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The Line: 2008 Begins Now

With 2007 officially here, the presidential campaign is set to begin in earnest. It's a safe bet that by the end of this month all of the major candidates in each party will be officially in the race and running hard.

For Democrats, those "majors" are Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), along with 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards. On the GOP side, it's Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.).

With those big five (or six, depending on your view of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's chances) campaigning for the White House, the real story over the coming months will be whether any other candidates are able to raise the money, generate the media buzz and seed the grassroots to make the leap into the 2008 top tier.

The biggest change from our last ranking of the presidential field is the departure of Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who announced last month that he is not running, citing the long odds of his nomination in a field crowded with better-known candidates. The no-go decisions by Bayh and ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner leave an opening for a more moderate Democratic candidate to enter the field, with the most likely choices being New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (not officially running yet) and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (officially running).

The Republican field appears more set, with the only major wild card being whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) decides to run.

The No. 1 candidates below are the ones most likely to win their party's nomination in 2008. As always, the comments section is open for debate.

To the Line!

DEMOCRATS

1. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Opinions about Clinton are decidedly mixed. On the one hand, she is winning plaudits for reaching outside of her close-knit circle of advisers as she puts a staff in place for a national campaign. On the other, she has drawn criticism from some insiders for her alleged lack of an organization in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. We're skeptical of the Clinton naysayers, as she should have all the organizational power (and money) she needs when she formally announces. Clinton's political operation is vast -- larger than most people realize -- and has tentacles across the country. Any argument that she will somehow struggle to find quality individuals to work for her campaign in the early states seems like wishful thinking. In the meantime, we await a formal announcement from the senator. Of all the Democrats, she's under the least pressure to announce soon. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. John Edwards: Sure, his announcement during the holiday week got trampled by the death of former President Gerald Ford. And sure, we still hear talk that Edwards is a more hardened -- some say cynical -- candidate than the fresh-faced politician who surprised many in Washington with his strong showing in the 2004 primaries. But Edwards still has considerable strengths -- many of which were on display during the announcement of his second national candidacy in New Orleans. Edwards is incredibly charismatic and, with the possible exception of Obama, the most rawly talented candidate on the Democratic side. He also continues to show real strength in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses and has a legitimate chance of winning the Nevada caucus as well as the South Carolina primary. No other candidate outside of Clinton is as strong in as many early states. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Barack Obama: At this point, we'd be shocked if Obama announced he will not run for president in 2008. The most popular parlor game in Washington these days is guessing the day Obama makes it official. One fascinating theory a Democrat recently passed along to The Fix was for Obama to make the announcement over the long weekend in January that ends on the 15th with Martin Luther King Jr. day. Such an announcement would highlight the historic nature of Obama's candidacy and place him as next in line to one of the great civil right leaders of our time. It's just an idea, but it's compelling. Obama's strengths are myriad, ranging from his natural charisma to his vast fundraising capacity to his opposition to the war in Iraq. His weakness is simple -- experience. Are voters ready to trust control of the country to someone who has spent just two years in the Senate? (Previous ranking: 3)

4. Bill Richardson: Richardson moves up a spot in the rankings thanks largely to Bayh's departure from the race. The New Mexico governor has been laying low of late, but his political aides have made clear that he absolutely continues to plan to run for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Richardson seems likely to paint himself as the only Western candidate -- a region of the country where Democrats have made considerable gains on the state and federal level over the past few elections. As we've said before, Richardson has the deepest and broadest resume of any candidate in the field and also a relentless energy that should translate well into the glaring national media spotlight. We still don't see how he makes the leap to challenge the big 3 candidates on the Democratic side, but he is as well-positioned as any candidate to move up if any of the big boys (and girl) stumble. (Previous ranking: 5)

5. Tom Vilsack: This fifth slot is something of a wild card. We could have just as easily put Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) or Chris Dodd (Conn.) in it, but we chose Vilsack because he is already in the race and has assembled a national staff -- something neither of the senators has yet. Vilsack got some good news in a recent American Research Group poll that showed him within shouting distance of Clinton, Obama and Edwards. In order for the low-key governor to have a chance at the nomination, he must win the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 14, 2008. Without a win in his home state, it is impossible for Vilsack to go on. Neither Dodd nor Biden face such a do-or-die situation, but neither has an early state where they are as strong as Vilsack is in Iowa. (Previous ranking: N/A)

REPUBLICANS

1. John McCain: It's hard to imagine that at this point in his public life there's much new to learn about McCain. But Todd Purdum -- one of the most talented political reporters in the country -- provides a fascinating (and at times revelatory) look at the maverick-turned-insider in February's Vanity Fair. Read it all. Purdum gets at the fundamental question/problem of McCain's candidacy: How much can a man whose entire life has been centered on bucking the rules bend to the orthodoxies required to become the nominee of the Republican Party? To date he has squared that circle with relative ease, but as the campaign drags on McCain will face growing pressure to bow and scrape to the party elders in order to win the approval. Can he do it? And if he does, is he still the same John McCain who almost knocked off the party insiders' favored George W. Bush in 2000? (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Mitt Romney: Romney was due for a rough month, and he got one. The scrutiny of his comments about gay rights made during his 1994 campaign against Sen. Ted Kennedy (D) and discussion of the evolution of his views on abortion combined to make social conservatives a bit queasy about the man who is so assiduously courting them. Romney still has the organizational and fundraising heft to keep him just behind McCain, but he, unlike the Arizona senator, must prove that he can withstand the rigors of a national campaign. Romney's political talent is unmatched on the Republican side, but he must show that there is some steak beneath that sizzle to make a real run at McCain. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Rudy Giuliani: How do you solve a problem like Rudy? In every poll -- both nationally and in early voting states -- the former mayor of New York City runs either first or second. But the "pros" in his issue profile -- pro abortion rights, pro gay rights, pro gun control -- are a complete mismatch for the conservative voters who tend to dominate the GOP nominating process. Over the past few months Giuliani appears more serious about putting together a real campaign, although most of his staff moves are aimed at the national level, not at the key early primary states. The leak (or loss) of a detailed Giuliani campaign plan reeks of not-ready-for-primetime organization, but with Hizzoner seemingly set on making a run, we can't justify ranking him any lower than third at the moment. (Previous ranking: 4)

4. Newt Gingrich: Behind Giuliani and McCain, the former House Speaker is the best known Republican weighing a run in 2008. If Gingrich announced next week that he was running and began to put the pieces of a national organization together, he would immediately move up to the third slot on this list. Believe it or not, Gingrich could quickly become the chosen candidate of social conservatives who are certainly not sold on McCain, Romney or Giuliani. But if Gingrich decides to wait until the fall to make a decision (as he's said he will do), it will be too late and many of the advantages that he would bring to a national bid would be forfeited. We'll keep Gingrich in the No. 4 slot for now with the caveat that if he shows some real movement toward a bid over the next month or so he'll move up. If, on the other hand, he continues to maintain that he can wait until the fall to decide, he won't be on the Line much longer. (Previous ranking: 3)

5. Sam Brownback: If Gingrich waits too long, the senator from Kansas is the obvious beneficiary. Brownback already has an exploratory committee in place and is moving around to key early states to build support. Brownback's chance to make his mark will be in Iowa -- a plains state like his own where social conservatives have historically played an extremely influential role in picking the winner. Because he is likely to rely on an army of committed volunteers, Brownback will not need to raise the tens of millions required of McCain, Romney and Giuliani. But he must collect enough campaign cash to compete at something close to parity with the top-tier candidates in the Hawkeye State. There's no time like the present for Brownback, whose stock would rise immediately if he exceeded expectations in his fundraising over the first three months of this year. (Previous ranking: 5)

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 5, 2007; 5:30 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: Giuliani Fills Out National Staff
Next: Will Gore Make Another Run?

Comments

Some say Hillary is too angry to become Prez. I don't know, but the linked article offers a pretty unique perspective on the problem:
http://www.dishingpolitics.com/index_files/Page645.htm


Posted by: Is Hillary too angry? | January 31, 2007 1:41 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: rjbmk yvcuixko | January 11, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I like that Biden/Richardson ticket. Its got substance & common sense & would be a winner.

Posted by: Beyond Thunderdome | January 10, 2007 1:59 AM | Report abuse

At the risk of sounding like a complete novice, I'm going to go ahead and say... I really appreciate Al Gore and, although I understand that he is probably more satisfied personally and professionally now than the WH would ever make him, I wish he would consider another bid. On the same note, I truly hope that John Kerry reconsiders his bid. I do not think that he will make a successful run, nor do I think that public opinion of such a challenge to some already strong candidates will help the overall outcome in early states. However, I do really feel a "warm and fuzzy" feeling from John Edwards which is difficult to ignore. I find his candor intriguing, his work for the past several years with the poverty center and raising the minimum wage to be very honest and inspirational, and his charm has its disarming moments. I know its excruciatingly premature, but I must admit that if (a big IF) Al Gore should run, I would hope for the "dream ticket" of Gore/Edwards. Otherwise, I am hoping for an Edwards/Kucinich team.

Posted by: persephone_1024 | January 9, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Andra,

Actually, the story of the Illinois Senate campaign is more complicated than that.

It is true that Blair Hull in part self-destructed in the primaries, but it was not just an Obama-Hull race ... in fact, the most established candidate with widespread support was Dan Hynes, and there were several other viable candidates in the race with significant support. But Obama ended up winning with an astonishing 53% in this still-crowded field (even factoring out Hull). Again, that happened because he was able to pull support from throughout the state.

In the general election, it is also true that Jack Ryan eventually withdrew and was replaced by Keyes, who had little support in Illinois. But even before the details of Ryan's divorce were released, Obama had been polling 20 points above Ryan. So, again he had established his popularity statewide before subsequent events pulled Ryan out of the race.

Finally, as for the debates ... obviously, if you do not like how Obama sounds when speaking in public, that is a matter of your personal taste and I won't try to argue you out of your opinion. But I think it is fair to say that generally Obama has been well-received when he speaks in public.

Posted by: DTM | January 9, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Rothenberg Report just posted a column on Obama and his "rock star" status.

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2007/01/fate-of-rock-star.html

Posted by: JNutting | January 9, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Ok, first of all, thanks to Texasdem for explaining that since Albright was not born in the USA, she was not able to be in the line of presidential succession.

Second, I was mistaken in the way I worded the line of succession in regards to Condi Rice, it should have been the highest ranking for any woman to be in the order for the White House. Yes, I can admit I make a mistake.

Third, Negroponte has been in foreign services since Eisenhower back in 1960. He served under Democrats and Republicans, proving that he can do his job for the State Department regardless of party.

Madeline Albright's father was also a profeessor for Condi Rice in college and he inspired her to study about the Soviet Union and learn some of the Russisan and the Czech Languages.

Condi Rice has the closest political relationship with a president who is not her husband. Clinton was not this close with Albright or Reno.

In fact, there are some people so afraid of an African-American woman who is so close as a friend and adviser to the president that they had to start nasty rumors too. We saw the tabeloid garbage and I guess it just shows the Democrats and liberals can't accept that an African-American woman could also be a smart Republican as well as a friend to President Bush.

Posted by: Tina | January 8, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

DTM,
Obama's primary opponent in 2004 imploded, then the main Republican imploded and he wound up running against Alan Keyes. It was an easy race so what does it mean in regard to Obama as a candidate? Nothing, really. Didn't he do very badly in a previous Congressional primary?

Imagine either Hillary or Obama in a debate. Hillary is school-marmish, especially her angry/assertive face. Obama is kind of pompous, he likes the sound of his own voice. But will either of them come across as a person of stature or will the Republican - even Brownback or Romney - come off better? I can't for the life of me understand why the Democrats would think of nominating Hillary Clinton after her husband torpedoed a 40 year House majority in only 2 years. And they've finally got it back and there's a chance they could run his even less appealing wife. Its hard to believe thats so.

Posted by: Andra | January 8, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double-post; the Post's web server was a bit slow methinks...

Posted by: IlliniWatcher | January 8, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

To Progressive's claim that someone with Barack Obama's name will NEVER be elected president:

1. Hello? Did you see the news that we have our first female Speaker of the House in the nation's 200-plus year history? How many people said that would "never" happen?

2. How about Massachussetts' first African-American governor ... ever? How many people said that would "never" happen?

Maybe you won't vote for him, "dude", based on his name but NEVER say "never". All it would take for Mr. Obama to become president would be for more people to vote FOR him than with people that think like you do.

I think a more accurate statement would be that there are some die-hard xenophobes who, based on Mr. Obama's name, would "never" vote for him. That use of the term "never", I would grant you - such individuals usually "never" change.

Posted by: IlliniWatcher | January 8, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

To Progressive's claim that someone with Barack Obama's name will NEVER be elected president:

1. Hello? Did you see the news that we have our first female Speaker of the House in the nation's 200-plus year history? How many people said that would "never" happen?

2. How about Massachussetts' first African-American governor ... ever? How many people said that would "never" happen?

Maybe you won't vote for him, "dude", based on his name but NEVER say "never". All it would take for Mr. Obama to become president would be for more people to vote FOR him than with people that think like you do.

I think a more accurate statement would be that there are some die-hard xenophobes who, based on Mr. Obama's name, would "never" vote for him. That use of the term "never", I would agree with - such individuals usually "never" change.

Posted by: IlliniWatcher | January 8, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Dan, what exactly is "unelectable"? I think the term was cooked up by those on the right just to disspirit Kerry supporters and now anyone uses the term to indicate their disapproval of a candidate. If someone has cash flow, a "machine" to communicate with the public, and strong ideas (whether such ideas are ethical or not is another question), they're "electable" because they can get their supporters out. Howard Dean was electable when he ran (he was the media darling for two years before they overhyped the so-called "scream"), Gore was electable when he ran, and Hillary is electable now. The calculus for who makes it into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is complicated and dynamic and things change monthly. Just ask all the now out-of-work Republican congressmen.

I hereby add "unelectable" to my list of banned words for 2007!

Posted by: IlliniWatcher | January 8, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I think you are seriously underestimating Biden. He is the only Democrat (or Republican for that matter) showing interest in running, with international relations stature. He is articulate--and agressive (he will not wimp out like Kerry did when Republicans try to "swiftboat" him--and they will, it is the only type of campaigning they know).

The only question is will he have the money to make a race of it, and if he does, he is the obvious nominee. Pair him off with Bill Richardson, and we have a winning ticket.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

If you guys could elect a Democrat President that would be awesome.

Particularly Gore or Obama.

I think Condi is the only Republican who COULD, Possibly, Perhaps, maybe challenge the Dems in 2008.

Thanks FIX (though Obama should be higher, who needs Clinton's millions when you get on worldwide TV every time you make a speech)

Posted by: Alan (England) | January 8, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Who will be the '08 nominee for the Republicans will depend on events on the ground in Iraq in January '08. If we have a surge and as I suspect it does nothing to stem the chaos, Mr. McCain will not be the nominee. The mood in the country will be toxic to anyone who has a record of consistently supporting the Bush Administration policies in Iraq. Try as he might, Mr. McCain cannot finesse his record on Iraq.

Posted by: NYNick | January 8, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Andra asked why anyone would think Obama would do better than Kerry in states like NH, OR, WI, MN, MI, and PA.

I actually have an answer to that question. I have been following Obama's political fortunes since the Senate primaries in Illinois. It turns out that Obama's success in Illinois is not based just on appealing to Chicago voters (the traditional Democratic stronghold in Illinois), but also in winning over voters in the collar counties (basically the suburbs of Chicago) and doing relatively well with voters in the remainder of "downstate" (mostly rural) Illinois.

In short, in 2004 Obama succeeded in appealing to a much broader cross-section of Illinois voters than Kerry. And my impression is that there is a very similar dynamic involved in states like WI, MN, MI, and PA, and also OH, IA, MO, AR, and so on--Democrats succeed in these states when they appeal outside of the cities to suburban voters and do reasonably well with rural voters.

So, based on what happened in Illinois, I think Obama has an excellent chance of doing significantly better than Kerry in a 2008 general election in key states, particularly if Iraq remains the central voting issues.

Posted by: DTM | January 8, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I think you are off on two accounts for Dems. Vilsack is going nowhere. Not to put too much stock in public appearances, but Jon Stewart pretty much embarassed the guy about Iraq, calling him out on his bluster. And secondly, Biden, for all is bloviating, he resonates with independents and he gets alot of play with idependent voices in the media. He has broader appeal than you give him credit for.

Posted by: JR Flanders | January 8, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush's tax cuts, according to a new Congressional study.

The study, by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, also shows that tax rates for middle-income earners edged up in 2004, the most recent year for which data was available, while rates for people at the very top continued to decline.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 8, 2007 7:51 AM | Report abuse

If we see Bush do a surge in Iraq, and it doesn't work, then we can expect Iraq to be a big issue for at least another 12 months. What impact does that have on the various candidates?

DEMOCRATS
Helps
- Obama, who was against it from the outset, despite his 'inexperience'.
- Gore, who was also opposed to it from the outset.

Neutral
- Edwards, who supported it but has apologized (takes a big man to do that!) and gone against it in recent times. Probably enough to not cause him too much harm.
- Biden, supported it like Edwards, but now gets a great platform in the Senate to look presidential while dissecting Bush's decisions over the last few years.
- the Governors (Richardson, Vilsack)

Harms
- Clinton is the moderate who backed the war and still is cautious in criticising it. Iraq really harms her.

REPUBLICANS
Helps
- Hagel, a man of integrity who made the bravce (but correct call) warning against the war. A sleeping giant in the Repub field.

Neutral
- the Governors/Mayors/Yesteryear politicians queueing up (Romney, Guiliani, Gingrich, etc)

Harms
- McCain, big time. The surge was his idea, he backed the war from the start. He looks like a successor to Bush. No one wants Bush, no one wants his successor.

Posted by: JayPe | January 7, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Correction on my last post. "The driver of the truck appears to be a 20 year OLD Iraqi".

Posted by: lylepink | January 7, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

The Miami Port Security teams are being praised by Fox news as to how well the Homeland Security Department is working. Funny how the driver of the truck appears to be a 20 year Iraqi and the Trucking Co. is based in Dearborn, Michigan. Could this be something that has to do with the announced change in policy scheduled for this coming week?? Just wondering.

Posted by: lylepink | January 7, 2007 5:46 PM | Report abuse

mccain cut his own legs out from under himself by courting the base and not maintaining his maverick status. he now looks too much like a politician, and if the "surge" fails (it's a serious possibility), he'll be seriously discredited. we'll see the results of a surge in the fall, and that's when gingrich will decide. if mccain looks weak, gingrich will enter the race slide into first place fairly easily. if hilary can re-invent herself as a moderate, so can gingrich, and i think he will while also being able to pull in the hard right. i don't think any of the options listed for the republicans have a real shot at winning in the general election except for gingrich who has been spouting the same type of "we're one country; let's be bi-partisan" talk as Obama. giuliani is too far separated from 9/11 to ride that wave, and romney is too inconsistent to perform well in the south.

as for the democrats, hilary is the likely nominee. though there are a lot of people in the democratic party vocal against the war in iraq, there are even more who are moderate or conservative and might be attracted to the new moderate hilary. we're still fighting the same type of battles as the ones of the early 1990s. the gingrich-clinton battle would play that out quite well. as for obama, i think he should wait in the wings and not expend his political capital this early in his career, though he is an intelligent, likeable candidate.

Posted by: esteban | January 7, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I do not believe John Edwards will stand a chance against Hillary Clinton. His popularity will peak in about two to three months and he will be left with the small sector of the Democratic party known as the "netroots". For all the traveling and campaigning he has been doing for the past two years and considering all the press he and his wife keep getting - what show haven't they appeared on? - he should already be outpolling Hillary Clinton, who has not even thrown her hat in the ring yet. And he isn't going to have President Bill Clinton campaigning for him - on the contrary, Bill will be campaigning against him on Hillary's behalf. Pass the popcorn!!


Posted by: John Edwards | January 7, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

'Future of Iraq: The spoils of war
How the West will make a killing on Iraqi oil riches'

anyone at the wapo have the cojones to cover this?

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2132569.ece

remember how people who said we were going to war for oil were dismissed by the press? this is proof of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

2YA--hate women much?

'Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies under a controversial law which is expected to come before the Iraqi parliament within days. The US government has been involved in drawing up the law, a draft of which has been seen by The Independent on Sunday. It would give big oil companies such as BP, Shell and Exxon 30-year contracts to extract Iraqi crude and allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil interests in the country since the industry was nationalised in 1972.

We are doing it again. This is part of the payoff for propping up the Shia regime. Big oil is going to be sitting with legal 30 year deals to exploit the hell out of the oilfields with the profits going mostly to them, with the Iraqi people getting screwed in the bargain.'

Posted by: our troops sacrificed for exxon | January 7, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

two young americans? WTF?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Political pundits have developed only a glancing analysis of the media challenges that Hillary Clinton will face as the shape general election unfolds.

Menstruation
Menopause
Mammary Glands


http://twoyoungamericans.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Two Young Americans | January 7, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Question: What do Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the Far Right Lords of Loud have in common?

Answer: They all make a zillions on the backs of half-truths and failed Republican policies?

Answer: They all decry the divisiveness in America yet know that they make their livings on dividing America?

Answer: They all demean and demonize those who disagree with them, they blame everyone but themselves for making personal attacks?

Answer: After touting our War President and his war as being a near bloodless walkover, they now say that no one ever said this would be easy...despite the lockstep administration pre-invasion notion that this would be easy?

Answer: They all rationalize the humongous horror created by the Bush White House with "mistakes are made in all wars?"

Answer: They all could care less that your sons and daughters continue to be sacrificed to the continuing mistakes?

Answer: They all think it's a great idea to continue to follow the same guy who continually leads us off a cliff?

They've never served in the Armed Forces, but have no problem supporting the President's wish to sacrifice more kids...except their own.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. Joe Biden promoted his presidential bid on Sunday, saying he thinks he can hold his own against potential high-profile rivals such as fellow Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.'

Right. LOL.

'Biden's first presidential bid collapsed 20 years ago amid allegations he plagiarized a campaign speech from then-British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.'

Posted by: Biden, Loser, Announces | January 7, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The worst of all worlds would be a short, small surge of U.S. forces," McCain said at a forum on the final version of the plan, developed by Keane and Frederick Kagan, a military analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank. "This troop surge [must be] significant and sustained; otherwise, don't do it."

It's very important for St. John to move the goalposts here -- he had earlier endorsed an escalation of 20,000 troops thinking there was no way that Dubya would enact it, given the election results and the simple fact (which even McCain has admitted) that the military can't sustain such an increase.

But it turned out that the Shrub's susceptibility to delusion is nearly as great as McCain's. So, since the sine qua non of St. John's recommendations on Iraq is that they never be put into practice -- that way, he can accuse everyone but himself of having "lost" Iraq because they didn't follow his brilliant plan -- he's had to shift it further beyond the realm of physical possibility.

Has a nation involved in a war ever been led by such cynical, yet inept cowards?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

'Peters: "In short, the toughest side of an offensive operation against Iran would be the defensive aspects - requiring virtually every air and sea capability we could muster."

'Having overseen the recent drafting of the military's counterinsurgency manual, General Petraeus is also likely to change the American military operation in Baghdad. American forces can be expected to take up positions in neighborhoods throughout the capital instead of limiting themselves to conducting patrols from large, fortified bases in and around the city.

The overarching goal of the American military operation may be altered as well. Under General Casey, the principal focus was on transferring security responsibilities to the Iraqi security forces, so American troops could gradually withdraw. Now, the emphasis will shift to protecting the Iraqi population from sectarian strife and insurgent attacks.'

so now, instead of preparing for withdrawal, our troops are going to be taken out of fortified areas and inserted directly into the middle of a raging civil war, putting them in far greater danger, ensuring a greater percentage will be killed and maimed, AND we're no longer planning on transferring responsibilites to the Iraqis.

THIS is a strategy? Yeah, a strategy for insuring that casualties rise dramatically and that we are stuck in Iraq for many years to come, spending over a million dollars a day.

If we are even deeper in Iraq in 2008 and desperately pouring all out resources into another front with Iran, as looks to be th case, how will that affect each candidate's chances?

Posted by: lark | January 7, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

If Iran were to suddenly stop exporting its 2.6 million barrels of oil a day, such as in the event of a military strike, world oil prices probably would skyrocket. But a gradual decline might be offset by other OPEC members, analysts say, particularly as Iraq increases its oil production and Saudi Arabia carries out plans for significant increases in its production capacity.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

when all of the most recent terrorist attacks [including our own] were pulled off by people from pakistan and saudi arabia [and none from iran] why is 'ok' for pakistan to have a nuclear weapon [in fact we paid for it] and not iran? i'm not being facetious, i'm just curious if anyone has given any thought to the rationale. the press certainly hasn't. they no longer seem to have the capacity to ask sensible questions.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

'ASSIGNING a Navy avia tor and combat veteran to oversee our military operations in the Persian Gulf makes perfect sense when seen as a preparatory step for striking Iran's nuclear-weapons facilities - if that becomes necessary.'

the press continues to cheerlead the idea of an attack on iran -- without thinking, without reasoning, reflexively and passively, dumbly accepting it without question like sheep or cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse. bombing iran will start ww3 and that will be the end of the human race as the dominant species.

but perhaps we'll be replaced by a species that's smart enough not to self-destruct.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

The NYT reports that America's first new nuclear warhead in over twenty years will likely end up a sort of Frankenbomb hybrid of two competing designs. Instead of choosing between designs submitted by teams at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Reliable Replacement Warhead (TP loves the name) will fuse elements of both designs, an approach that some believe is as likely to result in a dud as a functional weapon. "It's one thing to have all the components working and another to have them all working together," said one Berkeley scientist.

this will probably blow up on launch. how does anyone get this incomptent?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 7, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Count Joe Lieberman in: At an American Enterprise Institute event on Friday, the indiecrat senator called for a substantial and sustained troop increase in Iraq, the Post reports. "

Posted by: loserman is republican scum | January 7, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Guess who gets to make all these 'sacrifices' bush is talking about -- it ain't the wealthy:

'The troop increase would largely mean extending the tours of soldiers already in Iraq and cutting the stateside time of those who have rotated out. The plan will rely heavily on the cooperation and participation of the Nouri al-Maliki Iraqi government--a prospect that does not inspire confidence in those who have worked with the government before, as both the NYT and the Post note.
As magic bullets go, this one seems rather spent. "There is a lot of concern this won't work," was one military official's understatement. Others, discerning little substantive difference between "A New Way Forward" and the numerous old ways forward, are much more blunt'

How is this 'supporting the troops'? It's more like snuffing the troops....

Posted by: lark | January 7, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Linda,
Thats interesting about the favorability polls but what it doesn't say is that Hillary Clinton has had those high unfavorables for about 15 years now. Edwards just doesn't make an impression, which may be a good thing because his "poverty" stuff while building a $3 million second home is something other Democrats don't want to be saddled with explaining. And it IS fair. His daughter isn't going off to the Iraq War that he co-sponsored, either, and he's just in no position to call for sacrifice or a "new patriotism."

Posted by: Andra | January 7, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Obama, it would be interesting to see detailed polls but the polls probably won't tell the truth: White voters will see Obama as being pushed on them to show they are not "racists." Thats going to cause backlash. (That was an element in the Harold Ford senate race this year, IMO, a candidate with no particular credentials being pushed because he's some new model of a black candidate. Having seen that ploy once, voters will be more wary, IMO.) He and Hillary are daggers aimed at the new House Majority (except I put him last because I think money may be, hopefully, a factor in getting him out).

Democrats are way too smug about the 2008 race and that better stop because some of these Republican candidates are experienced politicians who can present a moderate face. I have seen plenty of Democrats on message boards say that Hagel is some kind of moderate. He has the same kind of anti-abortion, proClinton impeachment, proWar vote record that the rest of them have. He just comes across better. So will Romney, or even Brownback, who comes across as very mild-mannered on TV. He would beat either Hillary or Obama! Isn't that amazing! Thats how people vote; look at the majority Reagan got in '84 and what his actual positions on issues were. And then look at the 6 close blue states in '04: NH, OR, WI, MN, MI, PA - very close margins. I don't know why anyone would think Obama or Hillary would do as well or better than Kerry in those states; I think they'd both lose a few. OH is no sure thing for Democrats.

Posted by: Andra | January 7, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Al Gore and John Kerry are viewed unfavorably by way too many people for them to even consider another presidential run. The latest numbers: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/CBSNews_polls/jana-candidates.pdf

Posted by: Linda Johnson | January 7, 2007 5:00 AM | Report abuse

On the Repub side, the candidates have so many holes! pro choice Mayor, distrusted sort-of conservative who previously opposed the party favourite, a one term Governor who flip flops with the best of them, not to mention candidates who's "sanctity of marriage" is theoretical only.

If Iraq is a major issue come 2008 (anyone expecting the surge to make a major difference?) then Hagel will be a major player. A known conservative, he could come straight through.

The other wild card is Huckabee, who really needs to get into action. He has great potential, but needs to build a campaign and get momentum. But maybe he'll stay standing as the rest fall over.

Given the nations mood at the moment, and Bush's insistence on keeping Iraq as an issue for a while, is it any wonder that the best Repub candidates (like Sanford) are standing back. 2012 will give them a much better chance.

This contest is the Dems to lose...

Posted by: JayPe | January 7, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

The Dem race will be interesting. Assuming the big 3 continue to suck up all the attention and money, there is room for one more candidate. I suspect the Dem's will worry about how inexperienced Hillary Obama and Edwards are (particularly compared to McCain, if he wins the Repub nomination).

If they start searching around for a competent experienced candidate, there are only two who have a good chance. Al Gore and Bill Richardson. Both have executive experience and foreign policy experience.

Both benefit from announcing later, once the fears of "inexperience" have had time to gather pace.

At that point, if Gore enters he wins the nomination, and almost certainly the Presidency. He has the name recognition, the grassroots support, credibility on Iraq and the money. Richardson becomes a factor only if Gore doesn't enter and he shows an ability to raise money. Given his undoubted ability I wouldn't put it past him.

Clark doesn't seem to have the grassroots support (Obama is the new favourite) - he'll likely take up a cabinet position. Richardson is a very good VP option (being from the West, and experienced) if he doesn't get to the top.

If neither Richardson or Gore run, then the next best fit is Vilsack - a likeable executive who is actually in the race. Governors will always have a better shot than Senators at winning from nowhere.

Posted by: JayPe | January 7, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

andra - every vote i have ever cast in my life has been for a democrat, so i do not feel disloyal in saying that nominating John Kerry again is probably the dumbest possible thing the Democrats could do. I give him one more term in the Senate, tops.
lylepink - still waiting for Hillary to convince me that 1) she can do the job and do it well, and 2) that she can do it SO well that my dynastic concerns (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton - ?) are unfounded. Obama has my vote so far, but it's still early.

Posted by: meuphys | January 6, 2007 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Andra: About the only thing I can agree with you is on the repub side. From what I have been hearing, pure speculation, Chuck Hagle is being courted behind the curtain, so to speak, by some that are beginning to think that Rudy or McCain cannot win in 08 because of their past and present stands on a multiple number of issues.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2007 7:35 PM | Report abuse

My rankings are very different:
1. Kerry (came close in '04; can get money)
2. Dodd (not a close 2 but not hated)
3. Biden (foreign policy cred but disliked)
4. Clinton (unelectable; would destroy House Majority.
5. Edwards (does not impress voters unless they spend a half hour with him personally)
6. Richardson (how will he explain bashing US border fence and not bashing Israel concrete wall inside West Bank?)
7. Vilsack (no foreign policy credentials)
8. Kucinich (running on ego.)
9. Clark - can't get money.
10. Obama (unelectable. White voters will not be cowed by charge that they are racists if they don't vote for Obama.)

Republicans: I don't know but I don't think either McCain or Giuliani will be the nominee.

Posted by: Andra | January 6, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

'But as we've seen so frequently these past few years, the right has developed a capability of creating an alternate reality as it happens which means that today, the first draft of history is being written in two dimensions. They don't have to airbrush history, they are editing in the camera.

Sadly, the mainstream media seems mostly incapable of battling this back properly --- if they even want to. (I suspect that where there isn't social or political bias, in a busy world it's cheaper and simpler to regurgitate the pre-digested rightwing narrative.)

This particular incident is just one of many and it's what allowed so much of what's happened over the last few years to happen. The right's professional noise machine is creating a disorienting inability on the part of many journalists and citizens to be able to distinguish reality from fantasy --- and it's making it possible for someone like the president to be completely unresponsive to the people.

We keep expecting that reality is going to change things. For instance, we logically thought that the president would have to begin to withdraw in Iraq once his popularity tanked to unprecedented lows and his party lost the election. Instead, he just carries on, no matter what happens out here in the real world, because in the world the right wing has created, this last election shows that he has a mandate to escalate the war.'

Posted by: what's really scary | January 6, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

'A massive avalanche swept vehicles off a highway west of Denver on Saturday, leaving an unknown number of people missing.

At least seven people have been hospitalized, said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman Bob Wilson.

The avalanche rumbled across U.S. 40 near Berthoud Pass, 60 miles west of Denver, shortly after 10:30 a.m. (12:30 p.m. ET).
Colorado Department of Transportation officials said the avalanche was about 100 feet wide and 15 feet deep and carried not only snow and ice but also large rocks, trees and other debris.

A series of unusually large snowstorms during the past three weeks raised the threat of an avalanche, Wynn said.

Stacey Stegman of the Colorado Department of Transportation said this was an especially large avalanche; typical avalanches in the area are only 2 to 3 feet deep, she said.

"This is a tremendous amount of snow to come down on the mountainside for us," she said. "We never see these types of avalanches."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Golgi: thanks. I keep reading [the wingers and industrialists] about the hypotehtical costs of trying to do something about warming -- and then I see with my own eyes how much it is already costing to do nothing. The insurance industry is already alarmed, but they are like the canary in the coal mine, and no one is really listening yet.

But certain industries already are seeing dire and sometime ruinous financial results -- ask anyone who's managed a ski resort this winter. Or the cattle business, as you see in onee of the posts above. Citrus growers. The building industry in certain areas will be next ... already insurers are not just jacking up the premiums but denying coverage to people who live in certain coastal/riverside areas.

Of course, no one really knows what will happen -- but what has happened so far has hewn rather closely to projections.

Now I'll wait for one of our favorite wingnuts or concern trolls to call me hysterical/extremist and put up a bunch of 'statistics' released by a think-thank funded by Exxon Mobil.

I still honestly think Gore would be good though -- he really is so much smarter and knowledgeable and honest than most politicans. Have you heard him speak recently?

Posted by: drindl | January 6, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Golgi: Your 01:52pm post is something that was discussed about how the POTUS nominne could announce their cabinet choices before the Nov. election, and the effect it could have in the outcome. Some of my choices are--Clark, Def.--Gore,EPA--Richardson and Obama,State or UN--Edwards,AG--Dean,HHS--Sibelius,NSA--Napalatino,HSA--Vilsack,Agriculture. This would be with Clinton/Warner at the top. This, IMO, would be a great help if both parties did it.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Viagra | January 6, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Exactly where is Gore's "army of support" in all 50 states? It doesn't seem like he had one eight years ago or he would have won in a landslide. An army of people now do think it was a tragedy that Gore got ripped off by election fraud, but at this point he is more of a symbol of injustice to them than a leader.

The new Democratic Congress already satisfied the longing for justice that Gore symbolizes to them. The hunger now is not to take revenge, but to build a sound new foundation for the future (emphasis on "new").

I've heard people say they think Gore would be a good idea, but there is always this hesitancy in their face and voice. You know what I mean? I think Gore understands this, and this is the reason why he has said he is not going to run.

Posted by: Golgi | January 6, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for important comments about global warming, Drindl. This is a terribly important issue, probably MUCH more important than the Middle East, health care, religion, etc. During the election season, healing global warming is the one issue I will be watching most.

The way I see it, though, no matter how vital any one issue is, the presidential responsibilities cover more than a single issue. Al Gore should not be the president; he should be appointed to the Cabinet by whoever does end up president (whether that person is D or R).

That's exactly what the Cabinet is for: specialists the president can trust for wise single-issue advice in times of need.

Posted by: Golgi | January 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

On many a workday lunchtime, the nominal boss of U.S. intelligence, John D. Negroponte, can be found at a private club in downtown Washington, getting a massage, taking a swim, and having lunch, followed by a good cigar and a perusal of the daily papers in the club's library.
"He spends three hours there [every] Monday through Friday," gripes a senior counterterrorism official, noting that the former ambassador has a security detail sitting outside all that time in chase cars. Others say they've seen the Director of National Intelligence at the University Club, a 100-year-old mansion-like redoubt of dark oak panels and high ceilings a few blocks from the White House, only "several" times a week.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

'In the week since Saddam Hussein was hanged in an execution steeped in sectarian overtones, his public image in the Arab world, formerly that of a convicted dictator, has undergone a resurgence of admiration and awe.
On the streets, in newspapers and over the Internet, Mr. Hussein has emerged as a Sunni Arab hero who stood calm and composed as his Shiite executioners tormented and abused him.

"No one will ever forget the way in which Saddam was executed," President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt remarked in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot published Friday and distributed by the official Egyptian news agency. "They turned him into a martyr."

Posted by: is there anything they can't screw up? | January 6, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: Your site today A+. and drindl: The change in the House and Senate are having the effect I personally had hoped for but did not expect it to happen so soon.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Agriculture officials were trying to determine how to deal with the carcasses of thousands of livestock that were killed in last week's blizzard or starved afterward.

An estimated 3,500 cattle are believed to have died on rangeland in six southeastern Colorado counties alone, said Leonard Pruett, the region's agriculture extension agent for Colorado State University.

"The magnitude of the snow out here is astounding," said Ed Cordes, project manager for Pioneer Pork, which has about 7,500 sows and 4,000 young pigs on a ranch near Springfield, about 200 miles southeast of Denver.

Owners of feedlots, where range cattle are taken before slaughter, were still calculating their losses.

Luke Lind, a vice president of Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, which has 10 feedlots in Colorado, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, said the mortality rate could be "significant," but he declined to give specific numbers. Five Rivers had 60,000 cattle in pens in the Lamar, Colorado, area alone, he said.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I phrased that badly. what I mean is, he is looking at the races only in narrow terms of fundrasing, rather than including their positions on issues, and the background of national events.

Posted by: drndl | January 6, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Bayern Guy, I used to say the same thing myself, likeability counts. That was, and in some degree, still is the case for Clinton.

Then the country was handed over to a likeable (to most) guy. Trouble is, Bush isn't a grownup. The country is in too much trouble for a popularity contest, and I think most who vote know that.

I would like to see a poll for the person most likely to tell it the way it is and act in the country's best interests. The list might look a lot different, and more like the eventual roster of candidates.

The "likeable" Decider has another two years to wreak his particular brand of irresponsible havoc.... the country will be yearning for a heavyweight.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | January 6, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I would like to point out that the narrowness of Chris' reportage means that the context in which the candidates are running will have a huge effect on their chances. I beleive that significant forces are at work that will inform choices for 2008.

For instance, it is 71 degrees here where I am -- the normal temperature historically is 35. Of course there is 'normal fluctation' in weather, but the previous record high is 55. When you start breaking records [as has been happening over the last 3 years] by 15 and 20 degree increments, rather than the usual 2 or 3 degrees, you have a rather startling anomaly. This is happening all over the world.

Additionally, I have seen two species -- black bear and snapping turtle out and about this week, when they should have been hiberating weeks ago, and a pair of rare ducks from canada which should long ago have arrived in mexico. It's unheard of, in my experience. If this is not a temporary anomoly, the economic and disruptive effects of temperature charge are going to hit us rather fast and hard.

In which case, Al Gore is going to be looking pretty good, as the only one in the field with a clue what to do.

And conversely of course, if the Iraq war continues as it has, especially if there's an escalation and it fails, John McCain will look as big a loser as Bush.

Posted by: drindl | January 6, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

gdaw, Thanks for the Order of Succession information.

Posted by: Duh! | January 6, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

LIKABILITY POLL RESULTS FOR 20 AMERICAN POLITICAL FIGURES - Quinnipac Poll taken 11/13/06-11/19/06

Who would you like to have a beer with?

1. Rudy Giuliani, former Republican Mayor of New York City: 64.2 (9)
2. Barack Obama, Democratic Senator from Illinois: 58.8 (41)
3. John McCain, Republican Senator from Arizona: 57.7 (12)
4. Condoleezza Rice, Republican US Secretary of State: 56.1 (7)
5. Bill Clinton, former Democratic US President: 55.8 (1)
6. Joe Lieberman, Independent US Senator from Connecticut: 52.7 (16)
7. Michael Bloomberg, Republican Mayor of New York City: 51.1 (44)
8. John Edwards, former Democratic Senator from North Carolina: 49.9 (20)
9. Hillary Clinton, Democratic Senator from New York: 49 (1)
10. Bill Richardson, Democratic Governor of New Mexico: 47.7 (65)
11. Joe Biden, Democratic US Senator from Delaware: 47 (52)
12. Nancy Pelosi, incoming Democratic House Speaker from California: 46.9 (34)
13. Mitt Romney, Republican Governor of Massachusetts: 45.9 (64)
14. Al Gore, former Democratic US Vice President: 44.9 (3)
15. George W. Bush, Republican US President: 43.8 (1)
16. Evan Bayh, Democratic Senator from Indiana: 43.3 (75)
17. Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker from Georgia: 42 (15)
18. Bill Frist, outgoing Republican Senate Leader from Tennessee: 41.5 (53)
19. Harry Reid, incoming Democratic Senate Leader: 41.2 (61)
20. John Kerry, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts: 39.6 (5)

A GOP ticket in some combination of Guiliani, McCain, and Rice might be unbeatable. For president, issues don't usually count, likability does. Maybe Iraq positions won't be relevant by the time voters begin to focus on the race.

Posted by: Bayern Guy | January 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

'The leading advocates of an increase in U.S. forces in Iraq warned President Bush on Friday that any buildup lasting less than 18 months was doomed to fail, and urged the White House to avoid compromises that would scale back the plan.

The hard line taken by such backers as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and retired Army Gen. Jack Keane comes as the Bush administration continues to debate the size and the scope of an expected troop increase. White House spokesman Tony Snow said Bush had "not entirely" made up his mind, even as Bush reorganized top war advisors and began meeting with key members of Congress in advance of a major address next week.

Bush faces growing unease about an extended buildup among some congressional Republicans, who are concerned that it could stretch into the 2008 election season and doom their reelection chances. About five to 10 such Republicans are in the Senate, according to GOP aides, and are expected to push for time limits or firm conditions in return for backing the increase.

"For any kind of a surge, they would have to show that the surge itself was limited," said one senior Republican leadership aide, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It would have to be six months or a year, tops."

A strategy advocated by McCain and Keane, who has advised Bush on Iraq policy, calls for about 30,000 additional troops who would remain in Iraq from 18 months to two years. About 140,000 U.S. troops are now in Iraq.'

--of course, the military leaders have made it clear they don't have 30,000 troops available, so this is some bizarre winger pipe dream [and I do wonder what they've been smoking] Mr. McCain and other neocons are having. They are filled with fantasies of vast amounts of available funds, battlalions of young folks eager to throw themselves into battle [altho of course, I don't hear them encouraging any young republicans to actually fight] and dreams of empire and glory.

But then I understand that opium poppy production is at an all time 'high' in Afghanistan so maybe some of it has made its way to DC. I don't know how else to explain it.

Posted by: drindl | January 6, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Next week Biden as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee starts his four-week hearings on Iraq, the same week The Decider announces his new tactics.

Like the tarnished McCain used to be, Biden is a straight talker and I look for some powerful fireworks. He may, and should, emerge as a highly-placed runner after his hearings.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | January 6, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

What about Al Gore? If he decides to run, he already has an army of supporters in all 50 states.

Posted by: J. Henriksen, Norway | January 6, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Za-10: I would like to say you have not only added to my reasons for supporting Hillary in 08, but have said them in a way that is so easy to understand. These past few days have been a wake up call for so many of us that have thought this current Administration is by far the worst in our lifetimes. The news media have finally begain to report on things that have been pretty well hushed up by various members, past and present, of this Administration. The reasons, as many of us suspect, have been the fear of what GW and Company would do to them, and as to the way fear has been used to keep what little support they have with the american people. The one, among many, that seems to be having the biggest impact is the changing or shifting around of military personnel that will tell him only what he wants to hear. Remember the war in Iraq tops the concern list of most americans and this new "surge" , whatever that means, policy will be announced in the next few days.

Posted by: lylepink | January 6, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

drindl wrote: "McCain. Romney and Guiliani are liberals? I'm sure they would be surprised to learn that."

I think the Republican voters may be surprised, too, to learn that McCain has voted with Ted Kennedy on every major piece of legislation, that Romney ran and governed as a pro-gay, anti-gun, pro-abortion governor (until late last year when he started running for pres., that is) and that Guiliani is the most liberal 'republican' one could possibly come up with as a candidate.

All three are the top dogs now, but Romney is already sinking like a stone, and Rudy has no chance in the South.

Posted by: Stephen | January 6, 2007 9:14 AM | Report abuse

With the catastrophic conditions that that the Iraq war has created, due to the current administrations shortsighted foreign policy initiatives, the democrats need a leader that has the ability to steer the United States into safe harbor. Hillary Rodham Clinton's senatorial experience has given her the maturity and understanding of the legislative process that is required to lead the United States of America into the future.

She will probably champion important questions such as minimum wage raises, the restriction of lobbyist's ability over the legislative process, and fight for better educational opportunities for the underprivileged communities in the United States.

The world is going through a major political, social and economic paradigm shift. New technologies are not restricted by the outdated ideological positions of cretin people that seem to fear, instead of embrace, the advancement and economic empowerment of the working class.

Unions have traditionally safeguarded the living standards of many hardworking Americans. They are threatened when economically strong organizations and individuals mobilize their troops in order to protect their economic interests.

I am sure that Hillary Rodham Clinton has the ability to handle these issues, while creating a new vision for America. A vision that will drive America closer to the world, instead of placing America in a position where it is hated for it's non-inclusive and non-transparent ways of doing business.

The fiscal damage that the Iraq war has cost is eroding the possibilities for Americans to invest in reasonable healthcare, working educational institutions and reasonable wages for its entire population. If the American people continue to put their trust in individuals that lie, distort and limit the democratic process by limiting journalist and spying on in its own people, then the children of its citizens might be forced to pay a price they can not afford (future terrorist attack, etc.).

I hope that the democrats elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as their leader, so that she can build bridges with the rest of the world that will strengthen America's reputation and lead the United States of America forward.

Posted by: Za-10 | January 6, 2007 4:57 AM | Report abuse

Bill Richardson is the only candidate with the credentials, experience, and gravitas necessary for this extraordinary job in these extraordinary times.

Posted by: Michelle | January 6, 2007 2:18 AM | Report abuse

2008 could be the next time for a step up for women in line of succession if Hillary would accept a VP offer. Say Richardson Clinton has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: gdaw | January 5, 2007 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Nancy Pelosi has reached a new height for women in the presidential line of succession as Speaker of the House, second only to the vice president. Prior to this Secretary Rice was the highest ranking woman as Secretary of State - Number 4 on the list (Secretary Albright did not qualify as foriegn born). Before her there was Janet Reno as Attorney General at number 7. There are other women that served in lower cabinet position prior to her that would have also been in the line. So when we discuss FIRSTs we need to discuss rank also.

Posted by: gdaw | January 5, 2007 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Andy R: Hillary is my favorite dem for POTUS in 08. My likeing her as a political player is because of the way she conducts herself in trying times as well as one of the most intellegent persons I have seen. Add the strength she has shown over the years, her caring for the common folk and doing what she can for the folk that have so little. The work she has done all her life can be matched by only a very few of us. I like her ideas about how to solve the many problems we as a country have. You have your opinion, I have mine, and this is what this is all about.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 7:20 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

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The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who received a pardon in the closing hours of the Clinton administration.

The memo last spring was signed by the White House and Secret Service the day after a Washington-based group asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Secret Service in a dispute over White House visitor logs for Abramoff.

The chief counsel to another Washington-based group suing to get Secret Service logs calls the creation of the memo "a political maneuver couched as a legal one."

"It appears the White House is actually manufacturing evidence to further its own agenda," Anne Weismann, a Justice Department lawyer for 19 years and now chief counsel to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Friday.

The White House and the Secret Service declined to comment.

Last year in the Abramoff scandal, the Bush administration, in response to three lawsuits, provided an incomplete picture of how many visits Abramoff and his lobbying team made to the White House.

The task of digging out Abramoff-White House links fell to a House committee that collected the lobbyist's billing records and e-mails. The House report found 485 lobbying contacts with presidential aides over three years, including 10 with top Bush administration aide Karl Rove.

As part of its security function of protecting the White House complex, the Secret Service uses the log information to conduct background checks on people prior to daily appointments and visits.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

'A State Department official leaked word this week that President Bush is considering sending "no more than 15,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops" to Iraq. "Instead of a surge, it is a bump," the official said.

This claim was bolstered last night by CBS's David Martin, who reported that military commanders have told Bush they are prepared to execute a troop escalation of just 9,000 soldiers and Marines into Iraq, "with another 10,000 on alert in Kuwait and the U.S."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Madeline Albright wasn't in line for the presidency because she was not born in the U.S.

Posted by: texasdem | January 5, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The "experience" comments are all well and good; and may be important for positioning within the parties themselves and raising money; but, when the average voter goes into the voting booth, it's not what's on the resume, but how comfortable the voter feels choosing a person to lead the country for the next four years.

Otherwise, how do you explain the results of a number of the Presidential elections in the past 50 years? A number of times, the loser had a better resume and theoretically better experience.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 5, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I sincerely believe that the media has been following the people, not leading the people, when it comes to "Obamamania". In other words, it is not the media which draws hundreds of people to an Obama book signing. It is hundreds of people at an Obama book signing which draws the media.

That said, Obama is still relatively unknown to many and I think it is understandable that as a result, many are not sure what to make of him yet.

Posted by: DTM | January 5, 2007 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Aside from being a full time senator for two years, Edwards has absolutely nothing going for him. The remaining four years of his only term, he was running for president.

He was wrong on Iraq. No one remembers a single bill he sponsored in the Senate, except for his bill to authorize war in Iraq. Edwards is a media creation.

He's a light weight version of Obama: with fewer academic accomplishments, less experience, less charisma, no best selling books, no strong appeal with Black voters. And Edwards' leftish platform will not appeal to moderates the way Obama will.

And unlike Obama, Edwards didn't have the courage to stand for reelection, so that his constituents could judge him on the criteria of campaign promises kept.

Posted by: Robert* | January 5, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

ANDY R, thanks for clearing that up. I thought you were endorsing McCain. Glad to hear you're scared of him, too. SETH, good point. Hillary's so well known she probably can't grow anymore. Obama, Edwards, Vilsack and Richardson are not well known at all, so could still attract many supporters. My moneys on Obama or Edwards, however.

Posted by: Ellen | January 5, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse


The WSJ on Bush's plan: "The Bush administration's new strategy for Iraq, which the president is set to announce next week, will include a big boost in spending ...

--and whose money will that be?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"As they take control of the House and Senate, members of the new majority must reconcile diverse ideological factions within their ranks and make a fundamental choice. They can spend their energy trying to reverse what they see as the flaws of the Bush administration and a dozen years in which conservative philosophy dominated Congress. Or they can accept the rightward tilt of that period and grudgingly concede that big tax cuts, deregulation, restrictions on abortion and other Republican-inspired changes are now a permanent part of the legislative framework."

Posted by: the republican new york times | January 5, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis, Chris. I agree with the lower placement of both Giuliani and Obama. Neither one has nearly as good a shot as the top two contenders in each party because both of them are largely MEDIA CREATIONS who have not been under anything close to the kind of scrutiny that will come if they get into this race.

It's most likely to end up Edwards vs. McCain in the general election, and don't be surprised to see Edwards win.

Posted by: Dave Michaels | January 5, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The media, present company INCLUDED, is enamored by the "front runners" who are liberals and flip-floppers on social and fiscal issues.'

McCain. Romney and Guiliani are liberals? I'm sure they would be surprised to learn that.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Madeline Albright in the same position as Condi? Wouldn't that place here as the first woman to be in the line of succession to be POTUS?

Posted by: Mark In VA | January 5, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Madeline Albright in the same position as Condi? Wouldn't that place here as the first woman to be in the line of succession to be POTUS?

Posted by: Mark In VA | January 5, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

People are sick of the career politicians.

Frmr. Cook County GOP president John Cox is opening an office in Iowa today and opened one in New Hampshire this week and will open aother in South Carolina. He's got teams on the ground in these states (and 27 more) and has for months.

The media, present company INCLUDED, is enamored by the "front runners" who are liberals and flip-floppers on social and fiscal issues.

The base of the party will NOT stand still for being forced to decide between tweedle liberal and tweedle "not so liberal."

Posted by: Stephen | January 5, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

What is interesting about the current top of the list is that none is a governor. Richardson of NM and Vilsek of Iowa are mentioned, but aren't seen as front runners.

With the exception of Bush Sr's election in 1988, every new president, since the late Gerald Ford, has run with his current or most recent political office being that of governor of both big states and small.

A lot of this is because, for better or worse, there is a national suspicion of anything "Washington." So governors of both Democratic and Republican persuasion have been successful, at least partly because they ran as "outsiders" come to clean up "the mess in Washington."

Most governors bring in their state government and campaign staffs with them and all have stumbled when they deal with
Congress, even when their own party is in charge. Witness Carter and Clinton who struggled with Democratic majorities. The same was true of Reagan, who started with a split Congress and GW Bush, who had an GOP Congress that soon turned split for the rest of that first congressional session.

Bush's early stumbles, and his beginning problem as the first popular-vote minority president since Benjamin Harrison, of course, were quickly eclipsed by 9/11. But governors enter with little experience dealing with Congress. It isn't the same as dealing with a legislature.

Recognizing that there is a danger in assuming the front runners are going to be the eventual nominees, look at the likely possibility of Senator Hillary Clinton running against Senator John McCain. Even the other top runners who might be most likely to overtake them, should they stumble, are coming from the Senate with the exception of Hizzoner.

The last president elected directly from a Senate seat was JFK in 1960. Johnson and Nixon were former Senators who were vice presidents before ascending to the presidency.

Of course, neither governor mentioned as in the wings can be counted out just because they don't have a high profile now. Look how fast Dean ascended (and fell) in 2004.

Richardson at least has the national government experience that one assumes would lead to a more sophisticated approach with Congress.

Still, the early line seems to say that there may be no governor or ex governor in the race at all, come November 2008. Can't say whether that's wrong or right. But it sure is different.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | January 5, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

George,

It's Mike Gravel, a former U.S Senator from Alaska who's been out of office for over quarter of a century. I included him on my list -- number 12 out of 12 Democrats.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more with previous commentators...if you mention Obama's supposed lack of experience, what about Edwards!

I tend to think that Clinton's support has peaked...no room for growth whereas Obama has the room to grow and is the new kid among the three which is a good thing this year.

Independents for Obama
http://independents4obama.blogspot.com

Posted by: Seth | January 5, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I've thought for a while that Obama would benefit from the "inexperience" meme coming out so early, largely on the theory that when people actually found out more about his background, they would end up being fairly impressed. And that does seem to be happening--to my eye, at least, more and more people are favorably citing details from his resume as this topic comes up. I also thought fans of Edwards (which apparently includes Chris) had to be very careful about raising this argument against Obama, since it could easily backfire on their man, and that also seems to be happening.

Anyway, I think it will be very interesting to see what happens in the primary debates. I am particularly interested to see how both sides end up discussing Iraq--I think that issue could end up making or breaking several candidates, including the current big names.

Posted by: DTM | January 5, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

WHAT ABOUT SENATOR MIKE GRAVE?

Posted by: GEORGE | January 5, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

As for the Democrats, the field is wide open. Question is whether the same, "heir-apparent," nonsense that normally mesmerizes the GOP has taken hold of the Dems.

I'm not a Democrat, but their primaries tend to end up more interesting than the Republican contests. They're more willing to try a new face, even though it frequently dooms them in November.

The 2000 and 2004 contests put this phenomena in question as each time one candidate won both Iowa and New Hampshire and the contest was effectively over.

But will this happen again? The only one who could pull that off is Hillary. If she fails to come in 1st in Iowa, she'll have a fight on her hands. Edwards could pull it off. So could Obama. Gore as well. Richardson as a Governor AND Hispanic will have an impact but I don't think has the staying power to make it to the nomination. In fact, I think a Richardson Presidential run would guarantee his selection as V.P. nominee regardless of who wins the top slot.

Hillary is the most likely nominee, but Gore would change that if he ran. In which case it would just be the two of them. The rest would be out of luck.

Without Gore, Obama remains Hillary's biggest worry. Obama is also attractive and articulate enough to make the rationale for Edwards superfluous. So only if Obama fails to run would Edwards be strong enough to beat Hillary.

In any case, unless Gore runs, Hillary's biggest adversary is herself.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | January 5, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ellen,
I am not voting for a republican anyway shape or form. So am I afriad of McCain as president, yes. Not so much for his military stance (I don't think he would have contemplated going to Iraq in the first place) but for his fiscal views.
However, alot of people in this country still see him as a maverick who is strong on defense, conservative, problemsolver, and pretty moderate on social issues. Now is this true or not? I don't think so but that is the perception. Bottomline in my opinion is that the best hope for the GOP is McCain.

Posted by: Andy R | January 5, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

If I'm not mistaken, that anonymous 02:41 PM post is from Froomkin's column today.

Tina, please note the purge of the nonbelievers in the white house & consider the implications of Negroponte being lined up as a successor to the Sec of State. Unless you think Condi is going to step down as SoS to replace Cheney when he's indicted???

Posted by: bsimon | January 5, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Dan W writes "Jep: Impeach Cheney and you open the VP position. Put a decent Rep into that slot and they will enter the 2008 arena as the sitting VP. Remember this person will have beeen vetted by the Dem congress as well."

The time to do this is nearly passed. Now it would take a proactive action on Bush's part in dumping Cheney, rather than waiting for an impeachment. The ideal time would have been the 2004 election.

Posted by: bsimon | January 5, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand this obsession with Obama's lack of experience. He's been in the Senate two years. Hillary has six years in the Senate. Edwards has six. Do those extra four years really make a whole lot of difference? Is anyone really going to base their votes on that?

Voters don't elect presidents based on resumes. If that were the case, Gore would have beaten Bush II, Bush I would have beaten Clinton, and Carter would have beaten Reagan. The only way Obama's "lack of experience" works against him is if he says or does something that looks inexperienced. If he talks like he knows what he's talking about and he runs a campaign that makes him look like he knows what he's doing, no one is going to care whether he served two, six, or 20 years in the Senate.

Posted by: Fred App | January 5, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

What to make of the sudden spate of personnel convulsions emanating from the White House?

I see a possible theme: A purge of the unbelievers.

Harriet Miers, a longtime companion of the president but never a true believer in Vice President Cheney's views of a nearly unrestrained executive branch, is out as White House counsel -- likely to be replaced by someone in the more ferocious model of Cheney chief of staff David S. Addington.

Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalizad, considered by Cheney to be too soft on the Sunnis, is kicked upstairs to the United Nations, to be replaced by Ryan Crocker, who presumably does not share his squeamishness.

John Negroponte, not alarmist enough about the Iranian nuclear threat in his role as Director of National Intelligence, is shifted over to the State Department, the Bush administration's safehouse for the insufficiently neocon. Cheney, who likes to pick his own intelligence, thank you, personally intervenes to get his old friend Mike McConnell to take Negroponte's job.

And George Casey and John Abizaid -- the generals who so loyally served as cheerleaders for the White House's "stay the course" approach during the mid-term election campaigns -- are jettisoned for having shown a little backbone in their opposition to Cheney and Bush's politically-motivated insistence on throwing more troops into the Iraqi conflagration.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Duh!

What does Tina want to know? I orginally had Condi high on my list until she made it clear that she wasn't going to run. I take 'no' to mean no, especially from a woman. :-)

BTW, don't underestimate Gilmore. Don Beyer did not that in 1997 and now he regrets it. Gilmore says he'll have no trouble raising money and I have no reason not to believe him. I'm not a big fan of Gilmore (I'm leaning toward Hagel right now), but I'm not going to summarily dismiss him either -- the way the elitist media (sorry, Chris) and certain individual elitists seem to be doing right now.

http://commenterry.blogs.com

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Tina, you are SCARY obsessed, but if Condi wins the White House in '08, I'll eat my own face.

She's another neocon f*ck. She could die today and the world would be a better place for it.

Posted by: Shaun | January 5, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I think, Cavalier, that if the GOP continues to be The Puristan Party, if they continue to let people like Hallucinatin' Pat Roberson speak for them, that true conservatives [like Jim Webb] to conntinue to move to the Dems.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 2:37 PM | Report abuse

My apologies to the group. Tina's adrenaline is obviously pumping.

Say Tina, wasn't Secretary Albright in the Line of Succession before Prof. Rice? And for that matter, any number of women who have been Cabinet officers.

Isn't Prof. Rice just the newest addition to the list?

Posted by: Duh! | January 5, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Please sign the petition.

It is very important for the future of our country.

http://pol.moveon.org/100hours/

Pass the 100 Hours Agenda

Speaker Pelosi and the new Democratic leadership are launching a bold "100 Hours Agenda" that would take real steps towards kicking the oil addiction, fighting poverty, improving public health and cleaning up government. Click here for more details.

But big oil, drug companies, and other right wing special interests are spending millions of dollars to shoot it down. We must speak up now.

The total signature count and some of the comments from this petition will be read aloud on the floor of Congress-- the more signers, the bigger the impact. Please add your name to following statement:

http://pol.moveon.org/100hours/

Posted by: che | January 5, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comments.

I agree with the poster who pointed out that conservatives have at least one problem, and maybe more, with each of the three candidates Chris put in the front of the GOP pack. This could help McCain by giving him one or two, "strawmen," that will simply blow-over because of their weaknesses leaving McCain the nominee. It could ALSO help Gingrich whose "wait until September," approach would normally doom his candidacy (it may still) but which may serv to leave him the "unlikely guy," who nevertheless stays foremost in the minds of conservatives.

Besides ideology, the personal lives of 2 of the 3 GOP front-runners make the race even more volatile. Gingrich's only fatal weakness is HIS. In which case, in 2008 it may not be fatal compared with McCain or Giuliani. Romney has to deal with BOTH his ideological opportunism and his religion. I don't see that he can get past both.

One of the above will be out of the running by next fall.

A year in politics is an eternity, let alone 2 years. My guess is that there are so many conflicting "conservatisms" that the GOP coalition is about to implode. Losing Congress was only the beginning. The contradictions are too great. George Bush does his level best to exascerbate them constantly with his arrogance. And I'm betting there are more than a few conservatives who have a problem with the GOP continuing in its current direction.

Posted by: Cavalier829 | January 5, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

A few of the regular voices in here will remember that I said Condi Rice as in the line of succession. She has been the FIRST woman ever to be in the line of succession to the presidency. What did Andrea Koppel of CNN and a female reporters from CBS say yesterday? Nancy Pelosi is the FIRST ELECTED woman to be in the line of succession. Notice the term ELECTED as opposed to appointed. Did anyone else, other tham me, ever speak about the historic fact that Condi has been the FIRST woman in the line of succession to the White House for the past 2 years? What does that tell you?

I would also like to debate the person who said this:
The Republican field appears more set, with the only major wild card being whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) decides to run.

Condi Rice is the MAJOR wild card. She would have to resign in order to run, so that is not going to happen for at least another year. In the meantime, various groups around the nation have organized to promote her. In the past 2 years, they created websites, filed as 527's, paid of radio and TV ads, and also attended GOP events. ThinkCondi.net is the latest group created to organize in Iowa and New Hampshire. That is also newsworthy.
When the DRAFT OBAMA buzz was going on in the past few weeks, the news people forgot the DRAFT CONDI effort has been going on for the past 2 years. Condi is favored to run in the polls, and other polls show that she is at 15% and 20%. If Ralph Nader could have attained those poll numbers, he would have been in the debates.
So the media KNOW that Condi is supported, and whether she runs or not makes her the MAJOR WILD CARD, not Newt.

Posted by: Tina | January 5, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Terry: that's why I missed it. Gilmore #6? That clown couldn't get elected dogcatcher of most counties of Virginia right now.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | January 5, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

A few of the regular voices in here will remember that I said Condi Rice as in the line of succession. She has been the FIRST woman ever to be in the line of succession to the presidency. What did Andrea Koppel of CNN and a female reporters from CBS say yesterday? Nancy Pelosi is the FIRST ELECTED woman to be in the line of succession. Notice the term ELECTED as opposed to appointed. Did anyone else, other tham me, ever speak about the historic fact that Condi has been the FIRST woman in the line of succession to the White House for the past 2 years? What does that tell you?

I would also like to debate the person who said this:
The Republican field appears more set, with the only major wild card being whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) decides to run.

Condi Rice is the MAJOR wild card. She would have to resign in order to run, so that is not going to happen for at least another year. In the meantime, various groups around the nation have organized to promote her. In the past 2 years, they created websites, filed as 527's, paid of radio and TV ads, and also attended GOP events. ThinkCondi.net is the latest group created to organize in Iowa and New Hampshire. That is also newsworthy.
When the DRAFT OBAMA buzz was going on in the past few weeks, the news people forgot the DRAFT CONDI effort has been going on for the past 2 years. Condi is favored to run in the polls, and other polls show that she is at 15% and 20%. If Ralph Nader could have attained those poll numbers, he would have been in the debates.
So the media KNOW that Condi is supported, and whether she runs or not makes her the MAJOR WILD CARD, not Newt.

Posted by: Tina | January 5, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

A few of the regular voices in here will remember that I said Condi Rice as in the line of succession. She has been the FIRST woman ever to be in the line of succession to the presidency. What did Andrea Koppel of CNN and a female reporters from CBS say yesterday? Nancy Pelosi is the FIRST ELECTED woman to be in the line of succession. Notice the term ELECTED as opposed to appointed. Did anyone else, other tham me, ever speak about the historic fact that Condi has been the FIRST woman in the line of succession to the White House for the past 2 years? What does that tell you?

I would also like to debate the person who said this:
The Republican field appears more set, with the only major wild card being whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) decides to run.

Condi Rice is the MAJOR wild card. She would have to resign in order to run, so that is not going to happen for at least another year. In the meantime, various groups around the nation have organized to promote her. In the past 2 years, they created websites, filed as 527's, paid of radio and TV ads, and also attended GOP events. ThinkCondi.net is the latest group created to organize in Iowa and New Hampshire. That is also newsworthy.
When the DRAFT OBAMA buzz was going on in the past few weeks, the news people forgot the DRAFT CONDI effort has been going on for the past 2 years. Condi is favored to run in the polls, and other polls show that she is at 15% and 20%. If Ralph Nader could have attained those poll numbers, he would have been in the debates.
So the media KNOW that Condi is supported, and whether she runs or not makes her the MAJOR WILD CARD, not Newt.

Posted by: Tina | January 5, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

A few of the regular voices in here will remember that I said Condi Rice as in the line of succession. She has been the FIRST woman ever to be in the line of succession to the presidency. What did Andrea Koppel of CNN and a female reporters from CBS say yesterday? Nancy Pelosi is the FIRST ELECTED woman to be in the line of succession. Notice the term ELECTED as opposed to appointed. Did anyone else, other tham me, ever speak about the historic fact that Condi has been the FIRST woman in the line of succession to the White House for the past 2 years? What does that tell you?

I would also like to debate the person who said this:
The Republican field appears more set, with the only major wild card being whether former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) decides to run.

Condi Rice is the MAJOR wild card. She would have to resign in order to run, so that is not going to happen for at least another year. In the meantime, various groups around the nation have organized to promote her. In the past 2 years, they created websites, filed as 527's, paid of radio and TV ads, and also attended GOP events. ThinkCondi.net is the latest group created to organize in Iowa and New Hampshire. That is also newsworthy.
When the DRAFT OBAMA buzz was going on in the past few weeks, the news people forgot the DRAFT CONDI effort has been going on for the past 2 years. Condi is favored to run in the polls, and other polls show that she is at 15% and 20%. If Ralph Nader could have attained those poll numbers, he would have been in the debates.
So the media KNOW that Condi is supported, and whether she runs or not makes her the MAJOR WILD CARD, not Newt.

Posted by: Tina | January 5, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

What I find amazing about the appointment of Admiral Fallon in the above post is this -- he has no expertise in ground war. AT ALL. So Iraq is an increasing disaster and they are appointing a Navy guy to lead?

It demonstrates that the neocons will do to Iraq exactly what they did to Afghanistan--invade, throw the country into chaos, then pull out and start another war someplace else.

I guess it's a metaphor for their personal lives... they can talk big but they can't finish the job.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As a bunch of people have already pointed out, it's silly to put Obama behind Edwards solely on the basis of inexperience. Edwards will actually have less experience by the time 2008 rolls around. We just aren't paying attention because he's decided to go the populist/netroots direction rather than present a diverse, moderate, complex platform.

Chris, if you read these comments, I think you are far too influenced by insider thinking. It doesn't matter whether Hillary Clinton can raise an extra 10 million, just like it doesn't matter that her ground machine isn't incredibly strong yet. Look how much free press Obama was able to generate with a single New Hampshire visit. What matters is whether candidates can make the sale to primary voters in early states. If Hillary can't convince the voters that she is electable, she will lose.

Posted by: Nissl | January 5, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As a bunch of people have already pointed out, it's silly to put Obama behind Edwards solely on the basis of inexperience. Edwards will actually have less experience by the time 2008 rolls around. We just aren't paying attention because he's decided to go the populist/netroots direction rather than present a diverse, moderate, complex platform.

Chris, if you read these comments, I think you are far too influenced by insider thinking. It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton can raise an extra 10 million, just like it doesn't matter that her ground machine isn't incredibly strong yet. Look how much free press Obama was able to generate with a single New Hampshire visit. What matters is whether candidates can make the sale to primary voters in early states. If Hillary can't convince the voters that she is electable, she will lose.

Posted by: Nissl | January 5, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

'Military officers and Pentagon officials said that Admiral Fallon would represent a shift in focus for the Central Command, as he would bring expertise in maritime security operations more than land operations. As the Iraq security operation matures, the focus for Central Command is expected to shift toward countering the threat from Iran. In that capacity, the military's role focuses on maintaining regional presence through naval forces and combat aircraft and conducting maritime security operations like interdiction of vessels believed to be carrying banned weapons materials or suspected terrorists, in addition to preparing for combat contingencies.'

see? just segue straight into the next invasion. probably redeploy trrops without even giving them leave. war with no end. ever.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

'USA Today provides some background on DNI nominee, J. Michael McConnell, a retired Navy vice admiral and former head of the NSA. What's the significance of so many intel posts going to military and senior retired military officers? CIA (Hayden), DNI (McConnell), UndersecDef for Intel (Clapper). One thought -- military people tend to do what they're told.'

--More preparation for cooking the intellgience to foment an invasion of Iran.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Terry, you weren't making value judgments but somehow Gilmore ended up #6?

Whoa, how did you handicap that?

Whichever number is at the bottom of your list is still one too high for Gilmore. The man's only strength is shameless self-promotion.

Do you have an explanation ready for Tina?

Maybe I should just let sleeping dogs lie.

Posted by: Duh! | January 5, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

McCain is like a guy whose only tool is a hammer, so he thinks every problem is a nail. And like Bush, his tool is endless war.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Can I assume from the fact that Pataki's fundraising has dropped to zero in the past six weeks that he has already decided not to run?

Posted by: Tradesports Bettor | January 5, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

ANDY R and certain others: I think most of us are very bothered by the Bush administrations extreme view of foreign policy--i.e.preventive wars, etc. Assuming this is so, why do so many of you think McCain would be such a winner if running? He is a total war hawk and scares me. Why doesn't he scare you?

Posted by: Ellen | January 5, 2007 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I like Gore/Obama too...

'I think an unbeatable Republican ticket would be McCain and Tom Ridge.'

umm... no. McCain will be toast in '08 after the 'surge' turns out just another gimmick, the war is worse than ever, we've lost thousands more of America's children and we're deeper in debt and sh** than ever.

And all anyone can remember about Tom ridge is duct tape and silly colors.

Isn't Nancy terrific? That photo of her holding the gavel with her granchildren around -- very sweet. And just causing the wingers to go absolutely nuts. All these guys with teeny tiny ***** just freaking out that a grandmother is Speaker of the House. Pretty funny.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but a guy name "Barack Hussein Obama" will never be elected President in this country. NOT. HAPPENING. DUDE. He's a wonderful person, but he should stay in the Senate or serve in the Cabinet of the next Democratic President.

I think Al Gore would win the Democratic nomination if he chose to get in. But he probably will not run.

Posted by: Progressive | January 5, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Something you did mention that will hurt McCain is his view that we should stay in Iraq and increase the level of troops and I also believe he said we should of stayed in Vietnam this may not be a big deal in the primaries but it will be in the general election and if voters say the most important issue is the war in Iraq why isint Wes Clark on the list no other potential democrat or republic candidate has as much foreign policy and military experience as him

Posted by: Luke | January 5, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Duh!

No attempt at foisting here. I listed every potential candidate from each major party. I'm not trying to make any value judgments, other than handicapping each candidate's relative strength as I see it. If Fidel Castro were a potential candidate, I would have listed him too!

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Now that Nancy's 15 minutes of fame are over can we get back to ignoring her? she seems drunk on power already and that does not portend well. a standing ovation for Jefferson? that is how the caucus starts its year? Byrd falls down and Johnson gets a subcommittee from his bed. sounds to me like the pleasure of power is setting in a little too soon for our own good. when will we make unethical dirty harry's three lobbyist sons,living off daddy's influence? all the special interests you have invited into your bed are going to seem like hilton bedbugs in no time.

Isn't it perfectly clear to all but the most stubborn that Chillery will be the Dem nominee? she is prepared and able to buy the office and a clinton has no reservations about saying or doing anything to get elected.
the nation is not prepared to elect a yeller Lib in time of war.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 5, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Gore Obama????????WHat's that aroma I smell?

Obama Richardson is more like it

Posted by: bob | January 5, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Why is everyone so worried about Obama's only having two years at the senate level.

That's two more years at the federal level than the dim bulb in the white house had....and the gullible 51% elected him twice with the assistance of Diebold and the terminally oblivious FEC.

Posted by: poor richard | January 5, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, Tom Ridge. Some of my favorite memories of Tom are him complaining about the size of the Federal Govermnent as Congressman Ridge and then about two weeks after becoming Governor Ridge, him complaining about the Federal Government not helping him enough after a blizzard hit the Northeast (not just Pennsylvania).

Aren't there also some hanging issues about him abusing travel procedures as Head of DHS?

Posted by: Duh! | January 5, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Oops. Sorry about the multiple posts. The computer said submission not accepted. But apparently they were. That's what you get for buying a computer from a company that also makes touch screen voting machines. Mulitiple entries or none at all!

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 5, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun Voter,

You missed the correction I posted later. I had orginally and inadvertently posted my old list of the Republicans, which didn't include Gilmore. In the corrected post, I had Gilmore #6, after Gingrich and before Huckabee.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Loudoun Voter,

You missed the correction I posted later. I had orginally and inadvertently posted my old list of the Republicans, which didn't include Gilmore. In the corrected post, I had Gilmore #6, after Gingrich and before Huckabee.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Jep: Impeach Cheney and you open the VP position. Put a decent Rep into that slot and they will enter the 2008 arena as the sitting VP. Remember this person will have beeen vetted by the Dem congress as well.

Posted by: Dan W | January 5, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I think an strong Republican ticket would be McCain and Tom Ridge. Ridge is the original head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and former popular Pennsylvania governor. Plus he's pro choice (with limitations) which would appeal to alot of independents and Democrats. He could possibly deliver Pennsylvania's electorial votes which would be a huge advantage. As a VP choice his experience as governor and as head of DHS would make voters feel secure if something happened to McCain. The popular governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, would be my second choice as VP. He'd actually make a great presidential candidate but hasn't got the insider connections to get the money to run. I'll post my choices for the Democratic ticket later. I hate long posts so I won't do one!

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 5, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I think an strong Republican ticket would be McCain and Tom Ridge. Ridge is the original head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and former popular Pennsylvania governor. Plus he's pro choice (with limitations) which would appeal to alot of independents and Democrats. He could possibly deliver Pennsylvania's electorial votes which would be a huge advantage. As a VP choice his experience as governor and as head of DHS would make voters feel secure if something happened to McCain. The popular governor of Colorado, Bill Owens, would be my second choice as VP. He'd actually make a great presidential candidate but hasn't got the insider connections to get the money to run. I'll post my choices for the Democratic ticket later. I hate long post so I won't do one!

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 5, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Terry Mitchell, shame on you for being part of the conspiracy trying to foist Gilmore on the entire country.

America beware!

The man is a walking disaster, like Joe Btfsplk from Li'l Abner.

One other observation on your list: Tina's brain must be tingling and she doesn't know why. Yet.

Posted by: Duh! | January 5, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Please, Hillary and Barack, don't suck up all of the oxygen in the political ecosystem? We need a candidate with credible executive branch experience as a governor or a VP, not a member of the 535-plus Horde on The Hill.

Agreed, if Gore runs, he wins. Gore-Obama looks very attractive.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | January 5, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Probably nobody cares since I am unlikely to vote Republican in 2008. But FWIW if Romney or Giuliani is elected I will fear for my country. Romney is too much of a wheeler dealer, and Giuliani is so tacky he started floating the idea of a presidency in autumn 2001. At least McCain is only a Bush kisser and who wasn't among Republicans. If he becomes president there will be no Bush so he can stop kissing.

Posted by: coas | January 5, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If Gore runs, he wins. He is my pick and there are enough people still ticked at the 2000 election to make the entire country (and world really) that had Gore been rightfully handed the keys to the White House, this country would not be in shambles.

A Gore/Obama ticket would be unstoppable.

Posted by: Shaun | January 5, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand why conventional wisdom is that experience will be a problem for Obama any more than it will be for Edwards. Edwards was a trial lawyer and a 6 year senator. Obama spent 8 years in state government, and by the Iowa caucuses will have spent 3 years in the Senate. In fact, in terms of elected experience Obama has more than Hillary and Vilsack too.

Either way, I think Obama needs to make this point sooner than later or he risks the experience issue ruining his campaign.

Posted by: Mike | January 5, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I meant "..has anyone got aNY good reasons why we shouldn't impeach Cheney?"

Left out NY...

Posted by: JEP | January 5, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink,
All because the GOP is afraid of Hillary doesn't mean we should vote for her. This election the democratic party is going to nominate who they think will be the best president to lead us into the future. If Senator Clinton can convince people that she is that person then she wins, if not she doesn't. And my opinion is that she can't do that. You always talk about how you like her. But why? Other then electability (which should be banned from the english language IMO) what has she done that shows she will be a good president?

Posted by: Andy R | January 5, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink,
All because the GOP is afraid of Hillary doesn't mean we should vote for her. This election the democratic party is going to nominate who they think will be the best president to lead us into the future. If Senator Clinton can convince people that she is that person then she wins, if not she doesn't. And my opinion is that she can't do that. You always talk about how you like her. But why? Other then electability (which should be banned from the english language IMO) what has she done that shows she will be a good president?

Posted by: Andy R | January 5, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I think an unbeatable Republican ticket would be McCain and Tom Ridge. Ridge is the original head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and former popular Pennsylvania governor. Plus he's pro choice (with limitations) which would appeal to alot of independents and Democrats. He could possibly deliver Pennsylvania's electorial votes which would be a huge advantage. And as the original head of DHS he would be a very comforting VP to many voters concerned with security issues. My second choice for VP would be Governor Bill Owens of Colorado. He would make a great Presidential candidate but will never have the insider money and connections to run a national campaign. It's too bad a Jimmy Carter type candidancy has all but been eliminated by both the Democratic and Republican parties. I'll comment on my favorite Democratic ticket in another post. I hate long posts!

Posted by: JustDaFaxMam | January 5, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Terry Mitchell: your list, while impressive, is STILL incomplete.

how could you forget former Va governor Jim Gilmore? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | January 5, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Vilsack moving up. I think his candidacy looms large because he fits the early primary schedule so well. People in Iowa respect him, and will support him because they're scared of putting up another flawed GOP punching bag like Kerry (read: Clinton, Edwards). NHers will like him because he's not liberal, because he focuses on energy independence, and because he's absolutely WYSIWYG.
S. Carolina will buy him as the most conservative of a by-then narrowing field.
This is a moderate with exactly the same negatives as the last two Dem winners (and the last Dem front-runner prior to Kerry): no foreign experience, no name recognition. They overcame it. So will he.

Posted by: Sacandaga | January 5, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Looking over the various posts I can see a lot less hostility today. My support of Hillary has been growing as time goes on and as for her support for the authorization to go to war, I do not think this will be the drawback being used against her by the folk that fear her the most. The other day I mentioned a couple friends had told me about push-polling being used. A good measure of the opposition can be gauged by the tactics they are willing to use as to how much they do in fact fear you, and from what I have seen and heard about, I am convinced she is the one feared most by the opposition party.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, Jim, you are basically right. There should be no double standard. Neither Obama nor Edwards has enough of the right experience to make a good President. Either could make a perfectly mediocre president. That would be an improvement over what we have now, but is that what we reeally want?

Posted by: Gale | January 5, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

To expand on Jim's point about expereince, how about Mitt Romney, who has the same experience as Edwards one term served. If you are going to attack Senator Obama for lack of experience then those two have to take their beatings as well.

Posted by: Andy R | January 5, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza, you really need to stop perpetuating the double standard that Obama has an "experience" problem while Edwards doesn't. There is no factual basis for this double standard. What motivates it on your part? Obama's resume blows Edwards' out of the water, both in length and in depth.

As for money: I predict that within a month of Barack Obama announcing his candidacy, he'll have raised the $10 million an earlier commenter brags Hillary Clinton has garnered. There's really something going on outside the DC beltway -- the American people have been captivated by this self-described "skinny kid with a funny name." They want him to do well, and that matters a lot.

Posted by: Jim | January 5, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

JEP asks "Anyone got a good reasons why we shouldn't impeach Cheney? It would sure make for some great TV ratings."

The other night I saw the Frontline piece on the intelligence fiasco that led to Iraq. That's probably as good a place to start with the Cheney investigations as any. Calling them impeachment hearings may be a bit hasty, but there is certainly good cause for investigating exactly how he has been exercising influence throughout the government. Leahy's plan for subpoenas is also a good start for getting into the nitty gritty.

Posted by: bsimon | January 5, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Responding to SoonerThought:

I've taken a real strong interest in Clark lately. Maybe I'm missing something, but, as judged by qualifications (which, as we have seen for the past 6 years, doesn't always necessarily mean that much), he is just head and shoulders above everyone else. You should check out the video clip of his recent interview with Bloomberg television (www.securingamerica.com). The guy really impresses. Whether he runs or not, I am sure that he will be involved in the race and will make a huge contribution in the next administration.

Posted by: Gale | January 5, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Darn you, JM, you stole my thunder! It does seem obvious that Pelosi will provide the country with an opportunity to conceptually kick the tires of a female presidency. If Pelosi continues to do well, at the very least she'll depress the GOP troglodyte vote. She'll certainly improve the yield for HRC among female voters.

Richardson/Obama looks good to me as well; I like Hagel also.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 5, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

humbug. There's not much to like on any of the 'top 5' lists. Well, except maybe that Lieberman isn't talked about as a candidate anymore. One thing I will admit though is that I'm warming up to Obama. Edwards still wears the taint of inexperience, whereas Obama's history at the state level adds to his credibility. Again, what has Edwards done? As others pointed out, basically a 2 year career in the senate, followed by 6 years of running for President. No thanks.

On the other side, McCain continues to add to his own tarnish - so much for the 'straight talk.' Romney is something of an unknown, Giuliani apparently has zero personal morals. The Newt is, well, the Newt. He served well in the 90s, but is not Presidential material. And Brownback? Ug.

Posted by: bsimon | January 5, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

GOP: If Hagel jumps in and survives long enough, he will steal a lot of the "Maverick" thunder McCain used to enjoy. Chuck has conservative credentials socially and has a realistic foreign policy well articulated in his early, legitimate, and continued criticism of the current administration. He will clear the top of thet ticket for someone else or himself in doing so. Look for him to challenge strongly for a spot on the ticket.

Dems: Hillary will have a strong showing, but a lot depends on Pelosi and perceptions of a woman leading congress. The two are unfairly linked because of their genders. I still don't like Sitting senators for POTUS, look for Edwards/Obama to duke it out with Vilsack holding a temporary lead after Iowa, likely positioning him for VP slot. Richardson will show strong if he gets funding and lasts to Super Tuesday and beyond. I like Edwards/Obama or Richardson/Obama. Latter is preferred.

Posted by: JM | January 5, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Venice: I can see that 'politics' might be equated with "election politics" but if so, why did CC even visit Congress yesterday? I don't think the WaPo defines it in that limited way but CC is unlikely to tell us whether his expenses will be reimbursed or not.

Legislative politics provides a rich source of fodder for the elections themselves. Can the D's submit simple, clear, unamended/unridered bills that force Bush to choose between validating the Democrats November 2006 victory OR generating a veto that constitutes a November 2008 poison pill for the GOP?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 5, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I agree that "politics blog" is too vague for a blog that focuses solely on the machinations of elections. I guess that it became clear to me months ago that CC's purpose is to discuss elections, even those that are two years hence. Personally, I don't have a problem with that. We (the faithful commenters) can always hash out other issues ourselves.

JEP, you have a very interesting idea with the Cheney impeachment proposition. I'm against trying to impeach GWB, but the idea of going after Cheney is more substantive and might actually work. First, though, I'm looking for that 100 Hours legislation to go through.

Posted by: Venicemenace | January 5, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I can't for the life of me figure out why we'd (the "Democrat" party) want to nominate Edwards again when he couldn't even carry his own state in '04? Did he even achieve the 5 point bump in NC that VP candidates are supposed to bring to the table? Awfully likable guy, but lacks gravitas, especially v. McCain or Romney.

Posted by: SMF | January 5, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

well it doe4s say the washington post politics blog...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Three cheers for the 110th.

Now that they are in session, lets find out;
#1 Where those 18,000 votes went in Florida's 13th...
#2 How big was the lie that got us into Iraq in the first place...
#3 What sort of deal Cheney cut with the oil industry...
#4 Who all has openly profiteered during this war...
#5 What part did Karl Rove play in the New Hampshire voter fraud...

Don't even suggest this stuff is counterproductive to bipartisanship.

Because there's this "tri-partisanship" thing, which includes the public as a third member, that should trump the indemic bi-partisan avoidance and denial dance the two parties continue to afford to one another.

It is essential to the future of our democracy and our good government to uncover where it has failed in the past to protect the public from abuse.

Again, let me offer that a Cheney impeachment would be the most effective, efficient and EXCITING course our current congress could take, to right the many wrongs and expose the sleazy underbelly of the war-for-profit beast that has ruled our government for the past half decade.

Anyone got a good reasons why we shouldn't impeach Cheney? It would sure make for some great TV ratings, and wuld provide some real valuable daily news so CC might have something meaningful to blog about.

Just how much dirt would that impeachment bulldozer dig up? How many lies and manipulations, insider deals and good-old-boy, back-slappers-in-cahoots, would we uncover, all conspiring to profit from the tragedy of 9-11 and to reap fortunes from the war itself, as our soldiers, men and women alike, pay the cost of lives and limbs and psyches lost or twisted.

If the 110th chooses to impeach Cheney and uses that singular effort to get to the truth about so many of these inter-related questions, then they will be listed as one of the most courageous and historic Congresses in history.

And as for 2008, the thread of this blog, most of the regulars here know how I feel, John Edwards is the best combination of leadership and experience for the job, and I mean LIFE experience, not just political experience.

Too many of our "leaders" have grown up in a bubble of easy family money, so they can never understand the needs of the middle class.

As far as I can see, it looks like the time has come for Americans to make our middle the ruling class, not just the consumer class, once and for all.

It would be another historic "first."

And of all the candidates on the short list, only Edwards can lead us to this historic change. All the rest are just part of the "bi-partisan" status quo, ruled by millionaires and billionaires, who gained their fortunes on the backs and billfolds of the middle class.

Posted by: JEP | January 5, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"Or will CC grudingly report that the House actually PASSED anti-lobbying legislation?"

With all due respect, Judge, is that really within the scope of this blog? The blog's about election politics. I'm not sure why so many regulars want it to be about something else, or to ignore the 2008 race that is obviously heating up as we speak. There are other places to discuss legislation...

Posted by: Venicemenace | January 5, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"Or will CC grudingly report that the House actually PASSED anti-lobbying legislation?"

With all due respect, Judge, is that really within the scope of this blog? The blog's about election politics. I'm not sure why so many regulars want it to be about something else, or to ignore the 2008 race that is obviously heating up as we speak. There are other places to discuss legislation...

Posted by: Venicemenace | January 5, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Remember folks,
When you get down to real deal, its mostly about money in presidental politics. Close to a billion dollars for the top two.

Edwards and Obama are just starting. As Chris has indicated HRC
has more than 10 million in the bank, a large staff, a ex-president as a husband, and is able to dominate the headlines at will.

It may be boring, but when she decides to go, she will be hard to stop.

Posted by: james b | January 5, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Another Massachusetts Dem chiming in: Romney has the intelligence and arrogance to become President. But his skill is as a dealmaker, and he has few core conservative principles besides a general pro-corporate ethos (they're like him, after all) and supporting his team when it makes sense.

Social conservatives should be very wary of him, his appeals are as genuine as they seem and he is only doing what he feels he needs to in order to win the Republican primary. Once that deal is made, he'll recalibrate to close a deal with the national electorate, which is less conservative, while still holding onto the Republican base. And when he's President, he's surely not going to repeat Bush's mistakes of going out on a limb for the social conservatives when it's the money conservatism he really cares about.

Romney is a Rockefeller Republican not because he's a social liberal, but because he's callous about social issues and doesn't let them dictate his party control. He views gay men and fetuses as equally disposable. He also has a problem with strong women.

At the very least, though, he has enough personal wealth that I think he'd be much less corrupt than Bush or Cheney, and his judgment of allies is probably good given how far he got in the business world as a consultant.

Posted by: Brittain33 | January 5, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I get down on my hands and knees every night and pray to God that some Neanderthal Republican like SAM BROWNBACK decides to run. I would even contribute money to his campaign... because Brownback as the Republican nominee would assure the GOP of a continued slide toward a regional, religious rights party. Good job, Brownie! Run, Sam, Run! On the other hand, a McCain-Guiliani ticket in '08 would be unbeatable for the GOP. What are the chances that could happen? Probably zero.

Posted by: Rich | January 5, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I get down on my hands and knees every night and pray to God that some Neanderthal Republican like SAM BROWNBACK decides to run. I would even contribute money to his campaign... because Brownback as the Republican nominee would assure the GOP of a continued slide toward a regional, religious rights party. Good job, Brownie! Run, Sam, Run! On the other hand, a McCain-Guiliani ticket in '08 would be unbeatable for the GOP. What are the chances that could happen? Probably zero.

Posted by: Rich | January 5, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I get down on my hands and knees every night and pray to God that some Neanderthal Republican like SAM BROWNBACK decides to run. I would even contribute money to his campaign... because Brownback as the Republican nominee would assure the GOP of a continued slide toward a regional, religious rights party. Good job, Brownie! Run, Sam, Run! On the other hand, a McCain-Guiliani ticket in '08 would be unbeatable for the GOP. What are the chances that could happen? Probably zero.

Posted by: Rich | January 5, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I get down on my hands and knees every night and pray to God that some Neanderthal Republican like SAM BROWNBACK decides to run. I would even contribute money to his campaign... because Brownback as the Republican nominee would assure the GOP of a continued slide toward a regional, religious rights party. Good job, Brownie! Run, Sam, Run! On the other hand, a McCain-Guiliani ticket in '08 would be unbeatable for the GOP. What are the chances that could happen? Probably zero.

Posted by: Rich | January 5, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I get down on my hands and knees every night and pray to God that some Neanderthal Republican like SAM BROWNBACK decides to run. I would even contribute money to his campaign... because Brownback as the Republican nominee would assure the GOP of a continued slide toward a regional, religious rights party. Good job, Brownie! Run, Sam, Run! On the other hand, a McCain-Guiliani ticket in '08 would be unbeatable for the GOP. What are the chances that could happen? Probably zero.

Posted by: Rich | January 5, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

edited a little, this is what i said late the other day in re: Romney - sorry for putting it back up, but several folks here have expressed a desire for a little more info on him, and they need to be warned.

Everyone who thinks Romney might make a good chief executive should talk to someone from Massachusetts, the state he governs, yet in which he spent less than 1/2 of the past year. He will say or do anything necessary to get folks to vote for him. Attention religious conservatives: although I disagree with you - strongly - about the role one faith (specifically: fundamentalist christianity) should play in governing a nation made up of adherents of all the religions on earth, i would assume that like me, you want to cast your vote for someone who actually plans to be held at least to some extent to the promises he / she makes during the campaign. Romney is not that man, and he never will be. (cf. his statements on abortion / gay marriage during his failed campaign for the senate in the '90's.) Now he is assuring you that his Mormon faith is compatible with your beliefs, or at least more compatible than the faith of others. how can you believe him? In addition, his "balancing of the state budget" came only after draconian cuts in the social programs relied on by those who are less well off, and included a substantial increase in fees. Somehow, this was OK with his base, as it was not specifically a "tax" increase.
______ ______ ______

Posted by: meuphys | January 5, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

It's silly to let religion, pro or con, decide an election. Harry Reid is a Mormon but more importantly a Democrat. Romney is a Mormon but more importantly a Republican. A Mormon Democrat does not create fear; a Mormon Republican does. The same for Evangelicals, Southern Baptists, and even Muslims. Jews too. Joe Lieberman would be a disaster, not as a Jew but as a self-righteous hawk.

Posted by: candide | January 5, 2007 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Drindl; CC's approach means he gets to recycle the same incremental changes over and over again. When did politics (as in "washingtonpost.com's Politics Blog") begin to only concern elections and not actual governing?

From today's Media Notes:

"As for GOP complaints that the Democrats are rolling them in the first 100 hours--the Republicans set the standard there, according to Firedoglake's Christy Hardin Smith:

"Did I miss an announcement for the Great Republican Whine-Off or something? The image of Roy Blunt standing in front of a microphone with a straight face and faking some sort of phony outrage for the cameras about procedures that he, himself, had a hand in putting into writing in the Congress when Newt Gingrich got his oily hands on the power reins? Chutzpah doesn't even come close as a descriptor." "

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 5, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

'Gates picks former mapping agency and DIA head James Clapper to be undersecretary of defense for intel. A striking number of military people running the intel agencies and taking key intel posts, with DNI now also going from civilian to miitary hands.'

Posted by: interestinng | January 5, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I promise to get this Republican thing right this time. Even the list which included Gingrich was copied from one of my old files (shame on me). This is my latest and greatest:

1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Sam Brownback
5. Newt Gingrich
6. Jim Gilmore
7. Mike Huckabee
8. George Pataki
9. Chuck Hagel
10. Tommy Thompson
11. Duncan Hunter
12. Tom Tancredo
13. Michael Bloomberg

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Typo. In paragraph 6, line 4, of my last post, it should read ". . . that Edwards can not hope to excite with his left wing platform. Obama can turn out . . ."

Posted by: Robert* | January 5, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse


'CBS: 68% 'optimistic' about 110th Congress; 25% 'pessimistic'.

Top priority for 110th: Iraq, 45%, Economy/Jobs 7%; Health Care 7%.

Perhaps some of my public opinion analyst friends will chime in on this. But I'm not sure I remember ever seeing such a stark number on public priorities on a question like this. With nearly half the respondents giving the same answer and the second highest not even rating in double digits./

Posted by: the people speak.. | January 5, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked you would list Edwards ahead of Obama, and under the stated basis that Obama lacks experience.

Edwards started running for president in 2001 - just 2 years after he started his only senate term. As a result, he didn't have much time for the senate in the last 4 years of his term. So really, Edwards has 2 real years in the senate - and no other elected experience.

No one remembers a single bill Edwards sponsored, with the exception of the bill authorizing war in Iraq.

Edwards' platform is far to left for mainstream America. A war on poverty will not appeal to independent voters in a country that not long ago passed the Welfare Reform Act.

In contrast, Barack Obama's 2 years in the senate is just the tip of his experience. He also had 8 productive years in the state legislature where he earned the reputation as a work horse drafting many bills in a bipartisan manner.

Obama has steller academic credentials Edwards lacks. Obama has best selling intellectual books Edwards lacks. (Edwards edits coffee table books no one wants to buy.) Obama excites independent and moderate Republican voters that Edwards can excite with his left wing platform. Obama can turn out record Black vote in key swing states where they are a large percentage of the population.

Between Edwards and Obama, only Obama was unafraid to stand for reelection by his constituents.

Only Obama and Clinton can raise $100 million. Obama has an authenticity that does not appear the product of countless focus groups.

And of the leading candidates, only Obama was right on Iraq. That shows excellent judgement that no amount of experience can replace.

Nor will Obama's skin color or "funny" name prevent Obama from winning. The Republican party already actively courts - and has a lock on - the xenophobic vote; that's been the case ever since 1965.

Posted by: Robert* | January 5, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

While Romney has serious work to do regarding his religion (ala Kennedy back in the day about Catholicism), he has the money and charisma to put to rest all doubts. In a speech in the heart of the bible belt Alabama, he wowed the GOP audience and many doubters became full believers in his message. He will continue to win over social conservatives all over the country. His financial advantage will be unmatched (even by McCain and Guiliani). Wait and see.

Maybe the first half of 2007 will focus on his religion. But that will get really old and certainly be played out by the primaries in 2008. He will make a speech, clarify misconceptions, and become the McCain alternative. Only Huckabee (and the Walton family donors) could ruin his chances.

Posted by: Southern Progressive | January 5, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

lylepink: as i have said before, i would vote for hillary IF she were the nominee, but i really don't think she's electable 'out thar in Amer'ca.' she has been a good senator for NY, but i'm not sure how that translates into president, especially when over 40% of the public has already declared that they would never vote for her. and the campaign hasn't even started yet. also, Warner would have to re-introduce himself to a fickle and forgetful electorate at this point, at the same time other candidates are trying to establish their own turf.
bfg: i agree with you in re: obama - his "lack of experience" relative to other potential candidates is something to consider, but does not at all disqualify him from consideration. and he is the one candidate who seems to truly speak his mind... AND history would suggest that longevity in the Senate is no guarantee of ability to win the White House. (see John Kerry, Bob Dole, et al) indeed, more time in the Senate only provides a candidate's opponents with more ammunition, as Senate votes are often seemingly (and sometimes in fact) contradictory, and a good part of the American body politic has recently been either unwilling or unable to accept "nuance."

Posted by: meuphys | January 5, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Agree with your post, Steve. it really is bizarre that the american republican party is controlled by theocrats who can't think of anything but their terrible fear that someone is having sex. And they can't let anyone, no matter how good, get elected, unless they are equally obssessed.

They might as well just call themselves the Puritan Party, another group of fanatical hypocrits.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Correction to my previous post: I inadvertently left Gingrich out of my Republican list.

Here's how it should have looked:

1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Sam Brownback
5. Newt Gingrich
6. Mike Huckabee
7. George Pataki
8. Chuck Hagel
9. Tommy Thompson
10. Tom Tancredo
11. Duncan Hunter

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

louisxiv,

I think your insights are the most appropriate of 2008 hyperventilating. Your comments stop short of predicting that the war in Iraq will prevent ANY Republican from winning the White House, ESPECIALLY Senator McCain. I would say the war in Iraq will definitely also take away GOP seats in the House & Senate. (It is crystal clear that victory is impossible and an agreeable goal never existed). Republicans have ignored history while the Dems will prove they learned from it by not cutting funding for the war yet eventually bringing our troops home despite a stubborn commander-in-chief (understatement of the century).

Given the last Presidential election, national security/terrorism/Iraq and "moral" issues will continue to dominate Media coverage of '08 hopefuls. Unfortunately for the GOP, the desire to nominate a hardliner on gay marriage will frame the issue in a way that causes Republicans to be ridiculed by Dems and eventually Independents who will say, "Is this seriously the most important issue to your party?" The Dems will capitalize on the issue of civil liberties by including the rights of gay people and listing the ways the Bush administration has happily invaded our privacy since 9/11.

When all of this happens, you can thank Mr. Bush and his brain, Karl Rove. They have helped themselves by manipulating and destroying the admirable aspects of Republican conservatism. What I'm thinking about is this: Is the country enlightened enough to have faith in a woman president, a black vice president and a woman speaker of the House?

Comments?

Posted by: Steve Sidorak | January 5, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Chris, we somewhat disagree again. Here are my current rankings (which include all declared and potential candidates from both parties):

Democrats:

1. Hillary Clinton
2. Barack Obama
3. John Edwards
4. Al Gore
5. Bill Richardson
6. Chris Dodd
7. Joe Biden
8. Tom Vilsack
9. John Kerry
10. Wesley Clark
11. Dennis Kucinich
12. Mike Gravel

Republicans:

1. John McCain
2. Mitt Romney
3. Rudy Giuliani
4. Sam Brownback
5. Mike Huckabee
6. George Pataki
7. Chuck Hagel
8. Tommy Thompson
9. Tom Tancredo
10. Duncan Hunter

http://commenterry.blogs.com

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | January 5, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

THE CHINA EDUCATION PROJECT NEEDS YOUR HELP!!!!

http://ruralchinavolunteers.tripod.com/

Posted by: DJ | January 5, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

'.just remember that in 1976 Ronald Reagan was considered a reactionary buffoon'

He WAS a reactionary buffoon -- but unfortunately there's a big enough voting block of his fellow travelers to elect one in this country. Which is why it is still possible for a reactionary buffoon like Newt to win.

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree pretty much on the Dems, though I don't see Vilsack going anywhere. I think I would put "player to be named later" in that spot.

On the GOPper side, I just can't imagine Gingrich ever making a serious go--NO ONE likes him. Plus he's officially a cad and a failure as a politician. I would also drop Brownback--what a sourpuss. He's the epitomé of an "ugly conservative." Prudish, cold, and unpleasant. Huckabee is far better than either of them.

Posted by: Staley | January 5, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

A Repub Prez in '08? Never happen.

Posted by: SoonerThought.com | January 5, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I sort of promised myself that I wouldn't post until later in the year...but I just can't help myself!

I have felt for quite some time that the Republican nominee, presumably McCain, will win in 2008.

But wait, people say, didn't the voters show their disgust with the Republicans in 2006?

Yes, they did (although not enough in my opinion). But that's over now. The voters got it out of their system. Remember the Gingrich Revolution in 1994? Clinton was finished they said. Two years later, he won reelection.

I believe, however, that while the country might elect a Republican president in 2008, it will be a one-term victory (the Middle East will still be a mess and the economy will be suffering from years of spend, spend, spend, tax-cut, tax-cut, tax-cut), and a Democratic candidate will be elected in 2012.

Regarding Hillary...just remember that in 1976 Ronald Reagan was considered a reactionary buffoon who, while having some supporters, could never win a general election.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | January 5, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Edwards is a much stronger candidate this time around and has the potential to win 3 out of the 4 early contests (Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina). Do not expect Edwards to be on the ticket as a VP this time around. I think it's 2008 or bust for him. He just better hope Gore doesn't get in the race.

An Edwards/Clark or Edwards/Richardson ticket would be very strong and could put Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, and maybe even Arizona in play (especially if McCain is not the GOP nominee).

On the GOP side, Romney is going to be a tough sell in South Carolina, which may doom his candidacy since he seems to be positioning himself as a champion of social conservativism.

I sense that the GOP is a bit resigned to losing the 2008 election since politics goes in cycles. It is unbelievable that there is no consensus conservative heir apparent in the top 3 right now. (GOP primary voters don't trust McCain, Romney, and Guiliani for different reasons.) Also, after 8 years of controlling the presidency, I think it will be very difficult for the GOP to pull off the trifecta. And if Iraq is still a mess and if it is still seen as "a Republican war," it won't really matter who the GOP nominates because the country will overwhelmingly vote Democratic.

Posted by: Zzonkmiles | January 5, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think Ellen makes a good point. The Democratic party is not going to nominate someone who voted for the war. Edwards might get around this with his very public apology for his vote. But I think it will sink Hillary.
I am a pretty much your run of the mill liberal and I will not vote for Hillary in the primary because she refuses to apologize for voting for the war.
Also McCain is the only republican who can beat Edwards, Obama, Richardson, or Clark in the general. Romney's lack of expereince and Mormonism will sink him. Guiliani's total lack of expereince (and debating skills) will show him to be the one horse pony that he is. Gingrich still frightens too many people like my parents (true independents) to ever get elected.

Posted by: Andy R | January 5, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Is Wes Clark a non-starter in your view? Perhaps he should run so he could be a consideration for Veep or Secretary of Defense down the road?

Posted by: SoonerThought.com | January 5, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Your Line pretty much mirrors politicalderby.com

http://politicalderby.com/powerrankings

One area where I side with you over them is on Gingrich. I'd have him #4 as well, PD has him in 5 behind Brownback. I think Newt could move up, maybe as high as #2, if he should the real desire and dedication to run. September will be about 6 months too late.

Posted by: RickyD | January 5, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone clarify what the hell an "exploratory committee" does or means? I may be a novice in this area, but it doesn't appear to be more than a well-timed sound bite for a "pre-announcement". I think the Hillary analysis is on point. Just as Theodore White informed us in the "Making of a President" after 1960, the nomination war begins with the organization and ward level cadres on the ground in every Congressional District. In Kennedy's time it was the party and ward bosses in key (read large) states. Now it's the same parameters with different players. If her organization is that extensive under the radar, she should roll momentum forward in the early primaries and be almost impossible to beat.

Posted by: L Sterling | January 5, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

It is dismaying to me to think that in such a historic election (no incumbent or VP running) that here it is 1/5/07 and the primary results have been decided more than 12 months before the first vote in NH or SC.

Our system is broke when you can buy the Presidency 2 years in advance without the benefit of popular vote.

What about the money that Bayh raised under false pretenses ... he must be laughing all the way to the bank the lying SOB!!!!

Posted by: Katahdin | January 5, 2007 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Don Perkins: You are the other new to the Fix I referred to earlier. The Democrat Party, IMO, has the edge for POTUS in 08 based on what we know, or think we know at this point in time.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I believe Hillary's support for the war is a very serious problem for her, especially if things in Iraq continue to spiral downward. I saw Edwards on This Week last Sunday and came away very impressed. He appeared refreshingly honest and oozed charm and charisma. He, in my opinion, has good possibilities for winning the nomination. That said, I also like Obama, but I think latent racism in this country will sink him. I tnink the contrast betweeen Edwards and McCain would sink McCain. McCain is not only a corporate owned senator, but he looks so old. Compare that to Edwards' ggood looks, enthusiasm, and youth.

Posted by: Ellen | January 5, 2007 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Agree with you, Judge. There's nothing new to be said about 2008 -- why don't you broaden your scope a litte, Chris? Otherwise you're just going to be typing the same column over and over for two years.

" the House opened the session by passing what the WP calls "the broadest ethics and lobbying revision since the Watergate era."

This is big news. Once again, democrats come in and clean up the mess. They actually get something done -- in one day -- instead of just bloviating about it.

After all republicans talked about 'ethics' did they ever do anything about it? Why yes -- they loosened the rules to make it easier to get away with corruption.

How about we talk about that?

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I am sick of people talking about how little experience Obama has in politics. "Are voters ready to trust control of the country to someone who has spent just two years in the Senate?" So much skeptisism of that, yet CC easily puts Edwards at the number 2 spot, when he's spent only one term in the Senate - with a chunk of that missing while he was off campaigning. I like Edwards, truly. But Obama brings to the table city, state AND federal political knowledge and a keen awareness of the global world around him due to his diverse upbringing. I just don't think that argument has much merit, yet it's going to be THE number one people may not vote for him in 08.

Posted by: S | January 5, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

'U.S. senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and U.S. senator Joseph Lieberman (I-D-Conn.) recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Iraq. Both held extensive discussions with U.S. forces and Iraqi government officials. In light of a possible change in course for U.S. strategy in Iraq, their views will be critical in the upcoming Congressional debate.

At this important time, AEI resident scholar Frederick W. Kagan and former acting Army chief of staff General Jack Keane will release the updated and final version of phase one of "Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq." The study calls for a large and sustained surge of U.S. forces to secure and protect critical areas of Baghdad.'

--Hello 'jounalists' -- can you say 'escalation'? was there every a phonier construct than 'large and sustained surge'? Maybe 'shock and awe'. Give me a break -- do any of you have any cojones at all or are you just typists?

Posted by: how many times has this been tried already? | January 5, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Nothing at all about the 110th Congress, just the usual hyperventilating about 2008; will we hear about all the Congressional R whining later today? Or will CC grudingly report that the House actually PASSED anti-lobbying legislation? I'm on pins and needles. In one day the 110th did more useful work than the 109th did in a whole year.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | January 5, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

'Everybody notes Fallon would be the first Navy officer to serve in the top spot at Central Command. The WP says some military officials think the choice is unusual because a Navy officer would be in charge of two ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the NYT suggests it might have something to do with wanting to place greater emphasis on dealing with Iran, which would rely more on naval forces and airpower.'

Posted by: more proof that bush intends to invade iran | January 5, 2007 8:43 AM | Report abuse

McCain's recent performance on Hardball and his answer on gay marriage was pretty bad (at least as far as the GOP base is concerned). He definitely appeared "soft" on gay marriage - at least as far as the right wing base is concerned and his revised answer made him look wishy washy in the face of his outspoken image. Notice the lusty boos from the audience when he came back to clarify his answer after discussing it with his staff. With the problems Romney has on gay marriage as well, I wonder if either: 1) Giuliani has a much better shot because at least on this issue McCain and Romney can't beat him up that much and at least Giuliani has the right to say his position has never changed; or 2) there is a definite opening for a hard right candidate like Gingrich, Huckabee or Brownback.

As for the Dems (and perhaps the whole field) the huge issue is Iraq. Obama may not have that much experience (though if you count his state legislature experience he is arguably more experienced politically than Edwards was when he was tapped for VP)but he was against the war from day one. If the war is still going badly with no end in sight (which seems likely at this point), I think a candidate who was against the war from the start has a better shot at winning than one who has to explain why he or she voted for America's worse foreign policy disaster ever. In this regard, McCain may be the weakest GOP candidate as he, in some respects, is the leading war hawk these days. If Bush goes with the "surge" option and it fails, then that probably sinks McCain, as he was an early supporter of sending more troops to Iraq.

Posted by: louisxiv | January 5, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm a very liberal person, however, Clinton will not get the Democratic nomination. The midwestern, and southern states won't allow it. She is not electable, people don't trust her and they sure don't like her in most of the country. My bet is on Edwards, he is leading in Iowa, is likely to win Nevada because of his connections with the Unions and will hopefully win New Hampshire since it seems as though he is making a lot of headway in the state. He has been to the state to speak and venues have had to turn people away because too many people had showed up. That's a very good sign. After that, I think the Edwards campaign will have a serious momentum that nobody will be able to stop. I'd also be willing to bet that Obama will be the VP nominee. I think we need a VP candidate who can win a red state, for example an Evan Bayh (which by the way I believe Clinton is damaging the field by forcing guys like Bayh out of the race). The nomination process will be very interesting, but I think Edwards will run away with it very early on in the race.

Posted by: Dan | January 5, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

'Everyone has a follow-up to yesterday's revelation by the New York Daily News that President Bush had attached a "signing statement" to a postal-reform bill emphasizing the government's authority to open U.S. mail without a warrant. '

any 'small-government' conservatives out there have a problem with this? or is there actually such a thing as a 'conservative'?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

'Aside from $$ and a name, why would any Republican seriously consider him'

what else do republicans care about?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 5, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

This is why...

'The Los Angeles Times goes high with both the staff changes and the new Congress but leads with approximately 1,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops launching a "major offensive" in Diyala province, a place that has become a sort of hub for Sunni insurgents. U.S. commanders did not share details of the offensive with their Iraqi counterparts until shortly before it began, fearing the information would leak to insurgents. Regardless, it seems the insurgents were prepared for their arrival, and by the time the raids started, there were very few military-age men found in the area.'

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Jambom: Surely you are joking, but since you mentioned my favorite, Hillary, I just have to respond. Dennis Will have no effect in the 08 race period. DailyKos is way out in left field and I check it out from time to time in order to get as much diverse opinios that I can. I don't remember you posting on the Fix before and I noticed another new poster as well today, but an old man like me can have a very faulty memory.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

That he's handsome is a good reason to consider someone for President? Lord help this country.

Posted by: KLN | January 5, 2007 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm a dem living in Massachusetts, and I can only apoligize for foisting Mitt on the nation (which celebrating that he's gone from our executive office). There is NO steak behind the sizzle, and he is not a man of his word. He lied to Massachusetts about his intentions from the beginning, and was bored with the Governor job in his first year. He spent over 220 days in 2006 OUT of the state. Not ethical, not honest, not a good person. Aside from $$ and a name, why would any Republican seriously consider him?

Posted by: KLN | January 5, 2007 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Romney could be the dark horse.
He is even more handsome than Edwards.
Imagine a beauty contest election between Romney and Edwards.
How come so little comments on Romney? Who is this guy anyway? The only thing anyone has heard is he's a Mormon. OK, we've heard that. What else?

Posted by: coas | January 5, 2007 8:21 AM | Report abuse

If Edwards would take second place as VEEP, the dream ticket would be Hillary/Edwards.

Posted by: candide | January 5, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

If Edwards would take second place as VEEP, the dream ticket would be Hillary/Edwards.

Posted by: candide | January 5, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

There is and will never be another candidate as passionate and as charismatic as Obama, and if he decides to run he will win. This claim of inexperience is B.S.; he has been involved with politics since 18. He has studied law in college, served on his state legislature and will have been a Senator for four years in 2008. It is time our nation expands its horizons and elects the best candidate: Barack Obama.

Posted by: bfg | January 5, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

For the rest of the article above please go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jan2007/cong-j05.shtml

Posted by: che | January 5, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

Democrats take control of Congress with pledge to work with Bush

By Patrick Martin
5 January 2007

The Senate and the House of Representatives reconvened in Washington Thursday under Democratic Party control, the first time that the Democrats have held the leadership of both houses of Congress in 12 years. Democrat Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House by a party-line vote of 233 to 202, while Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada was elected Majority Leader of the Senate.

Both top leaders of the congressional Democrats voiced the desire for bipartisan collaboration with the Republican-controlled White House. Taking the gavel as Speaker, Pelosi said, "I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship, and look forward to working with you on behalf of the American people. In this House, we may belong to different parties, but we serve one country."

"Last November, the voters sent us a message--Democrats and Republicans," Reid declared. "The voters are upset with Congress and the partisan gridlock. The voters want a government that focuses on their needs. The voters want change. Together, we must deliver that change."

These protestations go beyond the usual ceremonial boilerplate. The congressional Democrats have absolutely no intention of conducting any struggle against the policies of the Bush administration, either at home or abroad. At most, they want to enact a few cosmetic measures that by definition--since they will be carried out in agreement with the White House--will represent a continuation of Bush's program of reaction and war.

It is on the central issue of Iraq that the Democrats' prostration before the Bush administration is most evident. Pelosi noted that antiwar sentiment was the driving force behind the Democrats' election victory on November 7 in her speech accepting her election as Speaker.

"The election of 2006 was a call to change--not merely to change the control of Congress, but for a new direction for our country," she said. "Nowhere were the American people more clear about the need for a new direction than in Iraq. The American people rejected an open-ended obligation to a war without end."

This formulation grossly downplays both the scale and the intensity of the opposition to the war in Iraq. The vast majority of the American population now regards Bush's decision to invade Iraq--which was backed by the congressional Democratic leadership at the time--as a disaster. Those who voted for the Democrats did so in large measure because they viewed this vote as the only means of expressing their antiwar position.

Post-election opinion polls show more than 50 percent favoring withdrawal from Iraq before the end of this year, with barely ten percent

Posted by: che | January 5, 2007 7:55 AM | Report abuse

'The Wall Street Journal includes the staffing changes in the top spot of its worldwide newsbox but focuses on how Bush's Iraq plan will call for a "surge" of 20,000. In addition, the Bush administration plans to pump more money into Iraq to promote economic growth. '

--wonder where that money will come from? Borrowed from China?

And where is the money to 'pump' into our economy to help workers displaced by globalization and immigration? Just asking.

One more question -- If John McCain gets the so-called 'surge' he's asking for -- which of course is nothing more than an escalation of the conflect [if you remember how Vietnam progressed, this will all be familiar to you] and it doesn't improve matter in Iraq [it won't] will that sink his presidential bid?

Posted by: drindl | January 5, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

The more I reflect on this, the more I reach the conclusion that John Edwards may be the strongest candidate the Democratic Pary could nominate. I do believe, however, that Hillary could in fact be elected were she to end up being the nominee.

Posted by: Don Perkins | January 5, 2007 7:48 AM | Report abuse

I suppose I am just one of those "Clinton naysayers" but I'd like to remind the Fix that Dennis Kuchinch probably has MORE supporters on DailyKos right now than Hillary Clinton does. She has made little, if any, effort to reach out to the netroots and is widely regarded as "the establishment candidate" of the 08 pack. I have witnessed ZERO, I say again, ZERO excitement for Hillary Clinton's candidacy in the blogoshpere.

I think this issue is worth pointing out in a future post about the 08' field, especially given that Edwards and Obama have both engaged the netroots and are very warmly received there. Hillary might have a "mighty political machine", but it's an old school machine. She better quit listening to Begala and Carville and realize the new democratic movement isn't a joke.

Posted by: Jambon | January 5, 2007 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I missed # 1 by typing to slow. Sorry about that.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Since I am First today I will Start with agreeing with you on each and every one as far as the rankings are concerned. Now I will get to my opinion of how the 08 race will shape up based on the information available with a tad of speculation. I am convinced that Clinton/Warner will win in 08 should that be the ticket. Now the tricky part comes when we don't know as yet if Hillary will run and Warner would accept the VP slot. I have a hunch that Obama will not run and Edwards will be the only one that could give Hillary a real challenge. The others listed on the dem side, again IMO, will not go very far. The repub side gets a little more tricky for me because I think none of those listed can win in 08. I think Chuck Hagle or Lindsey Graham at the top of the repub ticket would be the strongest for them. I know a lot of you would like to see Al Gore jump in but, again this is only my opinion, for him been there done that.

Posted by: lylepink | January 5, 2007 6:59 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised that Huckabee was not #5 for the GOP instead of Brownback. I think that there is an opening for a governor in both parties. Richardson and Vilsack fit the bill for the Dems.

If I am not mistaken, they are governors of the only 2 states to switch their presidential vote from Democrat to Republican from 2000 to 2004.

I otherwise agree with the assessment. I don't think that Biden and Dodd have any chance. Some on the left pine for Wes Clark but I see him more as the ideal VP candidate.

Finally, I still think that if Al Gore changes his mind, that he would immediately be one of the top 2 candidates.

Posted by: Pittsburgh Kid | January 5, 2007 6:55 AM | Report abuse

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