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The Line: Money Chase Chases Vilsack From '08 Field

UPDATE, 2:55 pm ET: After making his withdrawal from the 2008 presidential race official earlier today, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack told reporters in a conference call that he had come to the realization that he couldn't compete with the frontrunners in the dash for cash.

"It was pretty clear I wasn't going to be able to raise the money to be as competitive as I needed to be," Vilsack said, adding that the cost to win the nomination would likely run in the "tens of millions." For Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), who occupy the first two spots on this month's Line, collecting those sums shouldn't be a problem. For everyone else on the Democratic side, it remains an open question.

As we noted prior to Vilsack's decision, we were debating between him and Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) for the No. 5 spot on this week's Line. That debate is now over and The Line has been updated. Welcome, Sen. Dodd!

The original lead to today's Line follows: Two developments this week reveal just how far advanced the 2008 presidential campaign already is -- nearly one year before any real votes are cast.

The first is the back and forth between Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama over comments made by movie mogul David Geffen about the former first lady. Publicly, the two sides exchanged nasty press releases; privately, their aides burned up the phones making the case for why their candidate had "won" the first major scuffle of campaign 2008.

Less noticed but no less important was an exchange between Republicans John McCain and Mitt Romney over their respective views on abortion. As reported by the Politico's Johnathan Martin, Romney adviser Gary Marx sent an e-mail to supporters attacking McCain for an alleged lack of leadership on the issue. Marx's e-mail coincided with the appearance of a YouTube video from Romney's 2002 gubernatorial campaign in which he pledges to "preserve and protect" a woman's right to choose.

Did we mention it's Feb. 23, 2007?

As always, the No. 1 candidates below are the ones most likely to win their party's nomination in 2008. It's still early in the cycle and much can change, so don't be too disappointed if your favorite candidate doesn't crack the top five at the moment. The comments section is open for debate.

To the Line!

DEMOCRATS

1. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Spend time with Clinton on the campaign trail and a few things become clear. She is quicker on her feet and funnier than most people know. She has an impressive depth and breadth of knowledge on issues both foreign and domestic. And she continues to be dogged -- to varying degrees -- by her refusal to apologize for her 2002 vote to give President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq's Saddam Hussein. Clinton insiders insist her answer (that the mistake was not hers but President Bush's) satisfies most people who have questions about her position on the war. We're not convinced of that just yet. What we are convinced of is that Clinton's massive fundraising ability remains her ace in the hole. Obama has the potential to compete with Clinton financially but is still in the process of building an organization to do that. Watch Clinton's first quarter fundraising report. From everything we hear, it will be eye-popping. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Barack Obama: We've been slow to come around on Obamamania, but it's getting hard to ignore. The rhetorical fisticuffs between Clinton and Obama early this week highlighted the potential for this to become a two-person race with all of the other Democrats struggling for scraps of the media's attention. Obama's announcement tour drew strong reviews, and while he has made a few slip-ups on the trail, none has done any serious damage. Obama is putting an organization together on the fly, which has its risks. But the results have so far been impressive. Our biggest question about Obama? How does he preserve his "above politics" reputation while simultaneously peeling voters away from Clinton? (Previous ranking: Tie for 2nd)

3. John Edwards: Edwards had a rough month, the first of what so far has been a well-run presidential bid. Edwards's month was dominated by a self-inflicted wound caused by his decision to hire two bloggers with a history of controversial comments. When the comments were made public, Edwards resisted calls to fire them. Later, the two women resigned anyway. Edwards can't afford many more mistakes like that if he hopes to remain in the top tier along with Clinton and Obama. (Previous ranking: Tie for 2nd)

4. Bill Richardson: Richardson won rave reviews for his speech at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting earlier this month, a performance that opened a lot of eyes to the the governor of New Mexico's potential as a candidate. And the $2 million haul from a fundraiser in New Mexico -- the largest in state history -- served as a sign that Richardson will be a player in the money game. Even so, he is struggling to build buzz for his candidacy due to the larger-than-life candidacies of Clinton, Obama, and, to a lesser extent, Edwards. Richardson and his campaign team know they will never match the money or media attention of the frontrunners but believe that at some point voters will take a hard look at the credentials of all the candidates running and will wind up choosing their guy. It's a longshot, but in a field so stacked at the top, long shots are better than no shots. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Chris Dodd: When Dodd initially announced his candidacy, it was greeted with a shrug of the shoulders by the top-tier candidates. After all, Dodd has almost three decades in the Senate and is little known nationally. But Dodd has quickly brought on an impressive team of advisers and focused on the one thing that can vault him into serious contention -- money. Early reports are that Dodd is raking in dough, relying heavily on his role as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and the considerable affluence to be found in his home state. A strong first fundraising quarter will force his rivals to take Dodd more seriously. His road to the nomination is still a winding one -- continue to raise money and build organizations in early states and hope one of the big three falter sometimes this fall -- but at least he has a road. (Previous ranking: n/a)

REPUBLICANS

1. John McCain: If the Senate recessed until after the 2008 election, McCain might be the happiest man in Congress. Over the past week, the Arizona senator seemed invigorated as he toured the country for his presidential campaign. It's a marked contrast to the listless McCain of the past month, a man who seemed to be going through the motions. McCain's organization is as strong as ever; on a daily basis the campaign releases another endorsement -- the latest was from Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.). But the rise of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a serious candidate complicates McCain's math to win the nomination. Giuliani's base of support is among liberal and moderate Republicans -- the same groups that formed much of McCain's base in 2000. If McCain is forced to divvy up the ideological middle with Giuliani, he becomes more reliant on winning a majority of true-blue (er, make that red?) conservatives who still carry lingering doubts about him. (Previous ranking: 1)

2 (tie). Rudy Giuliani: No candidate on either side had a better last month than the former mayor of New York City. We've made no secret of our skepticism about how Giuliani's liberal social positions will play in the Republican primary process, but poll after poll shows Giuliani not only ahead in the Republican primary but widening his lead. The news that California is seeking to move up its presidential primary also works in Giuliani's favor, as the state's size rewards a candidate who can raise (and spend) millions on television. And its moderate/liberal ideological underpinning favor a someone with a profile like Giuliani's. One other point that often gets lost when talking about Giuliani's chances: Even in the most conservative state in the early primary process -- South Carolina -- roughly three in ten Republicans are pro-choice. In a crowded field, 30 percent could be enough to win. (Previous ranking: 3)

2 (tie). Mitt Romney: Romney's appearance on ABC's "This Week" would have been an unmitigated disaster were it not for the former governor's considerable political skills. Again and again, host George Stephanopoulos cited statements and actions by Romney that seemed to be in obvious contradiction to his current stated positions. Whether it was on abortion, gay rights, his vote for Democrat Paul Tsongas in the 1992 presidential primary or his recent decision to join the National Rifle Association, Romney was forced on the defensive. As we wrote recently, no one of these issues is the silver bullet that will destroy Romney's candidacy. However, the sheer number of examples where his positions have switched/evolved could be problematic, especially when they are stacked one on top of another. But as demonstrated by his early flight of ads in key states, Romney's fundraising prowess ensures he will have a chance to introduce himself to voters on his own terms -- and fight back against his rivals when the time comes. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. Second-place tie means we leave this vacant.

4. Sam Brownback: No candidate -- with the possible exception of Romney -- is working harder on the hustings than Brownback. He recently visited eight states in seven days in an attempt to build some excitement and momentum for his candidacy. During that trip, Brownback received a nice boost from Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), who said the Kansas senator was "not afraid to talk about traditional American values" and added: "Sam Brownback is one of us." Despite all of this positive attention, Brownback remains at 1 percent -- at best -- in national polls. Can we see him getting 10 or even 15 percent in Iowa? Yes. But will that be enough? (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Mike Huckabee: After an inexplicably long period of inaction by Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor is showing some signs of life. But is it too little too late? Probably. Huckabee has an intriguing resume that should appeal to social conservatives who simply can't bring themselves to support McCain, Romney or Giuliani and don't believe Brownback can win. In order to show he is serious, Huckabee must exceed expectations with his first quarter fundraising numbers. He has repeatedly insisted that he can raise the money needed to be competitive, but it's not immediately clear where the millions Huckabee needs will come from. His personal story and potential as a candidate win him a spot back on the Line, but it may be short-lived depending on his success (or failure) in fundraising. (Previous ranking: N/A)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 23, 2007; 3:36 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
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Comments

Check out his voting record, and his entry on wikipedia.
I definitely don't want to see Obama, Clinton, Gulianni, Edwards, or McCain.
We have no choice here folks. We need the puppets and corporate bed partners out of office, and someone who will return our Country to Constitutional adherence, else the so called "terrorists" win. They've already managed to provide material support for the incumbents.
If you look closely, you can see the timing of the staged terror coincide with an event that we need to be distracted from. Anybody find it curious that bin Laden hasn't been heard from in ages? He either fulfilled his obligations to the CIA or he's dead.
Pakistan and the Saudis need to be in the crosshaiors, not Afghanistan and Iran.

Posted by: Ron Paul | February 26, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

ALL:

Suggesting that the MSM take a look at so-called 2nd tier candidates is a quixotic quest at best.

Not to mention that there really isn't 2 tiers. In a normal cycle, there are 2 tiers, in this cycle there are more like 4.

Because the MSM seems intent on making the Dem race Clinton-Obama, even three Dems who in an ordinary cycle would be getting a good look: Edwards, Richardson and Biden are being treated as 2nd tier candidates. My personal opinion is that Obama is going to flame out, which makes this more of a conventional cycle in that by fall it will be HRC and the anybody but HRC crowd, which means that Edwards and Richardson may be slugging it out for the anybody but Hilary vote. If Obama doesn't flame out between now and say September, he and Hilary will be sucking all of the oxygen out of the race leaving it very difficult for either Edwards or Richardson to stay viable.

On the GOP side, there is a much more open field than it is perceived. I do NOT believe that Giuliani can be a viable GOP primary candidate, and when his personal history and public stance on red meat issues becomes apparent to the average GOP primary voter, his support will evaporate quickly. His opponents will eviscerate him on his stances and his weird personal hisotry. Which leaves the "top-tier" with McCain and Romney, who have both taken almost absurd stances on Iraq. If Iraq straightens out a little, it will be McCain vs. Romney for the average GOP voter. BUT... there is a huge opening for a candidate who appeals to evangelicals. The next six months will show whether that is Brownback or Huckabee.

Duncan Hunter is not a serious candidate for President, because bottom line, he doesn't inspire people. He is the prototypical safe Republican congressman from a hard Republican district, who has never had to broaden his appeal, nor does anyone outside of So. California even really know who he is.

Dems should cross their fingers that Huckabee doesn't catch on and that McCain and Romney suck all the oxygen from the other candidates because he is dressed in the language of moderation, and makes an appealing national candidate... (that said even while I find his religious politics noxious).

In fact, a dream race would be Richardson vs. Huckabee, because it would be a substantive, real election, the first in a generation or more

Posted by: Steve | February 26, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to "Mountain Thinker" for a different perspective on Huckabee. Thanks to "Tom L in NJ" for pointing out what seemed obvious in Carson City: that Richardson and Biden were the thoughtful, and experienced, and moderate, voices; if not necessarily the flashiest. As an independent, I seldom get my druthers about having competent center right candidates run against competent center left ones. Hell, last time I would have settled for a competent liberal against a competent conservative. Richardson or Biden against McCain would give me hope for the 2009-2012 era. But I have no standing with the party [ies] faithful and I fear this long season will polarize and harden the positioning, magnifying the narcissism of small differences.

Posted by: mark | February 26, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

As an observer of and voter in elections for some 60 years, I think the only solution to all this excessive spending, ranting and raving is to limit the time and the money which can be used for campaigning.
There should be a law passed to do just that.
By the time the election actually comes
about, the general public is so sick and tired of all the candidates, they'd really
like to vote for "NONE OF THE ABOVE".
My vote is not for sale, and I am not a
nincompoop easily swayed by propaganda for
or against a candidate. The record and
qualifications are most important. The
presidency is not a personality or "beauty"
contest. It does require intelligence,
tact, understanding, experience, and an
ability to listen to others who have more
expertise in a given field than the president may have. The press does little
to summarize all this, focusing instead on
the "human" behaviour for some and exempting others from that focus. It's enough to make a body cringe at the thought of enduring the whole process.

Posted by: Marilyn | February 26, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"Gore has become an ex-politician, a born-again real human being who has just learned to love life. My guess is that someone in that position has learned too much about life ever to go back."

Golgi, I know you won't agree with me but I'm pretty sure he will run.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2007 4:04 AM | Report abuse

Tom, I'm a Reagan Conservative Republican, and I have to confess that Bill Richardson and Joseph Biden actually don't infuriate me, or make me feel like they're clueless idealogues. Frankly, if my party is foolish enough to nominate Guiliani or Romney and no third party Conservative arises, I might just stay at the house if either one of those is on the ballot for the Dems. Or I suppose I could follow Obama's lead and vote 'present'...

Posted by: MountainThinker | February 26, 2007 12:37 AM | Report abuse

How could Chris Dodd be ahead Joe Biden in your rankings? I saw Dodd at the Carson City event and I was not impressed at all. Richardson & Biden yes!! Even with all Joe Biden troubles in the past(clean comment &, plagirism in the 88 campaign) I think he will be able to get in the top tier of candidates once the debates start. He is the only candidate coming up with real solutuions not just political rhetoric. I think he will scare the XXXX out of the other candidates with his expertise in foriegn policy especially Iraq for which he is the only candidate with a real plan!!

Posted by: Tom L (NJ) | February 25, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Mayors don't back someone because they're trying to create a straw man. A backing is a backing. You'd have to be crazy to back Obama if you really support Hillary. She'd hate you.

JayPe's suggestion was interesting, but set off some "creaky convoluted logic" red flags for me. I think she doesn't really know what to do because she's only recently realized that the country has lost the interest in her that we used to have. She must have bad dreams about Obama every night. My sense is that the attacks are simple defensive attacks.

Could be wrong though...

Posted by: Golgi | February 25, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

JayPe,
That's a very lucid and well-reasoned argument. I too believe that Obama is being set up as the biggest political straw man ever seen in national politics. And frankly, I find it further interesting that he comes from Hillary's home-turf, and is currently backed by someone that is a staunch Hillary/Bill backer, Chicago Mayor Daly... Watch and see!

Posted by: MountainThinker | February 25, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory that Hillary is attacking Obama because she wants him to be her main rival. She knows these nomination fights usually resolve to a two person battle (Kerry/Edwards, Bush/McCain, Gore/Bradley) and wants to ensure that in 2008 its Hillary/Obama. If she keeps attacking him and ignoring Edwards/Richardson etc then he'll be the last man standing.

I think this is smart politics from her(i.e. nasty!) As he focuses Democrats on experience. Hillary can point to her tested experience at winning elections (Senate and Presidential) and the Dems will back her in a Kerry-esque rush to ensure the chosen candidate is "electable". I hope it doesn't work.

Anyone agree with this?

Posted by: JayPe | February 25, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Very penetrating article on Gore's newfound rockstar status today in the Washington Post.

In my eyes, it quashes the rumor that he will run.

Gore has become an ex-politician, a born-again real human being who has just learned to love life. My guess is that someone in that position has learned too much about life ever to go back.

Welcome, Al Gore! We love you out here! You must have had a really amazing experience through all that. Cool stuff, man.

Posted by: Golgi | February 25, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ok...I just had to jump in here!

William, wow you need to do some fact checking and in-depth reading on Huckabee before you post on him again. We both seem to be Reagan Conservatives, so I would also believe you consider intellectual integrity to be important...

Huckabee's Record...

Gay Marriage: Strongly Opposed. (True)

Abortion: Strongly opposed, says if a South Dakota style abortion had been passed in AR, he would have signed it into law. (True)

Gun rights: Huckabee holds a Concealed Carry permit (this makes him the only GOP Candidate who does, let alone actively mentions it, as far as I can tell, as well as a life member of the NRA for MANY years)

Taxes and the Economy: Largest Economic Growth in Arkansas in decades, and the tax increases that he passed were not fiat declarations from on high, but rather passed in a state wide binding referendum 3-1 with dedicated revenue/expenditures stated in the vote so that tax dollars could not be misappropriated. The purpose was to FIX Arkansas and its infrastructure after years of neglect by the Clinton Administration. As a Conservative Republican I believe that public referendum-based taxation with dedicated revenue streams for stated projects is the absolute BEST way for government to operate. By the way, it's the same way Ronald Reagan 'raised taxes' in California as Governor to create economic boom and development that lasted for two decades...

Immigration: All I can say is Wow! Gov. Huckabee's record on this issue (being the FIRST Non-border Governor to send Nat'l Gaurd troops to help secure it!) is one of balanced compassion. The blame rightly belongs not to a group of individuals desperate to make a better life than the near third-world conditions in much of Mexico, but to our own gov't which has done nothing to enforce our own laws and borders. Gov. Huckabee believes that we must first secure the border, and then find a comprehensive solution to those already here, including the possible repatriation of all those that have a criminal record, and then some form of restitution-based integration for those that remain. Logically, as well as logistically, that sounds like the way to go for me!

Iraq: Huckabee has given quiet support to The Surge. (True...after all, what is the genuinely effective alternative? He has been outspoken on the over-use of the gaurd as opposed to active-duty forces, and he, like many, hopes that 21,000 are enough of a boost to be effective...)

Foreign Policy: Huckabee wants to engage in unilateral talks and negotiations with Iran, Syria, and North Korea. He believes we need to be more accomodating to the wishes of other nations. Huckabee supports the role and mission of the UN. (True, but this does NOT mean he PROUDLY supports the current ineffectiveness and corruption within the organization. Furthermore, treating other nations as sovereign entities with genuine interests/concerns is probably the starting point for any negotiations that one can hope to be effective.)

Death Penalty: He claims he supports it in principal, but thinks it should be used very rarely if ever. (True, and I hope we would ALL agree) He commuted the sentences of, relatively speaking, many prisoners on AR death row. In actuality, Huckabee effectively opposes the death penalty. (Simply FALSE! Though troubled by the hard reality & harshness of the death penalty, he actually ordered the death penalty to be carried out more than ANY Arkansas Governor EVER! 17 times...)

Law and Order: Huckabee believes in "restorative justice" which holds that society is to blame for a criminal's actions, and that the criminal is really a victim, too. Under restorative justice, a criminal must be rehabilitated and released as soon as possible. (Mischaracterization of the concept of 'restorative justice.' First, it recognizes that often society has a shared responsibility in criminality in general, through societal failures. Reasonable people cannot disagree with this. However, personal responsibility is not nor should be negated, therefore individuals must be held accountable while we also try to repair the underlying causes that have helped contribute to the development of criminals. Secondly, rehabilitation should be the aim of our Justice system, not revenge. Therefore, we must try to break the cycle by providing legitmate paths to reform for those in our prisons. Still, as the addage goes, 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure' which is why Gov. Huckabee focuses on fixing the root causes...not managing the symptoms...

Huckabee has made at least one comment indicating he believes that we need to address the "root causes" of terrorism, (and YES, WE SHOULD!) and that terrorists can be rehabilitated as well.(Not just No, but HELL NO!, the point is that we can govern ourselves and our actions to encourage or discourage the creation of terrorist states as well as the recruitment/creation of NEW terrorists, and I think that is true to a certain extent.)

Church/State: Huckabee supports school prayer and the teaching of Intelligent Design in addition to evolution. (True)

Global Warming: Huckabee supports the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel, and has made at least one statement in qualified support of a Kyoto type treaty. (as long as we ALL are held to the same standards, which is a reasonable 'qualification' echoed by many rational conservatives)

So basically, Huckabee's overall record on the issues is "liberal, with splashes of conservativism." (Utter Nonsense, Overall Huckabee is a Passionate, Well-Reasoned, Mainstream Conservative who staunchly and consistently supports every single mainstream conservative position of the last 30 years; something neither McCain, Romney, or Guiliani can say!)

Posted by: MountainThinker | February 25, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

'So you see the GOP base is not really concerned with issues or even God, Family, Country. They are about hating liberals. (Many of them are about hating dark or foreign liberals in particular.) We can present a thousand ten point plans and say they should vote for us because their economic interests lie with liberal policies, but it won't make a bit of difference. We can point out their hypocrisy and flip-flops and it means nothing. Republican identity politics transcend such prosaic concerns as policy and political philosophy. It's all about whether you are one of them. If you can prove that then they could not care less what you once stood for. The only thing that will trip you up is being insufficiently hostile to liberals once they have validated your membership. That will get you kicked to the curb in a Midland Minute. '

Posted by: why rudy or mccain can win | February 24, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The lawyer for a former Baptist church leader who had spoken out against homosexuality said Thursday the minister has a constitutional right to solicit sex from an undercover policeman.

The Rev. Lonnie W. Latham had supported a resolution calling on gays and lesbians to reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle" before his Jan. 3, 2006, arrest outside the Habana Inn in Oklahoma City.

Authorities say he asked the undercover policeman to come up to his hotel for oral sex.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Damn. You are bringing up things from one thousand EIGHT HUNDRED ninety-seven?

Would you also like to explore how many political figures have family trees involved in slavery? After all, that was only a couple decades before your timeline there.

Let the man stand or fall on his own.

Posted by: roo | February 24, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

'Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today.
The claims are reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war.'

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

'Although contractors were widely used in Vietnam for support and reconstruction tasks, they have never before represented such a large portion of the U.S. presence in a war zone or accounted for so many security and military-like jobs, experts say.

Some of the workers are former U.S. military personnel. Some are foreigners. The companies and the U.S. government say they do not keep track of how many are Americans.

The contractors are paid handsomely for the risks they take, with some making $100,000 or more per year, mostly tax-free _ at least six times more than a new Army private, a rank likely to be driving a truck or doing some other unskilled work.

The difference in pay can create ill will between the contractors and U.S. troops.

"When they are side by side doing the same job, there is some resentment," said Rick Saccone, who worked as an intelligence contractor in Baghdad for a year.'

Posted by: rumsfeld ruined the military with privatizaton | February 24, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman ran against Ned Lamont for the Democratic nomination for Senate and told the voters of Connecticut how he votes with Democrats in Congress more than 90% of the time.

Having campaigned as a true blue loyal Democrat in the primary, Lieberman campaigned in the general election as an independent Democrat who would vote with Democrats to organize the Senate.

Lieberman gave his word of honor to senior Democrats. Lieberman gave his word of honor to the voters of Connecticut.

Now, Joe Lieberman is blackmailing the Senate and proving his word of honor has the same honor as the false presentation of pre-war Iraq intelligence.

By threatening to vote with Republicans, Joe Lieberman has already broken his word of honor. Less than two months into a six year term, Lieberman is telling the voters of his state that his word during the primaries is null and void, and his word during the general election is null and void.

This is an act of dishonor unprecedented in the history of the United States Senate. Whether he changes parties or not (and I predict he does not) Lieberman is saying this:

A man's word is his bond. Except for Joseph Lieberman. Lieberman's word is his bond. Until he decides to break it. This from the man who talks so righteously of his personal values.'

Posted by: lying scumbag lieberman | February 24, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"SALT LAKE CITY -- While Mitt Romney condemns polygamy and its prior practice by his Mormon church, the Republican presidential candidate's great-grandfather had five wives and at least one of his great-great grandfathers had 12.

Polygamy was not just a historical footnote, but a prominent element in the family tree of the former Massachusetts governor now seeking to become the first Mormon president.

Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, married his fifth wife in 1897. That was more than six years after Mormon leaders banned polygamy and more than three decades after a federal law barred the practice.

Romney's great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill, was the daughter of polygamists. She wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she "used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow" over her own husband's multiple marriages.

Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy.'

"When you read the family's history, you realize how important polygamy was to them," said Todd Compton, a Mormon and independent historian who wrote a book about the polygamous life of the church's founder, Joseph Smith. "They left America and started again as pioneers, after they had done it over and over again previously."

B. Carmon Hardy, a polygamy expert and retired history professor at California State University-Fullerton, said polygamy was "a very important part of Miles Park Romney's family."

Posted by: hmmm... | February 24, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, you do all of these run downs on who has the edge politically in these primaries. Why not do a run-down, not by party but by person, on who has the most positive experience dealing with issues: foreign policy and rank the top 5, economy: rank the top 5, energy, border security and who has done the most in his/her career to appeal to social groups: for 1 side or the other. Let's actually talk about issues and who has experience in them. Then again, this is a Presidential campaign...so that may not matter right?

Posted by: reason | February 24, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | February 24, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

To William: Your posts seem to reinforce my own writings, yet I'm an idiot? I think you have me confused with the person that signs with plain "Mike"

Posted by: Mike D | February 24, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

frannie--Frankly, I could not care less whether the son of someone powerful was subjected to the same treatment as the plebes suffer each day. He was not a diplomat or, so far as I know, specially protected by any other laws.

The sense I am getting from the few quotes is that the person in question was actually upset that this happened at all but the media (there and here) is reporting the great outrage to be his treatment /even though he is related to someone powerful/, which is despicable.

To give special provisions to the important or those connected to the important is the first step towards a de facto aristocracy.

If you want to argue that NO-ONE should be subjected to this type of treatment, feel free to do so and I will agree with you.

Posted by: roo | February 24, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see a Gore/Obama ticket. Mark my words, by the end of the summer, Gore will jump in and emerge as the favorite. When this happens, you'll see Obama fade back (by his own choice) toward the end of the year and by the end of the rist round of primaries, he will have struck a deal with Gore to get out of the race and become Gore's VP choice. I couldn't imagine a better scenario (as a Dem, that is).

HRC would be fuming mad, as she would come to terms with the fact that her hopes of ever being President would be eliminated, as Gore would never pick her as hs running mate.

Can you imagine what a battle royale it would be to see Gore go up against Clinton? WOW, talk about fireworks. I think we'd see a lot of true feelings come to light.

PG

Posted by: PeixeGato | February 24, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

'see -- 'liberals' only disagree with 'conservatives' for political or commerical gain, or atheism..'

Posted by: what an incredible crock | February 24, 2007 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Two issues that need resolving are a) what precisely does it mean for this to be written from a Conservative Christian viewpoint? In particular, what policies and world views does this include? (For example, we've had some editing issues over whether Mormons are Christian) b) When writing, should things be written in a way that states the conservative christian viewpoint as fact or merely give is a large amount of weight?

That is, should an article say "X is Y and liberals think X is ~Y but they are wrong for the following reasons" or should we have things of the form "Conservatives say X is Y, some people disagree. Here is one reason against this statement and here is n reasons for it for large n". Both of these issues seem to becoming increasingly relevant for a number of articles, such as the evolution related articles, abortion and a few others. JoshuaZ 14:46, 18 February 2007 (EST)

Good questions, Joshua, but I don't see any conflict between the "Conservative Christian viewpoint" and ordinary logic, or faith. So in answer to (a), I would say that we're open to all information that meets the guidelines, which are quite broad. In answer to (b), I'm fine with posting alternative viewpoints with disclosure about who holds those viewpoints. I wouldn't constantly say that "Conservatives say ..." because this site presents encyclopedia-type information as factual. But where liberals disagree with something, I'm fine without point that out along with information about why they disagree (e.g., political or commercial gain, or atheistic views).'

Posted by: a parody of itself | February 24, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse


'The Conservapedia (via everybody and their cat) is indeed pure gold, and many people have picked out their favorite bits. (I'm particularly partial to "[Nineteen-Eighty-Four] is a utopian book because it talks about a place where everyone is watched over by Big Brother.") I like the entry on "judicial activism":

There are two major types of judicial activism practiced in the United States' court system:

1. Liberal judges striking down laws that uphold core conservative American values
2. Liberal judges refusing to strike down laws that subvert core conservative American values

The most famous example of this is Roe v. Wade. Other examples include Brown v Board of Education[1] and Loving v Virginia[2] which stripped state control over education and marriage, respectively, putting it in the hands of the federal government.'

Posted by: hilarious, boundless stupidity | February 24, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

From the conservative Daily Telegraph:

'Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
To conduct surgical air strikes against Iran's nuclear programme, Israeli war planes would need to fly across Iraq. But to do so the Israeli military authorities in Tel Aviv need permission from the Pentagon.

A senior Israeli defence official said negotiations were now underway between the two countries for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" in the event of the Israeli government deciding on unilateral military action to prevent Teheran developing nuclear weapons'.

I suppose the Iraqis themselves--a sovereign country, we are reminded by the Bush Administration when it's convenient--would be militarily helpless to stop Israeli overflights, but one can imagine that the backlash against U.S. troops by Iraqi Shiites would be swift and fierce. We might find ourselves longing for the days when we were merely caught in a civil war.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Sixteen million Americans live in "severe poverty," defined as individuals making less than $5,080 annually and families of four making less than $9,903. Yeah, 16,000,000.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

'Any administration extricating U.S. troops from Iraq would have to send the message that the U.S. military would now refocus its full attention on al-Qaida. As for other commitments, why would we allow anyone to conclude that our failure in Iraq had any bearing on them? In withdrawing, the U.S. should answer questions of credibility loudly and clearly. Demonstrating that we recognize the error of our ways would indicate a seriousness of purpose and a national magnanimity lacking throughout the Bush years.

The other protest from war supporters is that withdrawal would sound a death knell for the prospect of liberal democratic reform in the Middle East -- a reversed version of the domino theory. But that objection implies that liberal democracy could sweep across the Islamic world if U.S. forces are kept in Iraq. In every location elections have been held in the Muslim world since the Iraq war, something close to the worst possible result has emerged.

Elections predating significant social change have done little to advance either America's interests or the cause of liberalism. The naive assertion peddled by neoconservatives that liberal democratic change was a workable solution to America's terrorism problem has been a blight on U.S. grand strategy. Reform in the Islamic world cannot be precipitated -- or even hastened in a meaningful way -- by pressure from America.'

http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/270636,CST-EDT-REF24A.article

Posted by: cato institute | February 24, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

'Prime Minister Tony Blair announced Wednesday that he would begin withdrawing British troops from Iraq immediately. Though Blair stopped short of setting a timetable for the full withdrawal of British forces, his decision to pull 1,600 soldiers out of Iraq, at a time when the United States is sending more than 21,000 more into the war, must be seen as a harbinger of defeat for the U.S. mission there. Denmark, which has 460 soldiers under British command in the Shiite south of Iraq, announced plans to withdraw its troops by August.

The Bush administration has shifted noticeably from defending the war to emphasizing the suspected downsides of withdrawal. President Bush continually asserts that the consequences of leaving Iraq would be "grievous and far-reaching," and result in a "nightmare scenario." The president has focused on two negative consequences: a loss of U.S. credibility, and the prospect that withdrawal would precipitate a reverse domino effect, propping up the authoritarian governments that Bush's Iraq policy was intended to undermine. These claims echo the arguments of Lyndon Johnson, who argued against cutting our losses in Vietnam.

The issue of credibility was so central to America's Vietnam policy that tens of thousands of Americans died in the pursuit not of victory, but of saving face. They died because American leaders believed then -- as the Bush administration apparently believes now -- that defeat would have uncontrollable consequences. But the wiser voices inside the Johnson administration were arguing as early as the mid-1960s that the costs of defeat were manageable.'

Posted by: are our troops dying to prop bush up? | February 24, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

thank you anon. just becuase someone is 'intelligent' doesn't mean that he or she cannot be morally repugnant. Hitler, after all, had a deep appreciation for art and music, and was quite an acceptable artist...

'BAGHDAD, Iraq Feb 24, 2007 (AP)-- Thousands of Shiites rallied in the holy city of Najaf on Saturday to protest the nearly 12-hour detention of the eldest son of Iraq's most influential Shiite politician as he crossed back from Iran.

Amar al-Hakim, who was taken into custody on Friday, complained Saturday that U.S. soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded him before his release and "strongly abused" his bodyguards.

"Is this the way to deal with a national figure? This does not conform with Iraq's sovereignty," he said.'

Posted by: franny | February 24, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Seinfeld: George, she's a Nazi!

Costanza: But Jerry, she's a cute Nazi!

I don't care how intelligent William appears or that he's "only 19." His opinions are the most vile in our society.

Don't be sucjered by him. He casts such a broad net that he invariably catches somebody here in an exchange. Stop being his straight men.

William is an unrepentent racist Nazi; and that cannot be said enough. He is dangerous. He is the type who will draw other to his cause, because he appears intellignet and can speak to many things. But to him "two wrongs" are just acceptable politics.

You enable him whenever you compliment him.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Here's a REAL man, one who actually hunts wild and dangerous animals, getting kicked in the face by a bunch of gun nuts who keep their arsenals in the basement to mastur**te over... just because he suggested real men don't need terrorist assault rifles to shoot fierce and deadly -- prarie dogs. what a bunch of sick fu**s:

'Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

Outdoors writer and TV personality Jim Zumbo, posing with a bear he shot in Canada in 2004, is in hot water for his recent posting on the Outdoor Life Web site, which took aim at hunters who use military-style assault rifles.

Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

Posted by: The jackbooted NRA | February 24, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Beside the 15 year old daughter of a friend of mine, Obama actually drew 20,000 others to the lakefront here in Austin yesterday. He spoke outdoors in the drizzling rain for 40 minutes or so and was received like a star by a bunch of folks who took off from work all afternoon. My guess is he raised 1/4 a mil in small contributions, plus a greater sum at an earlier fundraiser. younger folks gushed. some of the older ones were favorably impressed, but not to the point of worship.

When I as a college student stood within 30 feet of John Kennedy on Columbus Day in 1963 I approved of him and thought he was "our" guy; young, smart, and witty. I listened intently. That may be what is happening for Obama with first time and second time voters, now.

Beats apathy...

Posted by: mark | February 24, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

A Gore-Obama ticket in 2008 makes the most sense to me. If Gore stays out of the fray, perhaps, Obama-Richardson, two very talented politicians with complementary strengths, but not as politically viable IMO as a Gore-Obama ticket in 2008. I would be intellectually comfortable with the latter ticket, but I don't know if I would emotionally feel the same way, the day after election day.

I was intrigued by the idea of an Obama-Gore ticket given by one poster, but I'm not too sure that Al would agree to run again as VP. Al is a classy guy, so you never know. In any event, I believe Obama would be in an excellent position to run and win at the top of the ticket after having served as Gore's VP for 8 years. It would also be better for the country and the party to have strong leadership these two could provide for 16 years-- not just 8. So put me down for Gore-Obama.

Posted by: Jeff-for-progress | February 24, 2007 5:10 AM | Report abuse

once again, william's personal obsession with race clouds his judgment, thinking, analysis, and most likely, existence on earth. the reasons for kerry's loss are as myriad as the stars, but the simple fact is that a 60,000 vote switch in ohio would have made the man the 44th potus. now that to me is amazing considering that would have meant defeating the man who led us through severe national trauma 9/11 and was currently commanding troops in not one but two theaters of was. the only reason we can't say it's hard to imagine it getting any closer than that is, of course, four years earlier we actually had the twilight zone situation of the presidential loser being declared the presidential winner.

however the fact remains that kerry came very, very close to defeating a wartime president who had led us through our worse national crisis in over sixty years and once held the highest approval rating any president has ever known. obviously, coming so close to toppling such an incumbent took a man of great strength, talent, perseverance, intelligence, and clear presidential timber.

also, william, what is more treasonous: volunteering to fight for your country, going so far as take the life of other human beings for your flag and then realizing the fight is not your fight, and that those killing and dying are not doing so for the right reasons and therefore trying to put a stop to it so no one else has to die or far worse, soak their hands in the blood of others, OR sitting on your comfortable butt at home pushing and screaming for a war that you lack the guts to go fight yourself? personally, i find any cheerleader for a war who's unwilling to fight in it or encourage their children to fight a coward of the highest magnitude. That, my boy, is treason: allowing your fellow countrymen and women to die for a war you want but refuse to stick your own neck out for.

don't you dare insult kerry or anyone else who has the mettle to pick up a weapon, stand a post, and defend this country. this action requires a heroism beyond anything you've ever done and you should be ashamed of yourself for degrading the actions of anyone who's served nobly. when kerry returned, he truly believed his anti-war activities were the best things for his brothers-in-arms, and some times, they absolutely are. it took bravery and courage to stand up and say we were making a mistake, the kind of same bravery and courage that was sadly missing when rumsfeld was putting together his foolhardy plan for iraq's invasion, or when bremer disbanded the iraqi army. if just one ranking officer had raised the gigantic stink that they all knew these MONUMENTALLY stupid decisions were goin to cause, maybe things would be different. what we do is that are armed forces stayed silent, and the idiot ignorant civilian leadership execution of operation iraqi freedom has cost countless thousands more lives than it ever should have. i wish to god there had been a john kerry or two amongsthe joint chiefs, someone who would not only have said was shinseki said (which was really just an offhanded comment, made in response to a question), but then pursued the crap out of until he had knocked some sense into someone.

trust me william, the more john kerry's we have in all walks of life, men and women who can move push past their ego and sacrifice and recognize a mistake for what it really is and then do everything in their power to correct it, no matter how much it costs them, the better off we'll always be.

Posted by: david | February 24, 2007 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Meuphys His middle name is Hussein there is no way the republicans wouldn't link him to the terrorist in a campaign ad. William is right its perception that matters and Obama doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by: mountain man | February 24, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

I for one would love to see Michael "Savage" run. I wonder, will he run under his stage name, or his real name? HA HA HA HA HA

PG

Posted by: PeixeGato | February 24, 2007 12:12 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry Maryland, can you tell me exactly what the message from McCain is? He's flip-flopped on so many issues over the last couple of years who knows where he really stands on anything.

PG

Posted by: PeixeGato | February 24, 2007 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Wait, are you guys forgetting someone?
Michael Savage is thinking about running. He has over 1 million votes on his website alraedy saying he should run... That would be a joy to watch
Hah, republicans are sooooooo screwed this election. All the conservatives (right wing kooks) are mad they don't have a true "conservative" running while all the moderates (mccain, guily) are going to get nowhere in the primaries.
this should be fun to watch, as long as the dems don't nominate hrc. anyone else should take it in a cakewalk

Posted by: nick | February 23, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

William, thanks for the view on Huckabee. I followed up and your description of his take on illegal immigration is pretty close to the gist of his public statements, to my shocked surprise.

I now believe that he may self-destruct during the early going. Again thanks for the enlightenment.

Mark

Posted by: mark | February 23, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I truly believe McCain will be our next president. Instead of the standared blame Bush rhetoric or blame the republicans we have seen recently, he's the only one with a real message to strengthen America

Posted by: Maryland for McCain | February 23, 2007 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The guy never had enough buzz to grab the campaign cash needed to stay relevant. I liked what he stood for, though.

But some bloggers think that he's headded for a VP slot.
http://political-buzz.com/?p=67
True?

Posted by: chris | February 23, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

'Say goodbye to your Volvo V-70 and 3 bedroom apartment in the City. They'll be taken from you and given to some poor minority family, as reparations for "racism and colonialism" that your eeeeeeevillllllllllllll white ancestors assuredly partook in.

Next, they would flood the "civilized" areas of the world with their uncivilized hordes, in the name of "racial diversity."

I don't live in the City dear, too many people, too much closeness. I grew up in the Mojave Desert --wide, wide open. I like space. As I mentioned, I grew up in an extremely conservative and religious family. So I understand where your viewpoints come from.

But I grew up, and I stopped believing in this silly 60's rhetoric you indulge in. How many people do you really think push this stuff? It's just some ancient paleocon propaganda, long discredited. Only indoctrinated rightists beleive this kind of crap. Get out more, you're not that stupid.

And as for the 'uncivilized hordes' -- how very nineteenth century you are -- does conservatism prevent you from comprending more modern concepts? And do you realy think americans, whose favorite TV program is American Idol, are really more 'civilized' than all the rest of the world?

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi William,

Yes, I agree with some of what you say. Let me repeat parts of my previous post:

"Last time, the Dems needed a dull white guy badly."

That's your point about a 2004 moderate dull candidate. Agreed.

"This time around, for the Dems to select a dull white guy would be admitting defeat. That's not what America is hungering for now."

What you and I disagree on here is whether the "average-election" rules-of-thumb are the ones that can be trusted during this election.

You feel that they can, I feel that they can't.

At this point, verbal arguments cannot tell which one of us is right - only time can.

I do appreciate that there is something to your analysis of the "average-election" rules-of-thumb about race. And I agree with you that Dems commonly make the mistake of ignoring these rules-of-thumb - at their own peril.

But within today's topic, when you point at Edwards and Richardson and predict they are 2008 winners because they are dull, I see them and predict they are 2008 losers for the same reason.

Posted by: Golgi | February 23, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Golgi, if last time the Dems had run Wesley Clark (who is dull), or any other moderate Dem, they probably would have won.

Also, things in Iraq weren't as bad as they are now in 2004, so Bush had more support (and he still only got 51% of the vote.)

Kerry was a weak candidate because of:

1. His borderline treasonous anti-war activities in the 1970s.

2. His far left, very liberal voting record, including that he voted against every military weapons system since he was first elected to the Senate.

3. He was an elistist snob, with an even snobbier foreign wife.

4. He was a far leftwinger from MA (MA!!!!!!!)

5. He failed to respond adequately to attacks on him.

6. He kept flip-flopping.

7. Too many awkward moments like "I'm John Kerry reporting for duty!"

8. Bush was accurately able to portray him for what he really was: a far left quasi-socialist wimp, who was weak on national security.

9. Boasting that mysterious, unnamed, "foreign leaders" want you to win doesn't help.

If the Dems had not run a MA liberal, and had run Clark, or any other moderate, they would have taken Bush down.

Maybe it is just my conservative nature, but in something as important as a presidential election, I don't want to risk losing with an uncertain candidate, just in order to make a statement.

Yes, we know the Democrats support diversity and women's rights.

Now, pick someone who can win.

If Warner can be persuaded to re-enter the race, go with him.

But considering the candidates that are left, I would go with richardson, or if you are only talking about the top 3, edwards.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

William is a smart guy but has not been around long enough to develop an instinct for how the appetite of Americans changes from election to election.

William's race-analysis would make a decent subject for a term paper. All else being equal, it isn't a trivial subject. But all else is never equal. In my opinion, William underestimates the strengths of the various currents in play in 2007/8.

Last time, the Dems needed a dull white guy badly. Too bad the dull white guy they picked wasn't more likeable.

This time around, for the Dems to select a dull white guy would be admitting defeat. That's not what America is hungering for now.

Golgi opinion Dull-o-meter:

Dodd and Biden actually aren't dull, even though they are long-term Senators.

Edwards is really dull.

Richardson is dull enough that it barely matters that he's technically not Anglo.

Obama: Definitely not dull.

Clinton: Dull except for her sex, which isn't enough.

Posted by: Golgi | February 23, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

meuphys: You may find CQ interesting in that it has an article about the Clinton/Obama dustup. Something I had not thought about for years. Check it out.

Posted by: lylepink | February 23, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

meuphys, it doesn't matter that the madras thing, or any other Muslim smears about Obama aren't true.

People will believe them anyway, and in politics, getting votes is what matters.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Meuphys, Adam Putnam one of the Munchkin leaders in Congress is still letting the discredited story float wherever it will. (On Kool-Aid most likely.) PutNut was quoted as saying that he didn't care if the story was false or not. Which I seem to recall the Junior Nazi saying also more than once.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: There is no point in ingoring the issue of race. It is the elephant in the room, and Dems who pretend race won't even be an issue in a presidential election are doing their own party a disservice. You said my analysis of a candidate's electability depends a great deal on race. My analysis does depend a great deal on that, because a candidate's electability in the general depends a great deal on that.

Race certainly isn't the only issue, but it is an issue. Pretending it's not would be like pretending that there is no evidence to support the idea of global warming.

Just like global warming, there are different views on HOW MUCH race will affect electability, but it certainly will.


Drindl, yes, I am opposed to international treaties which paint the US into a corner and limit what we, as a sovereign nation, can and cannot do.

George Washington cautioned against treaties which impinge on our sovereignty.

Furthermore, as much as liberals would LOVE the world to be comrpised of one country called "Earth" or something like that, the fact is that such an entity would be disastrous for us.

Since most of the world's countries are poor, the first thing that the impoverished peoples of China, India, Africa, Latin America, etc would do is vote to institute socialism, so they could take our wealth and redistribute it.

Say goodbye to your Volvo V-70 and 3 bedroom apartment in the City. They'll be taken from you and given to some poor minority family, as reparations for "racism and colonialism" that your eeeeeeevillllllllllllll white ancestors assuredly partook in.

Next, they would flood the "civilized" areas of the world with their uncivilized hordes, in the name of "racial diversity."

Then, they would outlaw any opinions which differed from the official, anti-Western, socialist, PC version of things.

That's because in order for people to be "truly free" "barriers" such as "ignorance and prejudice and poverty" must be eliminated, at least according to the Sandanistas teaching political science @ UC Berkeley.

So, it would become illegal for anyone to point out that minorities commit a disproportionate percentage of crimes. Even though that is true, mentioning it might lead to "ignorance and prejudice" thus preventing said minorities from being "truly free," using the definition of freedom adhered to by communist Columbia professors.

In addition, everyone would be told where to live, and people from the suburbs would be foricibly relocated to the "ghettos" and vice versa, in order to promote diversity.

(Even if said diversity was accomplished by minorities gang-raping your daughter. How eeevilll and racist she was, to refuse to have sex with those nonwhite people. They are only taking out their frustration at the "legacy of colonialism".)

Do you see where I am going with this? If there was just one global country, as nice as that might sound, in reality it would look like a combination of South Africa, Baghdad 2007, and Brazil.

Not pretty.

Even if we were only to join the ICC or ICJ, they would force us to donate a huge portion of our national revenue to fight "world poverty". They would also declare it illegal for us to deny illegals amnesty, and force us to increase illegal immigration.

A world court will inevitably rule in favor of the 3rd world, at our expense.

We have nothing to gain (except liberals feeling good about themselves) and everything to lose, by participating in a World Court, or more equal UN, where voting power is determined by population.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

the wisdom of william - "Obama is even more risky. He grew up in a foreign country, and has a Muslim past, and is half white and half black. These factors leave him highly vulnerable to smear attacks like the "Call Me" or "Hands" ads."

1, you can't get over the fact that a lot of people seem to find a black man personable and intelligent. 2, obama lived in indonesia for a few years. he grew up in hawaii, which has been part of the u.s. since way before you were whelped.

tell me, william, have you ever been abroad yourself? it's a great experience - people in other countries are surprisingly intelligent and cultured. although, when you go, try to avoid seeking out the nearest mcdonald's.

also, WILL YOU GIVE THE 'MUSLIM' THING A REST ALREADY. i know it's a neo-con talking point, but it has been proven untrue by REAL news organizations who do not belong to rev. moon.

Posted by: meuphys | February 23, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Mark -

Here is Huckabee's record, in brief since I have to sign off soon.

Gay Marriage: Strongly Opposed.

Abortion: Strongly opposed, says if a South Dakota style abortion had been passed in AR, he would have signed it into law.

Gun rights: Huckabee holds a Concealed Carry permit, and says he opposes "Assault Weapon" Bans (AWBs). However, a couple of times, he has made comments which seem to justify AWBs. But in general, he is pro-gun.

Taxes and the Economy: Huckabee's record was blasted by the conservative Club For Growth recently, which published a detailed report on his record, available on their website. Huckabee's record was described as being quite liberal and disturbing with "splashes of conservativism." Huckabee raised taxes on many things during his tenure, and on some items taxes increased 113%. He is also on record supporting internet taxes, and opposing the Bush tax cuts. In all, Huckabee is probably more demand-side than supply-side.

Immigration: Huckabee believes that the issue of illegal immigration has given our nation a "second chance" to "atone" for segregation. He not only favors giving government benefits to all illegals and their children, but believes we are obligated to give amnesty to all illegal Hispanics who are already here AND all illegals who will come in the future, in order to "make up for" our racist past. According to Huckabee, in his own words, those who oppose amnesty are "driven by racism."

Iraq: Huckabee has given quiet support to The Surge.

Foreign Policy: Huckabee wants to engage in unilateral talks and negotiations with Iran, Syria, and North Korea. He believes we need to be more accomodating to the wishes of other nations. Huckabee supports the role and mission of the UN.

Death Penalty: Huckabee has an extremely shaky record on the death penalty. He claims he supports it in principal, but thinks it should be used very rarely if ever. He commuted the sentences of, relatively speaking, many prisoners on AR death row. In actuality, Huckabee effectively opposes the death penalty.

Law and Order: Huckabee believes in "restorative justice" which holds that society is to blame for a criminal's actions, and that the criminal is really a victim, too. Under restorative justice, a criminal must be rehabilitated and released as soon as possible.

Huckabee has a penchant for pardoning or paroling dangerous capital offenders. In numerous cases, he ordered the release of an offender, and soon after he released them, they raped or murdered innocent victims. This scenario played out while Huckabee was governor all too often.

Huckabee has made at least one comment indicating he believes that we need to address the "root causes" of terrorism, and that terrorists can be rehabilitated as well.

Church/State: Huckabee supports school prayer and the teaching of Intelligent Design in addition to evolution.

Global Warming: Huckabee supports the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel, and has made at least one statement in qualified support of a Kyoto type treaty.

So basically, Huckabee's overall record on the issues is "liberal, with splashes of conservativism."

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Mark -

Here is Huckabee's record, in brief, since I have to sign off soon.

Gay Marriage: Strongly Opposed.

Abortion: Strongly opposed, says if a South Dakota style abortion had been passed in AR, he would have signed it into law.

Gun rights: Huckabee holds a Concealed Carry permit, and says he opposes "Assault Weapon" Bans (AWBs). However, a couple of times, he has made comments which seem to justify AWBs. But in general, he is pro-gun.

Taxes and the Economy: Huckabee's record was blasted by the conservative Club For Growth recently, which published a detailed report on his record, available on their website. Huckabee's record was described as being quite liberal and disturbing with "splashes of conservativism." Huckabee raised taxes on many things during his tenure, and on some items taxes increased 113%. He is also on record supporting internet taxes, and opposing the Bush tax cuts. In all, Huckabee is probably more demand-side than supply-side.

Immigration: Huckabee believes that the issue of illegal immigration has given our nation a "second chance" to "atone" for segregation. He not only favors giving government benefits to all illegals and their children, but believes we are obligated to give amnesty to all illegal Hispanics who are already here AND all illegals who will come in the future, in order to "make up for" our racist past. According to Huckabee, in his own words, those who oppose amnesty are "driven by racism."

Iraq: Huckabee has given quiet support to The Surge.

Foreign Policy: Huckabee wants to engage in unilateral talks and negotiations with Iran, Syria, and North Korea. He believes we need to be more accomodating to the wishes of other nations. Huckabee supports the role and mission of the UN.

Death Penalty: Huckabee has an extremely shaky record on the death penalty. He claims he supports it in principal, but thinks it should be used very rarely if ever. He commuted the sentences of, relatively speaking, many prisoners on AR death row. In actuality, Huckabee effectively opposes the death penalty.

Law and Order: Huckabee believes in "restorative justice" which holds that society is to blame for a criminal's actions, and that the criminal is really a victim, too. Under restorative justice, a criminal must be rehabilitated and released as soon as possible.

Huckabee has a penchant for pardoning or paroling dangerous capital offenders. In numerous cases, he ordered the release of an offender, and soon after he released them, they raped or murdered innocent victims. This scenario played out while Huckabee was governor all too often.

Huckabee has made at least one comment indicating he believes that we need to address the "root causes" of terrorism, and that terrorists can be rehabilitated as well.

Church/State: Huckabee supports school prayer and the teaching of Intelligent Design in addition to evolution.

Global Warming: Huckabee supports the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel, and has made at least one statement in qualified support of a Kyoto type treaty.

So basically, Huckabee's overall record on the issues is "liberal, with splashes of conservativism."

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

William: Testing you on the Gov. Bush and you caught it well. Yes I did hear that former Gov. Jeb Bush was/is going to support Romney. This was about a week or so ago on one of the cable news shows, and btw we all know they report nothing but the truth, tongue in cheek. I still have a hunch Chuck Hagle just might get in the race once the others have been brought down to be within striking distance.

Posted by: lylepink | February 23, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Me, not Republican. Raised as an evangelical, originally from [quite conservative] Southern California, with most family in the South and Midwest.

I don't much like bush's trade agreements eithr, but probably for different reasons than you, but ths:

'Such subversion includes participation in the ICC OR ICJ, signing treaties like Kyoto, 'untrustworthy anti-American nations like India and Brazil and South Africa '

You just hate the idea of any international treaties, don't you? Or trusting anyone, or having any allies? Do you not get that it's hard to win a war, or accomplish much of anything else, without allies? Don't they have a history department at Liberty U?

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

William... I misspoke, I meant he served since 2005 but it was in a GOP-majority Senate so he, and other Dems, were serving at a disadvantage. I consider the failures to be on the GOP watch. Thanks for having me clarify.

Insofar as the UN is concerned, I agree to some extent, and I'm not sure it can be rehabilitated. It's more sound than fury. In the meantime, our anti-U.S. Central and South American neighbors are cementing relations in a mini-UN way. If we had any kind of a foreign policy it would help, but can't expect that from Rice the Unready.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

William, "White guy" Vilsack couldn't have come close to the nomination, I guarantee you he wouldn't even have carried Iowa.

I find it interesting that you base a lot of your analysis on the race of the candidates. I'm not saying you're wrong, just sincerely hope so.

I think people are looking for sane leadership and someone who can put an intelligent sentence together. Many can fit this bill including Biden, Obama, Dodd and others. But the campaign season is young and many candidate minefields await.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter, you don't consider the 109th to be a failed congress??????


As for the NAU, yep, it is happening, and Bush is implementing it, and the treasonous MSM loves the idea, which is why they aren't mentioning it, because they know there will be a backlash.

But when I said Hunter "will preserve American sovereignty" I also meant resisting, in addition to the NAU, the subverting of our sovereignty to the UN.

Such subversion includes participation in the ICC OR ICJ, signing treaties like Kyoto, allowing the UN to have veto power over US policy, giving untrustworthy anti-American nations like India and Brazil and South Africa seats on the Security Council, etc.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

To GTM, William, and JimD in Fla:

I am an independent in Austin, TX and not an evangelical so I have not looked at Huckabee through the eyes of a "Republican primary voter."

I suggested that Huckabee took consistent and principled socially conservative positions that the evangelicals I know will find palatable but from which moderates and independents will not cringe in
abject terror. I gather that you think that the social conservatives in the Republican Party will not rally around him to the extent I imagine and that he is less than the perfect running mate for a more centrist Republican presidential candidate.

I may have misread the tone of your comments, of course.

Are you guys Republicans? Aside from Jim, are you in the south or the west? And are any of you evangelicals?

I can only claim the geographical identity here - but I truly want to know if y'all have a better handle on Huckabee than I do.

Thanks for your consideration.

Posted by: Mark | February 23, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I have never heard that Jeb Bush is supporting anyone yet, and he is not "still a Gov."

The current governor of Florida is named Charles Crist, not Jeb Bush.

Jeb Bush IS a FORMER governor, just like Jim Gilmore or Howard Dean or Tom Ridge.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, I agree that a Giuliani nomination would fracture the right. So would a Romney nomination. The only thing I can't think of is, who would the 3rd party challenger be? They would have to have a high profile, but Tancredo won't do it.

I CAN see the problem of fracturing being mitigated to some extent if McCain, Rudy or Romney get the nomination and choose someone who is REALLY LOVED by the right as their VP. Examples of such people are Sanford, Barbour, Sessions, etc.

There are also a lot of Class of 2004 GOP senators who are loved by conservatives, but they (unlike Obama) realize they don't yet have the experience to run. They are Coburn, Thune, Vitter, and DeMint.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

William: I have read your comments and find you are not very accurate. Jeb Bush is supporting Romney the last I heard, and he is still a Gov. for example. The frontrunners are mainly three in each party and as best as I can figure it is based on a number of polls. I repeat can anyone help me out on this, for I seem to be missing something.

Posted by: lylepink | February 23, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

pacman, I think that Vilsack's exit will remove a highly electable yet solidly liberal candidate from the race.

Vilsack is boring and bland, but he would have been a solid bet for the Democrats in an election year that will probably favor the Dems to begin with.

He is not "unique" or "new" or "a glass ceiling breaker" like Obama or Clinton, nor is he charismatic.

But he passes the "Who would you want to have a beer" test. He comes off as an average guy who can relate to average concerns. He's a relatively moderate governor from a moderate, slightly red state, and he could appeal to swing voters.

Also, he would have been a safe bet for Dems. Nothing new, nothing risky.

Just an average, midwestern, white guy.

If 2008 is a blue year, as it probably will be, then Vilsack probably would have won with ease, and Dems would have gotten a candidate at least as liberal as Clinton into the WH.

As things stand now, there is no "safe bet" for the Dems.

HRC is VERY polarizing, does not excite the liberal base, and is female, and is married to Bill Clinton. Because of these factors, she is a risky bet.

Obama is even more risky. He grew up in a foreign country, and has a Muslim past, and is half white and half black. These factors leave him highly vulnerable to smear attacks like the "Call Me" or "Hands" ads.

Smear attacks on Obama might play upon him being black, the interracial marriage issue, or, most likely, the Muslim issue.

He is not a strong candidate.

Also he has a relatively far left record from the IL senate which will be used against him.

Edwards is probably more electable than HRC or Obama, since he doesn't have the "risk" factor that Obama and HRC have.

But Edwards has really swung out left since 2004, and is seen as a retread and a lightweight. He will not be able to hold his own in a debate against McCain, Hunter, or probably even Giuliani.

If Brownback or Romney is the nominee, though, experience may be less of an issue.

Edwards has come close to advocating socialist solutions to problems like poverty, which may turn a lot of swing voters off.

Also, the blogging scandal will hurt him, as well as his hypocritical house purchase.

Richardson is highly qualified, but also carries some risk for Dems since he is Hispanic.

You'd think that after 12 years out of power in Congress and 8 years out of power in the Oval, Dems would play it safe.

But that's not what they are doing.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the Line underestimates Richardson. He should be a first tier candidate. While still small in numbers, he has been able to get solid upward movement (like over 100% in New Hampshire) in just the last month. His 2 million dollars in one night fundraiser and his ability to wow crucial crowds (DNC and Carson City) mean he is connecting with the right people in the party for the primary season.

Posted by: Expat Teacher | February 23, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Anon... Think again about U.S. sovereignty being far-fetched. Bush is pushing for a North American Union with Mexico and Canada, and is puting in place the infrastructure to support this thrust, including new currency like the Euro.

Besides, it'll become a done deal when most of Mexico finally takes up residence in the U.S.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Anon... First of all, Obama started serving in January 2005 so he didn't serve in the failed GOP-majority Congresses. By 2008 he will have four years of experience in the Senate. A thin resume, I agree.

You don't consider a back-alley voodo--economics conservative far right?.... OK, whatever. The only thing good I can say about Hunter is that he could save us from a Haley Barbour nomination, now he's scary.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed your ranking of the candidates; am hoping my favorite son candidate Joe Biden makes the next cut with his call to revoke the 2002 Iraq vote and hopefully supplant Chris Dodd. (I confess I probably have the only Biden for President bumper sticker in all of South Carolina)! Think Richardson will probably make "show money" the next go-round, replacing Edwards. It looks like the only sure vote Dennis Kucinich can count on is Willie Nelson's.

Posted by: Frank Schilling | February 23, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

'as well as preserving America's sovereignty.'

umm, I don't really think anyone is trying to destroy america's 'sovereignity' -- is that some black helicopter fantasy?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Don't you think, William, that a third party candidate will fracture the right?

Hannity's pushing hard for Guiliani, but Limbaugh is not supporting or trashing anyone. Says he'll support whoever the R nominee is, because anyone is bettr than a Dem. And this true abut a number of rightwing pundits -- they seem quite in disarray at this point, so it seems quite wide open, more so than I have seen in a long long time.

And as far as Kucinich is concerned, I just don't think he has a constituency... his viewpoints may be fine, but his irritating self-righteousness, like Nader's, turns most people on the left off.

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

The long post above was mine.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Vilsack was too "normal" to be a serious candidate for President, but he may have enhanced his chances for a cabinet position, such as at Agriculture.

The Obama/Clinton dust-up may have tarnished both. Obama, because he missed a good chance to enhance his "positive campaign" agenda. The Clinton response was shrill and missed the mark. Probably no real damage because it's so early.

The Clinton response does show that, unlike John Kerry, her campaign won't let an attack go unanswered. If nothing else, it shows she's wearing her steel cup.

But the Geffen comments might be more ominous to her--especially if significant left-coast support, both personally and financially, abandon her. It may mean that the "move to the middle" may start earlier than anyone expected.

Posted by: pacman | February 23, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter - If serving in "failed Congresses" isn't enough for president, then why is Obama running? He served in ONE do nothing congress, and now he wants to be president.

About Hunter, you may consideer him "scary right", but since you are a liberal, you probably think that anyone to the right of HRC is "scary right."

Hunter is a mainstream conservative Republican. He opposes abortion and gay marriage, is pro-gun, pro-capital punishment, anti-amnesty, and favors an assertive (not aggressive) foreign policy, a strong military, as well as preserving America's sovereignty. Like almost all Republicans, he supports supply-sde economics as well.

He is also more electable than Romney, Brownback, Huckabee, or Guiliani.

Huckabee is too liberal on many issues for conservatives, but to the rest of the country, as another Born Again Southern evangelical, he is thought of as Bush Reloaded.

Brownback is thought of as a pro-amnesty version of Rick Santorum.

Giuliani will result in HUGE GOTV problems with the conservative base, causing swing states to fall to the Dems. There would also be a Ross Perot style 3rd party challenge, which might even take some electoral votes.

Since Guiliani is "pulling a Romney", I think his appeal to blue state voters will erode almost as badly as Romney's has.

Mitt Romney will turn off a ton of people since he is is seen as untrustworthy. Basically he is a political chameleon, transforming his views every 2 minutes depending upon whom he is talking to. He has too much of a liberal record.

Moreover, in a general election, Romney would be a very weak candidate. He has no geographical area of support, and his liberal record will discourage conservative turnout. That will cause swing states to go Dem. His Mormonism will also hurt him.

Romney is unelectable.

I still see McCain as electable, but given a choice between McCain and Hunter, who is also electable, I will choose Hunter.

Hunter served in Vietnam (unlike Bush) as an Army Ranger in one of the units that saw the most action in the war.

He has tons of military experience, and his 28 (by 08) years in Congress, including many as Chairman/ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, give him foreign policy and legislative experience.

Also, perhaps if he wins the nomination, it will be a wakeup call to the media that in order to be a nominee, you don't have to have the title of Senator or Governor.

I think Hunter would make a good president. He is a Reaganite conservative.

My first choice is still Hayley Barbour, though. Sanford is great too.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

'amature'? don't they know how to spel in the montains?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Amature hour at Obama campaign. I can't believe the so called reformer let himself get drawn into such a petty squable this early. For a candidate to claim to be above negative attacks it sure didn't take the Obama camp long to forget that campaign promise. I don't know why people think Obama is any different then any other politician. He's spent his career in politics and is proving that will say anything to get elected.

Posted by: mountain man | February 23, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Dunno William...
It's snake oil to be sure, but I am afraid that there is a real market for it.
Can definitely see Giuliani winning the primaries, as sad as that would be.

Glad to hear a staunch Republican coming out and calling Hannity a snake oil salesman, though. That's a good sign for truth, justice and the American way.

Posted by: Golgi | February 23, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink- read my above post about why Giuliani will find it difficult, though not impossible, to win the primary.

Basically, most conservatives despise McCain so much that they will pick someone else during a poll, but when the primaries come around, Giuliani is going to have to answer for a lot of baggage and liberal views.

Also, most people don't know his positions on the issues yet. The average voter in SC or OK or MT has no idea where Rudy stands on guns or abortion.

Since there is no major staunch conservative who is running, a lot of politicians with higher ambitions are backing the perceived frontrunner, McCain, which only serves to add to his growing momentum.

A lot of social conservatives will think "There's no one I like, but McCain is better than Giuliani or Romney, so I'll take the best I can get."

That's why most major conservative politicians have rallied around McCain, such as Hayley Barbour, Trent Lott, John Thune, Tim Pawlenty, Mark Sanford (sort of), and a LOT of others.

Romney has the support of a number of conservative congresspeople from the RSC, but the only senator supporting him is Jim DeMint, and the only governor supporting him is Matt Blunt (who is in a tough fight for reelection himself.)

Some conservative commentators like Hannity in particular are trying HARD to peddle Giuliani's snake oil, arguing that he would make a great president since he stood near ground zero on 9/11 and got rid of the squeegee men in NYC.

But most politicians don't see Guiliani as viable, which is why only 4 congresspeople, IIRC from an earlier Fix post, have supported him, and 2 of them are from NY.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I would like to know more about Duncan Hunter.... all I know is that he is for a border fence and wants to stem illegal immigration. So far so good, but I perceive him as scary far, far right on most other things (I think both the moderate left and most of the right want the border invasion and illegal immigration stemmed).

Serving time in many failed Congresses, especially on the Armed Services Committee during the trumped-up invasion of Iraq, isn't enough. Where's the beef?

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree. I didn't even know that Tancredo or Tommy Thompson were running! And when some other minor candidates announced, they weren't mentioned on The Fix at all. I'd like to see fewer inane news posts about the frontrunners (Hillary impresses 15 people! Romney is a Mormon!) and more discussion of the lesser-known candidates.

Maybe part of the problem is that this campaign, and the campaign coverage, is starting so early. The debates are far away and nobody has come up with very detailed policies. So there isn't much to talk about except fundraising and early endorsements, areas dominated by the top-tier candidates. I think we'll see more movement in the rankings once the debates start and the lower-tier candidates get more exposure.

Posted by: Blarg | February 23, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I cannot see where McCain is the GOP frontrunner. Consider the current polls and we find Rudy is ahead in most of them and even in double digets in some. I mentioned some time ago about how many supporters of GW are cozying up to others, in spite of the support McCain has shown for GW. I hope someone will tell me what I seem to be missing.

Posted by: lylepink | February 23, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I do not like any of the top tier candidates in either party.

Quintis-Arius - Florida is not a Democratic state. We have had Republican governors and state legislature for over 8 years now. Jeb is popular and is far more articulate and intelligent and detail oriented than his older brother.

Chris is finally coming around to the view I have stated in here for months about Giuliani - in a fractured Republican field he could win a lot of primaries with 30 - 40%. And, those primaries are winner-take-all for delegates. Furthermore, Giuliani could sink Mccain's candidacy. They are competing for a lot of the same voters. McCain is deeply distrusted by the base and his front-runner status is based, in large part, on his perceived electability, If Giuliani takes him out in several early primaries, a lot of his support will evaporate. I do not see Romney being successful running as a social conservative - far too many YouTube moments from his 1994 and 2002 campaigns in Massachusetts waiting to be put in attack ads. His religion will hurt him with a significant minority of evangelicals - especially in the south. However, his fundraising ability and organization could keep him in the race for a while. That could prevent either Brownback or Huckabee emerging as the main opponent to Giuliani. So, if Giuliani knocks out McCain and Romney fails to emerge as the solid favorite of the social conservatives, it would be Giuliani versus three social conservatives.

I agree with im that it does not always come down to "God, guns and gays" with Republicans. And I agree with david that a number of evangelicals will support Giuliani because they agree with him on national security, law and order, judicial nominations and fiscal conservatism. However, there are, in fact, a significant group for whom social issues are paramount. I cannot see James Dobson and other religious right leaders supporting Giuliani - they would have to eat far too much crow. Giuliani's nomination, which looks less improbable than it did 6 months ago, would guarantee a third party challenge from the religious right. There is a significant minority within the Republican party for whom abortion and "the sanctity of marriage" trump everything. Liberals often do make the mistake of portraying all Republicans, or a majority of Republicans, as belonging to the religious right. However, it would be equally mistaken not to recognize that there are a number of religious conservatives that could never support Giuliani.

Posted by: JimD in FL | February 23, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

It's really sad when qualified candidates have to bow out simply because they don't have enough money.

And it's shameful how the MSM completely ignores even 2nd Tier candidates.

Listening to the news on TV, and reading this blog, you would think that the only Dems running are Hillary, Obama and Edwards, and the only Rep's running are Rudy, McCain, and Romney.

Doesn't the media have a responsibility to inform the public of all their choices for president, rather than just annointing 3 "Top Teir" members in each party and pretending no one else exists?

I'm not saying Dennis Kucinich should be given the same amount of air time and news coverage as Obama or Clinton, but I mean come on, the MSM should at least mention "minor" candidates once in a while.

Candidates like Duncan Hunter are quite viable. Hunter has been in Congress since 1980, which is more experience than any other candidate from either party. And he has been Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee as well.

He deserves some coverage.

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

William, What is striking about your interesting list is how the Dem candidates have so much more substance than the GOPers.

The Dem list thins at Kucinich with six solid candidates ahead of him.... the GOP field thins after second place McCain.

And if Clark and Gore jump in the Dems will be swimming in winners.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

'Mike D - you're an idiot.'

nice, william, is that how you always enter a room? first words out of your mouth, something rude?

I love your list of hateful, nasty, unelectable republicans. you all go for it!

and dennis kucinich? get over it. nobody wants him, from the right OR left. red herring.

Posted by: udurango | February 23, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

'The former Massachusetts governor's main message to workers during the visit was that it doesn't make sense for the country to send its oil dollars to nations that dislike the United States, so he's developing a plan for energy independence in the not-too-distant future.

Expanding the use of wind, solar, nuclear and improved coal technologies could help the nation create as much energy as it uses within 20 to 30 years some experts believe, a timeframe Romney cited but would not embrace until he delivers his formal speech on the subject at some future date.'

Mitt says the obvious, duh, then hedges, tapdances, dodges and postpones dealing with it until the 'future'...

how i would love to see al gore kick mitt's butt in a debate... i would pay to see that.

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Tina.... your thought for the weekend. Condi's supposed area of expertise is Russia, and our relations with them are in the deep freeze plus they are supplying arms to Iran and cozying up to China. So, sure, let's turn the country over to her....

Tina, take your great enthusiasm and support someone who has a clue.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Mike D - you're an idiot.

im - There are two reasons that Giuliani is currently doing so well in the polls.

1. Most people don't know his stances on the issues but remember 9/11

2. Most conservatives hate McCain since he has betrayed them on many occasions. So in polls, they may say they support Giuliani just to spite McCain. But when the elections get closer, they will think long and hard about whom they want to be president. Romney is non-viable. But some other candidates will start to bite into Guiliani's numbers. Rudy has nowhere to go but down.

To whomever - Huckabee will not be in the VP slot on any ticket. If someone else wins the primary, they will need to pick a true conservative to energize the base. Huckabee has the reputation of being conservative, but really he is only conservative on gay marriage and abortion. The GOP short list for VP's is probably Barbour, Sanford, Pawlenty, Sessions, Rounds in that order.


Someone asked for a Dark Horse Line. OK. I will include the frontrunners too, just for perspective.

Of course, if a new candidate enetered the race, this line would completely change. But I am not including Gore, Clark, Hagel, Warner, Gingrich, etc since they are not officially running.

If I forgot anyone, let me know. The Dem field really seems to be thinning.

DEMS:

1. Hillary Clinton

2. Barack Obama / John Edwards

3. Bill Richardson

4. Joe Biden - better versed on foreign policy and from a more moderate state than Dodd.

5. Chris Dodd

6. Dennis Kucinich


GOP:

1. John McCain

2. Rudy Giuliani/ Mitt Romney

3. Sam Brownback

4. Mike Huckabee (really, I could have given Huckabee the third spot, but since Brownback appears to have more infrastructure in place than he does, and since Brownback is more conservative economically, I ranked him ahead of Huckabee.)

5. Duncan Hunter (On the grassroots level, especially among gunowners and anti-amnesty conservatives, Hunter is gaining popularity and name recognition. Being from CA gives him a new flavor.)

6. Jim Gilmore

7. Tom Tancredo

8. Tommy Thompson (He has better credentials than Gilmore or Tancredo, but since he is a moderate Republican, the sort of people who would ordinarily support someone like him in the primaries will be supporting McCain or Guiliani. Also, he will find it impossible to raise money, and with no grassroots support, he is nonviable.)

9. Ron Paul (A libertarian ordinarily would find it difficult to win the GOp nomination, but Paul recently alienated even many of his supporters by siding with Dems on the Iraq resolution.)

Posted by: William | February 23, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Proto-fascist newsite newsmax sends out a fundrasing email about al gore and the oscars...

If you're as disturbed by this as we are, you have a chance to make a difference. For the first time since Ronald Reagan left Hollywood for Washington there is a voice in Hollywood to counter the political left. The Liberty Film Festival is Hollywood's first pro-American, pro-Israel, conservative film festival and cultural organization. Its purpose is to create the kind of film product of which Americans who love freedom and love their country can be proud.'

Oh, and they want donations. Guess it doesn't occur to them that the reason there aren't more films of the kind they mention is because nobody goes to see them.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I know this is pointless, but...

Tina, Condi Rice has never been elected to any office in her life. She's never taken part in a campaign. Basically, she's not a politician, and has no political experience. She also has absolutely no domestic policy experience. Why do you think she would be a suitable candidate for president? Would you trust her policies on healthcare, or on taxes, or on education, or on any other topic which she's never had to deal with?

Posted by: Blarg | February 23, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Obama-Dodd '08

Posted by: Golgi | February 23, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

'CONDI punching Hillary BAG OF WIND. It is funny to me'

yeah, i expect that would be about your speed, tina. you simple con types really go for mindless violent kindergarten humor... hilarious.

Wow! condi raised $20 thousand! why, she could buy a pair of the kind of shoes she likes with that...

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

colorado kool-aid -- at least you admit you drink it.

cheney is scum who's nothing but a war profiteer and chickenhawk. he's made more than $90 million off halliburton stock while our troops were dyin -- and he lied to put them there.

he had five deferments during vietnam -- five. never served. scumbag. worst president in history.

Posted by: durango | February 23, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

As an Iowan I'm glad that Vilsack read the tea leaves and is not continuing his quixotic quest.... the tea leaves told him he doesn't have the $$$, and his poor poll standing in his home state tells the rest of the story.

Vilsack is a decent guy, and happily has bowed out before trying for the Peter Principle.

BTW, why no mention of Biden? I think he has more standing than Dodd and will be grabbing attention with his forthcoming war resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq war authorization.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | February 23, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"10. John Kerry changes his mind and gets back in"

Iva, don't even joke about that! If you say his name three times, he appears and runs for president!

Posted by: Blarg | February 23, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/14653

If you want a good laugh, click on this site above and see an ATHLETIC CONDI punching Hillary BAG OF WIND. It is funny to me. I found it doing a search on a site called Americans for Dr. Rice.

Iva, people besides me are talking about Condi running for president. She is in the polls, and mentioned as a late entry just like Newt Gingrich. I am not creating the polls, you can find them all by yourself if you look at Gallup and Zogby. I have not been spending money on radio ads either, but ads have been running in Iowa and New Hampshire for Condi. It is part of the FCC record for 2005 and 2006; probably $20,000 in ads from fundraising for Condi 2008.
Check it out, the information is available for reporters to document these facts.

Posted by: Tina | February 23, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Watch for Al Gore to get into the race after his movie wins the Oscar. (He didn't want to do anything to politicize the Academy voting.) He's got plenty of personal money now and can suck up big cash when he announces. And there are plenty of people who believe now is not the time to have an amateur for president.

Posted by: Mike | February 23, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Random thoughts:

I think Rudy is doing well, and can win the nomination, because Republicans want to win the election and they know they are in trouble because of Iraq. They will nominate Rudy if they think he is their Arnold for all of America.

I continue to be impressed with both Huckabee and Richardson and I think they both may break into the "top three" on their side (likely replacing Romney and Edwards). I think the debates will be their chance to make a move.

Edwards in my view is in extremely serious trouble. To put it bluntly, he was the VP nominee in 2004, and he should be leading right now based on that fact alone. Since he isn't, something isn't working, and I don't see any signs of it getting fixed.

Posted by: DTM | February 23, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to believe how much it seems you guys in the media seem to underestimate Giuliani yet hype McCain. You consistently seem to mark McCain as the man to beat, when he consistently comes in as a close to distant second in every poll.

There is a ton of dislike for McCain in the GOP base. McCain's views may align more closely to the GOP platform, but he has repeatedly insulted GOP leaders and disrespected the party as a whole in ways Rudy never has. Rudy has always stuck by the party. GOP primary voters notice this.

You people in heavily blue areas may think it always comes down to "God, guns, and gays" to Republicans, but it doesn't.

Posted by: im | February 23, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Chris -

Do you know the geographical spread of your respondents?

Could you refine your blog by asking for that information, informally?

It would be interesting to know if most your New York respondents liked Giuliani or Clinton, while most of us westerners liked Richardson or McCain, and so forth.

I wonder if the truly warm feelings toward Richardson in Carson City were "regional". Again, they liked Biden and Edwards, too, but they really shined to the New Mexico Governor.

On another front, Barack Obama is in Austin today. I believe they have sold 16000 tix for his speech, outdoors along the lakefront, at one of Austin's popular music venues. I know a 15 year old girl cutting school this afternoon to see him.

That must mean something.

Posted by: mark | February 23, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"Hillary should know better than to engage in this two-bit pettiness."

But two-bit petty is what Hillary is - she can't help it.

"cheney is a cold-blooded murderer... lizards have more humanity" -- and the poster Durango is the smegma on the lizard's hind parts . . . what a pile you are!

Posted by: Colorado Kool-Aid | February 23, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

This long campaign makes Hillary and Obama less likely to be nominated.There is too much time for clay feet to show. Hillary will be less loveable every month and Obama's lack of substance will be more evident.Let us put the pressure on Al Gore to get into this fray.He will be getting great press for his Oscar and for his Nobel nomination.Al Gore can win again.

Posted by: c.perry | February 23, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Star,
I believe that TV commercials and the MSM don't do squat to really win a candidate support in the early going. It is people's friends who tell them about their candidates that really get people going. Whenever someone asks me about the 08 election the first words out of my mouth are "Bill Richardson...."

Also two million in one day in New Mexico, and he has old ties to the New England establishment money.

Posted by: Andy R | February 23, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Signs the campaign has been going on too long:

1. People are finally starting to spell "Giuliani" correctly

2. Criticism of HRC is more about policy and substance and less classic anti-feminist rants

3. The phrase "pulling a Romney" is in general use

4. Even Wes Clark fans are sick of hearing themselves flogging that dead horse

5. Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback reach 10% name recognition nationwide

6. People realize how old John McCain is

7. The number of people who've dropped out of the race is larger than the number who are still in the race

8. Mike Gravel makes the Friday Line

9. People finally give up on Condi Rice, Al Gore, and Colin Powell jumping into the race

10. John Kerry changes his mind and gets back in

Posted by: Iva Norma Stitts | February 23, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

It's nice to see a few out there jumping on the Richardson bandwagon.

Let's all go find a few more.

Posted by: star11 | February 23, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

News articles on Giuliani's recent trip to California indicated that the 800 or so he addressed turned a blind eye to those things which I thought would kill him with them.

Of course, he did feed them red meat making sure to include references to what they've missed so dearly for that past 15 years, The Cold War. Also, sprinkling in comments about America being the Fortress Against Terrorism.

God, it must have been great!

Maybe they'll actually let him pull the wool over their eyes.

Good point, Zippy. Notice how collegial the President was at the hastily called press conference the other day. 23 months left to shape the Legacy - Charm Offensive underway.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | February 23, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Re: Clilnton/Obama
Many years ago, I had a nephew that was retarded. He was a wonderful loving young man. His speech, what there was of it, was halting, disjointed, and very hard to understand.

I took him to an auction one day. The auctioneer was doing what auctioneers do chanting in this language that no one can really understand too well. Billy studied it for a while totally absorbed. He turned to me and said in clearly understandable speech, "This is weird Man, get me out of here"

Welcome to Clinton/Obama and the earliest bit of total nonsense in primary history! Get a life, guys.


Posted by: Ken McGee | February 23, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Chris, why does the little known Banking Chairman beat out the Sunday morning darling Foreign Relations Chairman???

Posted by: Nathan | February 23, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris- When are you going to take into account or report on all of Obama's "present" votes in the state legislature? It seems like it would be hard for him to stay "above politics" when voting "present" is about the most political move you could think of.

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2007/02/ever-present-obama.html

Posted by: L. Bird | February 23, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Vilsack out? Meaningless news. Never had a real chance. No Name recognition. Regardless of qualifications, excitement of a wet tea bag.

Sincere concern not to minimize McCain/Romney with evenhanded deference- Also Baloney. This goes Hand in Hand with Hillary's prospects.

For those who haven't noticed, we ain't gonna be out of Iraq by the election, much less January 21, 2009. No way, No How.

President and Cheney are on the offensive. They aren't going to let this go and ain't gonna go quietly if Congress gets some spine and tries to shut down their 'Great Adventure'. They have nothing to lose. Texas Fire Ants have a higher popularity rating than either of them.

And there's Hillary's conundrum. Dubya and Dick are her worst enemies because they are so determined to Stay The Course (remember that slogan?!)

People will be so hopping mad because IED's will be blowing up our troops during the primaries and the Democratic's will take it out on her because of her early vote and her hodge podge position on getting out.

And with troops on the ground in '08, most folks would vote for the Fire Ants before buying into another Republican's 'Gotta fight the good fight in the War on Terror'line they will need to keep their conservative base.

I backed Hillary over Kerry in 06. That's not the real world today. She's good but events are catching up with her.

Posted by: zippy | February 23, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Most of the comments here appear to be from Democrats. Understandable. But this Republican likes the matchup of the two lists of contenders. I prefer ex-governors or mayors with records of accomplishments Only one missing is Jeb. If his last name was Smith or Jones he'd be front-runner. Extremely capable leader with a long record of superior performance and approval from Democratic FL at 60%. Don't write him off...maybe VP choice.

Posted by: Quintus_Arius | February 23, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Vilseck dropped out primarily from a lack of money. How sad that a voice was lost from the discussion because he couldn't afford to run. Something needs to change people.

Posted by: FH | February 23, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

anyone who would count giuliani out b/c of his past support of leftist issues does not know some of the basics of the evangelical base world view. these guys honestly view some people (virtually all men) as being hand-picked by God to lead humanity at certain points. if they believe you to be one of these men, they are willing to forgive a HELL of a lot. right now, it is not seen in this community as a coincidence that giuliani was mayor or nyc during 9/11 and that he also helped clean nyc of so much sin and vice (i'm saying this is the perception, the reality is absolutely up for debate). with his "mini-messiah" status, enough religious evangelicals may look past his historical support of abortion, multiple wives, etc. as long as his present rhetoric (no judges legislating from the bench, etc.) remains sufficiently on target, and vote for him in enough numbers with moderate and liberal repubs to give him the nomination.

giuliani's main strength over mccain is that giuliani (excepting the little-cared about now '94 nyc's gov. race) hasn't broken reagan's 11th commandment: thou shalt not attack a fellow republican, with its all-too important corollary, ESPECIALLY WHEN THAT REPUBLICAN'S PRESIDENT.

also, look for hillary to cut a deal with wes clark guaranteeing him the vp slot on her ticket if he stays out of the race.

Posted by: david | February 23, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Draft Gore!, If you are going to draft Gore, you might as well go all out and draft Howard Dean as Gores VP running mate. It was DNC Chairman Dean, and not Emmanuel or Schumer who was responsible for the Democrats very successful election results last November. Now, throughout America, there are scores of newly elected Democrats who are beholden to Dean because of their election successes.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA | February 23, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

cheney is a cold-blooded murderer... lizards have more humanity.

'Feb. 23, 2007 | Tony Blair's announcement that Britain would withdraw 1,600 troops from southern Iraq by May, and aim for further significant withdrawals by the end of 2007, drew praise from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. "What I see," said Cheney, "is an affirmation of the fact that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well."

In reality, southern Iraq is a quagmire that has defeated all British efforts to impose order, and Blair was pressed by his military commanders to get out altogether -- and quickly. The departure has only been slowed, for the moment, by the pleas of Bush administration officials like Cheney. And far from the disingenuously upbeat prognosis offered by the vice president, the British withdrawal could spell severe trouble for both the Iraqi government and for U.S. troops in that country.

The British helped provide the security that allowed private supply convoys bearing fuel, food and ammunition to travel from Kuwait up through Shiite-held territory to the U.S. military's forward operating bases in and around Baghdad and in Anbar province. Col. Pat Lang, a retired senior officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency, has pointed out that if Shiite militias began attacking those trucks, American troops in the center-north of the country would become sitting ducks for the Sunni Arab guerrillas.'

Posted by: durango | February 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

IT'S A MIRACLE!!! WaPoo actually mentioned the names of presidential candidates other than Clinton, Obama and McCain!

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA | February 23, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Well since neither you, nor anyone else in the MSM would talk about the policy positions of the candidates and focus purely on the rediculous early horserace its no ownder that Vilsack, a viable candidate with good ideas, a clean track record, and a history of legislative success could get no traction and had to quit the "race".

Do you feel like a reporter Chris? The Fix is just another track-tout-pimp yellow sheet. I used to think you had it in you to be a reporter.

Posted by: Politics per MSM usual | February 23, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

'Does anyone in their right mind think a pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-gun control politician (Guiliani) can win the Republican nomination??'

You should hear Sean Hannity spin him. For the fear/mindless violence vote, there's nobody to beat Rudy. Those who are quaking under their beds out of terror of the 'islamfascist' boogeyman, will be able to forgive rudy anything as long he promises 'judges who don't legitlate from the bench' -- wink, wink, nod, nod -- and lots of bombing somewhere.

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

After reading your posts, Chris, I ask myself why we even need democracy anyway? Clearly you seem to think winning the love of the fat cat donors trumps grassroots energy. Your insight into the DC establishment mindset makes me nauseous. It's all about what big name you hired or big donor's ego you stroked to be your "pioneer." Nothing about what actually makes politics real for average voters.

Posted by: audemocrat | February 23, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Draft Gore!

I was on board with Hillary early on, but her refusal to say she was wrong turned me off. I like Obama, too, but not as much as Gore. I mean, the guy already won a national election - disgust with Bush will get him the votes he needs to win the electoral college. Come on, Al, run!

Posted by: Draft Gore! | February 23, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone in their right mind think a pro-abortion, pro-gay, pro-gun control politician (Guiliani) can win the Republican nomination?? Or someone who had these veiws right before he announced his candidacy?i.e. Mitt Romney.Why does anyone waste time even talking about these two?

Posted by: mike d | February 23, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Iceman, Joe Biden has a great resume like Richardson, except that all of his experience is in the Senate where as Richardson has worked in congress, the UN, as Secretary of Energy and as governor. So to answer your question I don't think there is anyone more qualified, on paper.

Posted by: Andy R | February 23, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Edwards rhetorically seems to grasp the campaign is about more than his personality and ambition. Clinton and Obama don't - at least that's the impression generated by their recent skirmish. Truthfully, I would take Al Gore over any of them.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | February 23, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Just curious...everything I see calls RIchardson the most qualified, yet most people, including me, who is leaning toward him at the moment, feel he has no real shot to win. Are there people out there who feel another Democrat is more qualified and, if so, why? This refers to people who are running, not phantom candidates like Gore.

Posted by: iceman | February 23, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

HRC is unfit to be President despite her obnoxious and egotistical claim to be "the most qualified".She either was too afraid to "appear" weak on terror to vote against the war or she was fooled by a bunch of idiots in the White House and now she wants to blame Bush for her own actions.Pathetic.And despite the claim she can be warm and witty in person, she comes across as cold and programmed on TV and in front of crowds. And rural white,rascist America has too much disproportionate say in the Electorial college for Obama to get elected. Maybe Clinton and Obama destroy each other and Edwards or Richardson rises to the top? I hope.

Posted by: mike d | February 23, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Just remember folks, March 4, 2008. Just about a year to the nomination. Money, staff and experience. Get ahead and stay ahead. Go for the big states, the little states are going, going....

Posted by: james b | February 23, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

JP there is no way that if Obama is nominated he doesn't choose a White Male VP candidate with lots and lots of experience. Someone like Evan Bayh, Wesley Clark, or Al Gore (Think on that). Richardson is the most qualified but he is hispanic and they won't double up with two minorities. That being said the democratic ticket will have either a woman or a minority on the ticket somewhere.

Posted by: Andy R | February 23, 2007 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Your comment that Guiliani would benefit from California moving up its primary because the Golden State is "moderate/liberal" in its ideology is wrong. I take it this judgement is based on Schwarzenegger's high approval ratings, but Schwarzenegger is, in fact, a historical fluke. California Republicans from Orange County, San Diego and the Sierras -- i.e., those who vote in the primary -- are, in fact, pretty conservative folk and Schwarzenegger makes them tear their hair out. The 2002 gubernatorial primary, won by Bill Simon, is more reflective of where the party rank and file are, and that does not bode well for Guiliani unless, of course, he successfully repackages himself, which is always possible.

Posted by: Scott F. | February 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

While I was writing my previous post, Andy R. noted Richardson's extraordinary fund raising. That would dovetail with how the Carson City audience perceived him.

He cannot win the charm race against Obama and Edwards, but he will prove to be formidable. When I think about it, he is the only Democrat who just might carry Texas.

Mark

Posted by: mark | February 23, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

jp, that is the ideal lineup, seems to me. with wes clark at defense at bill clinton at the u.n.

Posted by: meuphys | February 23, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I think you've once again done a good job of ranking the candidates, and I appreciate your insights and perspective. It is going to be a very interesting race in both parties, and fundraising is going to be a big determinant in who makes it to next year.

Here's a thought for the Dem ticket: Obama-Richardson. Geographic balance, idealism and experience, and apparent fundraising ability.

Posted by: JP | February 23, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I watched the Carson City Forum in its entirety on C-Span and compared my sense of the occasion with the views of audience members interviewed by the Reno
Gazette-Journal.

My view: Edwards wowed, Biden impressed and was likable, Richardson, Ms. Clinton, Vilsack, and Dodd all were quite presentable, and the other two were an afterthought.

The audience view: Richardson hit a home run, Biden and Edwards hit triples, Ms. Clinton received more negatives than positives, and the other four did not impress.

Reviewing the comments from the Nevada union audience caused me to revise my own impressions, somewhat. Richardson's competence does come through; so does Biden's.

As for your rankings, I now think you overestimate Dodd and underestimate Biden as a force to be reckoned with. I now think Edwards' blogger issue is for inside D.C. folks only, and will be meaningless to primary voters.

On the Republican side, I suspect that if Huckabee can raise money he will quickly outdistance Brownback.
His sense of decency shows through, and he is the perfect social conservative VP for McCain or Giuliani, as he does not call to mind the worst Tom Delay type excesses of the religious right. he can stress issues like "environmental stewardship" that will play to independents in the general election without alienating most evagelicals.

Of course, I am in Texas, so what do I know?

Posted by: mark | February 23, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

debbie, be careful or tina will re-appear to tell us why condi is destined for the presidency. ugh. (but tina, if you read this, please note that according to these numbers, condi lost 17 percentage points in approval between last august and last month.)

and drindl, you are correct. because it's the easiest and best story, the campaign has now been whittled down to three candidates in either party, although i do NOT like to include mitt romney in that group, and i'm still not convinced he isn't too phony for the average person.

i would still like to see bill richardson replace edwards as one of the democrats' top 3. i would like even more to see him replace hillary. i think he has the experience AND the distance from washington (at least 2007 washington) to make him a real player. sadly, though, it will depend on funding.

do you remember how bush essentially sat on mccain (financially) until he couldn't breathe (financially) in 2000? i think hillary is going to try to do the same thing to the others in the field, unfortunately.

here i would paraphrase lylepink and say, with each passing day i grow more and more convinced that i do not want her to be our next president. (ok, lyle, "potus.")

Posted by: meuphys | February 23, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I think the most suprising thing about this post is that Richardson raised 2 mil in one night. If he can put togethor 10 million in the first quarter his status as legitimate contender jumps up.

Also I thought his timing of calling on all the candidates to avoid negative campaigning was perfectly timed.

Guiliani's poll numbers are good now but I wonder how they look in the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

Posted by: Andy R | February 23, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

There is an interesting viewpoint from Karl Rove:
He said the people might be so sick and tired of the bickering by September 2007 that the polls will show support for a new face on the GOP side and the Dem side.
Some think Al Gore could come in later this year.
Others say Newt Gingrich will come in and a few have also said it could be Condi Rice.

The Zogby poll of Jan 2007 gave
Rudy 19%
McCain 17%
Newt 13%
Condi 9%
Romney 5%

A New Hampshire GOP picnic straw poll of August 2006 gave
Condi Rice 26%
McCain 26%
Rudy 14%

So the activists on both sides of the aisle might have more of an impact on who really wins delegates and who will be offically running by January 2008.
Al Gore could come out of nowhere to challenge Hillary and Obama.
I am going to interested to see who Vilsack supports for Iowa.

Posted by: Debbie | February 23, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

McCain and Romney seem to be trying to "out Jesus" each other.

Clinton & Obama are spating about nothing.

Seems like we should keep Bush, we all know how useless he is and good late night material.

Posted by: Chuck | February 23, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I feel like I never had any choice as to whom my candidate will be. The press has already chosen their favorites -- and we never even got to hear from the rest of them. What a shame.

Posted by: drindl | February 23, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The whole press brouhaha over what clinton said was silly -- if predictable. The DC press corps slathers over every little bit of celbrity gossip -- and the opportunity to smear 'Hollywood' and 'liberals' was just too tempting to pass up.

Hillary should know better than to engage in this two-bit pettiness. It plays directly into the hands of every enemies and takes attention away from the important things we should we talking about -- like policy i ssues.

Demanding the Obama give a donor's money back for a legitimate criticism of her husband was ludicrous. As for Geffen, he should just shut up. He's not doing anyone any favors except republicans.

Oh, btw, the wh**e Leiberman was on Hannity this week to criticize Democrats -- again. What a slimy neocon tool he is.

Posted by: drndl | February 23, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

You guys should do a ranking of the top five dark horse candidates in each party. We all know the Big Three candidates in each party make up the upper echelon. But what about the chances of the little guys? One of these candidates usually catches fire and makes a big impact on the primary (Howard Dean) if not win it outright (Bill Clinton). Let's hear a little bit more about the little candidates while they're still in the race.

Posted by: DeeeTroit! | February 23, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I suspect the LONG 2008 campaign will work to Obama's advantage. He will be able to make minor mistakes early and learn from them in time for the primaries.

As for staying above politics, What has he done?? Accepted money from someone who hates Clinton?

If no candidate is allowed to accept money from someone who hates the other candidates...

Posted by: Dan W | February 23, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Wes Clark for President!!!!!!!

Bill Richardson might be good though. The rest, I suspect, are a distraction. Sorry, guys.

Posted by: Dolly | February 23, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Wes Clark for President!!!!!!!

Bill Richardson might be good though. The rest, I suspect, are a distraction. Sorry, guys.

Posted by: Dolly | February 23, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

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