisdom be damned.

Concerning Senator Feingold, I have not been this excited about supporting a candidate for a long time.

I know bubble-bots who cover these things don't really have a clue as to the pulse of the public, but you best believe many of us, who have previously been identified as mainstream Dems, are 'mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore.'

Being dissatisifed with the status quo does not just apply to the GOP. I think Democratic incumbents better watch their backs in their primary fights.

And deservedly so.

Posted by: scootmandubious | April 7, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse


You're a right-leaning moderate from Massachusetts right? I'm curious as to what in particular turns you off about Romney. I know what turns me off about him, but I'm a fairly liberal democrat.

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Sad to not see Wes Clark. He is the only Democrat not sullied by past voting records. And he has the charisma and foreign experience to beat McCain.

Posted by: G. Robinson | April 7, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Nice pickup for Allen, but he is facing real problems in just getting re-elected. If he loses, his Presidential aspirations are dead in the water.

Survey USA has Allen's approval rating in Virginia pegged at 51%. And while Rasmussen had him comfortably in the lead in mid-March at 54% - 30% over Webb, a more recent Zogby/WSJ poll had a tighter race at 49%-42% but has Allens approval at 56%.

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse


Bush Veto a spending bill? First I don't see it happening. An argument for some other post.

The last spending bill that went through that should have been Vetoed, was so bad that EVERY congressman was hurt by it. So much so that they were running over themselves trying to take it back.

I don't think the Americans will blame Frist for a bad spending bill. I think that they would blame the entirety of congress. The things are so huge and needlessly complex that the senator has hundreds of things to hide behind without coming across as a whiner.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Come on. What about Joe Biden, who's all but announced his candidacy? He's got a real shot, guys.

Posted by: Gilligan | April 7, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I am continuously puzzled that "the Fix" focuses on candidates that bounce in and out of being the flavor of the month.

Kerry's bloviating this week was much more about his vanishing national political chances and less about any logical or executable 'plan'. Evan can't "buy" a personality, no matter how much cash the DLC funnels into his pre-presidential fundraising.

Posted by: RedStateDem | April 7, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse


In the RHC vs McCain series a few weeks ago, the thought seemed to be that RHC would win the Primary but lose the General while McCain would lose the Primary but would practically sweep the General.

Assuming as you say that McCain is simply iterating views that have always been there but unemphasized, he will still be hurt on the democratic/middle side of the vote while trying to increase his hold on the right. The very things he is now emphasizing are the things that his centrist supporters have a problem with.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

But I'm kind of a hair-piece-partisan.

I think we need to nominate someone with Charisma this time. I agree with the above statement that Kerry was cardboard. I didn't think that before his tragic "Reporting for Duty" thing at the convention. The presidency is about more than just policy. The best presidents have been those that also inspired us and were able to speak both to and for us. I think Edwards falls into this category, and really, Gore when he's not reigned in and over-advised. I don't think he'll make that mistake again. Advisors will always try to reign in a candidate and prevent him/her from showing the human side, because it's dangerous. In certain cases that's a good idea (like getting Bush to give up the Dr. Evil impression he used to do for reporters early in his 2000 bid). In the case of Gore, he is passionate, intelligent, well informed, well spoken, etc. Reigned in by his advisors he came across as only well informed and intelligent (cardboard and wonkish).

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Off-topic-
WaPo reports 4/7

Saginaw Chippewa tribe returning $3 M federal earmark.

This can't be good news for Sen. Burns (MT).

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Come on Drindl, drop the race card. "Fixating for a week?" Let me remind you that it was McKinney who blew this out of proportion by yelling racism and calling news conferences blaming everyone but herself. Can we say "hubris?" "Arrogance?" Once again we have someone who wants to play at "victim" and "special."

Don't blame the Post, McKinney is an embarrassment to her constituents, to Congress, to all America.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | April 7, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Edwards still doesn't have the resume to do it.

I think the nomination will completely depend on what the situation in Iraq looks like. If we're still stuck in the mud, a Feingold-esq candidate might do really well in the primaries. I don't think the GOP wants to see a Mark Warner at the top of the ticket...

As for the GOP, McCain hasn't dissapointed me at all. I'm a moderate Republican and I think he's been very consistant on most of his issues. He hasn't backtracked on any of his moderate stances, and is just holding up his conservative credentials to show the party he respects the opinion of everyone. (view he has already expressed but that don't generally get reported on) When the general election comes, he'll be able to point to a moderate stance on the environment, ethics, lobbying reform, and detainee treatment all while touting his conservative creditials in some social policy and defense. All you Dems better hope he doesn't get through the primary...your best argument against him will be his age.

McCain/Graham '08

Posted by: Jeff | April 7, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Trent Lott?"

Was that a joke? I'd vote for his hair piece long before I'd vote for him.

Posted by: Gravy | April 7, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I am having a problem in continuing to add Kerry in the Top 5. The rest of the list, at least at this point, is probably the best.

Kerry has not really done much lately. If the recent revelations from Scooter Libby bring more support for censure, I would be tempted to add Feingold to the top 5 to replace Kerry, having been the Lone Wolf on the issue far ahead of the pack.

As far as Republicans are concerned, Huckabee should have been dropped. Frist may need to be included for brokering the deal on immigration (if they ever get it passed as first test vote failed), along with his expected first place finish at SRLC. Also, if Bush vetoes spending bills, this will hurt Frist further(That is why running for White House from Senate leadership is difficult).

Posted by: RMill | April 7, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Yes-agreed on Clark and Edwards. Both very good. I'm not sure they've got the 'juice' somehow -- that indefinable thing that moves people, beyond the rational into the emotional realm. We don't, after all, vote with our higher facilities but with our lizard brains.

I don't think anyone ever got stirred up for Kerry or Clark the way they did about Dean, whatever their relative logical merits. Someone-Greg? mentioned Feingold, and I forgot about him, which is odd, because I really like him... although I have to say I thought pulling the censure resolution without telling any other Dems about it was kinda cold.

One thing I want to ask people here about their opinion is... what do you think about the photo on the home page of the WaPo of Cynthia MyKinney? Regardless of what you think about her [and frankly I think she's a tad whack, although that seems to kinda be the norm in Congress today] what is this fixation with her hair? Is it a problem for the Post that she is a black woman, whose hair is not blown dry and shellacked flat, as is the tragic norm?

I mean, the WaPo has been fixating on her all week... what is the story here? Is it just outright racism? It sure doesn't seem like journalism.

Posted by: Drindl | April 7, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Kerry and Edwards both need to sit out at least one cycle unless they want to create as much excitement as Joe Leiberman did in 04. Neither is going any place in 08.

I do think that you are underestimating General Clark. Clark is working hard to get candidates all over the country elected in the 06 cycle and in doing so is building his grassroots base and support. Both Edwarda and Kerry could take a less from him in this area and do something to stay relivant.

Posted by: Brent Parrish | April 7, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I cannot believe you still include John Kerry. Sure, he's a leader on Iraq now, but voters will remember him toeing the line in '04, why give him another chance? I really think John Edwards is being underrated. He will likely be the preferred candidate of organized labor and is quite progressive on social issues. Edwards/Warner.

Posted by: Glenn Gervasio | April 7, 2006 10:45 AM | Report abuse

No Joe Biden? Talk about foreign policy whiz kids...

Posted by: ag | April 7, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Don't be fooled by the debates. With the narrow scope of the topics, any speech writer worth his salt can prep anyone in what to say and how to say it.

Perhaps we should put the speech writers on the tickets.

Posted by: Jenniferm | April 7, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I am also upset with the back sliding of McCain. His solid stance with the party moderates made him practically unbeatable in the general. However, The very things he is doing to gain the party's nomination nake him lose his independent and democratic supporters.

Don't be fooled by the health care plan Mass purt into place. Requiring ever resident to obtain health care could backfire over the next year and a half.

First I'm not sure it will pass a constitutional challenge. That aside, it hurts all workers who make more than 3 times the poverty line. People in the middle tier of the working class who currently can't afford health care but make too much to get assistance obtaining it will feel betrayed by this bill. Once the media begins writing commentaries about working Americans who are getting fined by the state because they can't afford health care, Romney will lose the Republican nomination.

The only thing this law proves is that Health care is a state matter and not a Federal matter. But then, if he can convince the Reps of that little line then he will have the Nomination locked up.

Posted by: Dan | April 7, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Frank Luntz report, and I think that Hilary and Bill Clinton aren't really aware of the shifts in politics. It's not just positions, it's backbone. While her husband can give her advice, it's likely triangulation advice. Some liberals might accept it as necessary for winning. But, according to the Luntz report, Democratic primary voters are looking for things like integrity and conviction. I think Hilary will face problems there, esp. if a challenge from the left comes from a brave principled individual.

Posted by: college kid | April 7, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

One disagreement with your top 5 Dem contenders for '08... speaking of Iowa, what about Governor Vilsack? He has a real personality (unlike Senator Bayh) and a pretty impressive record on some big issues for '08, Education, the Economy and Energy. He has a strong PAC set up just like his contenders, without the previous Democratic "loser" status of Kerry & Gore (though I love them both in their own right). After reading the transcript of your interview with him awhile back I have to say there is no doubt he has an articulate public speaking ability that would wipe the floor with Warner, a policy perspective that this country truly needs, plus personality and mid-west appeal. I think your way off in placing others ahead of him for a chance at the bid.

Posted by: -L | April 7, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I like the new Gore--nothing wrong with speaking your mind without an election ahead of you. He needs to continue that once he gets into the race.

I always thought Kerry was wooden and elitist until the debates. He came across as intelligent and knowledgeable of the issues. Problem was he was debating the class clown. Remember in high school, the debate champ and A student vs the class clown. Clown always won.

Rudy needs to sit out the next 8 years if he wants to run for President. The social conservatives have one more election before their political capital is used (mostly because the general population are beginning to see throught their vile). A fiscal conservative and social liberal rolled into one will do much better after '08.

Posted by: jenniferm | April 7, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

When I say Draft Gore, I really should follow that up. What I wrote above is hardly enough reason. SO here goes:

My point from before was that Al Gore was never dull. That was a conservative talking point because next to Bill Clinton, everyone is dull, and the media ran with it. Amy Sullivan calls the new incarnation of Gore "Al Gore brought to you by Al Gore," by which she means he is bypassing traditional media lenses, bringing himself to the public rather than waiting for the news media to do it for him.

The result: we see the real Gore, who is and always has been passionate, engaging, and intelligent. This guy gets it, and I'm completely aboard the train.

Posted by: jhupp | April 7, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Can someone, anyone, PLEASE explain to me why Al Gore got the "boring" or "wooden" reputation and nobody ever said that about John Kerry? Please?

For the record, Al Gore actually does get my political juices going, but maybe that's because I like wonkishness, but John Kerry made me groan from the day it appeared he was going to be the nominee.

Draft Gore 2008

Posted by: jhupp | April 7, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse



Shocking Diebold conflict of interest revelations from secretary of state further taint Ohio's electoral credibility
By Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
Online Journal Guest Writers

Apr 6, 2006, 21:28

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Ohio is reeling with a mixture of outrage and hilarity as Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell has revealed that he has owned stock in the Diebold voting machine company, to which Blackwell tried to award no-bid contracts worth millions while allowing its operators to steal Ohio elections. A top Republican election official also says a Diebold operative told him he made a $50,000 donation to Blackwell's "political interests."

A veritable army of attorneys on all sides of Ohio's political spectrum will soon report whether Blackwell has violated the law. But in any event, the revelations could have a huge impact on the state whose dubiously counted electoral votes gave George W. Bush a second term. Diebold's GEMS election software was used in about half of Ohio counties in the 2004 election. Because of Blackwell's effort, 41 counties used Diebold machines in Ohio's highly dubious 2005 election, and now 47 counties will use Diebold touch screen voting machines in the May 2006 primary, and in the fall election that will decide who will be the state's new governor.

Blackwell is the frontrunner for Ohio's Republican nomination for governor. The first African-American to hold statewide office, the former mayor of Cincinnati made millions in deals involving extreme right-wing "religious" radio stations.

As part of his campaign filings he has been required to divulge the contents of his various stock portfolios. Blackwell says that in the process he was "surprised" to learn he owned Diebold shares. According to central Ohio's biggest daily, the conservative Republican "Columbus Dispatch," Blackwell claims his multi-million-dollar portfolio has been handled "by a financial manager without his advice or review."

Blackwell says he gave verbal instructions to a previous fund manager about which stocks not to buy, but failed to do so when he brought in a replacement. He claims the new manager bought 178 Diebold shares in January 2005 for $53.67/share. He says 95 shares were sold sometime last year, and that the remainder were sold this week after Blackwell conducted an annual review of his portfolio. He says both sales resulted in losses.

Prior to the 2004 election, Blackwell tried to award a $100 million no-bid contract to Diebold for electronic voting machines. A storm of public outrage and a series of lawsuits forced him to cancel the deal. But a substantial percentage of Ohio's 2004 votes were counted by Diebold software and Diebold Opti-scan machines which frequently malfunctioned in the Democratic stronghold of Toledo. Many believe they played a key role in allowing Blackwell to steal Ohio's 20 electoral votes -- and thus the presidential election -- for Bush. Walden O'Dell, then the Diebold CEO, had pledged to "deliver" Ohio's electoral votes to Bush.

Blackwell has since continued to bring in Diebold machines under other multi-million dollar contracts. In 2005, while he owned Diebold stock, Blackwell converted nearly half Ohio's counties to Diebold equipment.

Those machines have been plagued by a wide range of problems, casting further doubt on the integrity of the Ohio vote count. A number of county boards of elections are trying to reject Diebold equipment. Two statewide referendum issues on electoral reform were defeated in 2005 in a vote tally that was a virtual statistical impossibility. The deciding votes were cast and counted on Diebold equipment.

In recent months, Blackwell has ordered all 88 county boards of elections to send into his office the memory cards that will be used in the primary election, in which Blackwell expects to win the gubernatorial race. There is no effective statewide monitoring system to protect those cards from being rigged.

Matt Damschroder, the Republican chair of the Franklin County (Columbus) Board of Elections, has also reported that a key Diebold operative told Damschroder he made a $50,000 contribution to Blackwell's "political interests" while Blackwell was evaluating Diebold's bids for state purchasing contracts. Blackwell denies the contribution was made to him.

Damschroder is former chair of the Franklin County GOP. He says former Diebold contractor Pasquale "Patsy" Gallina boasted of making the contribution to Blackwell. Damschroder himself has publicly admitted to personally accepting a $10,000 check from Pasquale, made out to the Franklin County GOP. That contribution was made while Damschroder was involved in evaluating Diebold bids for county contracts.

Damschroder was censured but not removed from office. On Election Day 2004, Franklin County voting officials told the Free Press that Blackwell and Damschroder were meeting with George W. Bush in Columbus. AP accounts place both Bush and Karl Rove unexpectedly in Columbus on Election Day. Damschroder has denied that he met personally with Bush, but refuses to clarify whether or not he was at GOP meetings with Bush in attendance on Election Day.

An eyewitness ally of Blackwell told a small gathering of Bush supporters, with a Free Press reporter present, that Blackwell was in a frenzy on Election Day, writing percentages and vote totals on maps of rural Republican counties, attempting to figure out how many votes, real or manufactured, Bush would need to overcome the exit poll results in Cleveland and Columbus.

Meanwhile Blackwell has run one of the most vicious primary campaigns ever seen in Ohio politics. A series of expensive television ads have assaulted Blackwell's GOP opponent, Attorney General Jim Petro, vehemently charging him with extreme corruption and dishonesty. GOP operatives fear Blackwell's attacks could shatter the party.

Now Blackwell's Diebold revelations have both Petro and the state's extremely feeble Democrats jumping for joy. Petro, who has a large portfolio of his own, says he will pursue the question of whether Blackwell has broken the law. "Considering Ken Blackwell's history with Diebold, I think this warrants further investigation to remove any hint of impropriety," says Petro campaign manager Bob Paduchik.

Democratic candidate Ted Strickland has reported no stock portfolio at all. "If [Blackwell] doesn't know what's going on with his own checkbook, why in the world would voters want him to be in charge of the checkbook as governor?" asks Democratic spokesperson Brian Rothenberg.

The common statewide wisdom is that "Ken Blackwell will never lose an election in which he is in charge of the vote count."

But Ohio Democrats never seriously questioned Blackwell's rigged 2004 vote count that put Bush back in the White House. They've mounted no serious campaign challenging Blackwell's handling of the tally in 2005. They've presented no plan for guaranteeing the integrity of the upcoming 2006 November election, which will again be run by Blackwell, even though he may be the GOP nominee.

Attorney-General Petro has become Blackwell's sworn enemy. A rugged campaigner with extensive statewide connections, it's not likely Petro would quietly accept an election being stolen from him. That might explain Blackwell's vehement attacks on his fellow Republican.

But having accused his cohort of widespread corruption, and with a long history of scornful contempt for all those who challenge him, Blackwell's own Diebold revelations have opened a Pandora's Box. What comes flying out could affect state and national politics for years to come.

Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of "How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election and Is Rigging 2008". They are co-editors, with Steve Rosenfeld, of "What Happened in Ohio?" soon to be published by The New Press.

Posted by: che | April 7, 2006 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I remember teaching during the Summer prior to the Primaries which led up to the Bush/Clinton campaign and the Republicans were teasing with the comment "where or where are the Democrats" then came Clinton- who the Republicans initially laughed at -the rest is history-

As a Democrat I would vote for Susan Collins of Maine b4 I voted for Clinton - her husband is another story - Hillary will fall in the Primaries

I am still holding out for a Richardson/Obama ticket -

Is it me or has the left been dead silent over the S.D. abortion law in terms of speaking out as to why it is so important that the Dems take back the Senate so as to better control any future S Ct. appointment?

Has the left conceded the abortion issue is too iffy of a political issue with mainstream America - how will this hurt Hillary with the left - being ducted taped an all on the issue?

For the record I am extremely pro life on civil rights grounds -

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | April 7, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Trent Lott?

Posted by: Josh | April 7, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

To your point, Drindl, I have been disappointed by the "caving-in" of Senator McCain and GRAVELY disappointed that he will be speaking at Liberty "University."
It sounds exactly like Dubya's Bob Jones moment.

Regardless of your agreement with his stance on this issues, I do think the Sen. Feingold is pretty genuine in his beliefs. I think he has a strong libertarian streak to him: He has been consistent from the get-go on the Patriot Act and civil liberties, and his views on gay marriage are also consistent to that philosophy. He has also defered to the president's executive powers of appointment and voted for most of the President's nominees, including Ashcroft, Gonzalez, CJ Roberts and (I think) Alito. And although I don't know him, given his track record, his call for the censure of the president is consisent with his past views on civil liberties and individual rights.

Posted by: Greg-G | April 7, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Out of all these potential candidates, do any of them feel real to you? Like they actually believe in something, anything? Or just the same old snake oil salesmen?

Sadly, no. Well, I'm sure John McCain fervently believes it's his turn to be president, but other than that? Nothing.

With the exception of Al Gore, who once he stopped officially running, became something more than himself, because he passionately believes in something. I don't know if it will go anywhere, but there's tremendous potential there.

Posted by: Drindl | April 7, 2006 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Feingold does keep looking better and better for the reasons stated by Greg-G and a whole lot more.

Kerry is only a potential nominee in his own overly nuanced mind [he had his one chance and blew it]. And Edwards? Cute, but going nowhere.

Chris, clear out Edwards and Kerry from your top five and make room for Russ Feingold who not only has a real chance to win the nomination, but the political backbone and courage to win the whole enchilada.

Posted by: IMHO | April 7, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Keen analysis, Chris...but in my "Meta-Fix" post, I'm going to borrow a habit from the punditocracy and take issue with style over substance.

Heaping on the sting operation by the grammar police (see Louis, above), I have to ask...

Why does "The Fix" engage in the annoying habit of referring to "The Fix" in the 3rd person? (what are they teaching in these journalism schools...I bet pundits in China and India get *their* grammar right-- yet another sign of Decline and Fall)

Posted by: Meta-Fix: Analysis of "The Fix" | April 7, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I also enjoyed the analysis and largely agreed with it. I agree with your two main points about the Reps: Rudy won't get in, and Romney has in fact far exceeded expectations recently. I hadn't heard that Allen picked up Matalin, which is a good development for him.

I also agree with the poster above that HRC's attempts at "third way"-ing may have alienated her from the liberal base, especially given that there are huge questions about her electability, whether true or perceived. I think Warner, and increasingly Feingold, are looking better and better. While Romney has exceeded expectations on the Repub side, I think the same can be said for Feingold, whose censure resolution, call for troop withdrawals, opposition to the Patriot Act and (perhaps most significantly) his support of gay marriage is making him the "choice, not an echo" of his party. I would put him in the top 5 over Edwards, who I've always thought was personable but a lightweight at best.

And I don't know why Wesley Clark gets so much praise on this comments board! Did anyone SEE his 04 campaign? Total disaster. The man may have a distinguished military career, but no political or policy skills. He's got no shot

Posted by: Greg-G | April 7, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Please please please correct your incorrect usage of "their" in the paragraph about HRC. I believe you meant "they are."

Posted by: Louis | April 7, 2006 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Nice analysis. A few random thoughts.

Each party will probaby pick up a fringe candidate that has no chance, but will attract a lot of attention and, ironically, shape the debate in their respective party (think back: Sharpton, Forbes, Robertson, Kucinich, etc.).

For the GOP, Allen has a Senate problem. He'll probably win, but if Iraq goes south he'll have a dog fight retaining his seat. That won't look good on the national stage.

Rudy, I can't get past the idea that the threat of opposition research on his post 9-11 (entrepreneurial) world will keep him out of the race. Shame that, I'd love to see him explain his gay rights position in 'Bama.

Huckabee, who?

Romney, keep an eye on this guy.

The Dems,

HRC, Keith Olbermann said on the Dan Patrick show a couple of weeks ago that he wouldn't vote for her with a gun at his head. The hard left has tired of her Iraq act. I'm not sold.

Warner, may be the sleeping giant here.

Gore, his for the taking. Didn't he win once?

On another note, since Chris' Fix actually talks with the "unwashed" and Milbank just posts and runs, I'll comment on his column here. Question regarding the Snowman's meltdown. If our economy is as zippy as Dubya keeps telling us, why is he dumping Treasury Secretary after Treasury Secretary?

Finally, with the arrest of a high ranking DHS official for an appalling attempt to seduce a 14-year old girl with his Inside the Beltway street cred (I have a big badge)--isn't about time we "Connect the Dolts"?

Wake up people, the monkeys are running the National Zoo (which has been relocated to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.)

It's the weekend!!!

Posted by: The Eyewitness Muse | April 7, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. Cillizza,

Why don't you try 1 time to write about a real issue that affects our daily lifes, feel free to use one my comments.

Dont be afraid, what is the worst thing that can happen? that you loose your job?

Yours truly,

Posted by: che | April 7, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 6, 2006 LATE EDITION After weeks of informed speculation that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was preparing to issue at least one indictment against White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove in the CIA leak matter, well-placed sources have revealed that Rove continues to "cooperate" with the prosecutor in an effort to shield Bush from the ever-widening scandal. This has temporarily delayed new indictments, according to informed sources.

Fitzgerald's decision to use Libby's statement as part of the prosecution's evidence is a sign that the prosecutor has other statements from high-placed White House individuals like Rove that implicate both Cheney and Libby in the leak of a CIA covert agent's name to the media. However, Fitzgerald also has testimony from Libby that places blame on Bush, in addition to information obtained from over 200 e-mails first reported by the White House to have been mistakenly deleted. Some of the e-mails also implicate Bush and Rove.

Potomac scandal fever: Renewed CIA leak scandal blossoms along with the cherry trees

Sources say that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's testimony before a grand jury that President Bush, acting through Vice President Dick Cheney, authorized the leak of a 2003 classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to the New York Times is part of bitter internecine finger pointing between Bush and Karl Rove on one hand and Cheney, Libby, and Cheney's current staff on the other. By directly implicating Bush, Cheney can argue that he was merely carrying out the president's orders and passed instructions to Libby to use his media contacts like Judith Miller of the Times and Matt Cooper of Time to pass along selected portions of the NIE, which stated that aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq were intended for uranium enrichment. However, a one-page executive summary included with the NIE was withheld from the leaked segments because it contained a statement that the State and Energy Departments believed the tubes were for conventional weapons, which turned out to be the case. That information would have undercut the Bush administration's claims that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear program.

Fitzgerald's court filing states: "According to defendant [Libby], at the time of his conversations with Miller and Cooper, he understood that only three people -- the President, the Vice President, and defendant [Libby] -- knew that the key judgments of the NIE had been declassified. Defendant [Libby] testified in the grand jury that he understood that even in the days following his conversation with Ms. Miller, other key officials -- including Cabinet-level officials -- were not made aware of the earlier declassification even as those officials were pressed to carry out a declassification of the NIE, the report about Wilson's trip [to Niger] and another classified document dated January 24, 2003."

The bottom line is that there is now a severe rift between Bush and Cheney. Rove continues to protect Bush while Libby, who at first provided cover for Cheney, is now willing to let the chips fall where they may. As one source put it, Rove is more than willing to "throw Cheney under the bus to protect the president." There is also the possibility that Libby is cooperating with the prosecutor in return for a reduction in his criminal charges.

Washington insiders who were involved in Watergate and maintain contacts with the current administration report that the situation within the Executive Mansion has never been so tense since Watergate. Even the Clinton impeachment pales in comparison to the current situation they claim.

Posted by: che | April 7, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Once again the fix ignores retired former general Wesley Clark. Clark has a better grasp of foreign policy and national security issues than any of the other candidates you cited in the Democratic field.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | April 7, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Just a minor quibble. I know the media is in love with Giuliani, but can we please stop the "Hizzoner" crap? It's like the kid with some candy in school, if you don't have cute little nicknames for everyone, please don't apply a cute little nickname to Giuliani.

Thank you.

Posted by: adam | April 7, 2006 8:01 AM | Report abuse

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