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The Friday Line: Gingrich, Gore and Another Early Look at 2008

Since The Fix started listing the five Democrats and five Republicans most likely to win their party's presidential nomination in 2008, we've struggled with how to handle two potential candidates -- former vice president Al Gore and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

There are a number of similarities between the two men. Both began their political careers at young ages and were tagged as rising stars. Both achieved substantial early success and went on to reach the verge of great triumph before being brought low and disappearing from politics. And now both are back in public life and being urged by elements from within their respective parties to run for national office.

To date, Gingrich has shown more interest in a potential run than Gore, but neither has ruled out a bid. Until now we have left both men off the Friday Line, but that changes this month.

Remember: The Friday Line is a snapshot in time of where the presidential field stands. So, if your favorite candidate has either dropped off or never made it on -- never fear! There's plenty of time between now and January 2008 when we will all have a clearer picture of the contest. Use the comments section below to keep this conversation going.

The candidates are ranked alphabetically. We won't start ranking them by their chances to win the nomination until after the 2006 midterms. To the Line!

THE DEMOCRATS

Evan Bayh: We were intrigued to read in the Des Moines Register this week that Bayh is the only 2008 Democrat other than Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack who has political staff on the ground in the Hawkeye State. We've said all along that Bayh's methodological approach to the nominating process will eventually pay dividends. At some point, however, Bayh needs to show that he is more than just a process candidate (Midwesterner, former governor of a red state) and that he can energize Democratic base voters. (Read The Fix's Bayh interview.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Clinton's hiring of Peter Daou and Jesse Berney -- two prominent liberal bloggers -- is yet more evidence that she is readying for a 2008 candidacy. Clinton's problems with liberals over the Iraq war aren't going away, and her team needs to figure out a way to placate the left before the Iowa caucuses where anti-war sentiment is sure to run high. We see more holes in Clinton's candidacy now than we did a year ago, but without Gore in the race she is still the odds-on frontrunner.

John Edwards: No Democrat had a better month than Edwards. His first place showing in the Des Moines Register poll of likely caucus goers shows that Edwards retains considerable good will in the state after his second-place finish in the 2005 caucuses. We're still not convinced Edwards can turn on the spigot early next year and raise the $10+ million needed to keep him competitive with the lead pack, but the poll goes a long way to keeping him relevant between now and then. (Read The Fix's Edwards interview.)

Al Gore: Why add Gore now? Because when we talk to strategists for every other candidate considering the race, one of the first questions they ask is: "What do you hear about Gore?" Talk to former aides and allies of the vice president and you get totally divergent responses. Some believe he will only run if drafted into the race in its latter stages; others are convinced that if Hillary Clinton looks like a winner, Gore will run in order to keep the party from moving more towards the ideological middle. Here's a tidbit that makes us think that Gore might be seriously considering a bid: He not only did an automated call for Democrats in the California 50th special election earlier this month, but he also reached out to Democrat Francine Busby following her defeat in that race. We won't rehash the arguments for and against a Gore candidacy; suffice to say that if he gets in, Gore would have to be considered the co-favorite for the nomination along with Clinton. And what an epic clash it would be.

Mark Warner: Ahead of the 2006 elections, Warner is running a different type of race compared with other candidates listed here. He is using his Forward Together PAC to prove his fundraising ability and bolster his Democratic bona fides. Forward Together has raised an impressive $7 million since last July, and Warner has sprinkled donations to candidates and party committees all over the country. As a candidate he remains a work in progress. More so than any other candidate in the field, though, we get a sense from Warner that he really wants the nomination and is willing to do whatever he needs to do to get it. Don't underestimate a hungry candidate.

THE REPUBLICANS

George Allen: Allen's reelection race against former Navy Secretary James Webb (D) carries both potential and peril for the Virginia Republican's White House aspirations. First, the peril: At best Allen wins the race but is unable to travel to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina for the kind of quality time those states demand from presidential candidates. At worst, Allen loses to Webb and never makes the presidential starting gate. Now, the potential: The race between Allen and Webb is already drawing national attention and will only get more high-profile from here on out. Allen will have the opportunity to polish his skills and work out any kinks in his stump style and, should he win convincingly, he can make the argument that he has a blueprint to beat back Democratic attacks on the war in Iraq. (Read The Fix's Allen interview.)

Newt Gingrich: In the last twelve years Gingrich has gone from prophet to pariah to prophet (again). If he decides to run -- and we think he will -- Gingrich has an enviable combination of attributes: He gives a great speech, has national name recognition, and has connections with grassroots leaders and powers within the donor community. A veritable one-man ideas factory, Gingrich has twice as many policy ideas as any other Republican in the field. A Gingrich campaign would not be without problems, however, including his two divorces, which might not sit well with some conservative Republican voters.

Mike Huckabee: The Arkansas governor's presidential campaign showed signs of life this month with the hiring of Eric Woolson -- a veteran of the Bush campaign in Iowa -- to handle his political affairs in the Hawkeye State. Huckabee will also make his eighth trip into the state next week. His heavy focus on Iowa makes good strategic sense as social conservatives comprise a significant voting bloc of the Republican caucus vote. The risk with Huckabee's strategy is that if he doesn't surprise in Iowa, he will have little chance to build momentum in New Hampshire where fiscally conservative voters dominate. (Read The Fix's Huckabee interview.)

John McCain: Any regular reader of The Fix knows that we continue to be impressed by how well McCain and his advisers are playing the inside game. Every day that goes by without a clear "establishment" candidate running in opposition to him is a day that the Arizona senator, his staff or his surrogates are working to build bridges with individuals and groups who opposed him in 2000. The upcoming midterm elections will be a telling indication of whether McCain can make a reasonable case as the institutional candidate. If Republicans suffer major losses at the House and Senate level, it will open a lot of doors for McCain among folks who believe he is their best -- and only -- chance to hold the White House in 2008.

Mitt Romney: The recent rollout of Romney's Iowa team was impressive both in the depth and quality of people the Massachusetts governor has recruited to his cause. And we've been assured that there are plenty more influential Iowans with Romney who didn't feel comfortable going public just yet. Like Warner, Romney is hungry and is working at multiple levels to shore up support. With Allen tied up in his reelection race, Romney has solidified his spot as the most likely McCain alternative. We tend to believe the potential negative effect of Romney's Mormon faith is overblown, but his multiple past positions on abortion are not drawing nearly the focus now that they will in the coming 18 months. Still, we've been impressed by Romney's tacit recognition of his potential flaws and diligence in addressing them.

Read The Fix's last Friday Line installment on the 2008 presidential race.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 30, 2006; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: DeLay Embroiled in Texas Ballot Battle
Next: New Politics Features

Comments

McCain is not going to fool people forever. The guy votes for one campaign finance law and everyone fawns over him as some kind of rebel. A general election would bring to the front that he is just another right-wing, pro-war, anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-minority, partyline Republican hack. If he is such an independent thinker, where have the calls to stop the NSA spying program been?

Posted by: Chuck | July 31, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I doubt very much if McCain can get the Repubilican nomination1 Too Many Republicans view him as a Hillary Clone!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 28, 2006 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Where's Rudy Guiliani? Isn't he considered a contender for the GOP nomination? RealPolitics.com seems to have pundits on their site saying so. I wonder why you left him out of the mix?

Posted by: Biff Bixby | July 28, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Everybody poo-poos Mark Warner on his lack of foreign policy experience... but wouldn't he make a prime VP candidate?

Win or lose, it would leave him better positioned for another run in the future.

Posted by: JCS | July 28, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

This is EYE on 2008.

Look at this statement: Some one aboved mentioned historical similarities; think of a another famous person who moved to NY to win a Senate seat and later became an anti-war cnadidate.Posted by: Kranman | June 30,

WAS THAT BOBBY KENNEDY, who after Johnson withdrew from the 1968 race shoved aside Eugene McCarthy, the anti-war guy, and locked up the delegates in June before the convention in Chicago? If so, Kranman also failed to remind people BOBBY KENNEDY WAS SHOT. Murdered by a radical Muslim guy.

Now if Kranman was comparing Hillary to Bobby Kennedy, then watch the federal government increase security on her to prevent attempts to get rid of her. I don't like that, but Kranman needs to tell the whole story about the 1968 race for the White House with the Democrats handing the nomination to VP Herbert Humphrey at the Chicago convention overwhelmed by riots. It was horrible to see on TV, and all the networks reported those riots, with police pounding on the anti-war radicals and the blacks and all the mess. Does Kranman want that too?

Posted by: Nixon WON | July 15, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Everyone seems to be missing the scariest Republican scenario of all. If Rick Santorum comes from 12-18 points down to survive in PA, this darling of the most conservative Republican (read primary) voters will rocket into the top echelon of Republican hopefuls.

Posted by: Robert Priest | July 12, 2006 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Mark Warner is, in my mind, the most suited for the Democratic Party right now, which needs to stop focusing on the liberal blue states if it plans to ever win a mandate. I think Governor Warner can win states in the south, especially against McCain (who Christian Conservatives aren't too wild about). And, while his lack of foreign policy experience is a serious flaw, it should be noted that President Bush had zero experience and still managed to win an election. Then again, the President also sent us on a foreign policy free fall after taking office.

So what's the solution? Part of it would be picking a serious foreign policy/military guy for VP. Clark would certainly be a good choice. More importantly, Warner would have to demonstrate a capactity to listen to people with differing opinions. Bush sheltered himself from any type of dissent, but an "all-ears" Warner would do a good job with the world.

Who else do you think would be a good VP? And does anyone think Senator Susan Collins, a socially moderate Republican with Homeland Security credentials, could be a good one?

Posted by: Bill | July 7, 2006 12:15 AM | Report abuse

What about New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson?
I've heard that he is a likely candidate for the Dems. He's a former Member of Congress, Cabinet Secretary and now a popular governor of a swing state.
If he runs, I'm pretty sure I'll support him.

Posted by: Dan K. in California | July 6, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

TheIrishCurse

2600 or so brave souls richer and $500 Bil give or take a few Bil less in debt.

And as a side benefit, we would still be admired in many parts of the world as a beacon of liberty and individual rights as opposed to an xenophobic and Orwellian Imperialist underpinned by a questionable "War on Terror" construct used to keep people in line everytime the preisdent's approval rating goes down.

Posted by: everyman | July 3, 2006 1:25 PM | Report abuse

My dream tix is Gore/Edwards..Hillary is way to polarizing a figure nationally..If ifs and buts were candy and nuts what would the country look like today if Al Gore became President in 2000?????

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | July 3, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse


TRUTH WILL PREVAIL!!!!!

911 Case Study: Pentagon Flight 77

A short animation with video and photos illustrating the final moments of Flight 77 on September 11, 2001.

http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/swf/pentagon_en.swf

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Posted by: che | July 3, 2006 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Chris-

Since you began listing the most likely presidential candidates for both parties, you have consistently left off a person who many feel is running for presidency and have mentioned as presidential contenders. This person is Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM). For the past two presidential cycles he was on the short list to be the bottom half of the Democratic ticket. Moreover, he will be cruising to reelection this year. He has Washington and foreign policy experience, but has not been in Washington during the chaos of the last five years. Furthermore, he has a good record on immigration as a Southwestern governor. Its time you put him on the list. He is more deserving of this place than Al Gore, who has consistently stated that he is not running for president or John Kerry (who was on several times) who I will guarrantee will not be the next Democratic presidential candidate.

Posted by: NKPoliCA | July 3, 2006 12:32 AM | Report abuse

As for whether Dems should vote with their heads or hearts -- both of mine will go to whomever wins the nomination. Even if it's someone I feel lukewarm about, ANY of the Dem candidates are better than the collection of liars, thieves, hypocrites, religious fanatics, war profiteers, morons, con artists and lunatics which comprise the republican choices.

Posted by: Drndl | July 2, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

To: Mike
Re: Your Medicare Fraud Theory

You failed to note that Sheila Jackson Lee (D) represents Harris County, Texas, too, but I suppose this fact was too "inconvenient."

Posted by: Ky-6 Guy | July 2, 2006 11:32 AM | Report abuse

A question:

Where's Rudy?

Who has a net fav that's 10 points better than McCain?
Who's more popular with conservative Republicans?
Who consistently beats Hillary by more than McCain in every poll?
Who is seeing his ratings with Democrats and independents hold steady, while McCain slips?
When was the last time a sitting Senator reached the White House?

Giuliani is the clear establishment frontrunner for '08.

http://giulianiblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/cillizza-ignores-real-frontrunner.html

Posted by: RudyBlogger | July 1, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Should Democrats vote with their hearts of their heads? The safe choice of Kerry turned out to be a terrible decision. Personally, I think a Howard Dean would have been more excited the base, but voters in Iowa and New Hampshire had to turn to Kerry out of necessity when Dean's campaign imploded. I think the Democrats have to take a page from the Republicans and show people that they stand for something. Running to the center hasn't worked very well for the Democrats in the past. That's why I drive around with a Feingold bumper sticker on my car. He probably won't win, but he'll move the debate in the correct direction so that my vote for Hillary (or whomever wins) will count a lot more.

Posted by: Mike Dowling | July 1, 2006 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Should Democrats vote with their hearts of their heads? The safe choice of Kerry turned out to be a terrible decision. Personally, I think a Howard Dean would have been more excited the base, but voters in Iowa and New Hampshire had to turn to Kerry out of necessity when Dean's campaign imploded. I think the Democrats have to take a page from the Republicans and show people that they stand for something. Running to the center hasn't worked very well for the Democrats in the past. That's why I drive around with a Feingold bumper sticker on my car. He probably won't win, but he'll move the debate in the correct direction so that my vote for Hillary (or whomever wins) will count a lot more.

Posted by: Mike Dowling | July 1, 2006 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Remember one thing though. We have, since 1976, with just one exception elected governors to the white house. This is largely because they campaign as outsiders going to washington to straighten things out. Carter, REagan, Clinton, and Bush all moved to Washington after being Governors. The opposing party also used the argument that they had no credentials in foreign affairs. But they were elected anyway. So I don't think an argument that a person running from a governor's chair is unqualified holds any water. The majority of the electorate doesn't set foreign affairs experience very high on their priority list.

Posted by: alan in Missoula | July 1, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

good points, Predictor. I think most polls that show Clinton has support don't accurately reflect how we feel about it - many of us could easily support Sen. Clinton as a Senate Majority Leader, provided we had President Gore.

I hope you're wrong about Barack Obama - he'd be a great Veep. Not a constitution-hating torture-loving insane person like our current Veep.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | July 1, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

My predictions for 2008:

Gore will get in; Obama will stay out.

Gore will become THE alternative to Hillary, with some early victories also going to Edwards, some minor "moral victories" to Feingold....Warner straggling but generally well thought of. Unfortunately for some, Clark, Biden and Bayh will not get very far.

Gore and Hillary will evenly struggle, with jokes about "the kid" Edwards hanging on.

Eventually, after it gets real nasty, with Gore slightly ahead, Bill will hold a pow wow... Hillary will get out. Gore will be nominated and select Hillary or Obama to be his running mate... will be elected.

Hillary will become Senate MAJORITY leader and a force to be reckoned with for many, many years. Gore will be a marginally successful Presdient but with muted popularity as he deals with all the Bush-created problems and will likely serve only one term.

Posted by: Predictor | July 1, 2006 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Totally clueless folks. They don't even see what's going on in front of them. So busy thinking of Utopia, and ignoring the mud that's sinking it's foundation.

Meanwhile, all being led by a foreigner and Northerner, one who has no iota of real American politics (or what's really going on).

Once the 14th amendment is gone, say goodbye to your dreams. As none of you mouthers have any guts to fight but with your mouths, and that doesn't work well with a rifle barrel rammed down it.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 30, 2006 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I have 3 comments:

First, it appears that Chris' 'buzzers' are all beltway buzzers, and that plus a warm bucket of spit will get you, you know what;

Second, Chris, if I'm not mistaken, you promised to write up your thoughts and conversations, at YearlyKos, with Wes Clark and someone else. Did I miss it, or are you still waiting to recognize General Clark for the leader he is?

Third, I agree 100% with Tom Rinaldo. Everyone, please take some time to learn about General Clark; he is the LEADER we all need.

Posted by: EllenG | June 30, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

I am a Republican living in Massachusetts.
I have no use for our governor -- Governor Romney isn't half the man his father was. His term as governor has been a huge disappointment to me. The idea that he's qualified to be president in the current world is ridiculous.
(Speaking of ridiculous, I might also add that my senior senator's delusions that the country is holding its breath for him to inflict himself upon us once again is regretably typical. I've actually voted for Senator Kerry in three of his four senate races -- you can't beat something with nothing -- but what America saw in 2004 is the real, actual Kerry.)
My first choice for president would be Wesley Clark (who was also my first choice in 2004). He's remarkably intelligent, articulate, speaks his mind, and of all the contenders, is most qualified on the security issues which are most important today. I see him as sort of a McCain of the left.

Posted by: Bruce | June 30, 2006 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"Partisan Democrat"... but I don't think the Republican's are smart enough t prevent them from nominating John McCain. Talk about tying, gutless windbags. A guy who is actively peddling his soul to get the nomination by the largest collection of frauds, bigots, numbskulls, crooks, morons, fools......I could go on, but I find myself in dire need of a thesarus to just describe the lunacy of this party of lunatics.

Posted by: Independent Voter | June 30, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

There may be many candidates that can win the Democratic primary, but there are 3 maybe 4 Democrats that can actually win the general election.

Wesley Clark, Evan Bayh, and Mark Warner are the first 3 that come to mind, Al Gore also come to mind but I'm not sure he will run. Feingold is too liberal, Hillary is too devisive, Kerry is also being too Liberal and Edwards doesn't have the credentials.

I personally think that Wesley Clark would make a better Secratary of Defense but he would make a good President, I'm not sure Warner would be a good choice for President though, he has very little experience and no foreign policy. When it comes to being a commander in chief, Evan Bayh has plenty of experience from his time in the Senate on the Armed Services committee and the intelligence committee. He is also on the international finanace and trade sub committee so he has foreign policy experience to the T.

Posted by: Rob Millette | June 30, 2006 7:44 PM | Report abuse

I am 71 yers old, have put in my vote for the man I would like to see as president but have never had the chance to vote for the president of the USA, the electoral college does that, will I ever be able to vote for the leader of our country?

Our candidates can put out millions of dollars to get their plans for our country on TV and on tape, but when they pay electoral workers the wages they do and have no read out the day of the election, the millions dont mean much unless it is the millions paying someone to set up the electronic machines, the day of the election is where the election counts and it is time more money is put into the actual election to make sure it is honest than all the speaches on TV and personal appearances.

Posted by: Anna | June 30, 2006 7:17 PM | Report abuse


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http://www.infowars.com/articles/sept11/flight_77_eyewitness_report_skewed.htm

Proof That 'Flight 77' Eyewitness Report Skewed
'I saw faces of passengers' man furious with newspaper for twisting his words

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison Planet.com | June 30 2006

Many Flight 77 skeptics who believe that an American Airlines Boeing 757 did not hit the Pentagon on 9/11 scoff at eyewitness testimony which claims to describe intricate details about the alleged commercial airliner. In at least one case those doubts have now been validated.

James R. Cissell, an eyewitness to the object that struck the Pentagon on September 2001, is furious with a Cincinnati newspaper for falsely attributing quotes to him that he never made.

The Cincinnati Post reported Cissell's comments in a September 12 story headlined, 'I saw the faces of some of the passengers.'

Here is how the Post quoted Cissell in full.

''Out of my peripheral vision,'' Cissell said, ''I saw this plane coming in and it was low - and getting lower."

''If you couldn't touch it from standing on the highway, you could by standing on your car."

''I thought, 'This isn't really happening. That is a big plane.' Then I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board,'' Cissell said.

For an earlier article, we undertook a simple video analysis in which a low flying American Airlines Boeing 757 was speeded up by four times to approximate what eyewitnesses would have seen.

It's plausible they could have identified the jet as a large American Airlines Boeing 757, but comments about seeing intricate details of the plane as it zoomed past at over 500 MPH are outside the realm of possibility.

We concluded the analysis by commenting,"The video and any degree of common sense suggests that Cissell could not possibly have seen the faces of the passengers on board. Even when the video is reduced to normal speed, four times slower than the reported speed of Flight 77, you can't see passengers in the windows."

That conclusion has now been proven accurate in a development that will cast more suspicion on embellished accounts of what eyewitnesses saw crossing the Pentagon highway before it ploughed into the building.

James R. Cissell contacted us to express his anger at the newspaper for taking his comments completely out of context.

"The Cincinnati Post article, which you refer, angered me greatly after reading it. It is almost completely fiction based loosely on an interview I did with a Cincinnati Post reporter Kimball Perry who called me in response to an on air phone report that I did for Channel 12 in Cincinnati."

Cissell relates what he actually told the reporter.

"The reporter took extreme creative license not only with the title but also with the story as a whole. Why he felt the need to sensationalize anything that happened on September 11 is beyond me. My words to the reporter were, "I was about four cars back from where the plane crossed over the highway. That it happened so quickly I didn't even see what airline it was from. However, I was so close to the plane when it went past that had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."

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Here's the Post quote again.

"I saw the faces of some of the passengers on board.''

Compared to, "Had it been sitting on a runway, I could have seen the faces of passengers peering out."

Cissell's comments were taken so far out of context that this seems to be a deliberate attempt at sensationalism or even an effort at lending bias towards the assumption that the plane was a large commercial airliner with passengers on board.

Cissell has himself worked in media and expressed his incredulity at the sloppy journalism betrayed in the article.

His numerous calls, e mails and letters to the Post went unanswered and though he was promised the online version of the article would be removed, as of June 30th it is still online without retraction.

Regarding the speculation that something other than Flight 77 hit the Pentagon and alternate explanations behind the event, Cissell is not certain that the plane was as large as a 757, but at least as large as a 727.

"As far as the size of the plane, it happened very quickly. What I can say is that it was a passenger plane at least as big as a 727 maybe bigger. From the time I heard it over my left shoulder and turned to see it I had one thought, 'he's off course'; I was used to seeing planes fly along the Potomac on the other side of the Pentagon to land at national airport just a mile or two away. My next thought wasn't a thought, it was the realization of what was happening and that happened moments or even a moment before the plane struck."

"Later I found it remarkable that someone even saw what airline it was from. The plane was coming from left and behind of me - I guess if you were on the other side of the highway and facing the plane as it came in you would have had a lot more time to react," said Cissell.

These comments cloud the accuracy of the eyewitness reports of people who claimed to have seen clear markings which would have irrefutably identified the aircraft, such as Christine Peterson, who claimed that the plane was "so close that I could read the numbers under the wing."

Did Peterson really say this or was she also taken out of context?

Why would reporters need to sensationalize one of the biggest events in world history? Was its scope not gargantuan enough?

Cissell disagrees with some aspects of how the official version of events describes the approach of the aircraft.

"Looking at the trajectories in the diagrams they have online seems off to me. I remember the plane coming in more directly at the side of the building than at an angle," said Cissell.

Cissell makes it clear that speculation that the object was a missile or that there was no plane at all is off base.

"With regards to conspiracies in general, I think the conspiracy people need to be focusing on is the one where Bush and his administration leveraged the tragedy of 911 to enter a war for money and oil that cost the lives of who knows how many civilians, a couple thousand soldiers and undid 30 years of progress in a region that was slowly healing itself."

Posted by: che | June 30, 2006 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Republicans keep saying that Hillary is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, because they know she can't win a general election. But the more they say she is the front-runner, the more reporters believe it. Well, the media lapdogs shouldn't buy it, but they always buy Rove's propaganda, unfortunately. Most Democrats don't want Hillary to be their nominee, because they also know she can't win a general election, and they are looking for a plausible and principled candidate. If the Democratic base can get over their nostalgia for Bill Clinton, and look ahead instead of looking back, Hillary's candidacy should fizzle. On the other hand, would it not be fun to see any Democrat run against Gingrich? If only the Republicans were stupid enough to nominate that pompous, lying gasbag...but they're savvier than that.

Posted by: Partisan Democrat | June 30, 2006 7:11 PM | Report abuse

A Federal prosecutor I know once advised me that "industry estimates" are that up to a third of all Medicare claims qualify for fraud.

It's pervasive enough, that the correlation between high fraud districts and Republican Congressman is probably coincidence.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | June 30, 2006 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I do analysis of Medicare claims and have recently noted a pattern. Harris County Texas (Tom DeLay), Cincinnati (Seve Chabot), and elsewhere across the country, wherever there is widespread Medicare fraud there always appears to be a Republican Congressman. Is there some sort of pattern here that needs investigation? Or, do we simply assume that it's all a coincidence?

Posted by: Mike | June 30, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney vs. Huckabee? Are you kidding me? Whoever posted that match-up is crazy. Did you forget about McCain and Allen? Of course Huckabee would receive all the Protestant Evangelical support. Good call... Anyways, nice call so far on the front runners. Except for the omission of Feingold which has already been commented on by numerous people. As stated before, Romney and Warner can both boast state surpluses when they left office and Romney is a Republican so what does that tell you? Romney has made the right moves so far and will be a very attractive candidate in 2008!!!

Posted by: Southern Progressive | June 30, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

for pete's sake. phew. now I can breathe again.

Posted by: Thank you everyman | June 30, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Matt.

You are getting warm. At least alot closer than the 40 or so comments before you.

Posted by: everyman | June 30, 2006 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Colin - I didn't mean Hillary was unelectable because she is too liberal. I said she is too divisive. I agree that she is not as liberal as the right wing fund raisers claim. I also do not think she is anywhere near the GOP clone the left wing blogosphere is hyper-ventilating about.

I am not particularly inclined towards Gore. By rights, he should have comfortably in 2004. He was a horrible candidate and his undisguised disdain for Bush during the debates cost him lots of votes. People generally liked Bush (in 2000), they did not like Gore. His stiff speaking style did not help either. He sounded like a overly strict teacher lecturing third graders.

I am not a fan of John Edwards. I do not believe one term as a Senator and a career as a trial lawyer are compelling credentials.


Of all the potential Democratic candidates I am most partial to General Clark. I really agree with Tom Rinaldo on the inherent advantages of a Clark candidacy. I hope his campaigning for various Democrats has sharpened his political skills. He was very awkward in many interviews during his 2004 candidacy.

Posted by: JimD | June 30, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Colin - I didn't mean Hillary was unelectable because she is too liberal. I said she is too divisive. I agree that she is not as liberal as the right wing fund raisers claim. I also do not think she is anywhere near the GOP clone the left wing blogosphere is hyper-ventilating about.

I am not particularly inclined towards Gore. By rights, he should have comfortably in 2004. He was a horrible candidate and his undisguised disdain for Bush during the debates cost him lots of votes. People generally liked Bush (in 2000), they did not like Gore. His stiff speaking style did not help either. He sounded like a overly strict teacher lecturing third graders.

I am not a fan of John Edwards. I do not believe one term as a Senator and a career as a trial lawyer are compelling credentials.


Of all the potential Democratic candidates I am most partial to General Clark. I really agree with Tom Rinaldo on the inherent advantages of a Clark candidacy. I hope his campaigning for various Democrats has sharpened his political skills. He was very awkward in many interviews during his 2004 candid

Posted by: JimD | June 30, 2006 5:13 PM | Report abuse

People...Please! Cease! Desist! Halt! Gore, no, no, no. Kerry, no, no no. Incorrect assumptions! faulty reasoning! Bad character dynamics! Halt! redeploy panzer divisions in alternate direction---warner, vilsak, obama, biden, feingold,clark, edwards,

Posted by: Matt | June 30, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

One has to respect Gore for his persistance. But he comes off as elitist. If he is waiting to be drafted, it will only reinforce to the independents that he was waiting for a coronation.

If Gore runs, we get another 8 years of borderline fascism with a conservative republican.

Period. End. We should now all go and celebrate the 4th while there still is a constitution and Bill of Rights left.

Posted by: everyman | June 30, 2006 5:05 PM | Report abuse

'Democrats are controlled by liberal elitists with contempt for the values and aspirations of ordinary Americans' --every time I read stuff like this I don't know what to say. Can anyone be that stupid? Well, obviously.

How about 'republicans are controlled by conservative elitiists'? Because that's a lot closer to the truth. Look at the enormous wealth of people like George Bush, Dcik Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and Bill Frist. Look at who they serve -- the wealthy only. Their only real agenda is making sure the rich pay no taxes while working people pay for their freeloading. They can cut the estate tax, but not raise the minimum wage. They can guarantee that middle class people will never have access to health care or college.

I guess if the values and aspirations of ordinary Americans are to work hard, get nowhere, and die young, then sure, republicans are definitely for you.

Posted by: Drindl | June 30, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

You call Hillary Clinton the "odds on favorite" to win the Democratic nomination. That very statement could have been applied to George (not Mitt) Romney in 1968.

A lot can happen between now and the nominating convention.

Posted by: Yellow Dog | June 30, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I like Edwards (my choice if Gore doesn't run), as well. I read his speech at the National Press Club and thought it quite good (an impressive thing in this day and age was that he wrote it himself).

Thinking outside the box Edwards and Obama are the two most personable and persuasive Democrats. I like the idea of what running a southern white man and a black says about the party. I think their respective positions on alleviating poverty dovetails quite well too.

My one concern would be their relative lack of experience. I still think that Edwards probably could use someone like Biden as VP. While Obama still has time to run for president (due to his age), even after serving two terms as VP. Gore or Hillary would be more natural running mates for Obama, IMO.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 30, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't get the whole "Gore the Savior" stuff out there. Any Gore enthusiasm says more about the sad state of the Democrats than anything else. Maybe if you could give him an Obama-personality-transplant...

On the other hand, Gingerich probably has *too much* personality. His pretense of being an academic is beyond the pale.

The next President will be left with the unenviable task of cleaning up after George Bush's frat party. Find someone who can be a security hawk, fiscally repsonsible, militarily responsible (no invading countries with no capacity to harm us). Most voters want someone at least center-to-right on social issues.

I can think of no Democrat at this point that comes close to that.

Posted by: Independent Woman | June 30, 2006 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris,
I am glad to see you have added Al Gore to your list. I think he is the one. Loads of experience, favorite of the old guard, didn't vote for the illegal war in Iraq , he is the one to bring the party together. And lets not forget he really won in 2000 had it not been for all the chicanery in Florida. And we would get something done about the looming crisis with global warming that this administration refuses to admit there is a proglem.

Posted by: sandy | June 30, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The Fix has once again underestimated John Edwards. Since he is not in the Senate anymore (Sad for America...Good for him) he has lots of time to retain his 2004 support while reaching out to new areas in the Democratic community. He has courted the labor and healthcare unions and it seems they are sold on him this far out. Plus, the technology community in Seattle who has the powers of the purse too are very impressed with Edwards and see him as their choice for 2008. He has been a longstanding supporter of technology funding and research, way more than any other Democrat besides Al Gore. The support of labor, healthcare, and technology sectors will allow him to raise I'd say $30 millon dollars easily. They have the purse and unlike in 2004 where the labor union endorsed Dean but voted for Kerry, Edwards by far and away supports their interests more than any other Democrat. Last week, which sadly The Fix did not report about Edwards had a major speech on poverty which included foreign and national security policy. He called for a "working society" to beat poverty which resonates with liberals because it focuses on ending poverty while reaching out to conservatives who hate welfare. He is using a mixture of the John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy playbook by being principled anti-war while calling on the courage, strength, innovation and sacrifice to defeat the problems of today. I read the speech and in many ways it could have been give by JFK himself. I am just amazed how much Edwards is successfully and rightly making himself the principled liberalism of JFK and RFK. Last week too he courted potential political supporters like Edwards Kennedy, the candidate for Gov. in Iowa, and other key and influential democrats. Plus, the poll last week having him as front runner for the first time is something Edwards should jump up and down about. Iowa is the only state that Edwards has the same amount of name ID as Kerry, Clinton, Vilsack so it is a more of an indicator than the nationwide polls where Clinton has a 98% name id. The only varibles I see in 2008 for Edwards is Gore, Bayh, Warner and Feingold. Bayh, Warner, and Feingold are not known yet to Iowa voters and Gore is Gore. So if I was Bayh, Warner, and Feingold I would not worry about the poll but for Kerry, Vilsack and Clinton I would be crying. Perhaps that is why Hillary hired the two new advisors because she realizes she is not as good shape as she thinks. In all, I think Edwards or Warner will win the nod because they more time to set up a base than any other Democrat.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | June 30, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Gore doesn't have ideas?

Like I said Obama seems more like a VP candidate, at this point at least.

I see you are taking the Oliphant-Dick Durban line on Obama. Fine with me if it works out. You just don't have to trash the rest of the field.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 30, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keeps talking about the same bunch of ineffective heads that resulted in an electorate that got suckered into 4 more years of Bush and keeping a do nothing congress (republicans and democrats alike)

Gore, Hillary, Kerry, Edwards, Newt, Frist. What do the Irish say. You can't make spring lamb out of last night's left over mutton.

Chuck 'em all for someone with ideas.

Posted by: everyman | June 30, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

People who like politics can kiss my ass.

Posted by: Ben | June 30, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Gore "well positioned," "keeping his options open" according to newspaper report yesterday:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Al Gore faced an unwelcome choice when a fan pushed a copy of his new book at him for his autograph.

Inside the cover she wrote, "Plan to run for president in 2008?" with boxes marked "yes" or "no." Gore paused, then scribbled one word - "plans"_ next to the "no" box and checked it. No plans, but not a firm no.

His artfully qualified answer underscored the fact that, despite his protests, Gore refuses to rule out another run for president. He's keeping his options open.

"If he is running, he's doing all the right things," said Brian Melendez, the chairman of the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota. "He tried it the traditional way the last time and look what it got him. This time, he's a passionate man indulging his passion. If it happens to take off for him in the next year, he would be very well positioned."

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/nation/14932748.htm

Martin Peretz, owner of The New Republic says,

"It may be the most brilliant campaign launch in our time."

It may be wishful thinking on a Gore supporter's part, but I really don't think it is as long a shot that he will run as some above think. In addition, I think that the Supreme Court reviewing the evidence on CO2 in the next session will keep the issue on the front burner (no pun intended).

Also, I think that Obama is moving up in the VP stakes with his outreach to evangelicals. He may not have the track record of other aspirants, but he seems to have a great mixture of the likability of an Edwards with the intellect of a Gore. Hard to argue with that. I think he probably needs to run with someone with greater experience at the top of the ticket, but I could be wrong.

Also, its worth noting that along with Dick Durban, Obama has been providing some of the best articulation of the party message. The Democrats seem increasingly to be becoming the party of Lincoln, the Republicans the party of Nixon. A facetious slogan for 2008:

"Vote for the party of Lincoln, not Nixon."

Karl Rove says that we are on the cusp of a generational election, similar to 1896. He thought it would be 2004, but he was wrong, it could be 2008. Democrats need to position themselves for a historic opportunity. I really need convincing that "triangulating" is the way to take advantage of this opportunity.

BTW, whatever became of the Whigs?

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | June 30, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Apologies for a double post. The page would not load when I first hit post, and my post did not at first show when I went back to see if it had in fact posted the first time.

Posted by: Tom Rinaldo | June 30, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

It is difficult to narrow the Democratic field to a "Top Five", and all of the Democrats listed here have a solid basis for inclusion, but in my opinion this group tends to cancel each other out in appeal. As a result I think there is virtually no chance they will in fact emerge as the top five once the race begins in earnest.

Warner, Bayh and Clinton currently have little appeal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and John Edwards, despite his belated public apology, stood with President Bush over the supposed necessity of invading Iraq for months after the invasion.

As a result, though Edwards scores high points on Domestic issues, many on the left do not fully trust Edwards grasp of foreign affairs. His voice on Iraq now remains muted, and his stance regarding Iran is not reassuring. Of those mentioned in the "top five", only Gore consistently rates highly with grassroots Democratic activists, though troubling indications remain that Gore still caries high negatives with the American public as a whole.

If Bayh gains momentum it will be because Warner can't, and if Warner can than Edwards won't. There is no way all three of these men's campaigns will thrive, they are competing too much for too many of the same voters. Clinton's campaign can't collapse fast enough to allow sufficient oxygen for Warner Bayh and Edwards to all remain viable.

Now that he is no longer the freshest face on the block, I suspect John Edwards will get squeezed out if Warner is able to excite people on the campaign trail, though that of course remains to be seen. And if Warner can't connect on the campaign trail then his quest for the nomination will be dismissed as heavy on hype but short on delivery.

John Kerry draws a very mixed response from Democratic activists. Many like his current position on Iraq and his recent work in the United States Senate for progressive issues. But others believe he had his best chance and didn't sufficiently deliver, either before or after "the votes were counted". That ambivalence, coupled with a general lack of enthusiasm for a second go around with John Kerry on the part of the general public, I think will cripple a second bid by Kerry. There are too many other choices, and if a Democrat as well known as John Kerry starts out the 2008 race positioned well back in the pack, I suspect his race will be a short one.

All this leads me to believe that either and/or both Wes Clark and Russ Feingold will emerge solidly in the top five pool of Democratic 2008 candidates, once the dust settles. There is too much that each of these men have to bring to the table that is unique for neither to make the cut, and I can easily see both shoring up strong support for 2008, especially if Al Gore decides not to run.

Between Clark and Feingold I think the former has the stronger hand. How many more times will pundits need to repeat that the Republican Party intends to run as the "Daddy Party" that can keep America safe, before those same pundits conclude that Wes Clark is the strongest candidate to head on take that challenge? Couple that with Clark's demonstrated strong national base of activist supporters and you begin to see the outline for Clark breaking out of the pack.

Clark is also the least likely to be typecast as a conventional politician in the bunch, and a break with politics as usual is something the public, and especially Democrats, has increasingly responded positively to in recent years. Throw in a dash of Southern identity, and a strong dose of National appeal based on Clark's association with the most National of America's institutions, our military, and Clark starts to stand out in a crowded field.

It certainly won't hurt that Clark's ability to strongly deliver a message has been honed significantly since he first entered politics in late 2003. Clark has been campaigning for other Democrats virtually non stop since he personally withdrew from the 2004 Presidential race. He's gained a lot of valuable experience, and it shows.

Posted by: Tom Rinaldo | June 30, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

It is difficult to narrow the Democratic field to a "Top Five", and all of the Democrats listed here have a solid basis for inclusion, but in my opinion this group tends to cancel each other out in appeal. As a result I think there is virtually no chance they will in fact emerge as the top five once the race begins in earnest.

Warner, Bayh and Clinton currently have little appeal to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, and John Edwards, despite his belated public apology, stood with President Bush over the supposed necessity of invading Iraq for months after the invasion.

As a result, though Edwards scores high points on Domestic issues, many on the left do not fully trust Edwards grasp of foreign affairs. His voice on Iraq now remains muted, and his stance regarding Iran is not reassuring. Of those mentioned in the "top five", only Gore consistently rates highly with grassroots Democratic activists, though troubling indications remain that Gore still caries high negatives with the American public as a whole.

If Bayh gains momentum it will be because Warner can't, and if Warner can than Edwards won't. There is no way all three of these men's campaigns will thrive, they are competing too much for too many of the same voters. Clinton's campaign can't collapse fast enough to allow sufficient oxygen for Warner Bayh and Edwards to all remain viable.

Now that he is no longer the freshest face on the block, I suspect John Edwards will get squeezed out if Warner is able to excite people on the campaign trail, though that of course remains to be seen. And if Warner can't connect on the campaign trail then his quest for the nomination will be dismissed as heavy on hype but short on delivery.

John Kerry draws a very mixed response from Democratic activists. Many like his current position on Iraq and his recent work in the United States Senate for progressive issues. But others believe he had his best chance and didn't sufficiently deliver, either before or after "the votes were counted". That ambivalence, coupled with a general lack of enthusiasm for a second go around with John Kerry on the part of the general public, I think will cripple a second bid by Kerry. There are too many other choices, and if a Democrat as well known as John Kerry starts out the 2008 race positioned well back in the pack, I suspect his race will be a short one.

All this leads me to believe that either and/or both Wes Clark and Russ Feingold will emerge solidly in the top five pool of Democratic 2008 candidates, once the dust settles. There is too much that each of these men have to bring to the table that is unique for neither to make the cut, and I can easily see both shoring up strong support for 2008, especially if Al Gore decides not to run.

Between Clark and Feingold I think the former has the stronger hand. How many more times will pundits need to repeat that the Republican Party intends to run as the "Daddy Party" that can keep America safe, before those same pundits conclude that Wes Clark is the strongest candidate to head on take that challenge? Couple that with Clark's demonstrated strong national base of activist supporters and you begin to see the outline for Clark breaking out of the pack.

Clark is also the least likely to be typecast as a conventional politician in the bunch, and a break with politics as usual is something the public, and especially Democrats, has increasingly responded positively to in recent years. Throw in a dash of Southern identity, and a strong dose of National appeal based on Clark's association with the most National of America's institutions, our military, and Clark starts to stand out in a crowded field.

It certainly won't hurt that Clark's ability to strongly deliver a message has been honed significantly since he first entered politics in late 2003. Clark has been campaigning for other Democrats virtually non stop since he personally withdrew from the 2004 Presidential race. He's gained a lot of valuable experience, and it shows.

Posted by: Tom Rinaldo | June 30, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

Evan Bayh may not have the energy but he has the necessary credentials to actually win the White House, same goes for Mark Warner. Feingold would have no chance in November.

I love your blog and I am always intrigued by the Friday Line. However, it becomes a little redundant with only House, Senate, Governor, and Presidential Lines posted.

I know it would require much additional research on your part but I think a Line of the top ten most likely State Legislatures (either house) to switch parties could be very interesting. Take a look at Iowa for the top spot.

Thank you for your time.

Posted by: Matt E | June 30, 2006 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Bayh hasn't even begun to discuss his record. Name one other '08er who has done anything as liberal as 21st century scholars or using executive powers to *mandate* collective bargaining over a rightwing legislature.

Just, wait. Bayh's just getting started.

Posted by: H_o_o_s_i_e_rTen | June 30, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm not overly fond of the Democrats, but the Republican are only offering us their usual selection of cowards and crooks. I mean John McCain? Romney? Gingrich? (And...Clinton. I know, she pretends to be a Democrat, but....) Please! Stop insulting our intelligence.

Posted by: Mike Brooks | June 30, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

To correct my previous posting, the oil will not run out in the middle east in 25 years, but demand will exceed output during that time span and oil-dependent economies will suffer or collapse.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Chris, how does the following quote relate to Al Gore: "...achieved substantial early success and went on to reach the verge of great triumph before being brought low and disappearing from politics." Are you saying that Gore only achieved EARLY success? He had a distinguished career in the US Senate and went on to serve as Vice President for 8 years. BROUGHT LOW? How was he brought low? Running for President, winning the popular vote and only losing the presidency due to a partisan Supreme Court was "brought low" as if this was something negative (as opposed to Gingrich, who was disgraced). And, DISAPPEARING FROM POLITICS, when he has delivered his global warming slide show more than 1000 times, developed the highly-acclaimed movie "An Inconvenient Truth," and been campaigning for candidates all over the country. Seems like a short-circuit on this comment, Chris.

Posted by: TomT | June 30, 2006 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Try and imagine all the democratic candidates listed here and envision how they would perform as the nominee of their party. Imagine the presidential debates...Clinton vs McCain...Edwards vs McCain...Gore vs McCain...Obama vs McCain. What will be the key issues they harp on for months? If it is the war, then McCain wins. If it is religion, then McCain wins. If it is abortion or gay marriage or flag burning or homeland security or any of the issues we are force fed by our leaders in Congress, then McCain wins. And this is what gets lost here as we debate and analyze people -- the issues!

The republicans have been winning elections and might continue to win because they have a strong set of core issues upon which they all agree and are forced to subscribe. It makes them unified. The democrats have 5,000 issues and they can't agree on how to address any of them. An example is the Kerry-Feingold bill that couldn't even get support from the rest of the democrats in the Senate because they were posturing! That is weakness folks. And weak candidates (Kerry) don't win.

It disgusts me that Democrats ... voters too ... have allowed this to happen. Find a dozen issues democrats and stick to them and be unified and be strong and make those issues what republicans have to talk about. Here are some starters: the environment, education, health care, social security, alternative energy, balanced budget/deficit reduction, economy/jobs. No democratic (or republican) candidate is going to "solve" the problem in Iraq. It is too complex a situation and will likely evolve into a regional war.

We were in Vietnam for more than 10 years and that country didn't have oil. We're never leaving the middle east folks until the oil dries up. That's the issue. This war is a battle to secure oil rights in the face of increased competition from growing economies in India and China. And when the oils runs out (less than 25 years), our troops will come home.

Be smarter Democrats and try a different tactic than simply responding to Republicans. In 2004 they stole the title of "the party of ideas" ... and that is a sad testament to the state of the democratic party. We assumed Al Gore would win in 00, and when he didn't, we we not prepared to respond.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Do not discount Hillary changing her Iraq position after her upcoming Senate race. After scoring a huge win in NY, she can then adopt a position that appeals to the prevailing view in the country. Some one aboved mentioned historical similarities; think of a another famous person who moved to NY to win a Senate seat and later became an anti-war cnadidate.

Posted by: Kranman | June 30, 2006 12:42 PM | Report abuse

oh, and have to agree you should add Russ Feingold - just the news he'd be in town for a spring fundraiser we had doubled attendance, especially among young Dems. He spoke to the crowd and they clearly loved him.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 30, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Romney is an interesting case in my opinion. Although I feel as my governor he sucks, and is nothing but an empty suit, he brings a lot of the same credentials that Warner does to the table.
Romney can sell himself as a GOP governor from the bluest of blue states. Our state budget has a 1 billion dollar surplus. We just passed a massive healthcare program to try and provide healthcare for everyone. He's a good speaker and has lot's of money too. Also he can possibly win Michigan which would be huge for the GOP.
Now that being said all those accomplishments are really due to our Democratic legislature that basically does what it wants because they can override all his vetos. And I think the mormon issue, and the fact that he was governor of the only state in the union where gays can marry means he loses the primary.

Posted by: Andy R | June 30, 2006 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Gore's got my vote - hope he resists adding Sen. Clinton to his ticket and adds Barack Obama instead.

But Newt? Give me a break - a man who has cheated on multiple wives, been caught doing so, committed fraud, and done far worse crimes? You guys must truly be on drugs in the beltway, cause that dog don't hunt.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | June 30, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

What ever happened to Brownback. He vanished!

Posted by: ... | June 30, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is known in Massachusetts as the Drive-By Governor. He never saw a wedge issue he couldn't use for pandering. But check out his record of accomplisment as governor. Not much there.

Posted by: Ticket Splitter | June 30, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Given a choice between Romney and Huckabee, evangelicals and social conservatives are going to go overwhelmingly to Huckabee. It will no contest. Romney is WAY too liberal on abortion, gay marriage and gun control.

Posted by: I Like Mike | June 30, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Totally concur with JimD. My voting record: Reagan, Reagan, Bush I, Bush I, Dole, Gore, Kerry. I am socially and fiscally conservative, but don't think government shouldn't help those who need it. I spent 20+ years on active duty in the military and am sickened by what I've seen in Iraq. Like JimD, I supported the Gulf War and going into Afghanistan (which, if we're not careful will turn out to be a totally wasted effort). I like Obama, but I do think he is too liberal for a national election. Warner is intriguing, a combination of Southern credentials in a red state and a businessman (albeit successful unlike the Shrub and Dick Vader), along with left center sensibilities. I like Edwards and I like Gore-maybe that's my dream ticket, Gore at the head-although I also take him at his word. A word about foreign policy experience: the world has always been a challenging place. The shrinking of the world in terms of technology and travel makes someone with a reasoned and seasoned worldview more important than someone with foreign policy experience. Look at the people Bush surrounded himself with-people with "foreign policy experience" but a jingoistic world view and bent on bludgeoning the world into our view. Hasn't worked for us-unless you make and sell armored Humvees.

Posted by: Joe Voter | June 30, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

CC Evan Bayh will never be able to court the left in the numbers he will need to win. Especially after he voted for the flag burning amendment.
Electable or not Russ Feingold should be on the list. He is the only one who is out there taking on the administration and winning. He knows his message takes time to soak in so he is starting early.
"Gingrich has twice as many policy ideas as the other republicans." Well 2 times 0 is still 0.
Also I know he isn't raising money yet, but the most electable democrat is Wes Clark, and He is the only centrist who can win the left due to his not supporting the war. I still think the democrats ticket will be a Wes Clark president with HRC as VP.

Posted by: Andy R | June 30, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

JimD: the argument that the Democrats are controlled by liberal elitists with contempt for the values and aspirations of ordinary Americans has tremendous resonance

These are the truest words ever seen on this blog! This is the reason dems of today have such a hard time resonating with Middle-America.

As for the leading contenders...I sure hope a dark-horse candidate comes along, because I am fairly unimpressed with these choices. Although, Newt vs Hillary would be a hoot to watch!!!

Posted by: FH | June 30, 2006 11:45 AM | Report abuse

You're foolish to count on John Kerry. He might not be the favorite, but he's every bit as likely to win the nomination as the others you have mentioned. First, he's ultra rich--and we all know that money is far and away the most important factor in American politics today. Secondly, he might just be the candidate with the best message on the war in Iraq. I think he was a moron for supporting Bush's War, but he doesn't any more. And he's still a war hero. Can't count out Kerry.

Posted by: Rapid City Kid | June 30, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

JimD -- I don't disagree that Hillary would have a tought time getting elected, although I think it COULD happen depending upon who she ran against. But do you honestly think that has anything to do with her ACTUALLY being too liberal, as opposed to how Republicans will smear her? She's right down the middle of the road on most policy issues and is extremely hawkish on foreign affairs.

Finally, reading your description of yourself it sounds like Al Gore is your perfect candidate. Fiscally responsible, social moderate, who was hawkish regarding justified wars (one of 10 Dems to support the first guly war, in favor of our actions in Afghanistan) but against the war of choice in Iraq. See, now doesn't that sound like a great candidate?

Posted by: Colin | June 30, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I am a middle of the road, socially moderate to liberal and fiscally conservative. I believe that military force is sometimes necessary - I supported Gulf War I and the invasion of Afghanistan. I did not support the invasion of Iraq.

I am appalled by the incompetence of the Bush administration. I voted against Bush II both times he ran, although I voted for Dole in 96, Perot in 92, Bush I in 88, John Andersen in 80. I could not bring myself to vote for either Mondale or Reagan in 84. So, you cannot brand me as right or left wing. I really want to see a Democrat elected president in 2008.

Having said that, I think Jaxas' post about the "great unwashed" epitomizes an attitude that has crippled the Democrats in national elections for over 30 years. Clinton overcame that because he grew up with these people and could connect on many levels. Believe me, a resident of a very conservative part of Florida, that the argument that the Democrats are controlled by liberal elitists with contempt for the values and aspirations of ordinary Americans has tremendous resonance. There are enough liberals like Jaxas to validate that sentiment.

As for the 08 Democratic candidates, I believe that Feingold is unelectable. Hillary Clinton is unelectable, too, she is far too divisive a figure to win. Despite liberal wishful thinking, the country is firmly in the middle and, absent some catastrophic economic changes, is not going to elect a liberal senator president. Polls consistently show that the liberal base is about 20% of the country, while the conservative base is more like 30%. There are also partisan Democrats and Republicans who do not belong to the strong ideological wings of their parties. This leaves a relatively small number of moderate voters as the decisive factor in national elections. Do not confuse Bush's unpopularity with a major leftward shift on the part of the electorate.

Warner might fit the profile of an electable Democrat but I do not think that someone with no discernable foreign policy experience can be elected in post 9/11 America. I think Barack Obama would make a great president - someday, but not in 08. He needs more experience. No Democrat will win in 2008 unless he or she can convince the swing voters that he/she would be a credible commander-in-chief. Polls showed that many middle of the road voters in 04 voted for Bush, despite disagreeing with him on most substantive issues, because they could not see Kerry as a credible commander-in-chief. His inept response to the Swift Boat liars is the reason that a true combat hero lost to a mostly AWOL National Guard pilot. Everyone of my generation (over 50) knows that the National Guard in the '60's was a safe harbor from combat. (Unlike today's use of the guard and the reserves.)

Posted by: JimD | June 30, 2006 11:14 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting that Sen. Allen is the only candidate in Chris's top ten that has a serious electoral challenge in '06. Three years of the insincere grip and grin in Iowa, NH and SC from Sens. Clinton, Edwards and McCain and Govs. Warner and Romney will attract interest to policy wonks like VP Gore and Speaker Gingrich and to Sen. Feingold who is one of the few contenders speaking out on major topics. But that is just the thing...would the former VP and Speaker be making such strong statements if they were really running?

Posted by: Jeff | June 30, 2006 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore is dangerous? Unlike the GOP who support war, torture, illegal detention and spying, destabilizing Iraq and the region, destruction of the environment, ad infinitum. Does most of the world view Al Gore as the most serious threat to world security - even moreso than Iran or N. Korea - or does that (dis)honor go to Bush? Most scientists agree that Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" hits the mark in its scientific accuracy. People who still support Bush despite the carnage and destruction he's wrought on the world have much deeper problems than I'm qualified to address.

Posted by: KAS | June 30, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but I think Jaxas hit the nail on the head. The only Dems with a chance are those who the American people would feel "safe" with, and wouldn't compromise the ideology of the right pounded into them for the last 8 years. I suspect Gore fits that bill, and than Biden, who won't get the nomination, could also. Why do people in the Washington area feel their local politicians (Allen, Warner) have national followings? Why do you beleive that a term limited one time governor, or senator, have something to offer that the rest of the country is thirsting for? I don't see it. And I lived in the "beltway" for 8 years. As for Obama, the last 30 or so years, unfortunately, prove that building up your resume in the US Senate may well prepare you to be president, but makes you unelectable because you have a record to attack. As long as the Democrats insist on allowing the people of Iowa and New Hampshire to pick their candidate, they will have little chance to vet possible candidates across the broad swath of America (which is suspicious of them anyway) and provide a broader base of support so necessary come November.

Posted by: Down in Florida | June 30, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Here's a little something to chew on. If Gore ran in 2008 and won, he would be repeating the experience of Richard Nixon exactly 40 years earlier, right down to the last digit of each election year. Nixon won the VP slot in '52 and served two full terms. Ran for Pres in '60 as sitting VP and lost narrowly, sat out the next Presidental election and returned in '68 and won. An increasingly unpopular foreign war will play a big role in '08 just like in '68. Now perhaps too much has changed in the past 40 years and the American public is less hospitable to comebacks. I guess that is the main variable as to his viability.

Posted by: Peter (uppercase P) | June 30, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Have we not had enough of algore? This man is dangerous, even though he invented the internet, gravity, love, and is saving the planet with that inane, unscientific movie. Warner is the only reasonable candidate, and if I HAD to vote democratic, would be the ONLY candidate I would consider.

Posted by: Dr. J. Robert Mueller | June 30, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I understand your frustration fully, Jaxas, but we have a compelling interest not to succumb to that sort of cynicism so that we can take at least a stab at redressing those problems.

The first month after an election is usually depressing.

Posted by: peter | June 30, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Gore vs Gingrich, that's a ticket I would welcome. Gore: 20 years of public service in House, Senate, and White House. Gingrich 19 years in the House. left under a cloud of ethics charges.skeletons in his personal life closet. Gore as president would be poetic justice. re-elect Gore in 08

Posted by: johannesrolf | June 30, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Obama is charismatic, articulate, thoughtful, and talented. He is not, however, accomplished yet. An Obama candidacy would signify that the Democratic Party is looking to one man to fix its problems moreso than it would appear to be rallying behind a charismatic leader. In peacetime I would support an Obama or Warner candidacy enthusiastically, but I think foreign policy is going to be far too important in 2008 to nominate candidates with limited experience. Honestly, I wish Warner had run for Senate against Allen.

These men have tremendous potential, but I fear that impatience could squander it. I would encourage Obama to serve at least another Senate term and Warner to seek another office in between 2008 and the next time the Democrats nominate a new candidate for president.

And FairAndBalanced, while I would like to think that the country is moving left, I think it's more accurate to say that the country has tired of the administrations implementation of its current conservative policies. I think that if McCain presents himself as the man who can implement those same policies competently and transparently, he will fare very well. And if the country is moving left, it will more likely fall squarely in the center-left. I like Feingold, but I don't know that he's the man to convert states like Colorado, Nevada, or Missouri.

Posted by: peter | June 30, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

I too, am perplexed by your omission of Russ Feingold. Like Howard Dean in 2004, I believe he has a lot of underground support. Like Dean in 2004, I believe he will suddenly emerge with a lot more money than people gave him credit for. Like Dean in 2004, I think he is being dismissed by major media odds-makers as being "too liberal" to be taken seriously. Most importantly, unlike Dean in 2004, I believe Feingold can withstand a loss in Iowa and go on to rebound in New Hampshire, without allowing his enthusiasm to overtake his eloquence.

Posted by: Commander Barkfeeather | June 30, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I am a devotee' of the old H. L. Mencken philosophy that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Notwithstanding the polls, the great American unwashed dumbasses out there will end up doing what they always do when election time rolls around: forget that they were pissed off at Bush and the republicans for their malfeasance and incompetence, buy into all of the hyped fear, shameless pandering on irrelevant symbolic issues, bogus values and virtues rhetoric fanned by talk radio fatheads and self appointed moral czars, fabricated crises like immigration and imminent terror attacks, and then go right down to the nearest Bush/GOP purchased Diebold electronic voting machine and push the button for their fav GOP Presidential, Senate or House contender.

A few months after succombing once more to the seductive GOP pole dancing they reflexive do during an election year, they will be right back where they are now: bitterly complaining over GOP malfeasance, incompetence and outright corruption.

Like Mencken, I have no sympathy for them. They deserve every body bag coming back from the wars the GOP loves to keep going for political reasons, every nickel a gallon per week gas increase because of GOP incentives to the public to guzzle like there is no tomorrow (which there probably isn't thanks to them), every particle of carbon that clogs our air and overheats our atmosphere, and every hidden tax increase they have to make up because of the GOP's fanatical drive to unburden the wealthy in America from any rssponsiblity--fiscal or legal--for sane responsible government.

Posted by: Jaxas | June 30, 2006 9:55 AM | Report abuse

You left off Feingold, Clark and Kerry for the sake of Bayh, who has no shot, Gore, who is a fantasy candidate, and Warner who is a creation of the Beltway media. Why don't you just pop Joe Biden on there instead of Edwards and round out your no-chance picks.

As for Hillary, she's also a media creation in my mind. For all the talk about her being a front runner, I don't know who is going to vote for her. Not only do I suspect democrats see her as unelectable, but her stance on the war has allienated whatever base she supposedly had. (See, Lierberman, Joe, for demonstration.)

Posted by: Greg in LA | June 30, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Newt Gingrich. What a thought......

Stalking Horse, Straw Man or legitimate candidate?

Democrats don't have their act together-as if they ever will. The yin and Yang of the party- stength and weakness in seeming chaos.

The republicans still have Rove and Hughes. A great marketing force that could convince their base that Atilla the Hun was holier than Mother Theresa. No ideas. But they can sell ice to eskimos. I think the Democrats are being overconfident.

It's going to take 20 years to get over Junior's presidency. The democrats need something/someone to change direction.

I am buying my Obama in '08 bumper sticker.

Posted by: everyman | June 30, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Additionally, on Feingold...

I like him a lot and think he'd be a great president, but I don't see him getting the nomination unless things go really sour in Iraq or domestically (where people are up in arms about their civil liberties). I see him placing well in a few of the early states but not actually winning any of them...I think he's too easily labeled as being on the far left to be seen as an electible candidate in a year where that will matter.

Posted by: Eugene | June 30, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

You've hit it on the nail; I think this is an accurate depiction of the top 5 candidates for each party...though I think the Republican field could be narrowed to 4 (I don't see Huckabee gaining traction unless Allen loses to Webb).

My impression on Gore is that he really doesn't want to run, but knows that 2008 is (probably) his last chance and I don't think he'd want Hillary to get the nomination (if it looks like Bayh/Warner/Obama/etc. will be the nominee, he'll sit out).

Right now, I'd say McCain and Clinton are the two frontrunners, but I'm pretty sure Clinton won't get the nomination and I think McCain is even money right now to get it.

Just my impressions at this point.

Posted by: Eugene | June 30, 2006 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Whats with major typos this AM?

>>> Since The FIx started
>>> MIke Huckabee: The Arkansas gov

ILJ, while it is proper to note the absence of one particular major potential candidate in RF (and I agree wholeheartedly that he should be on every '08 Dem list going forward no matter what) I think it is just as important to note that almost all of the Dem candidates listed on this Friday Line are "centrist" "moderate" Dems. I think that shows short-sightedness on the part of the WaPo, as the entire country is clearly moving to the Left. Just my opinion, but representation of the liberal wing of the Dem party is noticably absent, whereas the press has no problem listing people (who I consider extreme partisan conservatives) like George Allen in the top echelon of potential candidates. Again, just b/c I see it that way doesnt make it so, but this is a consistent pattern that I and others have noted time and time again.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | June 30, 2006 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I guess you didn't see Wednesday Night's Daily show when Al Gore was on. He said he was absolutely not running and will be continuing to campaign for a climate change redux.

Posted by: ChiefJimbo | June 30, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

How many times does Gore have to say "I'm not running" before people take notice.

Personally, I take the guy at his word.

And did anyone see Feingold on Meet the Press last week??!! He should have definitely made your list...

Posted by: Jimmy | June 30, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic party is already in the middle -- that is, in line with the mainstream of American voters, Chris. After all, only about a third of the country approve of Bush and even less so of the republican congresss. Gore wants to stop the drift to the right which the DLC represents.

Posted by: Drindl | June 30, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Chris why did you leave out Russ Feingold? Feingold's stature continues to grow and compared to some of the other prospective Democrats he has superior intelligence, authenticity and substance. Feingold also has a built in constituency with the base. Liberals don't need to be convinced about Feingold. Whereas Bayh supported the hideous bankruptcy legislation that passed last year, Warner is underwhelming and mealy mouthed and Hillary talks like a Republican.

Quite right about Edwards. He remains the most talented retail politician in the prospective field and in Iowa that makes him dangerous.

And Gore is the 800 pound guerilla.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | June 30, 2006 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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