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The Friday Line: Another Early Look at the 2008 Race

For weeks The Fix has been waiting for the chance to get on the record again about the state of the 2008 presidential field.

Why the excitement? Since the last time this blog rated the five presidential candidates from each party who are most likely to win the 2008 nomination, it's become increasingly clear that while the Democratic side offers as many as seven or eight legitimate contenders, the Republican field really only has three politicians who -- at this early point in the cycle -- are well out front in the race for their party's presidential nomination.

Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and George Allen (Va.), along with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, are the three Republicans who are constructing the organization, raising the money and attracting the early buzz necessary to win the Republican nod. While it's impossible to predict what the field will look like a year or two from now, we are extremely surprised that there aren't more top-tier Republicans in the running -- especially since the nomination is wide open.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour would likely have earned a top-tier slot, but he removed himself from the 2008 race earlier this year. All-but-declared candidates like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Sam Brownback, Sen. Chuck Hagel, New York Gov. George Pataki and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford have potential, but for one reason or another haven't emerged yet as serious contenders for the nomination.

One potential entrant into the rarified air of frontrunners is former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who of late has been acting a lot more like a candidate than many people -- The Fix included -- ever thought he would. Even with Giuliani in the race, however, room remains for a socially conservative candidate (we're looking at you Huckabee and Brownback) to step up. (The Fix doesn't own the rights to this theory. The Hotline's Chuck Todd lays it out in his column on the 2008 White House race -- sorry, the link is subscription only.)

For now, The Fix continues to see McCain and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) as the frontrunners for their respective party nominations although we can't forget that we are still in the very preliminary stages of the 2008 race; anything can (and usually does) happen.

Below, The Fix lists the top five candidates who, at this point, have the best shot at their party's 2008 nomination. The candidates are listed alphabetically, not by their chances of winning the nomination. Don't agree with our ratings? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

THE DEMOCRATS

Evan Bayh

Evan Bayh: The Fix's dark horse in the presidential field, Indiana's Evan Bayh is working as hard as any other candidate in terms of his travel schedule and getting face time with key donors. He's also less conservative and less dull than most people think. Plus, Bayh will end 2006 with at least $10 million (and probably several million more) in his Senate campaign account, which he can transfer directly to a presidential committee. Bayh's challenge is to win, place or show in the '08 Iowa caucuses, since he has a natural geographic appeal there and has already been spending considerable time courting the state's voters. If Bayh doesn't make a strong showing in Iowa, it's hard to see how he stays competitive in New Hampshire and beyond. (Of course, it remains to be seen what state or states will be added by the Democratic National Committee to hold their primaries between Iowa and New Hampshire -- an X-factor in every Democratic hopeful's calculations.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton: When people ask why Clinton is in a class by herself in the Democratic field, the answer is money, money, money. Clinton has raised $40 million for her Senate reelection bid since 2001 and had roughly half that amount on hand at the end of March. She will likely close 2006 with between $20 million and $25 million in the bank. And here's the kicker: Every person who gave to her Senate campaign can ante up again for a presidential bid -- providing her with an even bigger head start over her opponents than her huge cash-on-hand total suggests. Liberals remain skeptical about Clinton because of her lack of outspokenness on the Iraq war, but after eight years without the White House they may swallow those doubts in hopes of winning back the nation's top office.

John Edwards

John Edwards: Though we are not numerically ranking the five candidates, Edwards has slipped a bit in our mind since the last presidential Line. Edwards and his strategists seem supremely confident that he can raise the $10 million (or more) he will need in the first quarter of 2007 in order to be competitive with the likes of Clinton, Bayh and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Maybe. Edwards is the most naturally talented politician in the field, a raw charisma that paid major dividends in 2004. And he will benefit (as will Kerry) from having been through the wringer of national politics once before. But there just doesn't seem to be the same energy for Edwards in the insider community as there was at this time in 2002. Given his skills, we keep him on the Line but count us as skeptical about his fundraising strategy at the moment.

John Kerry

John Kerry: Our belief that the 2004 nominee will run again in 2008 keeps growing. Two weeks ago Kerry spoke at Faneuil Hall in Boston to mark the 35th anniversary of his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after returning from Vietnam,. Kerry is also one of three candidates (Bayh and Clinton are the others) who will likely start 2007 with $10 million or more in a presidential account, ensuring him a spot on the Line for the foreseeable future. Kerry remains devoid of buzz among the chattering classes, but he has managed, somewhat remarkably, to reclaim his standing as a leader in the party over the last 18 months.

Mark Warner

Mark Warner: After scanning through mounds of financial reports, we were amazed to find that Warner's Forward Together PAC had 23 employees at the end of March -- the second-largest staff maintained by a prospective Democratic presidential candidate other than Sen. Clinton's HILLPAC operation. And Warner's fundraising through the PAC -- $5 million since he began collecting cash for it last July -- is an extremely impressive total, especially considering that Warner never had to raise money under federal limits during his gubernatorial term. The story line of Warner as red-state governor has largely run its course; political insiders seem to be waiting for a new act from the Virginian. Given his past successes, we're pretty sure he'll have one.

THE REPUBLICANS

George Allen

George Allen: The last month has not been Allen's best. He continues to labor under the dual burden of running for reelection this November while also traveling the country to keep his presidential prospects alive. And the senator seemed to be caught off guard by a New Republic profile (link is subscription-only) that details his youthful fascination with the Confederate flag. In the midst of the controversy, Virginia state Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (the wife of U.S. Rep. Tom Davis) said on a local radio show that "if Jim Webb is [Allen's] opponent, [he] is going to have a very challenging year, particularly in Northern Virginia." Not exactly what the Allen people needed as they were scrambling to get out from under the New Republic story. But as we stated above, Allen is one of three GOP candidates who has the political team, national fundraising chops and policy credentials to compete for the nomination in two years.

Rudy Giuliani/><br />
<span class=

Rudy Giuliani: What a difference a month makes. In April, we wrote (and firmly believed) that there was little chance Giuliani would attempt a White House run. Today, it seems more likely than not that the former New York City mayor will jump into the contest. Giuliani announced Thursday that he has hired Anne Dickerson, who served as the right hand man (er, woman) to Mercer Reynolds -- the finance chairman of President Bush's 2004 campaign; Dickerson will run Hizzoner's Solutions America PAC. Giuliani stopped in to Iowa earlier this week, the hotbed of presidential politics, for a fundraiser for state Rep. Jeff Lamberti. And he met with some key South Carolina operatives in New York City last month. Although a Giuliani candidacy now looks more likely, he must still find a way to appeal to conservatives despite his liberal views on abortion, gun control and gay rights.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee: The Arkansas governor makes the Line for a second straight month largely on potential. Huckabee is the candidate seemingly best equipped to appeal to social conservatives (he is a Baptist minister) while also offering an unorthodox appeal to other elements within the party (note the media coverage he's gotten from his emphasis on nutrition, exercise and weight loss). But -- and it is a big but -- Huckabee just hasn't capitalized on the momentum he had coming into 2006. It doesn't help that his decision to sign a minimum wage increase last month drew the ire of fiscal hawks in the party -- led by the Club For Growth, which called Huckabee a "liberal." The window for Huckabee to move into the top tier is still open, but not as wide as it once was.

John McCain

John McCain: American Research Group, an independent polling firm, this week released a series of surveys on possible 2008 Republican primary match-ups that includes data collected in key early presidential states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. McCain led the field in each of the three states, and without Giuliani as an option, the Arizona senator was lapping the competition. While polling at this stage of the 2008 race is largely a function of name identification, the surveys show that McCain sits in the driver's seat in each of the three early contests. McCain has made his ascent to the top of the Republican pack look easy, but he still must answer lingering doubts about his Republican bona fides if he hopes to become the party's nominee.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney: It's hard to underestimate the importance of Romney playing a leadership role in the passage of legislation to mandate health care insurance for every Massachusetts resident. It has drawn him favorable coverage from the dean of political reporters -- The Post's own David Broder -- and it gives Romney something to tout on the campaign trail -- a sterling example of his ability to forge compromise and solve problems. Romney is also moving around the country as aggressively as any other Republican candidate. For all the talk of Romney's Mormonism as a potential hurdle, his religious affiliation also has its benefits. Witness a recent Romney fundraiser in Utah where he raked in better than $1 million -- a shockingly large total for a state not traditionally known for its political bankrolling.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 5, 2006; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
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Next: Is Kennedy's Seat Now Vulnerable?

Comments

Edwards is the real deal. He is the only one that makes any sense. The only one with a vision of hope.

The people over at the One America blog. are on a mission. It's not insane to think that he can raise the money he will need. When the time comes the little guys will raise the money, labor unions will rally with him also.

His quick mind, strong faith, and beautiful family are important assets not to be over looked.

Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear.

Posted by: SharonColeman | June 7, 2006 5:42 AM | Report abuse

What a free-for-all. I love it.

Chris, if you have any information on the possible changes in the Primary schedule that would be most helpful to know.

I've heard recently that Florida and possibly California were seriously thinking about moving there primary to within a week of New Hampshire.

Some people think this could seal the deal on the front-loading of the primary process, but I'm not so sure.

It has typically been the conventional wisdom that the more states bunch up near the beginning of the calendar the more likely the winner of the name-recognition and money primary the year before becomes the automatic winner, effectively making the selection of the Presidential nominees before a single primary or Caucus vote has been cast.

The power of New Hampshire and Iowa can only be withheld if a candidate decides not to run there. In 2000, McCain foreswore Iowa and catapulted into contention with New Hampshire.

Given the expectations game, I think Sen. McCain would be wise to skip both in '08 as he's unlikely to outperform his 2000 win there and Iowa is unlikely to forgive him for skipping them.

If he does contest these as expected he'll be damaged goods going into South Carolina, California, Florida or whatever is next. They could save him but only if, like Bob Dole in 1996, no one has emerged as a serious rival by the time they get to week 3.

Back to my point, though, If Senator McCain had the foresight to realize that as the frontrunner he can choose which primary to launch his candidacy for the nomination, he could skip them both, let the munchkins fight it out for a couple of weeks without him, and then come in with a win in Florida with its elderly community or California, he'd not only upset the conventional wisdom regarding the necessity of New Hampshire and Iowa (perhaps permanently), he'd catapult to the front of the pack with the hundreds of delegates those states select.

It has been assumed that front-loading the process would be the end competitive Presidential contests. I think, however, that if California or Florida or both were place themselves a week after New Hampshire something very interesting could happen.

In skipping the title 1st caucus and primary, McCain could show that it can be done. Others will attempt the strategy in 2012 and with not all the candidates contesting New Hampshire and Iowa, their importance will diminish and the process will become decentralized.

Instead of New Hampshire effectively being the run-off for Iowa, candidates could cherry-pick places to run against each other and the money process would become decentralized as well.

You could even see the re-emergence of favorite Son candidates go to the convention with what amount to uncommitted delegates.

I may be wrong, but I think it's not outside the realm of possibility that if Sen. McCain's lieutenants see through their candidate's invincibility going into next year we could see a drag-out fight reminiscent of Reagan-Ford in 1996, all the way, or nearly so, to the GOP convention. And a real fight over the party's future.

Posted by: Cavalier 829 | June 2, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I do wish I lived in a world where HRC could be president, but unfortunately that's not the case, at least this decade - I really hope she won't run. Here is what I think about the other Dems:

Bill Richardson's terrific, with a stellar record of foreign policy contributions. The problem is, he doesn't project gravitas - before he's ready to be on television he needs a makeover. I still recall Kerry's TV appearance during the last election when Richardson couldn't manage to stand still on camera, but rocked back and forth maniacally behind Kerry.

Wesley Clark would be a great president, but he's curiously non-combative for a general - given how he shrank away last time, I can't imagine him surviving the campaign intact.

I vacillate wildly on Gore - he's the best qualified of anyone - and I love geeks - but he would REALLY have to come across as a different person to engage the average voter (unfortunately, most voters are turned off by overtly smart people, and want someone who reminds them of themselves, which is why we're in this mess to begin with).

When Barack Obama's ready, I'll drop everything to work on his campaign. But I agree that he's too smart to run in '08.

Love Feingold, but come on, he has less of a chance of winning than HRC.

I'm so mad at Kerry for letting himself get swiftboated and tarred as a "flip-flopper". And I agree that Edwards should seek more experience before running again.

That leaves Joe Biden. While he can be long-winded, I've also heard him in plan-talking mode. This man can really think on his feet! He has remarkable foreign policy experience as well as good judgment. I'm hopeful that he would have crossover appeal too (especially with NJ trying so hard to become our next swing state). If our illustrious president can manage to live down drunken driving, then I expect Biden will live down plagiarism (hmm, wonder if W ever... ?). Anyway, I'm for Biden.

Posted by: SueBob | June 1, 2006 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you Patricia that John Kerry is a gentleman, one that's quite compassionate ,kind and considerate but those are not his weaknesses, rather those are his strength, those are the things they makes him care so deeply for this country and all it's people, to often we mistake kindness for weakness and Mean people as strong - John Kerry is no weak man !
I think the sum of a person is shown in their actions, John Kerry put his life of the line for what he was told at the time was to defend America's freedom and to keep communism at bay - he was wounded in battle for those beliefs, he retuned home to do another difficult job as it is now and that is to tell the truth about an unjust war, it would have been much easier to do nothing as with so many others but this is a man who truly cares about this country and the justness for which it stands; regardless of the critics then as is now. To me that take strength, how many times have we seen injustice during our life time and not done anything because it was the easy thing to do. John Kerry did the right thing not just for democrats, republicans, independents etc but all Americans. I agree the Bush - Rove types are good at winning elections and very good at slash & burn politics, probably 2nd to none at trashing opponents - just ask former Texas Governor Anne Richards , Senator John McCain or Senator Kerry or Ambassador Wilson and many, many others, some of which who just disagreed with them. I believe in their world you either with them or against them - I thought when they 1st said that - that it did not include Americans who simply had a difference of opinion, obviously that was wrong. I guess some of the good things to come out of this now days is that; (1) they got to stick around long enough to deal with the mess they created and (2) Their misguided ways have become so apparent - nearly 70% of America now see the folly of their methods and clearly understands that what this administration brought our great country is not victory but something quite different. It's going to take time for us to fully understand their follies with Iraq, Katrina, CIA Leaks ,Back door gas deal , spying , Halliburton & corruption; and that's just some of what we now know . They may have with a capital MAY won the elections but the American people and our brave Men and Women as well as the ten's of thousands of innocent civilians has endured the losses. Many of us from an early age were taught to win with Honor and to Lose with Dignity and not to lose your Dignity in order to Win . Senator Kerry was attacked from every possible angle and with every arsenal they could launch at him, I can't think of a single person on earth that could have come away from those kinds of attacks unblemished - yet when he conceded the election there was no bitterness uttered from him, he told us all " We gave it our best folks but we came up a little short" he said he knew the pain of so many millions and he if could; he would give everyone a big hug to each & everyone on them - that in it self was extraordinary, this was at a time when no one probably felt more pain than himself & yet his 1st concern was to comfort the millions of others. To me that is a strong leader , one that truly cares about the needs of this country and all its people, and one that this country and all its people are "truly" in need of.

Posted by: TY HINES | May 24, 2006 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The Dems have several really good people that we could run, however, I remember thinking that John Kerry was too much of a gentlemen to deal with the GOP. The same can be said for Wesley Clark (way qualified but too nice). It has to be someone with exceptional confidence, someone who is unafraid of the lies, distortions, and ruthlessness of the GOP. Someone who is ready for them. Someone who will not flinch but will take them on. Seems to me no one has shown more courage, strength, and brains than Hillary. And, what would be so terrible about having Bill at her side...?

Posted by: Patricia E. Dement | May 24, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Kerry is the only one who has served in combat and also demanded the end to an ill advised war. He is the one I trust to get America out of Iraq with dignity.

Kerry will get my support in 2008.

Posted by: Tom Galvin | May 22, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

This is for Colin, back on May 5th, he asked me to explain my support for Condi Rice as president.
He asked about the obstacles Dr. Rice would have to face to win EITHER the Republican nomination OR the General election.
He said he would be interested to hear about a candidate who is:
(1) Black Tina says "The Civil Rights movement can be celebrated by this brilliant person, well-educated, cultured, who speaks 4 languages, and understands world issues. Republicans who are also black have been included in many conventions in the past 100 years, elected to office, and now we have the most qualified person who is (2) a woman. Again, not a problem, since 55% of the voters are women, and many of them believe Condi has the toughness to do the job.
(3) Single at the age of 50; how old is Oprah? She has never been married. A dedicated woman to her professional life is an asset, and will not be dragged down by children under her feet
(4)Pro-Choice; Condi supports a ban on late-term abortions, favors parental notification, and would end all federal funding of abortions
(5) In favor of some affirmative action programs; Tina says, "my research shows that Condi is on record in a statement about getting your foot in the door but you must be able to do the job is you are to get promotions or tenure.
(6) Was NSA during the largest terrorist attack in US history; and Condi was a mind reader who got clues about airplanes being hijacked? Did any CIA or FBI agent warn about threats to our nation and did they get to Condi's desk?
(7) has served as Secretary of State while this administration has pursued a disastrous and unpopular foreign policy; Tina says, "only the Democrats have a view of foreign policy in this manner. I see that Condi will be able to get the UN Security Council to handle IRAN, put international pressure on the nation, as welll as helping to stabilized Iraq over the next 2 years.
and (8) has NEVER run of elected office in her life and Tina says, "Eisenhower did not run, he was drafted by the people who believed he is qualified/capable of winning the nomination. That is why the Draft Condi groups have blossomed across the nation. These are activists and fundraisers who are financing radio ads and TV ads in Iowa, New Hampsphire, S Carolina, and Tennessee. If you have not read about this in your newspapers, then go to www.4condi.com and find out about this effort.
There has been a strong buzz about Condi running for the past year and 6 months, in fact, a few people wanted Bush to dump Cheney in 2004 and put Condi on the ticket as VP. So I am not the only person who has been pondering this whole scenerio. There are thousands of people who are talking about it.

For what it's worth, the first three points listed clearly should not be issues, but I challenge anyone to say that realistically they aren't. Even pretending those considerations don't matter, however, I fail to understand how Condi's credentials make her a strong candidate for PRESIDENT. If she's so strong in California, then go beat one of the sitting Democratic Senators and then we'll talk. Absent that, I don't even see how one makes an argument that she's even a viable option.


Posted by: Colin | May 5, 2006 01:22 PM

Posted by: Tina | May 14, 2006 11:26 PM | Report abuse

If Kerry can't run in 2008 on grounds that he lost the last election, then why the heck is Gore still a prospect? He couldn't even carry his own state, and pretty much said he was retiring from politics after that X-Mas edition of Saturday Night Live in 2002 (pretty much what ex-French prime Minister Jospin is doing right now, trying to get the Socialist bid after retiring) In my opinion Kerry ran a much better campaign, he beat Dean out of the blue, right? He fleeced Bush in the debates, right? I really don't see what when wrong in his campaign, maybe the fact that he didn't respond quick enough to the GOP's "blasting". Kerry already has a sizeable war chest and could build from 2004 mistakes.

However, I do agree that either Richardson or Warner would be the best choices: too bad that Warner will not be in office until the election though, Richardson is head of the Democratic Governors association to boot.

Posted by: Seb | May 13, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter to me who runs on the Dem side, mark my words, it will be Romney on the Republican side. Just six short months ago he was considered as not having a chance, and now he's top-tier. Give him another six months, and he'll be #1. Once enough people hear him, read of his accomplishments both in the private and public sector he'll be considered the candidate. Thing that's so appealing about him too is that he has "real world" experience with running Bain Capital and The Salt Lake Olympics in 2002. He'll also appear human to the electorate, and he's very witty. He also has a command of the english language, and speaks with ease both behind a podium and casually. I see his only negative as name recognition at this point. But, he has a long time to change that, and it's already happening with his chairmanship of The Republican Governors Association.

Ann Marie Curling
PR@electromneyin2008.com
http://blog.electromneyin2008.com

Posted by: Ann Marie Curling | May 10, 2006 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Gov. Bill Richardson D-NM in the race. He's got the foreign policy bit down. Having been a Ambassador and a House Representative. He's also been Secretary of Energy. When North Korea wanted to talk, they came to Santa Fe, not DC. That alone should tell you something.

He's a good man. He'd be a great addition to the Dem. ticket, whether it be the Potus or the Veep position. Personally I like, Richardson/Edwards.

Posted by: Maria | May 10, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately I agree with scootmandubious; if Chris and the rest of the msm continue to ignore excellent and popular candidates like General Clark and Senator Feingold, we will AGAIN be in the disasterous situation we're in today. Have they NO conscience?

Posted by: EllenG | May 9, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul who owns the Fox News Network and the New York Post tabloid that savaged Hillary Clinton's initial aspirations to become a US senator for New York, has agreed to host a political fundraiser for her re-election campaign.

Posted by: Wells | May 9, 2006 7:49 AM | Report abuse

confront,

you'll not face the election with a mandate that will make any difference.

no candidate can work against a "business as usual" mindset.


something has to change and it has to destroy the current level of corruption...


talking about the candidates is only important in the aftermath of the needed change...

just like Peter Brookes, who is a good friend of Rumsfeld is "online" at the Washington Post today giving an unbiased Q&A about the Hayden nomination...


how is _that_ good for America?

that's called being


dis effing honest....and the Washington Post _should_ call him on it...and whoever hired him...


is that like the former senator from NM lobbying for _illegal_ immigrants because Mexico likes the money that they send home to their families so they don't want them thrown out and he has spainish heritage so he doesn't see any difference between Mexico and the United States when it comes to accepting money?

Posted by: if you fail to address the issues that a corrupt congress if forcing you to | May 8, 2006 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Again, I look to competence not how long a person has been involved in foreign policy matters. Again, I go back to JFK. He was accussed of the same thing, and look where he got us in the White House. Experience only gets you so far and competence takes care of the rest. If I was alive during the Democratic Primaries and the 1960 Presidential elections I would have supported JFK over the more known and more experieced Democrats or Republicans in the field because he was more competent, and I am doing the same thing today with John Edwards. Is Edwards the smartest on foreign policy than the other Dems in the field? No, not by a Wes Clark the greatest in the field by far and large margins, but Edwards is all around more competent than those Dems. I wish we could piece together a candidate from all the different candidates strong areas but we can't. John Edwards is this all around best candidate and we should support him, but again the only Democrat I don't like out of Gore, Warner, Bayh, Clark, and Clinton is well Hillary Clinton. All the other Democrats can lead this nation better than any other Republican in the field. If I had to rank the Democrats I like they would be:

1) Edwards
2) Bayh
3) Warner
4) Clark
5) Gore
6) Kerry
7) Vilsack
8) Feingold
9) Not Clinton

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 8, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I think that anyone that can wear a suit and ride a bicycle in DC heat without sweating is proving the effectiveness of their churches work...


mormons are good people, and are of unquestionable character.

I've heard of Brigham Young football players apologizing as they tackle someone.


I'm tired of the _exclusivity_ of some ?christians?


that speak against other groups...


it's all belief based anyway, it's not reality...

in reality gawd doesn't take sides, but you will never understand that...not with a fear-based power-over background.

Posted by: as far as mormonism goes | May 8, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

We hope to see Joe Biden in your "Early Look ... 2008."

Sen. Joseph Biden has made a big impact here in South Carolina in his several recent visits here.

South Carolina's early presidential primary, first in the south, will be a key indicator of candidates' appeal to a DIVERSE electorate and appeal in the south.

We believe Biden is a very qualified candidate who will do well here and nationally.

Posted by: Ray Hester - SC | May 8, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

JC: Think about what you're saying. The "No offense,..." qualifier doesn't excuse it.

That's just plain and simple religious bigotry.

Posted by: RI Native in DC | May 8, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who have read past Revelation...
Romney--Is the nation ready for a Mormon President? (No offense, they are hard workers and family oriented and all, but...)

Posted by: JC | May 8, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I think that Feingold NEEDS to be our next president! I can't believe that Kerry and Warner are on this list, both whom I hope do NOT run, but not Feingold or Wesley Clark - who, I believe, are the BEST candidates!!! They both have guts and both have spoken out against the war for a long time, and have not JUST jumped on the bandwagon! I'd love a female president, but I think if we nominate Hillary we'll be making a HUGE mistake. I just don't think she'll win and she's not liberal enough for me!

Posted by: LiberalMama | May 8, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

just children who don't have the cajones to stand by themselves they need a group to support them...


forget about your parties,


support the truth, not a plastic ideology...


the ideology of hatred of a group, is what the government is selling to the people, as they rob the store

nowdays, pandering to the lowest common emotional pull and creating an

"advesary"


is what politics is _all_ about,


but in this version of the Screwtape Letters,


Beezlebub is in the whitehouse....


but you don't get it.

.


you're still defending the strawman of "party loyalty" which in this case could help you find your way to the Hague for "war crimes," if there is a gawd...

.

Posted by: there are no lefties and righties | May 7, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse

"Run Righties Run! Sen Dole warns of doom for your ... well never mind you already sold your souls....Anyhoo..."Run AND HIDE! Hurry! BUT Send MONEY FIRST !!
Democrats are on the verge on "SEIZING" POWER!!
OH BOOHOO (We can't call them 'elections' and more because we're the LOSERS)
"SOMEONE HELP US!! SEND MONEY SOON!! THE ATTORNEYS ARE COMING...AND..sob sob..And WE'LL HAVE TO START PAYING FOR OUR OWN GAS..ITS ALL JUST SO UNFAIR!! boo hoo

Were that 'seizure' to really happen, the world would finally see 'people lining the streets with candy and flowers to greet REAL LIBERATORS'!

Posted by: hennypenny | May 7, 2006 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"Run Righties Run! Sen Dole warns of doom for your ... well never mind you already sold your souls....Anyhoo..."Run AND HIDE! Hurry! BUT Send MONEY FIRST !!
Democrats are on the verge on "SEIZING" POWER!!
OH BOOHOO (We can't call them 'elections' and more because we're the LOSERS)
"SOMEONE HELP US!! SEND MONEY SOON!! THE ATTORNEYS ARE COMING...AND..sob sob..And WE'LL HAVE TO START PAYING FOR OUR OWN GAS..ITS ALL JUST SO UNFAIR!! boo hoo

Were that 'seizure' to really happen, the world would finally see 'people lining the streets with candy and flowers to greet REAL LIBERATORS'!

Posted by: hennypenny | May 7, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"Run Righties Run! Sen Dole warns of doom for your ... well never mind you already sold your souls....Anyhoo..."Run AND HIDE! Hurry! BUT Send MONEY FIRST !!
Democrats are on the verge on "SEIZING" POWER!!
OH BOOHOO (We can't call them 'elections' and more because we're the LOSERS)
"SOMEONE HELP US!! SEND MONEY SOON!! THE ATTORNEYS ARE COMING...AND..sob sob..And WE'LL HAVE TO START PAYING FOR OUR OWN GAS..ITS ALL JUST SO UNFAIR!! boo hoo

Were that 'seizure' to really happen, the world would finally see 'people lining the streets with candy and flowers to greet REAL LIBERATORS'!

Posted by: hennypenny | May 7, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

a transportation system that is effective both energywise and transport wise, then it will sell itself, be less polluting and be sought as an alternative for

financial reasons.


It's always interesting to find that those who see themselves as being infallible in

reason,

are most often deficient in flexible thought process, as being fearful children they use others thought processes to buttress their own opinion...


and stay locked into only what is possible today, when five minutes into the future a solution exists.

there was no rubber available in the United States when the Japanese and Germans prevented us from getting any through imports....but we needed tires in every aspect of the military battle...


people like you would have said, it's over we need to surrender,

people like me would say, hmmmmmmmmm

I just heard about something in Popular Science the other day about polymers, plastic, with stretching, flexible properties...

and I would have saved the day, why don't you do the same and look for the solutions and not why something won't work...


we need to bring down emissions so just shut the eff up and work towards that....punk.

.

Posted by: if you offer an example of | May 7, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Fair and balanced: besides anger, what else will a Democratic candidate offer? The 'I would have done it better' claim isn't enough to carry a presidency run. Iran? What is the Democrats' idea? High gas prices? What do they suggest we do? Terrorism? All I have heard is that we need the Patriot Act but we can't have the Patriot Act. The deficit? All they can say is that times were better with Clinton (never mind that the projected 'surplus' was based on imaginary tax receipts of a market bubble-- a bubble that formed and burst a year before Bush took office). Health care? Medicare deficits? Social security insolvency? Democrats stir up anger and fear to block reforms, but have no alternative suggestions.

As for the environment and 'global warming', the grown-ups know that Kyoto is a joke when one looks at the growing development of China and India, and eventually the African continent. What is the Democrat suggestion for how to get a couple billion Chinese to avoid buying cars?

The only chance the Democrats have is based the fact that traditional media will never take their silly suggestions to task. In an age of alternative media, I hope they have some esplaining to do...

Posted by: JJ | May 7, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Feingold has gotten attention for lobbing an occasional hand grenade. This gets the extreme left and blogoshere excited, but in the light of day his ideas are silly. An example is his recent claim that the government is eavesdropping on political enemies ala Watergate. When called on it and asked for evidence, he can drop back into anonymity for a few days, and then come out with something new. In a sustained discussion his statements and ideas would make for the dream opponent for the GOP... ala Dean.

Posted by: JJ | May 7, 2006 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Hillary WILL be the democratic nominee in 2008 and has a good chance of being elected president. She is smart, strong, works hard and would be the most exciting candidate in years.

Posted by: Craig Stevens | May 7, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'd like the chance to see people "just talking,"

I'm tired of you all trying to "position them,"

I mean it was obvious to me that Condosleezie Rice was being primed to stand up to people screaming as the United States was gutted by corporate predators....


that's what she's been doing....

in the manner of, someone who talks to the store keeper while someone else boosts merchandise...


If you're from New York, you know what I'm talking about, it's why they invented those little tags that set off alarms...


well if you've got alarms, they should be going off if Condi steps up, because they'll be stealing from whoever that they can make that extra buck off of...


you know like stopping seniors from buying pharmaceuticals from Canada or Mexico, because that was unfair to the BIG Pharma...they need our help...


that's why their letting them ship your jobs to China soon....Wal-Mart is opening up a factory there...pretty soon all the chinese will be living here, working for Wal-Mart, because they'll do it cheaper....


then we can talk about the good old days when we used to work at WalMart and medicare was a Wal-Mart provided benefit...


(this is called irony, for the slow geese here).

.

Posted by: I'd like to see them in action... | May 6, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I am a conservative, not a Republican. I refuse to vote for McCain or Hagel or any combination of those two. Hagel is a RINO and McCain is best labeled as (R-Media).

Nominating either of them or Giuliani for that matter guarantees "President Hillary," and our long national nightmare will begin with The Hildabeast in office.

But they don't call the Republicans the Stupid Party for nothing. They are just dumb enough to nominate McCain, Hagel and/or Giuliani.

By doing so, they are making the mistake of evaluating GWB as a conservative. He is anything but. He is more of a Nixonian Republican who except for the war and national security, taxes and his judicial appointments has angered the party's conservative base and has not, unlike Reagan, brought more people into the GOP.

Posted by: Peter DiGaudio | May 6, 2006 9:51 PM | Report abuse

We on the Left need to talk about serious candidates capable of dealing with a nuclear world where many world leaders are in the midst of an uncontrolled and dangereous game of King of the Hill. We need a man of JFKs or Clintons stature.
Edwards, Bayh, and Clark are nice smiley faced boys, but good Dems.
Feingold and Gore are the only two up to the job. In fact Feingold may have been made for just such a time.
We actually need someone like Richard Clarke to clean up the world but he's too scary.

Condi!!?? Why not go all out to destroy the world and make it a Condi/Coulter ticket! jeez you guys are psyco

young turk is right on-
See the Left really isn't about 'hate'.
But water balloons are a different story!

Posted by: wanker hunter | May 6, 2006 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I find it concerning that so many people are so rapturously in love with Edwards. He has a very well-honed message delivered with impressive oratorical skills. However, has he ever run ANYTHING? Neither trial lawyering or the senate are executive positions and now you are expecting voters to install him as the guy that runs the whole country? Let him govern in the Carolinas for a term and then we'll take a look at him. Until then stay away from him because the silver toungue alone cannot reassure nervous swing voters that he is executive material. Realise that not everyone holds JFK in such high regard. Comparisons to his inexperience in 1960 are not the magic antidote to skepticism among moderate repucblicans and swing voters that you may imagine.

Am also incredulous that Guiliani and Rice are considered realistic candidates. Their interest ratings among republicans are high now but imagine the primary debates when the other candidates point out that Guiliani is a pro-gay, pro-choice, gun control advocate who stayed with a gay couple for a couple of months after his second marriage collapsed due to his infidelity. The other candidates will then enlighten the viewers as to the fact that Rice is a black, unmarried, childless, pro-choice, pro-affirmative action career academic. The republican base watching at home will vomit in family-values revulsion at both. It is amazing to see how soon the honeymoon ends for high-profile candidates when they have to fight the others on a level playing field.

Posted by: Dave | May 6, 2006 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was sloppy. Sorry everyone.

PopDem

You missed the point. I am not challenging your selection or attacking your hopes. I am saying, do not confuse hope with what you refer to as "bonafide credentials."

I was not really pushing Bayh as a substitute but the fact is that Bayh DOES HAVE MORE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE and pointing out that it is only by 1 year, still proves the point. Against others like Biden, Richardson and Clark, he simply does not have the credentials you have touted.

I will not knock that anyone has a prefered candidate nor rain on anyone's presumed parade. Just don't try and use such hopes and turn them into credentials that simply don't exist.

Posted by: RMill | May 6, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

PopDem

You missed the point. I am not challenging your selection or attacking your hopes. I am saying, do not confuse with what you refer to as "bonafide credentials." I was not really using pushing Bayh as a substitute but the fact is that Bayh DOES HAVE MORE ACTUAL EXPERIENCE and pointing out that it is only by 1 year stil proves the point. against others like Biden, Richardson and Clark, he simply does not have the credentials you have touted.

I will not knock that nayone has a prefered candidate nor rain on anyones presumed aprade. Just don't try and use such hopes and turn them into credentials that simply don't exist.

Posted by: RMill | May 6, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

How does Evan Bayh have more experience than John Edwards on foreign policy? By about 1 year? John Edwards has traveled across the globe more than most Democrats on our list. People do not realize the extent, the expertise that goes into his work on the Council on Foreign Relations. I do not base my support for Edwards on merit, competence, and vision. Hope goes along way, hope can enspire people to move forward to conquer the problems facing this nation, and the drive to move on a discover things that are thought untainable. Like being able to reach the moons in 1960's. Edwards does not have the resume of General Wes Clark, but no other Democrat, nor any other Republican either. As far as long years of experience, well what has that got us in America. Look at Washington, some of those members have been there for decades, and what have they got us? I base my support on competence not on experience. Rick Santorum has experience and might run for President but would he make a good President? No. Again competence beats experience any day of the week. As far as, not winning the nomination in 2008. Well, unlike in 2008, John Edwards in 2004 was unknown, and had no money and came close to winning the whole thing. His skills and expertise almost overcome the for most with the disadvantages of money and lack of name ID would be impossible. Kerry lost in 2004 in the general election for President not Edwards. It was a referandum on Kerry not Edwards. When you vote for President, for the ticket you vote for the Preidential candidate not the Vice President. No candidate no matter what strength, skills or experience does not mean you will win your first shot at something. Bill Clinton lost his first congressional race and his reelection for governor, JFK lost the Vice Presidency in 1956. To the Republicans, how many times did Ronald R. lose the primaries for President? Wasn't it two to three times before he won it. What happened to these men? I am excited for 2008 because I know the country are looking for another JFK and my candidate John Edwards is the closest thing to this man.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 6, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Comparing McCain to Eisenhower is a big mistake. Although, McCain's service to this country in Vietnam is very honorable and worthy for our praise, but Eisenhower was Supreme Allied Commander of European Forces. If there is someone to compare Eisenhower to is ex-Supreme Allied Commander of European Forces General Wes Clark. He would be a good Vice President, but the man that can enspire in the idealism that John F. Kennedy brought when I was a young 20 year in the sixties is John Edwards. His lack of foreign policy experience reminds me of Kennedy's critics when he was running for President when Adali Stevenson supporters and other Democrats bashed him whole highly. As we seen they were wrong about JFK and today they are wrong about John Edwards. I have seen his speak on several foreign policy issues, read his reports, and followed his work on the Select Committee on Intelligence and Foreign Policy Group is grounded in sensible realism of today mixed in with the idealism of tomorrow. He knows likes most Democrats on how to protect and secure citizens of this country. I would love to see an Edwards/Clark ticket which could compete in every single state in the country. They could win in Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and even other solid red states like Arkansas, Missouri, Viriginia, Colorado, and Nevada. I hope and pray that the Democrats take a good look on who they nomiate in 2008, and elect John Edwards to be our nominee, thus the White House. Hillary Clinton sure does not have the brains and skills of John Edwards.

Posted by: JAB | May 6, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Why do people see Haley Barbour as a potentially serious presidential candidate? Just as John Kerry was turned into a caricature, so would he be turned into one. Like Kerry, he is not particularly photogenic. "Mississippi Republicans" and "Massachusetts Democrats" are not the kind of candidates either party wants.

Posted by: Q | May 6, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

parties be damned...

how about straight ahead honesty?


that too grown up for you "little endians"?


not everyone has been appointed by Bush.


there are CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service and others that could remove this cabal,

and restore the United States to a reasonable facsimilie of honest government...


they arressted the Watergate burgalars, olde friends of geo h.w. bush...(bay of pigs failures) before,


they can do it again!

comeon CIA, FBI, NSA, Secret Service arrest the terrorists!

take back your country.

remove the coup!!!!!

.

take Negroponte home....now.


as I said earlier...


care about your country, it's not about team colors it is about being represented as citizens.

.

Posted by: I like integrity in my country as well as my politicians... | May 6, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Joan, you are clearly not living in a rational world if you are still spouting such rhetoric as "Is anger all you guys offer?" Outside of extreme loyalists, like yourself, people are fed up with the current administration and GOP-led Congress on issue after issue after issue. The USA, incl hard-core conservatives, needs to move beyond these stupid partisan propagandist accusations and get down to some real business. For one, hiring a CIA chief who is not totally incompetent (Goss) and definitely not hiring one who is complicit in helping the President break the law (former head of NSA, Hayden).

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | May 6, 2006 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Why is someone comparing McCain to Eisenhower of the 1952? McCain was no general, he served in Vietnam, ok, but that does not make him Eisenhower. Geez.
Now Tommy Franks running for president would be more comparable to Eisenhower, and maybe he would consider being a VP or a Secretary of Defense in the Republican White House of 2009. McCain has his work cut out for him if he thinks he can mend enough fences by January 2008 to win majority support in Iowa. He might win New Hampshire like in 2000, and Michigan, but the South is going for a more conservative Republican leader, who that is , I don't know, but it is not McCain.
He will be 72 years old, older than Reagan and older than any other president ever elected, so he might win the GEEZZER vote, but not the moderate youth vote.

Posted by: Larry | May 6, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

young Turk wants to impeach Bush, wow, what a great thought to bring to the debate room, just another example of the HATE BUSH group which cost the Democrats seats in the House and Senate in 2002, 2004, and might pull the rug out from under the donkey legs in 2006. Is anger all you guys offer? Young Turk brings no plan, no solutions, no leadership, just carry the Democrats water to the debate room. If the Democrats keep their own seats in 2006, (right now there are 28 more Republicans than Democrats), and IF the Democrats can win 15 seats currently held by Republicans, then they get Nancy Pelosi as speaker. Wow, what a liberal tilt that will be. Are the Democrats from the real world side of the party going to let themselves be steamrolled into impeachment, and investigation after investigation? If that is what the Democrats want, then why would any voter want to put them into the leadership of the House? Nothing would get done in the last 2 years, zilch, nothing. Anger is why the Democrats lost the White House in 2004, so unless you guys bring a real plan to the table, please save your breathe in trying to debate with the grownups.

Posted by: Joan | May 6, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Jackson made a comment about Jeb being able to come in late the 2008 game but that is also how powerful Condi would be if she came in after the Iowa Caucus. Don't forget, polls have been reported out of Iowa that Condi is the top ranked contender with 30%.
There was also a question about affirmative action, and Condi is on record as saying it might get your foot in the door, but to get promoted and advance your career, you have to be able to accomplish the duty of your job, (like the tenure issue)
Also on abortion, she is on record as against the late term procedure, agrees with President Bush on ending federal funding and supports parental notification of minor children. The Democrats have to deal with their own prolife members, like Casey in Penn. who is challenging Santorum, and Zel Miller from Georgia, (who said the party left him, and that motivated him to support Bush on defending our nation)
the fact that millions of people are discussing Condi for president is a historic fact on the ground, a term has been used by the media, CONDIMANIA.
Worldwide coverage of her visits still include a reference to her future political career. So it is up to her what to decide sometime later in 2007. And if President Bush wants her as his legacy, she will run.

Posted by: Tina | May 6, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

include cheyney, rumsfeld, negroponte, geo h. w. bush, geo w. bush, Goss, Brownie, dealaide...and a couple of others


liquidate their estates and put them in the general fund as repiration for their sins....


like molasses on my pancakes....


the taste of sin destroyed.

.

Posted by: try bush for treason... | May 6, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

that's stupid.

arrest him, and his appointees and liquidate his properties as well as those of his appointees.

why waste time?

Posted by: impeachment? | May 6, 2006 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Young Turk asks who will replace Bush "when" he resigns after impeachment. Impeachment (comparable to indictment) requires a majority vote of the House, which may be possible after this year's election; conviction requires a 2/3 vote of the Senate, which is not possible given the few seats that are competitive. If the perjured sexual exploiter Clinton did not resign on mere impeachment, why should Bush?

Whether Republicans should secretly promote this silly Democrat impeachment effort is a nice question. On the one hand, it wastes a lot of Democrat time and money; on the other, it keeps a lot of Democrat fuddleheads from getting in the way of serious workers. Probably better to let them foul up on their own.

Posted by: Kakuzan | May 6, 2006 1:31 AM | Report abuse

see some character emerge,


a little less trying to hit the polls and a lot more of _who_ the person behind the mask...

Perot really helped to do that, debate with characters often time exposes those without it....

Guilliani should help keep 'em honest,

let us pray.

.

Posted by: whatever happens I would like to | May 6, 2006 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Warner is the most electable candidate for the Dems. 70+ approval ratings for his red state governership are testament to his skills and, along with his business background, a great platform on which to run. Team him with Bill Richardson (another popular governer with a great background - UN, Energy Sec) to swing Latino votes in FL, AZ & NM and you have a superior ticket with great geographical balance. Slight vulnerability on national defense defusded if Wes Clark agrees in advance to be Sec of State.

I like both Gore and Kerry but they are terrible campaigners and both failed to convert their very good chances. Not again.

Edwards is lightweight - a one-term senator and trial lawyer, a terrible background. His silky skills and Southern appeal cannot overcome his non-existant executive experience. Put him as #1 on the ticket and voters will see the Emperor has no clothes. It will be embarrasing.

Nominating Hillary is suicide - swing voters in in OH, FL, PA, IO, etc. (the only ones that really matter) just will not buy her. Hopefully dems realise this as the nomination approaches and her support will fall away.

I love Russ Feingold, but a ticket with him on the top would lose 45 of the 50 states. The "energise the base" argument doesn't work for dems like it does for republicans as left/right voting patters are asymetric. Nothing could have motivated the base like defeating Bush in '04 and we still lost. Don't forget, Feingold would energise the Republican base as well. The centre must be taken - there is no other way.

Joe Biden??? Haven't we learned to stay away from Northeasteners? Get candidates from red/swing states or forget about it.

Posted by: Dave | May 6, 2006 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Don't be too hard on Chris' Democratic picks. Sounds like they're right out of the dreaded DLCs' playbook. And that's exactly why none of them will be our nominee. This board proves how strong the support is first for 'outsiders' and second, for Feingold. The Blog 'My Left Wing' really cuts to the chase:
Gore or Feingold. Gore won by a 2x1 margin but I attribute that to Feingolds' unknown status. Gore would be great but I'm not sure he'll run. He may prefer a more worldly spot like U.N. Ambassador. Aids, poverty and environmental issues need 24/7 attention. But I'm a solid believer in Feingold too because of his incredible strengths and insights on a whole host of issues, past and present. Clark is a fence sitter. His embarassing wavering on the Port deal will sink him. And he's too Lieberman like. Russ has guts and fears no one going so far as calling other Senators cowards when they followed DLC's strong suggestion to vote FOR the recent Patriot Act. Only a strong leader gets the cross over voters.

Two insightful facts:
1. Sen Feingold went to Texas to help another candidate via his 'Progressive Patriots Fund'. The Texans loved him!
2. I started a website, which I urge other Feingold supporters to join. No big deal. I just want to track the trend and pretend 2008 is closer than it really is.
But amazingly the very first people to find me were Americans abroad! They see Feingold with great potential as a strong world leader! So I think our intuitions are on to something.
come see me and leave your mark!
http://www.frappr.com/feingold2008

Posted by: motherwolfe | May 5, 2006 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I think many of the commenters above are right that you're misreading the race on the Democratic side.

Kerry and Edwards, for better or worse, are has-beens -- they lost a race that was theirs to lose. Edwards added exactly nothing that I noticed to the ticket. Did he help carry a single state?

Bayh, when he spoke at the Democratic convention, reminded me of a bad talk-show host.

Feingold and Richardson both deserve some consideration, as fresh faces with new perspectives.

Hillary cannot be counted out. $40 million does matter. But she is more hated (mostly for irrational reasons) than anyone else in the race, and would motivate her opponents more than her supporters. She may well win the nomination, but it would be a pity because she would lose the race.

Warner is Mr. Over-rated. He's not going to get the nomination and he's not going to become president. His 4 years as governor are lean on accomplishments, he has no charisma, and as my wife says, "he's too ugly to be president." I say all this as a Virginian who has supported him since he ran his first campaign, for Senate. He should've tried again for the Senate and built up his resume. But he's not presidential timber yet.

Posted by: Sean Kindler | May 5, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I think that when all is said and done on the Democratic side, Feingold will be in the top tier of candidates. The reason is simple: he's the only one who has been consistently opposed to Bush and the war, voting no on both the PATRIOT Act and the war resolution. The Dean campaign showed that one can get into the first tier of candidates without the traditional big money fundraising base. The immense distaste for the war and the fact that all of the candidates on the current top 5 list supported it are a HUGE point in Feingold's favor with party activists.

Posted by: Matt | May 5, 2006 10:26 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic candidacy that would bring the most energy, vitality and, most of all, votes, is Gore-Feingold. They are both tireless campaigners who are intelligent and quick on their feet. They also bring credibility. Gore's ominous warnings about the environment and our dependence on foreign oil combined with Feingold's maverick streak make it an unbeatable team. There is no Republican candidacy that could beat these two.

Posted by: BIll Z. | May 5, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

First-time visitor. This is a wonderful group, intelligent & thougtful.

A few thoughs....

Greg-G

I think it's a little too early for Obama to run. You use the JFK model but remember that JFK was in his second Senate term not the middle of his first and he was backed by the remarkable Kennedy machine. Obama running now might make him the new Edwards, a talented candidate who needed more seasoning. If the Democrats lose in 08, I think he becomes the immeadiate front-runner in 2012.

Rmill

Interesting poll showing HRC cleaning the clock of Gore, Kerry & Edwards. I agree with some other posters who said that it's a little early to put too much faith in the polls but those guys have major names and she wiped the floor with them.

Posted by: cthoover | May 5, 2006 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Quickly has to be considered in the top tier, just look at these postings. Now as to electibility, thats another question. But this question is who are the top tier canidates to get the nominations.

Second, McCain is not a moderate.

Third, Condi has no chance, if she would be so foolish.

Jeb is smart enough to know that he has to change surname to get elected.

Posted by: WOW | May 5, 2006 8:39 PM | Report abuse

While I understand why Tom Vilsack was left off of this list, he will be a serious contender. Right now, he is seen by the vast majority of voters as a bland, DLC candidate, the Iowa version of Evan Bayh. Once Vilsack gets in front of cameras and voters, however, people will see that he comes across as real, passionate, and plain-spoken. He's a regular guy who gives an inspiring speech and has an inspiring life story. (Orphaned at birth, adopted into an abusive family.) He is not as far right as Bayh and doesn't seem to have the contempt for the left-wing of the party that Warner has.

While I understand skepticism at this point, the more you listen to and see Vilsack, the more he seems like the one candidate who can unify the entire party AND win the general. He is an inspiring, plain-spoken Governor from the middle of the country. In other words, exactly what the Democratic party needs. I urge you all to check him out.

Posted by: JDS | May 5, 2006 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The people who think Gore or Kerry should be the 2008 Democrats nominee must be smoking some very strong stuff. Both of them have a track record- they proved themselves terrible candidates when they were the nominee in 2000 and 2004.
If McCain is the Republican nominee it will be almost impossible for any Democrat to win.
If either has-been, Gore or Kerry, were the Democrats' candidate in 2008 it would be impossible for any Republican to loose.

Posted by: adrian | May 5, 2006 6:49 PM | Report abuse

PopDem

Biden has bonafide credentials in foreign policy. Richardson has bonafide credentials. Even Bayh has more experience than Edwards on foreign policy.

And if Edwards was the wonderkid you make him out to be, why wasn't he the nominee in 2004?

Don't confuse your personal like for the guy to build up credentials he just doesn't have. He was a one-term Senator who failed in getting the nomination in 2004 and ended up at the bottom end of a losing ticket.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I go back to Edwards. He saved Bill Clinton from getting impeached in the Senate. His work on the Senate Intelligence Comm, and Foreign Policy task force has given him the bonafide credentials to be President. He has the vision, hope, and strength this country needs right now. People keep saying that he was going to lose his Senate Race. This is a fabricated thing by the Republicans. Edwards was too smart and too good of a politician to lose his Senate seat. Our country typically elects a Governor for President, but if you are a good politician like Edwards and JFK in the past you can use your skills to make people know that you can govern. I think Kerry being a Senator and for that he lost was overblown. Voters thought he could govern it is just that the Bush team did a better job to get people to come out and vote. Other candidates like Warner, Bayh and to lesser extent Al Gore are the only other candidates I trust to run a general election campaign and run the country. Hillary does not have the strength to govern this country. She would do a better job than Romney, or a Bill Frist but I am not willing to take second rates. I want the best. I want John Edwards to be the nominee, or Warner, Bayh, or Gore.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 5, 2006 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I see an interesting possible match up for 2008.

McCain must be considered a front runner. I think Hagel will surprise enough to make it to the ticket.

McCain-Hagel would provide Republicans a maverick ticket with moderate appeal in a general election.

I would counter this with Richardson-Bayh, with great geographic appeal and bolstering Hispanic turnout for Dems, this would be the best campaign we could see for some time.

All these men are thoughtful, intelligent and experienced and I think the debates would be tremendous. This might be the "campaign of ideas" many of us have long sought.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Mischa

Of course the insider stuff goes out the window at election time but that is why it is insider stuff. What else are we going to talk about for 18 months?

Denise

Senator Levin has never really expressed the desire and I imagine he would prefer a spot on the US Supreme Court where he would be a great justice.

Steve

Biden should have an open fund raising oppotunity but it has not materialized yet. He has a campaign war chest to keep the field clear but no real activity. Also, remember he has run before (1988) and was embarassed by the plagerism scandal. He also was blasted for his lengthy and at times, off-topic comments during the Alito hearings.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/11/AR2006011102041.html

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Gore couldn't carry his own state in 2000.

Edwards couldn't help Kerry carry Edwards's own state in 2004. (The reason Edwards doesn't return to North Carolina and run for governor is that he has no chance of winning.)

This record does not bode well for either.

Obviously, we are all speculating way too far in advance, but even in our speculation, we should try to consider simple mass appeal. Hagel and Romney wear well. So does Warner. People say Edwards does, but I don't see it. Hillary does and doesn't. Howard Dean was popular on the internet, but then people met him. Gore, Kerry, Frist -- unelectable because unlikeable. It seems to me that the Democratic candidate will have to be someone who does not condescend and seem contemptuous of the voter. That really narrows it down.


Posted by: Evan Samson | May 5, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why Sen. Biden isn't getting more attention. He is the only announced candidate of any of the majors so far, which should give him a fundraising edge over Edwards, Bayh, Warner, and even Kerry. He also has more foreign policy credibility than any of the other Democratic candidates, and has the ability to articulate his views without vascilating- a key trait that desperate Democrats will be looking for.
Middle-of-the-road liberals looked for "electability" in 2004 because Bush was such a terrible alternative, and I don't think that will change in 2008. Iraq and maybe Iran will still dominate the discussion then, and Biden will run circles around the competition on those issues. He also has been a solid liberal on the Judiciary Committee, and by 2008 the South Dakota abortion ban could find its way to the Supreme court and pay huge dividends for him with the base. Finally, he has cross-party appeal, and I can see moderate conservatives giving Biden strong consideration if the Republicans nominate someone like George Allen. He definitely has to find a balance between remaining articulate and getting better at creating soundbites, and I worry about the ill effects of his failed '88 campaign, but I am shocked that he hasn't cracked your top five and find him much more viable than Edwards, Bayh, and especially Kerry.

Posted by: Steve Johnson | May 5, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

For Bill Richardson fans

http://www.thehill.com/thehill/export/TheHill/News/Frontpage/061505/richardson.html

Highlights Richardson's activities as related to the 2008 Nomination.

Several trips to NH to campaign for Gov. Lynch (his travel out-of-state is getting local NM press as an issue for his re-election).

Richardson had a war chest for re-election of $3 M (not sure hwere it is at now, having trouble tracking down the current numbers) and his PAC (now closed) raised and spent $5 M. Also trying to orchestrate an early Western Primary ala Super Tuesday.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

What about any strong Democratic Governors (other than former Gov. Mark Warner) for a presidential candidate? It seems that the Dems best strategy might be to go with someone outside the beltway especially since no one really has any trust in Congress any more. Any real contenders? What about Gov. Richardson of NM? Also, why isn't Senator Carl Levin considered? He's my Senator and simply wonderful!

Posted by: Denise | May 5, 2006 4:34 PM | Report abuse

All this inside-the-beltway junk goes out the window as the election approaches. Here's why:

Cillizza has piled insider-Dem on top of insider-Dem: Bayh, Kerry, previously Biden...They're here because people have heard of them, and/or they have money. But Joe Lieberman was the runaway favorite for 2004 at one point based on the same thing. The issue is CONSTITUENCIES within the party.

There are blocs within the Democratic Party. Hillary has her diehards. She's Candidate 1. Candidate 2 is the "moderate"/southern/outside-the-beltway constituency: ie. Warner, possibly Clark. Candidate 3 is whoever picks up the Dean thing, DFA and then "netroots" etc. ie. Feingold, possibly Clark here too. Assuming all these people DO run, there simply isn't ROOM for two or three hawkish DLCers of the sort favored by the horse-race analysts. (And thank god for that!)

Edwards is one who has the southern thing, the out-of-the-political-loop thing, and an appeal to the left of the party as well.

That's my 2 cents on the Dems. Opinions?

Posted by: Mischa | May 5, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Romney - unelectable in Republican primaries in most states because he has flip-flopped on so many issues, especially abortion and gay marriage.

Frist - Boring. Dick Lugar would be a more exciting candidate.

George Allen - Also boring. What does he offer? Nothing. I think the guy is shady.

McCain - clearly he has some problems with conservatives, but just because the Grover Norquist crowd (which is totally corrupt and totally for $ale) hates him doesn't mean he will lose the primaries. McCain is actually consistently pro-life, unlike any of these other candidates, and it will help him in the GOP primaries.

Giuliani - his record as Mayor even well before "9/11" was very good, but unfortunately his views on social issues just don't sell well at all outside the Northeast. His personal life would also be a major distraction. Divorce is a fact of life and most people are forgiving, but you cannot just dump Wife No. 2 on live television at a news conference without informing her first. That's just weird - and wrong.

Gingrich - Please. Get real. Outside of Washington, he is considered a joke and a clown. Another member of the Three Wives Club. What a pathetic person. Conservatives will never support him.

Bayh - the Democrats would be smart to nominate him. He is much more of a centrist than his father was in the Senate. He doesn't frighten people like H. Clinton does, and he is not bitter like she and Kerry are.

Richardson - an interesting candidate. I would like to hear more from him. I think his foreign policy experience in an interesting asset. He also seems to not be part of the lunatic left. He seems to have some personal issues, but I'm not sure those will matter.

Warner - another interesting candidate for the Democrats. I don't agree with his tax increase, but he would be very competitive in a general election because he is reasonable, moderate, and not a lunatic.

Kerry - an irrelevant buffoon. Waste of time.

Gore - I think people have more of an appreciation for him now. He has done some stupid things (like endorse Howard Dean) but he is a very intelligent guy who could win the center while still appeasing the lunatic left in the Democratic Party.

H. Clinton - she scares too many people with all of her bitterness and anger. What state would she win that Kerry did not? She frightens people. If she won the Democratic nomination, she would be destroyed - it would guarantee another four years of the Republicans.

Edwards - I am sure he is a nice person, but he is very shallow. What did he accomplish with his one term in the Senate? He should go back home and run for Governor and try to accomplish something meaningful. What has he done? Nothing. He complains a lot about poverty but he has no solutions.

Posted by: Sandy | May 5, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Will you be "shocked" when Russ Feingold gets the nomination? There are lots of us who have no use for the Washington types on your list.

Posted by: Sidney | May 5, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Chris should stop wasting his time with who will be President in '08.

The more pressing issue is who will replace Bush when he resigns after Impeachment in '07?

Will it be President Pelosi or will it be shoot me in the face Cheney?

Posted by: Young Turk | May 5, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

To Greg-G, the left-wing poster who thinks that right-leaning blogs' skepticism of McCain means that he won't win the nomination:

You're quite wrong. Conservatives have serious disagreement with some of McCain's past positions (particularly campagn finance, which is seen as blatantly unconstitutional), but they recognize that McCain is very strong on the most important things (the war, abortion, national sovereignty). McCain will coast to the nomination.

Posted by: rds | May 5, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see that John Edwards has a few supporters in this round of comments. I showed more tangible support by making a contribution to his OneAmerica Committee (thanks for reminding me, Chris). Having Labor's support didn't help Howard Dean or Dick Gebhardt much in 2004, I'll admit. But I have the feeling that Edwards will be able to inspire a more passionate commitment that will translate into votes.

Posted by: Sherry | May 5, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is again underestimated. He will get the support of Labor Democrats, Moderates, Liberals, Progressives, and Libertarians. Labor has a lot of money and they will support him, a son of labor. Bayh is a very credible candidate with experience, and national security to be a major candidate. Warner is the flavor of the month, and innovative ideas will get a lot of appeal. Russ Feingold will win over the Dean vote and not much more. Wes Clark will have a strong standing but his hope is to offer the ticket foreign policy and security credentials as VP or be Sect of State in the administration. Al Gore could be the Wild Card, he may come from the left and win the nod. I think he could win the general election too, but in all I think Edwards Populist appeal will resonate with voters on both sides and he will win the nomination and the Presidency. No matter what, the nomiantions will not be like in the past, and this will be a hard fought primary that will go down to the wire.

Posted by: Blue88 | May 5, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really anticipate either McCain or Guilani becoming the Repub nominee? I don't think they've got a prayer, unless two big things happen (neither of which are hardly slam dunks):

1. Republicans get blown out of the water in November, losing both houses of Congress

2. By early 2008, Hillary seems invincible in winning the Dem nomination

For laughs, I like to read the right-wing websites and they LOATHE both McCain and Guiliani. In McCain's case, I really don't think it matters if he even gets Bush's organization and people. These people march to the beat of their own drummer (read: are insane) and wouldn't vote for either of these guys unless Hill and Bill are driving a U-Haul to the White House in January 2007.

I'm beginning to think that it may in fact be Romney, or Allen, but I agree with earlier posts that Allen may not be ready for prime time.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 5, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

AL GORE 2008!

Seriously. If he decides to run, I think goes to the top of the "most-electable Democratic candidate" list. Here's why...

1) He already won once. And that was when the common sentiment was that it made no difference who you voted for because Bush and Gore were one and the same. I'm sure there are a lot of people who regret their vote in 2000 and would love the chance to atone.

2) He's the most experienced. Not only as an executive branch official, but also as a candidate. He's been through the wringer enough that the GOP is not going to be able to dig-up anything that hasn't already been out there. People know Al Gore, and if the GOP is forced to run the same race they ran in 2000, I have a feeling the voting public will be less receptive to their rhetoric.

3) He's the environmental candidate. And by 2008, we'll have reached a point in our society that will recognize that as a good thing. No one has been more out in front of that issue than Gore. And given the exposure he'll receive from "An Inconvenient Truth", that reputation will only increase.

4) He's a much better "anti-McCain" than Hillary. Now many of you will be saying, "What about Feingold?" Well, I think Gore is more electable. See above.

5) Clinton nostalgia. Remember the good old days? Most of the country does too. I think Gore is better able to tap into that even Hillary is.

DRAFT GORE! His time has come...

Posted by: JPS | May 5, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I live in Indiana. Evan B. is pretty dull, and it isn't a sure thing that he would carry Indiana as the Democratic Party's nominee. (He would make no difference as the VP candidate.) I don't see him generating the enthusiasm in the Democratic primary electorate. I've lived in Virginia, and Warner is fine but much of Virginia's success during his term was due to huge defense/anti-terrorism spending by the federal government. I don't know if he'll hold up as a strong challenger. Richardson, if he doesn't have skeletons in his closet, would be an attractive candidate. He's got a great personality, considerable experience and cut taxes in New Mexico. On the GOP side, watch out for Governor Romney. As the GOP primary electorate sees him on stage, hears him talk and learns about his professional background and accomplishments, he'll rise in its esteem. He'll be the governor-with-money candidate, while all the senators who are running for the nod will have tons of embarrassing votes to explain away.

Posted by: Mark | May 5, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

If McCain wins the GOP nomination, he will win the general handily. Eisenhower wasn't going to lose to Stevenson or anybody else. Same for McCain (who will be a more conservative President than Ike was).

Romney is a conventionally solid candidate who will run strong against any Democrat, but he will have only a 50/50 chance of winning the general in this environment.

Giuiliani is a bit of an unknown quantity. On one hand, the GOP base will embrace him (strong on foreign policy, not that bad on cultural issues because he has a history of taking on the Anti-American/Anti-Western Left: See Brooklyn Museum incident). On the other hand, there is a real possibility that a significant sleaze/corruption factor could hurt him badly in the general (B. Kerik, J. Nathan, etc.). He has the same 50/50 chance of winning the general that Romney has, but based on a totally different set of variables.

Hillary, Warner, Richardson, Bayh, or Edwards would all get crushed by McCain, run even with Romney and Giuliani, and beat any other Republican pretty solidly.

Kerry, Clark, or Feingold would lose the general by large margins if nominated --unless they face Frist or whoever the GOP equivalent of Kucinich is (I'd say that's Tancredo). But that won't happen, as Frist's campaign will strongly resemble Quayle 2000: somehow dignified and pathetic at the same time.

Posted by: rds | May 5, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else wonder if Allen knows the difference between the football he carries around and the real football the President's military attache carries?

Posted by: Jesse Martin | May 5, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The New Republic has ANOTHER article on Senator George Allen today. When he ran for Governor in 1993, the confederate flag was displayed in his bookcase and appeared in the first campaign ad.

The article also points out how Allen's successor (a Richmond native) Governor Jim Gilmore "repudiated" Allen's Declaration for Confederate History month because Allen refused to even mention slavery. Its very strange that the native Richmonder (Gilmore) saw fit to denounce slavery - and Allen (the Californian) embraced the tragedies and darkest days of the South. Allen comes off as too eager to please his Daddy. And too eager to be seen as "masculine."

Real men ARE masculine. They don't need to take on a new identity to BE masculine.

Allen's sister makes it sound like this guy HATES women. For all the wealth and privilege, it seems Allen hasn't enough intellectual curiosity or heft to become President. Further, I can't imagine that women from anywhere will be impressed. The only thing missing in his background is torturing cats.

Allen's only got a couple of solid staffers from the good ol'days. And no matter their gravitas as operatives, great staff can't get you elected President. The staff should see the writing on the wall. Tell Allen to focus on the task at hand. He's peaked too early on the POTUS bid. And is overexposed. YUCK.

Posted by: Anne | May 5, 2006 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Looking back to Republican Integrity's view that a GOP nominee needs to move in "a different direction than the Bush Administration": no nominee ever won by running against his own party. Scott F's mention of 1952 is relevant; there was no way Adlai Stevenson (governor of Illinois, ex-State-Department), whatever his intelligence and decency, could promise more convincingly to clean up "the mess in Washington" than Dwight David Eisenhower.

The 2008 election looks like 1952 in reverse; barring some major break (e.g. peace in Iraq), it's the Democrats' to lose. Of course, they are good at that.

I predict Hillary. "The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong--but that's the way to bet."

Posted by: Kakuzan | May 5, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Bayh doesn't have a position on anything and has virtually sat on his hands through every important decision in the Senate. Not wanting to make waves and being a wannabe with bucks ain't gonna make it happen.

Posted by: Ignernt Indianan | May 5, 2006 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Like, Populist Democrat I too and from Ohio. Edwards does resonate with alot of blue collar workers here. My state has been hit really hard by Republican policies. My state too is more culturally conservative, but economically liberal due to alot of industries here that packed up and went to China. In 2004, the economic situation was not as bad as it is now, and back then voters put their cultural conservatism before their economic self interest. Now, after us going down more economically, the failures of Bob Taft these blue collar workers that used to put their cultural conservatism first are not going after Edwards Populist, poor boy appeal. His call for moral leadership also makes it easier for them to support them. I am from the poor, rural areas of the country and they talk about Edwards call to raise minimum wage, increase benifits, and measures to stop poverty really hits home here. Candidates like Hillary Clinton seem too out of step with these voters, and their is no personal connection. She seems too out of step culturally for these swing moderates, Independents, and swing Republicans to jump on the bandwagon. I just don't see her support. I think Warner can win down here, but any other Democrat will have a hard time winning in Ohio. Edwards by what I hear all the time, fits the bill for Ohio voters. I hope we are smart enough to nominate him in 2008 because he can win in places like Ohio, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, and even states like Missouri. His lack of national security credentials is something developed by Republicans because they did not want to face him in the general election. He was on the Select Comm. on Intelligence, and foreign policy think tank and I have seen him many times like on Meet the Press. He offers simple, but detailed answers to our security and foreign policy matters. If he has Wes Clark as VP I see no reason why that ticket could not win every single issue. I too like Populist Democrat think that Edwards will get loads of money from Labor Union acting out of their self-interest because the things Edwards will do for lower class, labor parts of the populace will be a blessing to them. He is the only Democrat that will take the necessary steps to help those in the lower class and make it a national issue in 2008.

Posted by: Josh | May 5, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

While I think he's seriously hampered by some personal baggage, I'd say Newt Gingrich has a better shot at the nomination than Romney.

Posted by: James Joyner | May 5, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

THE OTHER DEMOCRATS

Wes Clark: Former US Army 4-star general, Supreme Allied Commender of NATO and Rhodes Scholar ran a lack luster and short lived Presidential bid in 2004. After finishing a disppointing third in New Hampshire he ended up winning the Oklahoma primary and finishing second in Arizona, New Mexico and North Dakota. After continued poor showings the following week, Clark withdrew. He did end up effectively using the internet for fund raising, $10 M of his $29 M, buit this was largely overshadowed in the media by the Dean campaign internet operations. He continues to campaign on behalf of candidates around the US, like James Webb running for US Senate in Virginia and Russ Warner, running for Congress in La Canada,California. Recnet speeches include topics of global warming and tax breaks for veterans.

He has been slow to raise campaign funds over the past five quarters, raising and spending less than $1 M and has consistantly polled under 5% in that same timeframe.

Russ Feingold: Democratic US Senator from Wisconsin has made recent headlines in pushing for a censure of President Bush for his presumed misuse of power in ordering domestic wiretaps and for using misleading intelligence data to justify the War in Iraq.

Of his prior activity, he is best known with joining fellow maverick John McCain in offering campaign reform legislation.

He was a Phi Beta Kappa and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with honors and was named a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from Harvard Law. He is also twice divorced.

He entered the Senate with a stunning upset of incumbant Bob Kasten and narrowly won rel-election in 1998 by 1% while holding to a self-imposed spending limit of $3.8 M (one dollar for every Wisconsin resident). In 2004, Feingold broke that pledge and spent nearly $11 M to win re-election by 12% points. Breaking the pledge became a campaign issue but Feingold showed that most of the money was still raised in Wisconsin and the average contribution was about $60.

He is ranked as the most progressive member of the Senate with a 96 rating by the ADA (Americans for Democratic Action)and a 12 by the ACU (American Conservative Union).

Senator Feingold has picked up his fund raising activities of late, moving ahead of other considered front tier Democrats but has shown poorly in polls (of only about half his name is included), consistantly showing 3% or less.

Bill Richardson: Governor of New Mexico and former Secretary of Energy (Clinton Adm), US Ambassador to the United Nations and US Congressman from New Mexico, Richardson is up for re-election in 2006. His approval ratings range from the mid- to high 60's.

He is a graduate of Tufts University and Tufts Law School in Massachusetts where he also played baseball. He was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics but declined to pursue a professional career.

Recent activity in the State of New Mexico has seen Richardson build the state as the next center for commerical space travel. He also became the first governor in the US to veto eminent domain legislation in wake of the recent Supreme Court decision on the matter.

He has done little to encourage talk of a presidential bid and has focused his energies on re-election. His involvement in the Wen Ho Lee matter at Los Alamos Labs while Energy Secretary remains a major stumbling block to such a bid. It is widely reported that he is believed to have leaked Lee's name in connection with security breach at the New Mexico nuclear facility. He has also been cautious in his statements regarding the current immigration reform deliberations.

His fund raising has been limited to his state campaign fund and his poll numbers have been consistantly low, between 1-3%.

THE OTHER REPUBLICANS

San Brownback: This conservative US Senator from Kansas graduated from Kansas State Univesity and received his law degree from University of Kansas. He is a former Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, one term congressman and was elected, defeating the appointed Lt. Governor who replaced Bob Dole in 1996 in the GOP primary. He was easily re-elected in 2004 with 69% of the vote. He has announced he will not run for re-election in 2010 as he supports federal term limits.

He has been a decided social conservative yet has been progressive in his call for action in Sudan and has called for aggressive measures to halt the Darfur genocide.

He also has suggested using the District of Columbia as a test case for a flat tax. This has caused some uproar in the nation's capitol, where activists have rolled out the time tested "taxation without representation" call for their cause.

Brownback has, unfortunately been caught up in the Abramoff lobbying scandal, having to return some $42,000 in contributions, which may hurt his chances in a 2008 presidential bid.

Normally not included in many polls, he rarely rises above 1% in those polls he is included in for Republican nomination. His fund raising activity is rather low, raising and spending about $600,000 in the past five quarters.

Bill Frist: The outgoing Tennessee Senator and current majority leader of the US Senate, Frist is a physician by training. He graduated from Princeton and Harvard Medical school. His great-great grandfather founded the City of Chatanooga, TN.

In medical school, Frist admitted he obtained cats and dogs from an animal shelter under the pretense of adoption and used them to perform research experiments.

He defeated Democrat incumbant Jim Sasser, largely on attacks on Sasser for ironically attempting to become Majority Leader instead of making Tennessee a priority. He won by 13 points. He was easily re-elected in 2000 with 66% of the vote.

Early success in passing the Bush administration's priorities in the Senate has seen a recent downturn with set-backs in coming to a resolution on immigration and dealing with high gas prices. He has been increasingly criticized from inside the party for his late handling of the Senate agenda, which could cause problems in garnering needed support for a 2008 GOP bid.

His views on prolonging the life of Terri Schiavo have been called extreme and inappropriate by opponents and critics. He has also been criticized over possible conflict of interest due to his holding of stock in HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) while HCA was under investigation for Medicare fraud, drawing a $631 M fine. He further drew fire when his blind trust sold his HCA holdings a week before they publically announced poor earnings, which prompted an on-going SEC investigation. His polling has been relatively modest but has raised nearly $5 M and spent over $5.5 M in the past five quarters mostly through his PAC.

Chuck Hagel: US Senator from Nebraska is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He graduated from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

He won an upset victory against then Governor Ben Nelson and was re-elected in 2002 with 83% of the vote.

In 2005, Hagel publically criticized the Bush administration about the War in Iraq and the Patriot Act, the first Republican to do so. He later criticized testimony from Karl Rove regarding domestic wiretapping activities of the Bush Administration.

He is largely unknown to the general public and has keep a low profile fund raising operation, but has surprisingly raised over $1 M and spent nearly $900,000 over the past five quarters.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"This prediction is a long way out. But, my gut feeling is that Evan Bayh will join forces with Hillary. Say Hillary for Pres. and Evan for VP. Evan is good friends with the Clintons. "

Can you spell backlash.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | May 5, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you mentioned that liberals might "swallow those doubts [about Clinton] in hopes of winning back the nation's top office." If the Democrats want to nominate a moderate, they can go with Bayh or Warner, who are actually believable moderates. But nobody thinks Hillary is moderate, even though she actually is. Electing her would be about as tough as electing an ultra-liberal candidate. I have a feeling that Hillary's poll numbers are at their high point and as more people start seeing her spinelessness on tough issues, they will find another candidate to support. Hillary is as much the "electable candidate" as John Kerry was. Speaking of Kerry, his candidacy is a joke.

Posted by: Q | May 5, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"This prediction is a long way out. But, my gut feeling is that Evan Bayh will join forces with Hillary. Say Hillary for Pres. and Evan for VP. Evan is good friends with the Clintons."

My reaction, its a good deal for Bayh, perhaps not such a good deal for Clinton. Despite Chris saying that Bayh is not as conservative as some folks, many in the liberal base of the party see Bayh as a DLC'er. His selection as "virtual" running mate probably would up the odds that someone to the left could possibly up-end Hillary. If HRC's view is to remake the party as a centrist vehicle and the Republicans as expected run McCain (Guiliani or Romney), she will probably end up doing Karl Rove and Bush a favor by making the Democrats look irrelevant.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The 2008 campaign has to be about Iraq, or why have a campaign at all. And it can't be muddied up with the kind of "I voted for it before I voted against it" nonsense that neutered the issue in 2004. So the Democratic nominee has to be somebody who wasn't there when it happened.

That leaves three principal choices -- Gore, Warner and Obama. Gore's highly critical speech to the Saudis will be his albatross -- right message, wrong audience. Warner, maybe.

Obama. Bright enough to know what he doesn't know and to surround himself with the right people. Young, great-looking, inspirational speaker, doesn't have a record that can be criticized. Sounds like JFK. Sounds like the incumbent (but with a brain). Moreover, he has the single most influential person in America solidly in his corner -- Oprah.

He's the one.

Posted by: john w | May 5, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I think that Cheney won't last as VP until 2009 - if his health doesn't remove him from office and a grand jury doesn't then at some point the White House will need to remove him to regain faith from the masses. And the most likely replacement will be Secretary Rice. If she's VP before 2008 then I think all bets are off. If she's a sitting VP running for the top seat that will make more Democrats line up behind Sen. Clinton. I don't personally find Rice a credible candidate yet. But don't forget - in early 1991 Bush sr. had a huge approval ratings (91%!) on the heels of Desert Storm and WJ Clinton wasn't a name even most Americans recognized. We're a year earlier than this in the cycle right now, so everything said here is really just poppycock.

Posted by: MdNewsBoyz | May 5, 2006 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Colin and Bobby are making remarks and asking questions about Condi, so I will explain what my viewpoints are.
1. She is unmarried, not a problem for dedicated women to focus on their jobs on the ladder of success. Andrea Mitchell married late in life, as did Elizabeth Dole. They were established women who made it on their brainpower instead of who they were married to. Condi has been engaged, she was escorted to the Super Bowl in Detroit earlier by Gene Washington, (a former NFL player now with the administration of the football league). She enjoys the company of men, from Jack Straw to Powell and Cheney, and able to stand toe to toe with them in discussions on matters of state and our nation.
2. So what if she is a black person? Colin Powell was to become VP on the Bush ticket in 1992 (Bush would not dump Quayle, and that was a loyalty thing) then Powell was favored to run for president in 1996. The fact he held the post as Secretary of State and had regular weekly meetings with Condi in his home and at the State Department is also powerful to me, that we have representative government which is more color-blind than the Democrats think.
3. Her diplomatic skills are seen at the UN, and other international efforts to settle a few disputes, and she did get the Iraq parliment to get on with their political business in April.
4. Let her run, she is admired in the South, and the Republicans of South Carolina support her too. She is respected and many Republicans want to her run. Many people also hoped she would have replaced Cheney on the 2004 ticket as VP, and rumors are swirling now about her becoming VP before the 2008 election cycle starts. The stars are aligning for Condi, and the polls show she is supported to run in our nation.

Posted by: Tina | May 5, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Jeb Bush won't run in '08. Strategically, he knows that the nation is having "Bush fatigue." He'll wait until '12 (if a Dem wins in '08) or '16 (if a Repub wins.) He's young enough to be viable even then. I'd love to see Obama kick him into oblivion in '12 or '16.

Speaking of Obama, I think he is wise to refrain from running too soon. I agree that he should not rack up long years of experience in the Senate; he should, instead, run for Illinois governor. And, while he's still in the senate, as he rises in seniority, he'll be able to be more of a leader on policy issues, raising his profile as a man of action in addition to being a charismatic speaker. He, too, is young enough to have time to build it all in.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | May 5, 2006 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Given that your job entails covering more than 450 electoral contests, I don't begrudge your equation of name ID + $$$ = front runner status. However, I'd be interested, the next time The Fix tackles the '08 presidential race, for you to weave in some other factors because traditional fundraising, particularly, no longer seems an accurate barometer for two reasons. One, we know well-funded candidates of the past, such as John Connally or Phil Gramm, who fell completely flat once people began, you know, actually voting. Second, Howard Dean certainly proved that the tools exist today to raise an immense amount of money very quickly outside the normal $1,000 a plate manner that people like Hillary and Romney are doing. So these seem, to me, to be better barometers of who might emerge as the frontrunner.

Message/image/character: The person who gets the nomination and the presidency is going to be the person who best reflects the mood of the country. JFK's vitality was an antidote to perceived weariness of Ike; Nixon's tough law and order demeanor promised to end the riots in the streets; Reagan's sunny optimism trumped Carter's malaise; Clinton's wonkishness seemed a cure to GHW Bush's perceived disengagement; and GW Bush's announced "uniter not a divider" and "compassionate conservatism" promised to end the polarism of the Clinton years (though it obviously did not). The country again seems ready for a clear change. What is the new direction the nation wants to go in? Is it anti-war or a reaction against the alleged far right policies of this administration, favoring Feingold? Is it an end to polarization, which boosts McCain, Hagel, Warner, Bayh or maybe Guiliani? Is it a simple return to basic competence, which might favor Warner, Romney or even Mrs. Clinton? Is it a new issue, such as energy, that could help a Richardson? Could it be a series of environmental catastrophes that brings Gore into the fold?

Strategy and consultants: The Fix occasionally notes which campaign lands which strategist, but I would posit that the campaign that will seem to catch fire may likely be led by a strategist none of us have ever heard of. In 1990, who had heard of James Carville? In 2002, who was Joe Trippi? Media technology is changing at such a rate that it is hard to know who will have the insight to create a real breakthrough in positioning their candidate. The only thing I know for certain is it won't be Bob Shrum.

Experience/current situation: Not only was JFK the last sitting senator to become president, the ONLY other sitting president to become president in the last 100 years was Harding and only three other times in the past 27 election was a sitting senator even a nominee. Voters seem to value gubernatorial and military experience, which is good for Warner, Romney, Huckabee, Bayh, Richardson and Clark. The luxury of being out of office to campaign full-time certainly helped Carter and Reagan; it may help Edwards, Romney, Warner and Guiliani.

The special circumstances of this race: Last point and sorry for rambling. This is the first time since 1952 that it is clear we will not have a sitting president or vice president heading one of the tickets. In 1952, the race was between someone whom both parties had courted to be a candidate, Eisenhower, and someone who emerged at literally the last minute, Stevenson. It was also one of the finest campaigns in American history. I hope the potential for such a contest exists again in 2008. There are a lot of interesting potential candidates. Not one of them is perfect, but I can envision some possible combination of opponents that could be genuinely exciting and inspiring. Perhaps thinking of those combinations might make another good Fix column. Sorry again this post is so long.

Posted by: Scott F | May 5, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm encouraged by PopulistDemocrat's analysis about how Edwards is perceived in Ohio, also his potential for support from Labor Unions. Also, that he is viewed favorably by conservatives in that state, moderate conservatives, I take it. The idea that Edwards is viewed as some far left candidate is absurd, as is the observation that Romney has 0 percent chance of getting the Republican nomination.

It is also interesting that head-to-head Edwards performs best next to HRC and that he is in a virtual tie with Kerry for second place. It is ridiculous to argue that he was a drag on the ticket in 2004, rather I would argue he was ineffectively used.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | May 5, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

This prediction is a long way out. But, my gut feeling is that Evan Bayh will join forces with Hillary. Say Hillary for Pres. and Evan for VP. Evan is good friends with the Clintons. And, I was really impressed when he did the introduction speech for Bill Clinton at the Dem National Convention remember that. This would also give the dems the chance to turn Indiana Blue, and give the ticket a nice Mid-West touch. What do you think ?

Posted by: Polling Fraud | May 5, 2006 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Tina - You post about Condi from time to time but seem unwilling to engage anyone regarding the obstacles Dr. Rice would have to face to win EITHER the Republican nomination OR the General election. I'm extremely skeptical regarding her chances, as my previous posts have indicated, but would be interested to hear how/why you think that a candidate who is: (1) Black; (2) a woman; (3) Single at the age of 50; (4)Pro-Choice; (5) In favor of some affirmative action programs;(6) Was NSA during the largest terrorist attack in US history; (7) has served as Secretary of State while this administration has pursued a disastrous and unpopular foreign policy; and (8) has NEVER run of elected office in her life is qualified/capable of winning the nomination let alone the general election.

For what it's worth, the first three points listed clearly should not be issues, but I challenge anyone to say that realistically they aren't. Even pretending those considerations don't matter, however, I fail to understand how Condi's credentials make her a strong candidate for PRESIDENT. If she's so strong in California, then go beat one of the sitting Democratic Senators and then we'll talk. Absent that, I don't even see how one makes an argument that she's even a viable option.

Posted by: Colin | May 5, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Feingold for president would be a dream come true to Republicans...who are certainly going to nominate a moderate in 2008. (McCain or Gulliani) I'm afraid the base of the democratic party has let their hatred of "W" and his poor polling delude them into thinking they slip a real far-left candidate into office next time. That kind of thinking is probably the only way the democrats can lose the next presidential election.

Posted by: FH | May 5, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

There will be no backlash because, for the most part, the money gets spent on individual races and the fund raising operations usually do not compete for local dollars or from donors who can afford multiple contributions.

And GOP, please put another Bush on the ticket. Third time's the charm.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Haley Barbour took himself out of the running for president because there is not a groundswell of support for him. So it was important for him to get back to his important job as governor to help Mississippi recover. By far, it is the most essential fact of political life.
Now, Barbour also is on record as saying he does not want to see President Bush be a "lame duck" sooner than necessary, but the media has been smacking President Bush with that mantra ever since Kerry lost in November 2004.
Cilizza makes this statement in his above blog:
"there aren't more top-tier Republicans in the running -- especially since the nomination is wide open"
What does he classify as top-tier? The Marist poll and other national polls have listed Rudy, George Allen, Condi Rice, McCain, and Romney as top tier since there names are being discussed across the nation and on political shows. These leaders usually get 15% or higher in the polls, and the second tier includes Newt, Huckabee, and Frist. All of the Republicans named in the past 2 years varies from 12, to 13, to 14 depending on who does the poll.
CNN reported on May 4 that a poll shows McCain leading in 10 states. It was reported by Wolf, but I can't find it listed on the CNN website. So it is up for grabs how many Republicans were on the list and how they rated. Yes, the field is wide open, 527's and pacs are raising money to promote candidates for 2008, and staff people are being hired. Sounds like any other presidential race dating back to the 1960's.

Posted by: Steve | May 5, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Interesting. I wonder when the backlash will start for all the candidates who are 'sucking' money out of the 06 Democratic races to line the pockets of their own 08 Presidential hopes.

At a recent fundraiser in New York (at George Soro's house, BTW) this little exchange was reported:

"He (Clark) said it was very gratifying for him to have George's support.... He brought up the fact that the event was a fundraiser and said that someone asked him how much money he (WesPAC) had.

His answer was "as little as necessary" because he didn't want to take money away from candidates who are running in the '06 elections. He just wants to have enough to continue WesPAC's work for the moment. He emphasized strongly the need to give to the folks running campaigns now."

Sounds to me like Clark has the right idea.

Posted by: Focused on '06 | May 5, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

What do you all think of the notion that Jeb Bush could be sitting on the sidelines until the last minute? He's probably the only GOP candidate who could instantly be a major contender even if he sat on his butt until a month before NH and Iowa. If George W. Bush got behind him, he could raise every penny he could ask for far more quickly than anyone else could. He'd have the corporate backing, instant press and a name that everyone knows.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | May 5, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

As usual, Mr. Cilizza uses poor diction throughout his Blog.

example: "are the three Republicans who are constructing the organization, raising the money and attracting the early buzz necessary to win the Republican nod."

Instead of "constructing", how about: crafting, building, assembling...

Posted by: Grammar Hawk | May 5, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

What makes this blog so incredible is:

"We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features."

Maybe Chris is not talking about Condi or Bill Richardson - but we are allowed to voice our views - the fact so many of us are voicing views other than Chris's views is what makes this blog so important - we are being read

So whether Chris says it or a Condi supporter says it we are reading it and considering it - leave Chris alone.

It is not Chris' job to please everyone but to create an interesting forum which gives us insight to how We the People are thinking.

I consider the regular posters to be an incredible cross section of We the People and I find it enlightening.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | May 5, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

At this point, candidates (both R and D) with money on hand available for spending on a Presidential race or pre-presidential activites:

1. Clinton...$17,212,047(D)
2. Kerry.....$14,798,396(D)
3. Bayh......$10,793,761(D)
4. Allen.....$ 7,334,529(R)
5. Warner....$ 3,242,110(D)
6. Biden.....$ 2,954,982(D)
7. Guiliani..$ 2,279,660(R)
8. McCain....$ 2,153,452(R)
9. Feingold..$ 1,577,953(D)
10.Brownback.$ 742,699(R)
11.Patacki...$ 647,077(R)
12.Frist.....$ 494,469(R)
13.Clark.....$ 433,415(D)
14.Hagel.....$ 333,056(R)
15.Romney....$ 235,680(R)
16.Gore......$ 75,019(D)
17.Edwards...$ 11,006(D)
18.Huckabee..$ 0(R)

Candidate spending from 1/1/05 to 3/31/06 from all sources:

1. Kerry......$25,895,514(D)
2. Clinton....$11,669,126(D)
3. Frist......$ 5,610,987(R)
4. Bayh.......$ 4,632,283(D)
5. Allen......$ 2,848,105(R)
6. McCain.....$ 2,489,476(R)
7. Warner.....$ 1,965,650(D)
8. Feingold...$ 1,809,581(D)
9. Edwards....$ 1,672,459(D)
10.Biden......$ 1,367,367(D)
11.Hagel......$ 885,226(R)
12.Clark......$ 784,177(R)
13.Brownback..$ 612,316(R)
14.Guiliani...$ 495,493(R)
15.Patacki....$ 192,330(R)
16.Gore.......$ 142,366(D)
17.Romney.....$ 108,865(R)
18.Huckabee...$ 0(R)

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 12:40 PM | Report abuse

To the previous Obama poster, I doubt he'll get in, thinking it's too "soon." I think that's a foolish decision on his part. He's young, attractive and extremely popular right now--he should strike while the iron is hot. Plus, years in the Senate can only weigh him down in my opinion, at the very least giving his opponents Senate votes to call him out on.

He should follow the JFK model--run while you're young and new to the Senate--not the Bob Dole model.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 5, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. Cillizza continues to tout the 'usual suspects' from the DC insiders at the expense of Democrats who actually have support among activists, office holders and 'ground troops' around the country.

Bayh? You're kidding... This charismatically challenged 'son of' isn't 'top tier' among any group but the bean counters.

Warner? Are you only just now finding out that he even has to hire a 'blogger in chief' to keep the conversation going on his own website? 23 staff members? Just think of all that lovely money going to pay staff members ... no wonder he has to raise it by the bucket.

Kerry? Been there, done that. When candidates in Red States don't even invite him to campaign for them, you know the 'honeymoon' is over.

Edwards is desperately trying to beef up his foreign policy credentials by 'attending meetings' and 'speechifying' about Russia. Even Bilderberg can't waive a magic wand and give him enough experience and international saavy to be credible.

At some point the DC insiders will wake up to what the rest of the country already knows. Till then, we keep hoping that Chris can start reporting something other than the oxymoronic 'DC common wisdom".

Posted by: Red State Dem | May 5, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Here is a fact about the 2008 Republican field, when the national and state polls include the name of Secretary Rice, she wins 20% to 30% of the support. As evidence, I refer to the recent Columbus Dispatch, a leading Ohio newspaper, just reported that McCain is the top rated but Condi gets 21% of the Republican vote in Ohio. That is a huge advantage for her, not as an announced candidate, but as an admirer person who the nation's voters believe can win the nomination, and should run in 2008.
Iowa, S Carolina, and Florida already reported state polls showing registered Republican voters support Condi. And at the recent California state convention, she won the top ratings from delegates at 29%, clearly showing she could win the state for the Republicans if she were on the ticket. Either as president or vice president, Condi brings diplomacy and political skill to the race. Now the only people who badmouth her are the liberals and Democrats afraid of the power of Condi if she steps into the ring. Come on, Cilizza, include Condi in your discussion. That is only fair to open up the debate about 2008.

Posted by: Tina | May 5, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I think Feingold would be a great VP candidate, if of course he'd consider that post, which I doubt. I just don't see him matching up well with McCain or Romney, or any as of yet unconsidered candidate that will run in the general election as a moderate. 2004 would have been different, and it could still change if Frist or someone gets some momentum, but in general, it seems much sounder for Democrats to match a moderate with another moderate. Obviously one could argue for years on what exactly a moderate is, but all that really matters is perception. Feingold's strong support from the more extreme left (whatever that means) would probably kill him in a general election. Money aside, he would have to find a way to distance himself from the activist, bourgeoisie bohemian, student-at-expensive-liberal-arts-school crowds. He'd have to overcome the natural problems with being a Senator, and spin the censure issue correctly, which won't be easy. Being from Wisconsin doesn't do anything for you. What I think will be interesting though, is to see how much he gains from a backlash to the Kerry-over-Dean nomination in 2004, especially because there seems to be more public concern over HRC's electablility than there were with Kerry's at that time.

Posted by: dvg | May 5, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

George Allen's fascination with the Confederate flag was hardly "youthful," as you put it. It's been publicly documentsed through 2000 and probably has just gone a bit underground since then.

Posted by: DC denizen | May 5, 2006 12:09 PM | Report abuse

What about Obama? Any chance he might run for pres?

Posted by: whataboutobama | May 5, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I am an Ohioan. So it would seem with Bayh being so close to Ohio he would be the Democrat most Ohioans wants. In fact Edwards has the most buzz, people love him here in Ohio. Conservatives say they hate Kerry but they loved Edwards. There are so many blue collars workers in Ohio that think Edwards speaks for them. And don't count him out in fundraising. Remember, with his populist message, participations in labor movements, and his crusade against poverty he will have a lot of backing from the Labor unions who have TONS of cash and would support him. I would not label Evan Bayh the darkhorse, I would label Warner as the darkhorse because I think he can run up the middle and beat HRC. He has the own personal money to finance his campaign. I mean the guy has over $200 hard earned money in the bank. Wes Clark I don't think can win the nomination, but with his security credentials I could see him being on the ticket. Russ Feingold will try to pull a Bobby Kennedy in 1968, but I don't think he has to skills to do this. I think only Edwards can pull a Bobby Kennedy and make a credible antiwar upset mixed in with commanding knowledge on all other areas. Going back to Bayh him being so close to Ohio I think he has a good chance too of possibliy being on the ticket. In the Republican side I don't see McCain getting through the primaries. The far right will want a more conservative candidate like Allen as the nominee and will stop McCain from winnning the whole thing. Allen can get pass the allegations and play it as just another case of this fake "liberal bias," that the far right and other conservatives will eat up and have sympathy for him.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 5, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson? Not gonna happen. Baseball-gate alone will take him out of contention.

Kerry? After he blew his chance in 2004, his chances of being nominated again are less than mine.

And on the other side of the aisle, the sleeper is Chuck Hagel -- an amazing man. He's sort of the Russ Feingold of the GOP.

Posted by: IMHO | May 5, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Bobby: not dead only sleeping (boy do I wish!). Condi's chances are zip, zilch and nada.

I've said this before: it doesn't matter how much money HRC has, primaries are funny things in which dark horses can emerge victorious (a la the 'other' Clinton, WJC). I don't think that HRC will play well in New Hampshire, for example. People there will dislike her simply because she's 'from' New York.

Interesting that HRC's already generating the Big Lies from the GOP'ers. Blind hatred of Democrats perenially looks for irrational reasons to fuel that hatred. ABM: "an honest dialogue going on the issues and not personalities" is ridiculously improbable when Karl Rove, the GOP's Propaganda Minister, pollutes the airwaves. My suggestion: stop dreaming.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 5, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I think Hillary will make a great vice-president, but don't know of anyone who wants her as president.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | May 5, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Just to emphasize some points that other astute posters have already recognized:
1. Kerry? Are you kidding me? Do you really think he's one of the top 5 most likely to get the nomination, or have you completely become a tool of the DC establishment?
2. Russ Feingold. People are actually really excited about him for who he is, not some percieved electability. This alone will shoot him up to the front back. Dean proved this enthusiasm alone can almost grab the nomination, and if Feingold learns from his mistakes, he could very well pull it off.
3. Why do people keep saying Hagel's name? Has he done a single thing to hint he's even thinking about considering a run? Sure, I'd like him to, but then again I'd like Jimmy Carter to run. But that's a joke of a reason to consider him in the same paragraph as other peope who actually are actively campaigning.

Posted by: AUDemocrat | May 5, 2006 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Caped Composer
"Remember, at this point in 1990, nobody knew who Bill Clinton was, and everyone would've bet on Mario Cuomo."

In 1990, I asked a knowledgeable political activist here in Kansas who she was supporting, and was shocked when she said Clinton. Well, she is from Arkansas so I just figured it was home-state loyalty. I dimly recall supporting Tsongas as the time, myself. Anyway, she was right and Tsongas was, like, nowhere.

Posted by: Topeka Satchel | May 5, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to all of you Richardson supporters - he is very strong in Texas - if he can make it to supper Tuesday he may be able to go all the way.

Now if we can get Senator Susan Collins of Maine to switch parties a Richardson/Collins ticket will guarantee a Dem win .

Remember a Maine Republican is like a Texas liberal - A texas moderate means you keep your white hat in your purse or briefcase during the day.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissues.com

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | May 5, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Feingold does not have a chance in hell to win the general election. He is too far to the left. The Democrats need a moderate to win, especially if we want to break into those states that have voted for Bush in the past two cycles. We cannot have a Northerner either. We need a Southerner and one that can raise big money. I like Warner, but I am not sure he can do it. We need another Bill Clinton type.

Posted by: Political Junkie | May 5, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

ABM,
I would be happy to wax poetically about why Allen (and most repubs for that matter) shouldn't get elected because of their views. But the whole point of the blog is to discuss the horserace and not so much the horse.
Also I don't think that saying that Allen is a poor speaker and not very charismatic is an attack. It is simply a statement of my opinion of his public speaking credentials. Part of being president is standing in front of a group of people who do not like you and giving a speach talking about things they disagree with and then having them leave saying "well, He(or she) made alot of sense in there".

THAT is what made Bill Clinton such a successful president, and whay makes President Bush such a bad president. Allen, Frist, HRC, and Kerry all fall in the second group. Folks like McCain, Feingold, and Clark fall in the first.

Posted by: Andy R | May 5, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Chris - why do you invite discussion when you don't participate?

Posted by: The Dude | May 5, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Besides Secretary Rice, are there any other politicians of color (perhaps Bill Richardson?) who could emerge as serious contenders?asd

Posted by: Michael | May 5, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I belong to the Anyone But McCain party, simply because I do not believe his stands on most issues. I really believe that McCain is playing the George Bush game. He will be a conservative until he gets elected, then he will say gotcha. But can't we discuss the candidates without the personal attacks - i.e. George Allen is not mentally unbalanced, nor is he a terrible speaker. I don't support him, but I would rather discuss why I disagree with him on political issues, rather than attack him personally. We really need to try to get an honest dialogue going on the issues and not personalities.

Posted by: ABM | May 5, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree on the meaningless of the polls but I merely provide the information much as I do with the money totals, to provide further context for the discussion.

Gov. Richardson, unlike Sen. Allen, is not going to jeopardize his re-election this year by talking about a run for President.

I fully agree that he will gear up once the mid-terms are over and his re-election is secured.

Undoubtedly he brings the most to the table in terms of impact on a national election with the Hispanic vote. His biggest problems will be fund raising (soory folks but it has an impact) and being seen as a regional candidate. Small southwest states don't churn out many successful candidates for President.

I do believe he has the best portfolio of credentials to be President of the United States.

A Richardson vs. McCain contest would be a first in terms of geographic match-up.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Feingold for President!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Brian | May 5, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Kerry, you had your chance and you blew it. You lost an eminently winnable election. You've done enough damage.

Posted by: mike | May 5, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Feingold is big... but only in the blogosphere... to the rest of the world he's unknown. Feingold will be 2008's Kucinich.

Posted by: Rob | May 5, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

RMill (and others,) at this point, the polls are going to be pretty meaningless as far as the '08 race goes-- they are based solely on name recognition. Remember, at this point in 1990, nobody knew who Bill Clinton was, and everyone would've bet on Mario Cuomo. And at this point in 2002, Joe Lieberman was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, because he was the only one whose name was familiar, having been on the national ticket in '00. At the very least, we've got to get past the midterms before '08 polls begin to have even the slightest real meaning.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | May 5, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Alas Chris, you continually underestimate Feingold.

Posted by: Max | May 5, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

They also did one on one matchups for the Dem nomination vs. Clinton:

Clinton 57%
Kerry 30%

Clinton 57%
Gore 29%

Clinton 66%
Warner 15%

Clinton 52%
Edwards 33%

Edwards had the best showing in these.

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I agree that theoretical fund raising and "pledges" of support mean very little and until there are hard dollars in the bank, you cannot count on Edwards or Gore to "match" the current fundraising prowess of Clinton, Kerry, Bayh and Warner.

That said, Edwards, while some view as a drag on the 2004 ticket, is seen by others as the reverse, that Kerry was the real drag and Edwards at the top of the ticket would have pushed them over the top. He still is polling in the upper echelons of opinion polls.

The latest release, found on pollingreport.com, done by Diageo/Hotline on April 19-23 :

Clinton 38%
Kerry 14%
Edwards 13%
Not sure 12%
Biden 5%
None 5%
Clark 3%
Feingold 3%
Warner 2%
Richardson 2%
Bayh 1%
Any/all 1%
Vilsack --

Posted by: RMill | May 5, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

A Brooklyn lawyer, you say? Well, if that story has, as they say, "legs," here's hoping it'll hit the ground running RIGHT AFTER the '06 election-- she'll still be Senator from New York, but the story will dampen her presidential momentum. Hillary Clinton would be a disaster for the Democrats in '08. I'm all for Gov. Richardson, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him become more high-profile once the midterms are over. He truly has the best experience and expertise of any candidate out there, having been a Governor, U.N Ambassador, Energy Secretary, and, before that, a Representative in the U.S. House. He personally negotiated the release of American hostages in the Sudan and in South Korea. And, unlike the stale, stentorian denizens of the senate, with their wooden demeanors and mealymouthed canned responses, Richardson actually knows how to act alive when giving a speech. Not to mention the fact that he is a master of retail politics, which should serve him well in Iowa and especially New Hampshire. I'd say he definitely has a better shot at getting the nomination than JOHN KERRY, for cryin' out loud!

Posted by: The Caped Composer | May 5, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Napoleone, please tell me that HRC's secret attorney lover is NOT a woman, haha

Posted by: Greg-G | May 5, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Agree with previous posters that Feingold, and possibly Gore, should be included on this list. Edwards should be taken off...his assumption that he will raise $10MM out of the gate is insane. He's a has-been and was always an empty suit, in my opinion, although he does have some charisma.

JC, Wesley Clark fell out of the race so quickly because he has zilch political skills. The guy couldn't even articulate a position on abortion. I suppose that he could have acquired some skills over the past few years, but I'm doubtful. I agree that he doesn't deserve a spot on this list.

And to briefly defend Chris...I agree that (sadly, yes) money is probably the top consideration for a prospective candidate. Not to pat ourselves too much on the back, but I am doubtful that outside of my fellow posters, few Americans know who any of these people are except for those who have ran for the office before. And, of course, Hillary.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 5, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Hillary will lose the general election when news of her affair with a Brooklyn lawyer comes out.

Posted by: Napoleone | May 5, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't think that your Dem analysis is on target.

There are a lot of people who don't like Edwards and who viewed him as a drag on the 2004 ticket. Moreover, his recent rhetoric appears to be aiming at the far left.

I also don't think Kerry will be taken seriously. He lost in 2004. The Democrats are not going to make that mistake again.

In their places, I suggest Gov. Richardson and Gen. Clark. Hispanics are going to an interesting part of the process. We can expect a great deal more of their participation in the process, and of course we can expect a backlash.

Gen. Clark must be considered a top tier candidate because he was right on Iraq then and is right now. Moreover, he actually is very good on the campaign trail. Finally, he has been great at helping Democrats across the country, and will have a lot of favors to call in. It is early for him. He will benefit more than any other potential Dem candidate from his 2004 run. A lot of people in hindsight would have voted for him.

On the Republican side, although I personally view Romney has the GOP's strongest candidate, I give him a zero chance. He needs to play to the social conservatives, but for reasons that escape me, they are not accepting him.

Posted by: Skeeter | May 5, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

General Clark fizzled out REALLY quickly last time around. Does anyone remember why? Senator Hagel seems to be a thoughtful and practical man.

Posted by: JC | May 5, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I am interested in analyzing Chris's statement that, "...there just doesn't seem to be the same energy for Edwards in the insider community as there was at this time in 2002."

My theory is that there can be an inverse relationship between the 'energy in the insider' community and the eventual success of a Democratic candidate.

I am keeping my eye on Edwards. He is travelling the country, organizing workers, giving strong, coherent policy speeches, and developing a vibrant base. The fact that the insider community is counting him out may do nothing but help him.

Posted by: Matt | May 5, 2006 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I personally think that Gore and Biden should be included in the mix. Even though Gore protests that he's not running, there is still time for him and he's got a lot going for him. BTW, I believe that Howard Dean as Dem Party Chair would work behind the scenes for him. Biden is a longshot (but no more than Bayh) but with the higher visibility he's getting these days for his foreign policy views, if he hires the right publicity people he could be a contender.

Like many Dems, I haven't found my candidate yet, and I have sincere doubts about HRC's electability. That and the fact that she is an effective Senator who would wield great power under a Democratic Presidency and Senate makes me wish she wouldn't consider running.

Posted by: cate | May 5, 2006 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with previous posters. It boggles my mind that Feingold is still not on The Fix's radar. As Drindl mentioned, I too would like to see Gore make a run, but I definitely wouldn't bet on that happening. Though it is still very early of course. On the Republican side, McCain is so far ahead right now that I would be shocked if he isn't the eventual nominee (barring health issues, like Judge Carter said).

Posted by: Mike | May 5, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Judge I though you were dead - haven't heard from you - on Condi I want her to run so she will be forced to explain in that she failed to identify bad intelligence which got us into a needless war what makes her think we want that level of incompetence running the white house.

Also, when the Repubs chase her (and I mean chase her) from SOuth Carolina on Primary day - the world will see what the backbone of the Southern Republican party really looks like - pasty white with white hoods -

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | May 5, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I second Judge C's views on Senator Clinton. The fact that she hasn't come out against the war means so little to me when compared to the fact that she voted for the war in the first place. Not to mention her lack of leadership on issues that I find very important (ie the environment, torture, campaign finance reform etc).
I find that whenever I have an issue that I feel strongly about she is usually on the wrong side or keeping her mouth shut. Where as folks like Senator Feingold are standing at the podium doing there jobs (not just raising money).

Posted by: Andy R | May 5, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The fact that Feingold and Clark are once again left off no longer surprises me. It's all one-track with the Fix. It will always be insider Washington bubble-speak and it will always be about $$$.

Posted by: scootmandubious | May 5, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Chris,
sort of off topic, but are you going to track John Courage's run in Texas for the 21st district? He's a newcomer competing against not only a strong republican, but also a redistricted zone and yet he really seems to be picking up.

Posted by: Will | May 5, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Fix this typo "An, Warner's fundraising through the PAC" unless you are addressing a Vietnamese person.

"The story line of Warner as red-state governor has largely run its course; political insiders seem to be waiting for a new act from the Virginian."

You should say "The story line of Warner as red-state governor has largely run its course among political insiders." Joe Six-Pack hasn't even heard of Mark Warner and thus this "story line" still has 'legs,' invoking yet another Hollywood term.

"Liberals remain skeptical about Clinton because of her lack of outspokenness on the Iraq war..."

That hardly begins to touch on many Democratic reservations regarding HRC. If you're referring to the extreme left (as opposed to parroting an RNC talking point regarding Democratic voters) then who cares what they think?

"....after eight years without the White House they may swallow those doubts in hopes of winning back the nation's top office."

Or they may realize that their best hopes in winning back the White House lie with an eminently more electable candidate.

"McCain has made his ascent to the top of the Republican pack look easy, but he still must answer lingering doubts about his Republican bona fides if he hopes to become the party's nominee."

Given the fact that the other candidates appear to be self-destructing in various ways the GOP may not have much choice in 2008. McCain's on easy street; political insiders can try to generate a mountain out of whatever molehill regarding other candidates but everyone else should stop hyperventilating. Assuming that his health remains good McCain's a shoe-in.

Oh, wait, we haven't heard from the Condi Rice supporters yet.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 5, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

As he often does, Intrepid Liberal hits the nail right on the head. The rank and file of the Democratic party is Russ Feingold territory--more this week than last week, but not as much this week as next week. The Democratic party may finally be waking up to the realization that we cannot win a General Election by trying to find a candidate who will appeal to the Fox "News" viewer. (The Fox "News" viewer is the guy that thinks Liberty College won the Rose Bowl and the National Championship.) We have a real story to tell; Russ Feingold has the guts to tell it.

Posted by: LonestarJR | May 5, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I agree with posters on Feingold and Gen. Clark...absolutely. Of course, I'm still hoping for Gore. He's been there, done that, is the most solid and forward-looking of the possibilities out there. By 2008 we are going to be in such deep doo-doo we will need someone incredibly competent to pull us out.

George Allen IS mentally unbalanced. That hasn't worked out so well for us this time, why do it again? I actually think Hagel is terrific -- he's the real thing, what McCain pretends to be. Or maybe used to be.

Posted by: Drindl | May 5, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I waited for today so that I could comment on Frist's 100 dollar rebate gimmick - so Frist is not even discussed - I am assuming the consensus is Frist may have stumbled once too many (he needs to go play for the Cowboys - that will teach Texas a lesson)

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes
www.balancingtheissue.com

ACLU RESPONDED TO RICO ISSUE - NY OFFICE CLAIMS THEY HAVE NO ACCOUNTABILITY OVER REGIONAL OFFICES - THEY SUE THE WORLD AND NOW CLAIM NO ACCOUNTABILITY OVER THEIR OWN OFFICES

http://www.balancingtheissues.com/aclu-sorrels.htm

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | May 5, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

IL I totally agree that Clark and Feingold should be somewhere in this post. Kerry has solidified his stance as the head of the party and I think that is where he will stay (Majority leader perhaps?). There is noway he would get the nod for President. Also I saw Clark on CNN giving a speach in NH and I was extremely impressed. At the end of his address he took questions for the audience and his answers were clear and well thought out. after seeing that I am convinced he would make a pretty darn good President.
On the republican side I agree with Republican Integrity (is that an oxymoron or what. Sorry had to take it) that Allen is in noway charismatic. I have seen him four or five times now and he seems plain, and uninspiring. Now I hate GW more then most people but at least he can be engaging. Also I think the New Repub story is really going to hurt him with the suburban woman vote.
On Giuliani I wonder how he will get over the experience issue. He was Mayor of New York. So what? He never had to deal with education (handled by the State), legislative dealings, environmental issues, security etc etc. I see him as setting himself up for VP not for the presidency.

Posted by: Andy R | May 5, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"Edwards is the most naturally talented politician in the field"

I think that too many folks are selling Edwards short outside "The Fix." Given the opportunity for Democrats to expand their base into border states and the midwest, we seem to be ignoring Edwards potential to make the sale of Democratic economic populism to blue collar voters.

David Brooks in a recent column attacked the elitism of Democrats as contributing to their downfall. While I reject the "either/or" alternative that Brooks posits of jettisoning the intellectuals or the populists. I think that there is a common hunger in the party and the nation in the whole for attacking important problems like inequality, insecurity, and energy sustainability in an effective way. I get the sense that folks feel that we may have been fiddling too long while Rome burns and miring ourselves in quagmires of our own making in places like Iraq.

Edwards I think has the best focus of all the Democratic candidates with his "One America" theme. He needs to convey that he could do as competent or nearly competent job of implementing his program as a Gore/Warner team would. When I think of the latter, I think of as a "can do" team.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | May 5, 2006 8:17 AM | Report abuse

You can get the New Republic story on Allen with a subscription--you have to register and then be repeatedly badgered to subscribe, but you can get it. And I think the Confederacy angle to the story, while interesting, is not as much trouble for Allen as the memories his sister has of growing up with a brother who was violent to the point of sadism (dragging her upstairs by her hair, hitting her boyfriend in the head with a pool cue, and throwing a younger brother through a sliding glass door). When the New Republic writer asked Allen about these events, he gave the off kilter reply of "Well, she was the youngest. And a girl."

As Hank Hill, a real Southerner would say, "That boy ain't right."

Posted by: Jack | May 5, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

The GOP needs a candidate in 2008 who can take it and the country on a different direction than the Bush Administration. Two of the three top tier candidates might be able to do that. Chuck Hagel, if he ran, can do that.

I read the New Republic article. I've listened to Allen talk (on MtP and other news shows), and I do not get why he's even a contender. He can't talk. And if you want someone to unify the country, it isn't going to be some good ol' boy wannabe.

Giuliani's problems are his social liberalism (he can just play his 9/11 hand); it's his temperament, the fact that he dumped his wife on tv, that Bernie Kerik is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of Giuliani buddies with ethical flaws. And after 9/11, it is sad that such a leader turned around and did nothing more than cash in on that tragic day...politically and financially.

McCain or Hagel.

Posted by: Republican Integrity | May 5, 2006 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Chris you continue to ignore General Wesley Clark whenever refering to possible Democratic contenders. You also ignore Russ Feingold. Both possess strong favorabililities among the grassroots as well as the netroots of the party which is growing in influence.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | May 5, 2006 6:32 AM | Report abuse

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