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The Line: '08 Hopefuls Shift Into High Gear

Given the rate at which 2008 presidential exploratory bids and outright campaigns are being announced these days, this week's Friday Line may be moot by the time you reach the end of it. Exhibiting our trademark "damn the torpedos" attitude, however, we soldier on.

The biggest change in this month's ranking of the presidential field is the flip-flopping of Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards on the Democratic side. Obama's initial signals of interest in a 2008 bid set off a frenzy of media coverage and excitement within the Democratic activist community. While that energy still exists, Obama must now harness it into the nuts and bolts of building a national organization that can compete with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Remember that Obama has never had a serious test in a run for elected office and must prove he can take a punch from a rival.

The Obama boomlet seems to have pushed Edwards to the side -- wrongly in our mind. Remember that Edwards is the best-known candidate in the field aside from Clinton and remains extremely popular in Iowa, the state that is currently scheduled to kick off the 2008 nomination fight. Edwards has skillfully courted the labor community over the past two years and retains a likeability and a charisma that moves ordinary voters.

On the Republican side, we drop Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee from the top 5 as he continues to show no signs of building any sort of organization in states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. In the words of the famous philosopher Yogi Berra "It gets late early out there"; it is getting late in the presidential game for Huckabee, who enjoys neither the name recognition nor the demonstrated fundraising capacity that others in the GOP field possess.

Replacing Huckabee on the Line is Sen. Sam Brownback, who at the moment seems most likely to carry the mantle of social conservatives in the early primary and caucus states. Brownback remains a longshot, but he is in the race, which counts for something in our eyes.

The candidates are ranked from one to five based on their likelihood of winning their respective party nominations. Your favorite candidate left out or not ranked highly enough? The comment section beckons.

To the Line!

REPUBLICANS

1. John McCain: Since the last presidential Line, McCain has formed a presidential exploratory committee, put a senior staff structure in place and continued to make key hires both on the national and state levels. These early moves are aimed at cementing the idea that not only is he the frontrunner in this race but also that he is leaving nothing to chance in the early days of the Invisible Primary. McCain's path is far from clear, however. He has work to do to convince social conservatives that he stands with them -- a key to his chances in the Iowa caucuses. And he is sure to come under heavier media scrutiny as the frontrunner than he did in 2000 as the underdog. The one intangible in the Arizona senator's favor: He's the only one in the field that's done this before. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Mitt Romney: Give Romney credit. In the space of a year, the soon-to-be former governor of Massachusetts has catapulted himself into a solid second place standing behind McCain. Only Romney is matching McCain at the inside-the Beltway game --- hiring well-regarded D.C. types like Matt Rhoades and Kevin Madden and competing with McCain for key activists in Iowa, New Hampshire and elsewhere. We still believe Romney must find a way in the not-so-distant future to address his Mormonism and his Massachusetts roots. Neither of the two "M's" is likely to sit well with conservative activists. At some point Romney's success from a process standpoint will run up against some pragmatic political hurdles. He is deft enough to leap them but needs to start limbering up. (Previous ranking: )

3. Newt Gingrich: Yes, the former Speaker of the House continues to creep up the Line. Why? Because Gingrich has three things that no other candidate in the field has: Nationwide name ID, a home state in the South and a following among social conservatives. A variety of candidates have one or even two of these elements, but none possesses all three. Gingrich's Achilles heel at the moment is his belief that he can wait until the fall of 2007 to make a final decision on the race. While he is a known commodity in Republican circles, that alone will not win him a single state. Gingrich has an opening, but without an organization in place his other strengths may not matter. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Rudy Giuliani: No question is more frequently posed to The Fix than "Can Giuliani win?" The answer? Sure, but it would represent a major break with the recent history of Republican presidential nominating processes. Giuliani's positioning on social issues -- pro-choice, pro-gay marriage -- would seem to disqualify him in the eyes of conservative voters. Giuliani insiders believe that the aura surrounding the former New York mayor as a result of his handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will insulate him from the attacks sure to come from his rivals. Although Giuliani has formed an exploratory committee to raise money for a presidential run, we're still not convinced that he will ultimately jump into the race for real. (Previous ranking: 3)

5. Sam Brownback: With Gingrich seemingly content to sit on the sidelines for the near future, Brownback has a real opportunity to consolidate social conservatives behind his candidacy. While he is far from flashy, the Kansas senator is credible (he has spent the last 12 years in the House and Senate) and can articulate a message that appeals to the most conservative Republican voters. Brownback's chance to make a splash in the presidential race comes in the Iowa caucuses, where social conservatives wield considerable influence. Should he fail to win (or place a strong second) in Iowa, Brownback's chances are minimal. (Previous ranking: N/A)

DEMOCRATS

1. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Anyone who still harbors doubts about whether Clinton is serious about a run for the nomination in 2008 hasn't been paying attention lately. In the last week alone, Clinton has named a campaign manager, made calls to key Iowa and New Hampshire activists and begun recruiting staff talent -- including communications strategist Phil Singer. Clinton insiders insist she will continue to discuss her potential candidacy with an ever-growing circle of people in the coming weeks as she weighs a final decision; they point to her listening tour in 1999 when she was deciding whether to run for Senate in New York as the blueprint for this choice. At this point, we'd be shocked if she didn't run. The more interesting barometer is watching for her next trip to Iowa and counting how many reporters travel with her. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. John Edwards: Edwards has been lost in the shuffle somewhat over the past month or so, but he retains a number of considerable strengths that have him best positioned to be the Clinton alternative. The new nominating calendar -- Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Carolina -- fits Edwards to a tee. The 2004 vice-presidential nominee retains considerable good will and support in Iowa, has strong relations with the influential labor unions in Nevada, and has home-state appeal in South Carolina -- a primary he won during the last presidential year. Edwards also seems prepared to cast his campaign as a fight for economic equality and social justice -- a message that resonated for Democrats in places like Ohio and Missouri in 2006. The major question mark for Edwards is whether he can raise the money to compete with Clinton and Obama. He is sure to show a big number --$10 million plus -- in his first quarter report of 2007, but the real test will be whether he can follow that up with several more just like it. (Previous ranking: 3)

3. Barack Obama: With every passing day, The Fix becomes more and more convinced that Obama is going to enter the presidential race. The "man for the times" argument is already being circulated, and Obama is the rare politician who seems to excite the inside-the-Beltway types and the out-in-the-states activists equally. Dante Scala, a professor at St. Anselm's College and a New Hampshire political expert, makes a compelling argument for the difficulties Obama might run into in the Granite State primary. It's well worth a read. At some point, Obama-mania is sure to wear off (or at least recede slightly), and it's at that moment that his '08 presidential hopes will be made or broken. Obama is just an idea right now to many people, a symbol of everything that is right (or could be right) with our democracy. When and if he becomes a candidate, the junior senator from Illinois will be forced to take positions on any number of controversial issues and will be hard-pressed to maintain that "above politics" image. Still, most of the Democrats in the field would trade places with Obama without thinking twice. (Previous ranking: 2)

4. Evan Bayh: In perhaps the least-surprising political news of recent memory, Sen. Bayh formed an exploratory committee last week to look closely at a run for president. He is running. And, while The Fix has made clear for the better part of the last year that Bayh could well be a dark horse pick, there are grumblings among some in his home state's media about what exactly the former Indiana governor and two-term senator stands for. "The hangup for Bayh is what former President Bush called the 'vision thing,'" wrote the Indianapolis Star's editorial board this week. "It's hard for voters to be passionate about a leader who seems so dispassionate about the direction he wants to guide the nation." Ouch. (Previous ranking: 4)

5. Bill Richardson: The New Mexico governor disappeared from the presidential radar in the days after the 2006 election, but those familiar with his thinking insist he plans to run and will begin to move in that direction early next year (just yesterday, in fact, he said publicly that he is considering a run and will make a decision sometime next month). Richardson competes with the likes of Sens. Joe Biden (Del.), Chris Dodd (Conn.) and John Kerry (Mass.), along with Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, for this final spot on the Line. He wins out due to his resume -- the most impressive on the Democratic side -- and his personal charisma. We still aren't sold on Richardson's viability, but we're listening. (Previous ranking: 5)

Here's last month's presidential Line for reference.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 8, 2006; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Virginia Senate: If John Warner Doesn't Run Again...
Next: 2008 Whale List Grows

Comments

JK: "Un-beatable"? How about "unwinnable"? Rudy is a great guy, but his extreme social liberalism is a non-starter in the GOP. And that's a GOOD thing.

Posted by: steve | December 26, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

McCain machine? I think McCain is so out of touch with people. I hope not.

Posted by: Martin | December 18, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

This blog is so obviously full of democrats and that is why hardly anyone is talking about the real, true frontrunner for president, of ANY party - - Giuliani. And the reason is because you democrats are so afraid of him. He is totally, completely UN-beatable, if he were to be the Republican nominee. Not that he will be (I think the MCCain machine will prevent it)...unfortunately.

Posted by: JK | December 18, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, earlier in this blog, stated "And Mitt and Brownback--do they actually have any ideas about anything, other than wanting the government to get involved in people's sex lives?" I am not sure Brownback does, and kind of doubt it. But Romney certainly does, yes. Look at the man's personal successes with his financial bus. Look at how well he turned around the winter Olympics in 02. Look at how well Romney did in Ma., turning a $2 billion deficeit into a $700 million surplus. His fiscal conservatism and his great business record is the true reason Romney was elected gov. in Ma. He has alot of experience in governing and is a true CEO. My ideal Republican ticket would be McCain/Pawlenty. Tim Pawlenty is the governor of Minn., but a McCain/Romney ticket would be a great one, too.

Posted by: reason | December 18, 2006 12:29 PM | Report abuse

While non-candidate Huckabee continues to get billing as some kind of contender, for some reason, former Cook County GOP Pres. John Cox, who has over 130 volunteer county organizations throughout the nation, and who has hired staffs on the ground and is set to open offices in NH, Iowa and SC, gets NO mention here.

Everywhere he goes, and everyone who hears him says "There's the conservative we need!"

Chris, this organizational effort deserves mention, because it's like the Kerry operation in 2004 - once these Dean-like 'front-runners' falter, John Cox will be there to pick up the pieces and charge into the nomination.

Posted by: Stephen A. | December 16, 2006 11:00 PM | Report abuse

The lineup will look more like this:

Edwards - Obama


Giuliani - Rice

Posted by: Lynn K | December 15, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the winner and next President of the United States will be....

RUDOLPH GIULIANI


No doubt in my mind!

Posted by: JUMPINJOE | December 14, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

MY PREDICTIONS FOR 2008:

The Democratic ticket will be:

C L I N T O N - B A Y H

The Republican ticket will be:

G I U L I A N I - H A G E L

Posted by: JUMPINJOE | December 14, 2006 3:47 PM | Report abuse

What's with this Giuliani "lovefest" going on? I will tell you what. George Bush blew it for republicans, and people are desperate for a strong, charismatic, conservative, intelligent and dynamic leader. The country has not had that since Ronald Reagan. Rudy Giuliani fills those shoes and if elected, he will turn out to be a great president, very similar to Theodore Roosevelt. He will kick ass and take names and this country will never see anything the likes of it. Trust me when I say this. John McCain has been annointed the frontrunner in the media, but the truth is, he is just another Bush...playacting and arrogant.

Posted by: John Gilbert | December 14, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Here is another topic: Who will president Bush support for the republican nomination? Will he support McCain? (NOT!)Giuliani? (most likely in my opinion - - his top financial peeps from Texas are going with Rudy already). Or, will he simply wait until the republican nominee is chosen?

Posted by: Joe M | December 13, 2006 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Colin, your statement that its "my party" is condescending and cynical. Obviously you are in the loser party. Oops, excuse me, the winning party made up of losers. I did not say that Giuliani was going to get the nomination - - you brought that up. I said he was the true frontrunner. I also acknowledgef that the republicans were in denial because of Rudy's social stands. I also said that he is the frontrunner because its the truth - - read the polls - - all of them! He is the most popular figure politically in the country. He does have hurdles with the republican party, but I believe he will overcome them. McCain is too weak.

Posted by: Joe M | December 13, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani can't win the GOP nomination. Joe M denies it because he doesn't realize that 37% of GWB's votes came from the religious right in 2004. YOur party doesn't exist anymore Joe. Time to face facts.

Posted by: Colin | December 12, 2006 2:18 PM | Report abuse

GIULIANI is the real frontrunner. The Democrats don't admit it because they fear him like death. The Republicans don;t admit it because they are in denial that there really are conservatives with moderate social views. Rudy Giuliani is the most powerful, strongest leader there is running. MCCain is washed up, weak and too damn OLD.

Posted by: Joe M | December 12, 2006 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick PS;

This thread has over 250 posts now, compared to maybe 50 to 75 for most other recent threads.

Do you suppose there's a reason for that?

Posted by: JEP | December 12, 2006 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Richard Wald;
There are millions of Jews, here in America, in Israel and throughout the world who agree wholeheartedly with Bonoir's moderate positions against Israel's heartless aggression in the Middle East.

Only the brainwashed zealots consider Bonoir an extremist, but most moderate to liberal Jews consider him a reasonable voice in the midst of this vile, vendetta-fueled millennias-old mania.

Your post is ostensibly to help Hillary, I would guess, but I would also bet she doesn't want or need your kind of help.

And, Willian, spawn of Zouk, these threads stay open until one of the administrators shuts them down, so don't ever expect "the last word" until you see those words "this thread is closed."

By the way, William, are you aware some of your posts are being passed around the blogosphere for intelligent people to laugh at? That strange piece about Leach being trashed has made the rounds, along with some other of you classic ignoramii (anothe r new word).

I still think you are just a provocatuer trying to keep the Dems stirred up, no one can really be that trapped in a cycle of overt ignorance.

But many others think you are exactly what you appear to be; one of the most hilarious fossils on the blogs, your posts are too stupid to be true, and we thank you for them, whether they are real or not.

If you are just playing with us, you're a pretty smart guy, but if you really believe what you write, I feel very sorry for you, you are ideological road-kill left squished in the tiretracks of the neocon party bus that just went over the cliff.

Go back and study this blog a bit, your ideological predecessors have risen and fallen so many times from similar heights of neocon certitude, we can all appreciate watching another novice Fix blog neocon wannabe bungee-jumper who's got a bit too much bungee in his rope.

Ask our other neocons, they are all still bruised from their last big bounce. I think a few of them were so embarrassed by their prognostication miscues, they have abandonded blogging here, ashamed that their Bush/Rummy/Cheney loyalties have proven futile, if not foolish.

Posted by: JEP | December 12, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Chuck Hagel has a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition and is vehemently conservative on social issues. He's strongly in favor of school vouchers. He has a perfect record from the NRA. He's ACTUALLY fiscally conservative, unlike GWB, in that he wants to cut spending and cut taxes. In fact, the ONLY areas that he is not a doctrinaire conservative are foreign policy -- where he is realistic, like Bush I -- and immigration. On the latter issue, his views are quite consistent with another "liberal," Ronald Reagan. Remember, it was Ronnie who passed the last "amnesty" bill.

I'm delusional in characterizing candidates? I agree that Hagel isn't an unthinking ideologue like most prominent GOP figures, but he is clearly conservative by any and all objective measures. Saying otherwise shows a clear inability to think rationaly.

Posted by: Colin | December 12, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Colin, this thread has lasted WAY too long, so I will leave on last comment.

PLEASE, run Barack Hussein Obama and see what happens. Have you taken a look at his voting record, both in Illinois and the Senate? He's a left wing loon.

If you think Hussein can win, by all means, run him.

But be prepared for another 8 years of GOP rule.

You think Chuck Hagel is "extremely conservative" and Barack Hussein Obama can be elected president? I don't know what kind of KOOL AID you drink, honestly.

Posted by: William | December 12, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

JOHN EDWARDS HAS BASICALLY WRITTEN OFF THE SUPPORT OF JEWS BY HIS CHOICE OF DAVID BONOIR TO RUN HIS CAMPAIGN. FORMER CONGRESSMAN BONOIR WAS ANTI ISRAEL DURING HIS TIME IN THE HOUSE AND IS ANATHEMA TO SUPPORTERS OF ISRAEL. THE CHOICE OF HIM BY MR. EDWARDS IS A DEATH BLOW TO HIM AMONG AN INFLUENTIAL GROUP IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. IT COULD VERY WELL SINK SEN. EDWARDS CANDIDACY.

Posted by: RICHARD WALD | December 12, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

JOHN EDWARDS HAS BASICALLY WRITTEN OFF THE SUPPORT OF JEWS BY HIS CHOICE OF DAVID BONOIR TO RUN HIS CAMPAIGN. FORMER CONGRESSMAN BONOIR WAS ANTI ISRAEL DURING HIS TIME IN THE HOUSE AND IS ANATHEMA TO SUPPORTERS OF ISRAEL. THE CHOICE OF HIM BY MR. EDWARDS IS A DEATH BLOW TO HIM AMONG AN INFLUENTIAL GROUP IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. IT COULD VERY WELL SINK SEN. EDWARDS CANDIDACY.

Posted by: RICHARD WALD | December 12, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

No matter how you look at it or what candidate gets nominated no matter if it is Edwards, Clinton, Bayh, Obama and the rest the general election will be close. There will not be a blow out on either side unless Bush's poll numbers are a rock bottom 20% or so and if that is the case the Democrat would win by a lot. If Bush stays around 30-32% the Republican will be at a disadvantage in 2008 but would not be blown out of the water. The Dems worse candidate or the Repubs worse candidate would still probably get 48% or more of the vote. The country is still polarized. The question is which candidate can get to the 50-51.5% range. In my guess, John Edwards or Evan Bayh would be the smartest or safest picks. John McCain would be the safe pick for the Repubs.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 12, 2006 12:31 AM | Report abuse

William lives in a very interesting world. One in which Chuck Hagel is "liberal" and he's not a "bigot" just because he wants to equate Obama with terrorists based upon his middle name. Just for the record William, Chuck Hagel's over all voting record is actually EXTREMELY conservative. You can look it up -- that stuff is actually public on THOMAS. The only difference between Hagel and the modern GOP is that occassionally he'll refuse to go along with some of the more ridiculous party line votes -- which i respect. But the very fact that you call him "liberal" while praising bigots like Tancredo is very revealing.

Also, and I know this is a waste of time but I'll ask it anyway, what in gods name does Harold Ford having dated "white girls" have to do with political discourse? That is only relevant if you're trying to appeal to people's racist beliefts. There is literally NO other reason to bring it up. Maybe you feel comfortable supporting and voting for a party that caters to that kind of sentiment. I certainly don't and think it is reprehensible.

Finally, I hope you enjoy eating crowe when Senator Obama wins both the Dem nomination AND the gerneral election. Democrats were THRILLED when Reagan won the Republican nomination because of all his supposed negatives. I imagine you -- just like those same Democratic pundits -- may be surprised once Obama actually does get the nomination and wins.

Posted by: Colin | December 12, 2006 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Brownback's the next Dole...

Make of that what you will, for some it is honorable, for others, laughable.

But history will look back to see thier legacies will be very similar, just separated by a decade.

Must be something about the water in Kansas.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 10:34 PM | Report abuse

AmyE, I've said so many times, Richardson would be a great president, but when you start to divide up the work that needs doing, paricularly to repair the damage the neocons have done, Richardson fits at SOS better than anyone on our Presidential list.

It isn't nearly so much "who's president" as it is how that president delegates authority. And stop for a moment and consider. wow rare is it that the A-tier the top 10 or so that get into the big debates, become cabinet members for each other, once the "winner" is determined?

If these candidates represent our best and brightest, then why aren't they the top administrators in our President's cabinet, whoever it turns out to be.

It would be our best possible move, as a party, for the Democrats to forge a world-changing cabinet immediately after the primary is over, and then the very best and brightest should fill the most needful roles, wherever they can do their most good.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 10:24 PM | Report abuse

OK William, a few quick responses.

First, with Senator Obama, we'll just have to see if the Democrats are lucky enough to nominate him, and whether he loses the general or not. While your arguments seem unconvincing, repetitive, and desperate to me, the only way to ultimately settle it is to roll the historical tape. So, if Obama wins the nomination, I'll wager you a glossy picture of Trent Lott toasting Strom Thurmond that you're wrong that he'll be BBQ'd.

Second, of course voters can legally use whatever criteria they want to, and can vote for whomever they want, minus some term limitations and constitutional criteria. If you want to vote for a nutcase who claims he's the earthly incarnation of Ba'al because you like cruelty and pure evil, you can. But that is an entirely separate question from the morality of casting such a vote. Casting a vote because you don't like a man's race, or an ethnic sounding name, is simply bigoted and immoral.

Lastly, on Jim Leach, you are just horribly, horribly wrong. Jim Leach won 15 elections before he lost his 16th with the same integrity you seem to denigrate. He had been holding the most Democratic district occupied by any Republican precisely because of his integrity and basic decency.

You are also wrong that Loebsack and the Democrats "smeared" Leach. Suggesting that Leach's vote for the Republican leadership overwhelmed his other good traits, and that even his significant seniority was not as effective as it might have been because of his alienation within his caucus, is in fact a pretty darn sophisticated and idealistic argument to make in defeating an incumbent.

No, Leach was generally undercut by the Republican party's drift towards a shriller, more dogmatic, and ultimately less principled style of conducting politics. Note the uncoordinated mailing by the Iowa Republican Party smearing Loebsack, which unfortunately undercut Leach's credibility. Ultimately, the voters could no longer square a good man with an off-the-rails party.

Posted by: A Fate | December 11, 2006 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't like Brownback b/c he is pro-amnesty and weak on the death penalty.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Brownback is a retrograde religious zealot who embarrassed Kansas and the U.S. in foisting HIS creationism nonsense curriculum on children not his own. You want religion out of government, he is not the man.

Posted by: Todd | December 11, 2006 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Nor'easter, did playing nice get Jim Leach anywhere? No. Loebsack, or whatever his name was, unseated the 15 term moderate by using dirty, underhanded attacks, linking Leach to Bush, and painting him as a Bush bot (when in fact Leach voted AGAINST authorizing force in iraq). Leach accepts NO PAC money either, but the Ds painted him as corrupt, which was dishonest, wouldnt you agree?

If you never support smears, do you think the Dems owe Leach an apology?

In politics, what matters is winning. That's sad, but true. If you are in the minority, thinking about how you ran a clean campaign is not going to make you feel better.

I wish politics were clean. But since the Dems are not going to play clean, we can't either.

And by the way, Harold Ford has dated white girls in the past (including a sophomore at Georgetown), so the ad was, in fact, accurate.

Additionally, the voters have the right to know everything about their candidate. If they had the right to know about Sweeney and Sherwood's marital issues, then they have the right to know about Ford's trysts.

And in a state where such things matter, if some voters don't approve of Ford dating white women, they DO have the right to vote against him because of it.

Wouldn't you agree? Voters can use ANY criteria they want for accepting or rejecting a candidate?

Or are you going to decide what voters can and cant think also?

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

William - "Felix" was used as a jibe at Allen before his Jewish heritage was even known. So that linkage is off the table.

Also, only the press made an issue of the heritage, and that was because of Allen's denial. It died out very quickly when the general population wasn't bothered by it or by his understandable denial.

Most importantly, I don't condone smear tactics by anybody. Anybody!

You can play hardball without smearing. I think that you will find most people on this blog feel the same way. Hardball is okay; but there are lines which should not be crossed.

I hope you realize that by admitting that you want to smear Obama by using his middle name so as to taint him, that you made the case for those labeling you a bigot; because bigotry is the only emotion that such smearing would appeal to.

You may want to rethink hardball vs. dirty politics. One is tough, but ethical; the other is tougher and unethical.

If the "Call me Harold" actress was Black, that would have been hardball; and marginally okay in my book (it was a bit of a distortion of a factual situation, but the general ad was a parody). But, there is no question that in Tennessee by using a White actress, it was an appeal to the worst instincts of those voters.

You may want to consider adding some Philosophy and General/Special Ethics classes to those PoliSci classes. Scalia and Buchanan would recommend that. Those courses were required of them as undergraduates. Given your comments, I would assume that you consider them reasonable in their thought and approach to life.

Think about it. What would you have to lose, if you do?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 11, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

**If Kuchinich is such a strong candidate, why won't your party nominate him for president? He is a pinko clown.**

I didn't say he was a strong candidate (read: winnable). I just like him and like some of his qualities. I know he'll never appeal to centrists in Kansas.

As for his appeal to the right-wing, that's not an issue. No Democrat will appeal to them. It's the centrists & independents who matter.

Posted by: amy_e | December 11, 2006 6:56 PM | Report abuse

If Kuchinich is such a strong candidate, why won't your party nominate him for president? He is a pinko clown.

This country will not vote for a ticket that has Obama on it. Run him, and you'll find that out, and your party will be in for another 8 yrs of being kicked around by the GOP. Get ready.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I believe the reason Felix hurt Allen (if it did at all) was that he cultivated such an outlandish image of good ol'boy John Wayne kitsch. Webb called him for the all-hat-and-no-cattle poseur he was.

By contrast, Senator Obama is likeable in part because he steadfastly avoids that kind of political caricature. I agree with several other posters that he is truly the smartest individual "in" the race. Why? Because politics requires calculation, and Obama makes it look natural. By contrast, Senator Clinton and former Senator John Edwards are not smart emough to hide their artifice.

Now, the media and Republicans both like to play a game of gotcha on the slightest hint of hypocrisy (such as not recommending the death penalty for every crime). But, as with many racial, ethnic, or religious slurs that could be thrown against Obama, the media will likely see such a tactic backfire with the voters. After six years of Bush, thoughtful and moderate is in, and that likely will not change before November 2008.

Lastly, I do think the enthusiasm for Edwards and Clark shown on this blog is simply not matched in the country at large. With all due respect, CC, leapfrogging Edwards ahead of Obama was a mistake.

Posted by: A Fate | December 11, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Memo to the Washington Post: Rudy Giuliani DOES NOT SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE! He never has and, I think it's fair to say, never will. (Does putting it in all-caps make it any clearer?)

Back to the drawing board, guys.

Posted by: Giuliani | December 11, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

a p.s. about Kucinich: He's an excellent debater. He comes prepared and seems to know every vote and every statement uttered by all the competition. He's witty and quick on his feet, and a total pit bull when he smells hypocrisy. I am glad he's running because even though he doesn't have a chance in the general election, he'll give the competition a real grilling in the primary.

Posted by: amy_e | December 11, 2006 6:01 PM | Report abuse

**Kucinich is not smart. He is a complete idiot who caused Cleveland to be the ONLY US city to go into default since the 30s during his watch as mayor.**

I was living in Cleveland at the time. The bankruptcy was due to his refusal to sell the city's electric company to the private company that wanted a monopoly (which is what the banks wanted him to do, and when he refused they called in their loans). The decision cost him his position, but in the long run it saved the city a lot of money.

I hate the Hollywood/New Age crap but I still admire his ability to grasp a problem, cut to the chase, and stand up for what's best for the people.

(But I still like Edwards better!)

Posted by: amy_e | December 11, 2006 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Kucinich is not smart. He is a complete idiot who caused Cleveland to be the ONLY US city to go into default since the 30s during his watch as mayor.

This is the same wacko who proposed a bill to "ban the military from developing mind control weapons."

That pinko can take his left wing freak show back to wherever he came from.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Noreaster,

There were several cases that "macacawitz" was used, though perhaps not on this thread.

As I said before, I think that the "macaca" part of Macacawitz is intended by those who use the phrase to poke fun at Allen for how his gaffe backfired on him.

But I still think the use of "George FELIX Allen" (as Webb and his campaign referred to Allen every time they mentioned him) is comparable to the use of "Barack Hussein Obama."

You could argue that "George FELIX Allen" was only used to make fun of Allen because he was embarassed of his Jewish heritage, but the intent was still to make him uncomfortable that his middle name is Felix.

Also, perhaps Webb knew that some anti-semites in VA would be dislinclined to vote for Allen because he is part Jewish, so they wanted to both make Allen uncomfortable and inform everyone that he is part Jewish.

How is that different from "Barack Hussein Obama," which is intended to turn people off from Obama, and make him uncomfortable. If "Barack Hussein Obama" is a smear, then so is "macacawitz" or "George FELIx Allen", wouldnt you agree?

I acknowledge, "Barack Hussein Obama" IS intended to paint Obama as a foreigner who is un-American, but since that is his full name, it is legitimate to use it, just as saying "george felix Allen" was.

Politics has always involved negative attacks, underhanded tactics intended to cost your opponent support, and smear tactics, but that is part of the sport of politics, and something you voluntarily agree to face by entering politics, unless you are Obama who claims he doesn't believe in dirty campaigning (yeah right.)

Just because Obama is a very weak candidate don't expect us to refrain from attacking him and even smearing him. It is not nice, I know, but in politics, being nice goes along with losing the election, as JIM LEACH found out.

Yeah, apparently nice politics only applies when Democrats dont want to be attacked.

You know very well that if the GOp had a candidate with a funny name, you would attack his name.

Remember "Beninto Scalito"?

Don't pretend you Democrats are above smear techniques. We know you're not.

Barack Hussein Osama will be BBQ's because that is what happens to weak candidates who have the same name as dictators and whose name rhymes with terrorists'.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

**Amy, be honest, I may be wrong, but you sure seem to have a BB loaded in your air pistol for most everyone.**

JEP you're attacking the wrong Amy. I'm "amy_e" and I used that name because I posted to John Edwards' blog under that name in 2004. I used the same name in case his people are reading this blog. *waves to campaign workers*

Edwards is first in my heart but my calculating mind belongs to Richardson. If McCain rises to the top in the Republican primaries, Richardson would give him a run for his money. With executive experience and Southwestern roots (read: red but also blue, paradoxically) he has the right stuff. Partner him with Edwards and the combination would be unbeatable.

Edwards could have taken his nationally-known name and parlayed it into a CEO job somewhere to beef up his executive creds, but to his credit he used it to make the world a better place in a variety of ways. I hope he didn't spread himself too thin.

And I love Kucinich. He is also very very smart and has his heart in the right place.

Posted by: amy_e | December 11, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The only reason that Obama might win in a general, and thus be a good nominee for the Democrats, is that -- and this is very speculative -- the people might actually pay attention and discover, as I have, that Obama is head over heels the smartest of all the candidates, Democrat or Republican. And they might actually be excited about having a president they can admire. I know this is fanciful, but I sure am tired of mediocrity (or worse) and hope that others might be also. I don't believe that any candidate with foreign policy experience that thought we should go into Iraq is worth voting for because of their experience.

Posted by: Dick | December 11, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

William: Colin cited a great resource, RMill. RMill does a lot of objective analysis from the public polling sources which are available. He's usually right on target.

If you do want to live your political life with blinders on, RMill is a great source.

FYI 1- Macaca became part of the political lexicon once YouTube essentially put it into the public domain. It's a standard usage term, for the time being.

It can be used to describe any candidate's gaffe now. And, Allen will always have the Embarrassment of Authorship; so, he gets stuck with it.

If the user wants it to denigrate others, then it is a slur. Otherwise, it's ethnic neutral.

Also, I didn't see any post on here use Macacawitz. That would indeed appear to be poor usage, unless there was a context which showed otherwise.

FYI 2 - The "Felix" tagging of Allen was sarcasm to show hypocrisy on the part of Allen for the anti-French attacks which the GOP thought were so great when the French didn't support the invasion of Iraq. Remember Freedom Fries? Remember the attempts to portray Kerry as linked to France? "Felix" never got any traction in Virginia that I could tell, anyway.

Now consider why would anybody want to empahsize "Hussein" in Obama's name? I can't see any link to anything which he has done which would highlight it. But, there's no question that it could subtly affect how some people think and vote. Obama being close to Osama apparently isn't good enough?

My question is, "Sure you can use his middle name; but, to what useful purpose in political discourse?"

If there isn't any useful purpose, then you have to think that it's an attempt to smear. Without something to link it to, you have to categorize it as either a smear (Guilt by name association with terrorists) or the bigotry which you say you do not practice.

Give me a good reason to all of a sudden start referring to Obama as Barak Hussein Obama, and I will say, Have at it!

Otherwise, using it looks to be nothing more than parrotting whoever at the RNC who started this in an effort to taint Obama.

Have at it! If you think there's nothing salacious behind it showing up all of a sudden.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 11, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Just when I thought that the Demos were SERIOUS about the prez elec in 08, the Demos have reverted to true (losing) form!

I see that Dennis the Menace is announcing. Are Al and Jesse far behind?

Posted by: Fred | December 11, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Nor'easter, thanks for your post.

Even though I am a Republican, I read the Washington Post and the NY Times, and I watch NBC Nightly news sometimes. I also watch FOX a lot, especially O'Reilly, etc. I read Reuters News Alerts, too. Ocassionally I read the WSJ or Weekly Standard, and watch MSNBC.

So I get news from a variety of sources, not just FOX. I know that most news organizations are biased, so it helps to get multiple perspectives, since the truth is always somewhere in between.

With regard to Shuler, I didn't mean to suggest that his presidency is imminent (though if a two-year senator is a favorite to run, I don't know how much experience is valued anymore.) I was merely saying that Shuler was a PHENOMENAL recruit on the part of Emanuel, and shows potential. Of course he might fizzle out, but I think he could easily succeed if he plays his cards right.

Apparently, a lot of women like Obama, and if that is a plus for him, why can't it be a plus for John Thune? I never said people would vote for him because he is handsome. However, good looks and charm do count for a lot in politics, as we saw with Edwards and JFK.

Chuck Hagel is FAR too liberal to get the GOP nomination. He is definitely in the Linc Chafee wing of the GOP. If McCain is too moderate for a lot of Republicans to support, Hagel is MUCH more moderate.

Also, I doubt he will run, since there are already about 12 GOP moderates running, and there is no space left for another, especially since McCain and Guiliani have dominated that title.

Re: Jindal. In Lousiana, Jindal has the reputation for trolling around the state, looking for elected office, constantly positioning himself. He ran against Blanco and lost, moved to a new district to get elected to Congress, and now hopes to challenge Landrieu or Blanco AGAIN. I see Jindal as basically a spent force. Kind of like the DOug Forrester of LA. Voters are tired of him constantly maneuvering and positioning around the state, clearly driven on by nothing but raw ambition. Also he is kind of a blah character, not charismatic at all. Certainly not a GOP version of Obama. I think people are tired of Jindal. I could be wrong, but I don't think someone as unexciting and overtly ambitious as he is has much political potential.

David Vitter is a new, fresh face.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Colin, SurveyUSA may be nonpartisan, however their data seems fatally flawed, at least as far as their presidential matchups are concerned.

Have you tried the SurveyUSA presidential match analyzer, where you choose two candidates and then the site shows you which states each will win?

I would have thought that the match generator was biased in favor of the Republicans. They had rediculous results. For example, with Warner vs. Guiliani, the ONLY states Warner took are West VA and Virginia.

Are they out of their minds? Their other matchups were just as rediculous.

Maybe they have improved over the last few days since I last looked, but there is definitely something screwy with SurveyUSA's methodology or results processing.

I think they say that the most popular governor is John Hoeven of ND?

I dont know how reliable they are. And anyway, by the time 2012 runs around, Blunt's approval ratings might be higher. I bet he will win reelection by at least 53-47.

Missouri is a swing state, so it is hard for a candidate to achieve high approval ratings.

The urban areas of MO and liberal suburbs will hate Blunt no matter what he does.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

JEP, I am not a bigot, and I am not going to keep repeating that, because I do not have to justify myself to you.

However, I know that I am not a bigot and that is what matters, not what some anonymous person on the internet thinks.

You bash the politicians you don't like, such as Allen, etc.

Don't you think the term "macacawitz" is racist against Jews and Indians? Yet that is how you refer to Allen. Even if the Macaca part is meant to mock him for saying "macaca", the "witz" part is clearly intended to make fun of him for being Jewish, which he is apparently ashamed of.

During the 2006 race, Webb supporters and other Democrats constantly referred to Allen as George Felix Allen. If you can mention Allen's middle name, we can mention Osbamas.

I think you need to do some soul searching before calling other people bigots.

If you bash politicians I like, like Allen, I have every right to bash politicians you like, such as Barack Hussein Osbama.

Sound fair?

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 3:45 PM | Report abuse

William -- The polling data on Blunt is from November of this year and comes from SurveyUSA. They're nonpartisan and the only polling firm that does consistent 50-state polling. Blunt's approval has CONSISTENTLY been in the 30's and - as RMILL noted -- he is going to have a VERY hard time getting reelected in '08. I gather that YOU are a fan, but objective political analysis generally requires a bit more than your personal support for a particular candidate.

Posted by: Colin | December 11, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

JEP - Introduce Amy to Zouk. That can be a test for her to decide whether she wants to continue or not.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 11, 2006 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Just a quick note about Obama's middle name.

Lest we forget, our own first president George shared the same name as the despot George III we fought a revolution against, so lets not let our prejudice get in the way of the progress of a great new leader in the Democratic Party. No matter where Obama lands on this season's political ladder, he's worthy of our respect and admiration.

Also, Amy, you should become a regular, I may not agree with you about Edwards, but "you got spunk." And I hope to maybe help assuage your attitude a bit towards the candidate I have learned to trust and support.

And one last note about "The Fix" blog, I have more than once felt compelled to just quit posting here, but I can't seem to kick the habit.

Actually I've only been on this blog since the early "macaca" days, before that I hung out on Harry Reid's blog, the Huff post and Move On and the original Dean blog, in the past. Comparing all of them, and many others I've read and/or posted to, if this blog has the widest variety of characters and broadest spectrum of opinions, hands down.

I do get a bit frustrated with Cilliza's conservative slant, but other posters consider him a screamin'liber'l, so go figure.

And I also tend to get a bit self-righteous whenever our blog host refuses to take a moral stand on important issues, or plugs some political slug like Drudge, or awards unqualified accolades to sleazy ads like "call me Harold."

Also, he refuses to shave before he goes on Hardball, that 3 o'clock shadow he's always forgetting to cut might just convey an impression of emotional instability to the general public...

NOT!

JEP
www.lsvchronicle.com/Archives.html

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Barack and Hillary = Same ticket! What a match up, double-trouble!

With the two of them in office, we could get the Millennium Development Goals addressed and work towards making the world a more safe and peaceful place to live!

Posted by: flagrl118 | December 11, 2006 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Here's the question I'm asking fellow Democrats who ask me whom I'm backing: Who do you admire for his or her vision, temperment and record of accomplishments? Your top 5 list is all about electability which is not unimportant, but I'm not yet sold on any of them, especially the lightweights: Hillary, Obama, Edwards and even Richardson who's held a lot of jobs, but whose shallow, dismal record screams "it's all about me."

Can we get a trusted, accomplished person, we can can respect to run? Someone we know will put the good of the country first? I'm still waiting for that person to emerge. Can we get Tom Brokaw to run?

Posted by: Active centrist West Coast democrat | December 11, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi JEP, You're absolutely right -- I'm not an experienced blogger, either on The Fix or off. I'm not here because I'm a The Fix regular, but because the issue of what candidate is best to occupy the office of President of the United States has really been on my mind lately.

Sorry bearded guys -- I didn't mean that a bearded man cannot be President. I meant that if you have just suffered a crushing blow, but you want to save the chance to be President later, it is best to avoid all sudden grooming alterations. Unfortunately, they convey an impression of emotional instability to the general public. I think I remember the Onion flagging this one first...

One of the pictures up on the wall in my home office is of Lincoln. Now there was a terrific bearded President!

Posted by: Amy | December 11, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

William;

You have about the wierdest perspective I have ever read from someone who claims to be a student of politics.

And I have to agree with ChrisM, your framing doesn't support your claim to not being a bigot, his observation about the way you make your case is spot on.

This is a bright bunch opf bloggers on this site, they will pick you apart if you try to be something you aren't.

Again, let me say, the best course for anyone to take is always to speak positively about those you support, but to constantly harangue some candidate who is currently out leading the pack or getting a lot of fresh attention only seems to the open-minded members among us like someone's got an agenda, and the only way to promote it is to speak negatively about caother candidates.

Now while our blog hosts may enjoy this trashing game, it tends to get some folks upset. So I'll stick to promoting my own candidate and trashing the likes of Drudge, Delay, Ney, Allen and Foley, none of whom has a political future that includes getting elected to office.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

William: Your showing that you have a lot of raw data; but your're also showing that you're "processing" it strangely.

Chuck Hagel to the Left of Linc Chaffee? Heath Shuler running for higher office (up to President) when he hasn't even taken his first Oath of Office? Suggesting that the Democrats nominate Independent Bernie Sanders? Rahm Emmanuel because a character on The West Wing was patterned after him? [Not his work as head of the DCCC? which earns him all sorts of political capital?] John Thune is handsome, therefore women will vote for him?

Politics is a lot more than "X's" and "O's." There is a lot which goes on which the general public does not see. Fortunately, a lot of that is getting out via the Internet now (and I don't mean through the Drudge Report), so there is a much more informed political junkie element.

Take some time to digest the information you're getting, and question the credibility of where you get it from. Whether it's Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York or Los Angeles Times, etc.

Definitely question it if the Internet is the source, until you are sure that the source is objectively reliable.

Be sceptical, don't take the "party line" as absolute.

As to your list of Up and Comers, I'd list Bobby Jindal before I would David Vitter.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 11, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Amy, I'm not at all sorry for offending you, but actually you need to read a little more deeply for the meaning you obviously missed.

While I did suggest there are political operatives involved, you assumed because I mentioned you as having your BB gun loaded to so casually criticize others, rather than promote your own choice, I was suggesting you are one of those paid hacks, which was your assumption, not my contention.
My mening was that you are so negative, and you have particular vicitms you seem intent on trashing.

I am all for promoting your favorite candidate, I do it all the time, and except for the neocons and republican hypocrites, I rarely disparage anyone here, I usually dwell on their good points even if they aren't my choice of candidatres. But the Allens and the Foleys and the Neys and the Delays all deserve a righteous thrashing now and then.

Read that post agian, you are the one who included ourself in the club, I just offered the option.

"Your post contained another half-lie, a lie of omission."

Since when is an opinion considered a lie?

Now I'm beginning to think you had some sort of a personal bad experience with someone related to the Edwards campaign, your framing is so intensly personal.

As for voting for a Repblican for the first time, rather than voting for Edwards, it only adds to the sense that you have been disappointed personally by someone you relate to the Edwards campaign.

Just too much emotion involved for it to be simply political. And calling my opinion "a lie" is simply "Inserting a lie into a system" which, on this blog particularly, "will not make the system run in your favor."

Ans as for provoking anger with ignorant statements, was that you who wrote,"Gore cannot be President. Don't you remember how he flipped out and grew that bizarre beard after the Supreme Court took his Presidency away in 2000? That was just weird."????

How many bearded men do you suppose you offended with that silly observation?

And please, if you intend to compete with the hardheads here on this blog, you had better get some backbone, and especially try not to be offended if you are going to be offensive.

If you can't take it, then don't dish it out. Keep it positive, or expect a response you might not like. Also, the blog wasn't left up for your PERSONAL benefit, it is up all weekend, every weekenD, and if you really want to know how some of us feel about these issues, go to the top left side of the page and click "full story archives" and do some serious blog homework.

Everything any of us ever posted is on there, so take some time to know a little more about "The FIX." THAN A QUICK GLANCE AT A SINGLE POST.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Blunt is still young, and still considered a Rising Star. He remains popular among conservatives and swing voters. Who did that poll? The new york times? Blunt would be a good presidential candidate of VP candidate.

Anyone who thinks that Chuck "Left of Linc Chafee" Hagel will get the GOP presidential or VP slot is out of their mind. We hate ***muck Hagel. I'll be surprised if he even runs.

Chris M, I am not a racist, I am simply stating the prevailing attitude of the West and South, especially in rural areas. In case you didn't know, polls have shown that in many Southern and some western states, 70-80 percent of whites oppose interracial marriage.

For the millionth time, I am not one of them, but I know that there are a lot of such people.

But if you don't believe me, give Obama a spot on the ticket, and see what happens.

Go on, nominate him. As a Republican I certainly hope you do. We will be assured of victory.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: Jeb Bush - No one in the GOP wants him to run. The country is sick of the Bushes, we want new faces, and the field is already too crowded for another Brownback/Huckabee, which is what Bush would be. Pro-amnesty but conservative on the other issues.

Re: Richardson- He is pro-amnesty, and pandering to the Hispanic community in the hope of gaining support. He was much better off as a baseball player.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 11:29 AM | Report abuse

On the Democratic side, it will be Edwards-Obama...

On the GOP side, it will be Hagel-Barbour...

It will be a clean, well-fought race.

Posted by: Darth Politicus | December 11, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

William wrote: "As for Barack Hussein Obama, a lot of Americans still privately disapprove of interracial marriage, especially when the woman marries someone of another race.

"I am certainly NOT saying I am one of those people, I am just pointing out the obvious."

But clearly, William, you are one of those people. If you weren't, you wouldn't have said, "when the woman marries someone of another race." It's clear that you aren't talking about gay marriage here, and it's not possible for a woman to marry someone of a different race without a man also marrying a person of a different race.

Your construction, which clearly assumes that the "other race" is non-white and the woman is white, shows your obvious bias. I'd assume it's subconscious because you recognize that you've suppose to pretend to not be racist (well, except against Arabs), but it's racism none-the-less.

So, William, while you've tried to pretend you're part of civilized society, you aren't fooling me. Take your bigotry elsewhere. Some Republican who has evolved since the 1960's can take your place.

Posted by: Chris M. | December 11, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

JEP, your post on December 9, 10:21 AM made me angry. I didn't see it over the weekend because I was visiting friends and family, so I could only respond now. Thanks for leaving the blog open, Chris Cillizza.

"Amy, be honest"? I really don't need a lecture from a John Edwards campaign worker on how to be honest, thanks very much. I went to some trouble to convey my deep-seated feelings about the (Democratic) candidates because I feel that their personalities predict how they might perform as President.

I did not appreciate the insinuation that my posts were written by a paid political provacateur. That insinuation was not true. Inserting a lie into a system will not make the system run in your favor. When lots of people are noticing the virtues of another candidate and the flaws of your candidate, you cannot "make it all better" by insinuating that those people are paid operatives.

So suggesting that I was a paid provocateur was more or less a lie. Probably, the reason you wanted to discredit my posts was that later posters mentioned they agreed with my comments on Edwards' superficiality. Sure, you said "I may be wrong," but that has all the force of "just kidding" after a genuine insult.

Your post contained another half-lie, a lie of omission. You quoted an earlier poster, amy_e, December 8 2006, 09:39 PM, who liked John Edwards. But you cropped out the part where she said that she thought he would do best in the office of VP. In fact, she said he would do best as a VP not only for Hillary, but for an unknown dark horse! So no matter how much amy_e likes Edwards personally, she said plainly that she would prefer a completely unknown factor in the Oval Office.

Then you followed up the half-lies with a bunch of campaign-speak: "So keep that in mind as you watch all the big fundraising galas and ballroom fetes that these other candidates attend and milk for every questionable penny they can grab" and a whole lot more along the same lines. Do you think readers can't spot campaign-speak when they see it? Where's my shovel?

That whole post just confirmed my long-standing intuition that Edwards and his campaign run on props instead of substance.

I should add: Although I mentioned earlier that I have serious reservations about Clinton's communication skills, she is clearly sincere and earnest. She doesn't suffer from the attitude that getting things done has to involve telling lies. Although I am somewhat scared that her personality is not right for the Presidential role, if the primary is a Clinton/Edwards contest Clinton's sincerity and substance will win my vote. (But I hope Obama is in the running so I can vote for him instead.)

In the general election, I hope to vote for Obama. If necessary, I would vote Clinton over any of the Republican candidates. But not Edwards. We need substance in our President. If Edwards runs, I will cast my first Republican presidential vote ever.

Posted by: Amy | December 11, 2006 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Re: Matt Blunt

The Governor of Missouri is lucky he was not on the ballot in 2006. His approval rating with Missourians has been in the 30's all year (Currently 37% with a net -19%).

His cuts to Medicaid were roundly criticized and ultimately rejected. He also cut a program designed to aid children with developmental disabilities. His opposition to stem cell research has also been a sticking point. At an event to recognize the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, he was booed by the 47,000 in attendance.

He joins Blanco (D-La), Fletcher (R-Ky), Romney (R-Ma), Murkowski (R-Ak) and Taft (R-Oh) as the only governors in the country below 40% approval. All but Fletcher and Blanco are outgoing and Fletcher and Blanco will be up in 2007.

Blunt may have time to repair his image with homestate voters because he has an extra year to do so but he has a long way to go.

Posted by: RMill | December 11, 2006 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Hey, William, what is your take on Revelations 11-18, particularly the last sentence? Spin that one for us, why don't you.

Are those "earth destroyers" more likely to be Republicans or Democrats? Who owns the chemical plants that produce all the heavy metals? And the power plants that poison our precious water and air?

Don't throw scripture around like you own it. The problem with so many of you bible-thumpers, you weed out the real truth to defend your own prejudice.

If you really want the truth, you have to have ALL of it, not just the bits and pieces that match your ignorance.

So who's side are you on?

The neocon Republican Wall Street book-cooking industrial polluters (oil, cotton, timber, factory farms, synthetic pharmacueticals, etc. ad infinitum), or the natural-food and lifestyle folks who would never destroy the Earth?

Really, lets hear your learned argument, which "truth" do you adhere to, which reality do you believe?

There is really only one.

War and torture and violence for the sake of profit aren't exactly included in His plan. Neither is the indiscriminate pollution of the Earth.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Now we have Will, Prince of Zouk?

Be careful, this may be a subterfuge. The madder we all get at these redneck rants, the more passionate we get for Obama.

That Edwards/Obama ticket seems more and more realistic every day.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Since losing re-election last month, Rep. John Sweeney has played hooky in Congress, skipping votes, dodging reporters and avoiding his new make-shift office in a basement cubicle set up for lame ducks.

Sweeney's friends and colleagues Capitol Hill say the Republican from Clifton Park is still stunned about the outcome of the Nov. 7 election when he lost to Democratic challenger Kirsten Gillibrand.

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, a close friend of Sweeney's, says the four-term Republican is "frustrated and angry" and feels he was unfairly attacked a week before the election after the Times Union and other newspapers disclosed that police had investigated a domestic dispute between Sweeney and his wife on Dec. 2, 2005.

Sweeney plummeted in pre-election public opinion polls after newspapers disclosed police records documenting the emergency 911 call that his wife Gaia made to police after midnight from their Clifton Park home.

Gaia Sweeney told the responding state trooper that the congressman had grabbed her by the neck and was pushing her around the house, according to a police report obtained by the Times Union. The trooper reported that the congressman had scratches on his face, according to the document.

Sessions, asked why Sweeney was so angry and shocked about his loss, said: "John was disappointed that some frailties in his life were contributing issues to his defeat."

Sweeney believes he picked up "a bug" during congressional trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Sessions.

"A bug got into his system and lodged in his brain," Sessions said. "It caused unimaginable pain and stress."

Sessions referred to the "magnitude" of Sweeney's election loss, likening it to "a huge tidal wave."

Posted by: i just feel so bad for him, don't you? | December 11, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse


"And so I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building."

Bush declared that it was up to those who live in the liberated lands to rebuild them.

He added the Bush administration, if he was elected, would "absolutely not" indulge in nation planning.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

On the Senate floor Thursday night, Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) said Bush's Iraq policy "may even be criminal." This morning on ABC's This Week, Smith elaborated on his criticism of Bush, calling his Iraq policy a "dereliction" and "deeply immoral." Smith said the death of ten soldiers on Wednesday made him go from "steamed to boiled" about Bush's failed policies.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Dan Senor, a former administration spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, said that in conversations with administration officials, they had dismissed many of the report's recommendations as "not terribly realistic from an operational standpoint."

He said former colleagues had told him they felt comforted by the recognition that there were no good options.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 8:58 AM | Report abuse


All the papers front the death of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator whose government killed or disappeared more than 3,200 people. Pinochet came into power after a U.S.-supported coup on Sept. 11, 1973

9/11 -- 3200 dead

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 8:53 AM | Report abuse

All the papers front the death of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator whose government killed or disappeared more than 3,200 people. He was 91 and died of complications from a heart attack he suffered last week. Pinochet came into power after a U.S.-supported coup on Sept. 11, 1973 that toppled the elected government of Marxist President Salvador Allende. Pinochet then proceeded to lead the country for 17 years in a brutal dictatorship where approximately 29,000 people were tortured.

Posted by: republican diplomacy | December 11, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

'So I am giving you Dems some advice'

don't bother, loserboy. we won the election. we blew you away. we don't need your stinking advice.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 8:50 AM | Report abuse

What is it with this pathetic, closed-minded moron troll William? Out of what vile hole did he crawl? It's not surprising that he's online all the time, because he clearly is too hateful and stupid to have a life, but why is he here and not on some white hate site, where he belongs?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Golgi and William

Neither of you have the fact right on Tiger Woods. His mother is Thai and his father was half African American, one quarter Chinese and one quarter native American.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 11, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"Last week, Pelosi announced Wasserman Schultz will be a deputy chief whip and Meek and Ryan will serve on the party's steering committee..."

Here's the best news the Democrats have had in ten years... They have allowed their own bright future to come forward and join them NOW, not tomorrow.

Shine on, Young Democrats, and bring light to your nation's dark political corridors.

I'm just too proud of these people to even write about it right now.

And thanks once again, Nancy Pelosi, for the genius of your leadership, above and beyond the call of duty.

Posted by: JEP | December 11, 2006 8:42 AM | Report abuse

'The LAT reefers and everybody mentions Iraqi President Jalal Talabani strongly criticized the Iraq Study Group report yesterday. He called it "dangerous" and says several of its plans threaten the country's sovereignty. He also accused the report of being condescending toward Iraq's people. "They are dealing with us as if we are an emerging colony, doing whatever they like," he said.'

Why do we continue to even bother with these people?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 8:01 AM | Report abuse

All the papers front the death of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator whose government killed or disappeared more than 3,200 people. He was 91 and died of complications from a heart attack he suffered last week. Pinochet came into power after a U.S.-supported coup on Sept. 11, 1973 that toppled the elected government of Marxist President Salvador Allende. Pinochet then proceeded to lead the country for 17 years in a brutal dictatorship where approximately 29,000 people were tortured.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 7:59 AM | Report abuse

William:" ...with all the illegals and their sympathizers from south of the border, as well as treasonous people who support illegal immigration, Richardson will sure be a big hit.

The rest of America will see him for what he is, a shill for Mexico."

Out of curiousity, William, exactly what part of the country are you from? I've lived in the Southwest my entire life except 1 year in South Dakota(Belle Fouche). In all that time I've not known Richardson to be a "shill for mexico". I suspect that your complaint against him arose from his comments regarding the fence?

Take those comments with a grain of salt. I believe he was noting that it's underfunded and underwhelming in it's capacity to stop illegals from entering the country.

I suspect that Richardson would not oppose the fence if it was a)fully funded, b)continuous instead of 10 miles of fence here...20 miles there, and c)completely covered the entire border.

Additionally, he prefers to put the minimal funds available to use where they'd do the most good. I personally believe that those funds are better spent on enforcement of laws against employers. They'll stop trying to come here if there is no reason to come(ie-no job available because employers are being watch for compliance). The additional benefit of this approach is that it forces employers to pay a fair wage.

One other thing, I believe Richardson has said he'd want more money spent on border agents. This seems like a good idea to me as long as these border agents have bosses that make them do their jobs well. Responsibility should be at all levels.

Posted by: DKinUT | December 11, 2006 7:13 AM | Report abuse

For those interested in state legislatures, here are final numbers on their changes in the 2006 elections: http://ncsl.typepad.com/the_thicket/2006/11/chalk_one_up_fo.html

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 11, 2006 4:07 AM | Report abuse

You might get to add Jeb Bush to the list for 2008. He is saying now he is not ruling out a run. In an interview he gave a very candidate sounding spiel.

Jeb Bush Opens Door To 2008 Run
http://bluesunbelt.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=52

Rob
http://robwire.com

Posted by: Rob | December 11, 2006 3:12 AM | Report abuse

hmm

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Senator Allen, is that you? I didn't know you read The Fix.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 11, 2006 1:25 AM | Report abuse

Golgi, Tiger Woods is not running for office. Also he is half Chinese and half African-American, so get your facts straight.

As for Barack Hussein Obama, a lot of Americans still privately disapprove of interracial marriage, especially when the woman marries someone of another race.

I am certainly NOT saying I am one of those people, I am just pointing out the obvious.

Even some people who might vote for a completely black candidate will not vote for one who is half white. If you don't believe this, you have obviously never spent time with average people(not college professors) in the South or out West.

Even if that is sad, which it is, nevertheless it will cost Obama the election.

His weird name will not help either. It is not an American sounding name.

I am not saying it will be right of the GOP to to a "Call Me" or "Hands" or other Atwater type attacks on Barack Hussein Obama, but it WILL happen and Barack Hussein Obama will be BBQ'd.

So save yourselves AND Barack Hussein the grief and don't run him for president.

When the Chicago Tribune endorses a Democratic candidate in the primaries, you know NOT to nominate that candidate.

But if you don't believe me, run Barack Hussein and see what happens.

Barack Hussein's self esteem will be destroyed for the remainder of his natural life, and you will lose your majorities in the House and Senate since people will remember how out of touch you are.

I really DON'T want poor Barack Hussein to be the victim of racist, vicious attacks, so that it why I am begging you not to run him. For Barack Hussein's sake.

And Saddam's as well.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Dan, with all the illegals and their sympathizers from south of the border, as well as treasonous people who support illegal immigration, Richardson will sure be a big hit.

The rest of America will see him for what he is, a shill for Mexico.

Edwards seems like a nice guy who means well, but has too little experience.

Though compared to Obama, Edwards has a lifetime of experience.

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 1:10 AM | Report abuse

JayPe, you may be right that many GOP politicians use Christians (like John McCain) but nevertheless, the GOP generally does fall more in line with what Christians believe, at least in some cases.

I am certainly NOT saying that in order to be a good Christian one has to vote for the GOP, I am merely saying that on issues like gay marriage and abortion, the GOP takes the Christian position while most Democrats do not.

As for the death penalty, JayPe, check Genesis 9:6

Posted by: William | December 11, 2006 1:07 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get why William thinks people will be turned off when they find out Obama's mom is white. ??? Is it because a white woman had a child with a black man or something? This comment just seemed desperate and strange. Are Americans weirded out by Tiger Woods for the same reason? I don't know, maybe they are, it just would be the first I heard about it and I'm an American. Or maybe Tiger Woods' dad is white and his mom is black and that's why it's ok??? I honestly don't know who is who in that family tree, so I am really perplexed here...

William, can you shed some light on this? Why will it bother voters that Obama's mom is white? I get the thing about his middle name being Hussein might weird out some voters who assume that means he's Saddam's cousin or something, but his mom being white...??????

Posted by: Golgi | December 11, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Richardson should be the VP candidate- helps win the southwest, has foreign policy experience, and executive experience.

Either Edwards-Richardson, or Obama-Richardson could really make a nice ticket

Posted by: Dan | December 10, 2006 9:04 PM | Report abuse

In fact, the whole Christian politics thing is very sad. Bush managed to unite a whole lot of Christians promising "compassionate conservatism" and clean moral government.

The reality has been very disappointing. As recent books from within the WH have shown, he used the christians when it suited - talking tough around election time but never delivering anything of value.

And his Administration has hardly been white as the snow either, with oil issues, contempt for the environment and unnecessary wars... Truly man struggles to govern himself properly. Fortunately Christians have a hope for a better future government led by an uncorruptable leader...

Posted by: JayPe | December 10, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

William, just take a few deep calming breaths. You missed my point.

I agree that Christians know those things are wrong (except for the death penalty, as its God's prerogative to take away life, not mans. But we'll leave that for now...)

My point is that Christians who argue in favour of morals call themselves "conservatives" - which is a convenient label, but its not scriptural.

Posted by: JayPe | December 10, 2006 8:51 PM | Report abuse

the reason Tennessee didnt elect Ford is that they knew if they did, they would have to be kicked out of the Confederacy and join Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, and West Virginia as Wannabee Southern states.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

JayPe, people who read their Bibles know that gay marriage, pornography,prostitution, and abortion are wrong, and that the death penalty is justified.

It's not about being "liberal" or "conservative". Its about being moral or immoral.

And people who support abortion, etc, are immoral.

And they call themselves liberals, because they claim they are "more accepting of new views" or something like that.

In reality, the only views they are willing to accept are their own, or those of criminals, and terrorists, who should be given therapy, according to Chuck Schumer.

Posted by: William | December 10, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse

hmm

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

William,

Do you find it hilarious how particularly the Republicans work very hard to tarnish the people aiming for higher office as "liberal", and work very hard to burnish their credentials as a "conservative".
It's all about perception. As you say, Hillary is moderate, but her opponents have successfully cast her as a controversial unelectable "liberal".

What I find sad about the whole thing is that in the Bible you will not find the word "conservative", but "liberality" is something Christians are encouraged to be. Why Christian Republicans try so hard to be "conservatives" is a mystery to those who read their Bibles...

Posted by: JayPe | December 10, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Colin, now that I think about it, you are correct that Spitzer is young enough to be considered a Rising Star.

I was thinking of him in comparison to Blunt, who is only 35, and others, who are also younger than Spitzer.

Regarding Matt Blunt, well, the polls say a lot of things. In 2004, they had Kerry beating Bush. Matt Blunt is pretty popular in most areas of Missouri, especially the rural areas.

I think McCaskill won because people were sick of the GOP controlled COngress. Believe it or not, a LOT of Republicans are against GOP policies like the Patriot act, wire-tapping without a warrant, etc. The swing voters decided it was time for change.

McCaskill herself said that Missouri is a microcosm of the US, and has its east and west coasts (KS City and St. Louis) and its rural heartland, and liberal and conservative suburbs.

Of MO's 9 Congresspeople, 5 are Republicans and 4 are Democrats.

Talent was a freshman senator who replaced Ashcroft in 2002 and never even served a full term. In a blue year, he was easy prey.

Missouri is a swing state, but if Blunt can win again in 2008, he will have a good shot at running for president.

Elections in MO are usually close, compared to other states. Talent won 51-49, and then McCaskill flipped that ratio.

So Blunt's current approval ratings are not really a negative for him.

About Sanford, he won reelection with something like 56% of the vote, which shows how popular he is. In GA, Sonny Perdue even won with 62% of the vote.

With regard to Emanuel, its funny how Democrats seem to have a different definition of "moderate" than everyone else. I remember in 2004 how a lot of Dems thought John Kerry was a moderate or even conservative Democrat. Give me a break.

Some people are even saying that Obama is a moderate, trying to make him appear more appealing. Snort.

Rahm Emanuel is a liberal Democrat. His voting record is more moderate than say, Bernie Sanders or Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi, but he still falls within the liberal Democratic mainstream, as far as his voting record is concerned.

Moderate Democrats are people like Hillary Clinton, Jane Harman, Jon Tester, etc.

Posted by: William | December 10, 2006 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Everyone is jostling for position already, looking to past trends to find the best position come the primarys.

DEMOCRATS
- The fresh face, inspiring people with a message of hope (Edwards, Obama)
- The candidate with the most name recognition and money (Hillary)
- the person with the most electable resume of executive red-state experience (Vilsack)
- the person with the most electable resume of executive red-state experience PLUS foreign policy (Bayh, Richardson)
- "Washington Insider" (???) like Dodd, Kerry, Biden LOL.

Al Gore, if he runs, will have name recognition, an impressive executive resume and inspiring message. Given his status on the Left Wing of the Party, he would significantly halt both #2 Edwards and #3 Obama. I think if he entered and immediately offered Obama his VP slot (so Obama didn't run, and started campaigning for him) then it would immediately be him vs Hillary. No one else would get a look in.

REPUBLICANS
- the person who is the favourite, heavily organised, and most likely to win General Election (McCain)
- the conservative charismatic Governor (Romney)
- the true social conservative (Brownback)
- the firebrand from the past (Gingrich)

Guiliani is very different from other/previous candidates. His social positions should mean he's a non-starter. But 9/11 is heavily ingrained on the national psyche... I can see McCain getting run down from here, both he and Romney have a lot of ammunition that could be used against them. Will Guiliani or Brownback get unstoppable momentum behind them?

Posted by: JayPe | December 10, 2006 7:23 PM | Report abuse

hazmaq, Judging from you name you are a muslim or arab. In either case, your hatred of Israel doesnt matter to anyone.

The US is a pro-Israel country, and we believe that Lebanon deserved what they got, and more.

Israel is a democracy that only wants to survive. Your Arab friends want Israel destroyed simply because it is a Jewish state.

Almost all Americans (except for people like Carter) sided with Israel in the conflict.

Olmert was weak to withdraw that quickly. He should have used a lot more force and finished Hezbollah once and for all.

Posted by: William | December 10, 2006 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Senator Edwards went in person to Israel:

"The visit, Edward's second, included a helicopter tour surveying the route of the security barrier, the northern border and the Golan Heights."


http://blog.oneamericacommittee.com/story/2006/6/9/10356/05073

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I for one look at the 2008 candidate not as who I want to have a beer with or who's the cutest or most popular. Nor do I want a future world leader ignorant of worldly affairs or biased in their views of the world.
The recent Israeli/Lebanon war was a great case, and test, to judge your candidates' views and priorities. It is almost a unanimous decision that Israel used a massively dis-proportionate response, bombing the crap out of Lebanon from tip to tip and creating one of the biggest environmental catastrophes ever in the Mediteranean.
We all watched that war day after day, for 34 days. Almost everyone worldwide called for the U.S. and Britain to intervene and call for a cease-fire. The U.S. was dead silent and actually stalled efforts to allowq Israel to continue. Israel then dropped over 100,000 cluster bomblets.
Not one Democrat spoke out publicly. John Edwards?? The two worlds humanitarian - not a damn peep. Two Dems in Congress did try. One came back later to retract much of what he said.
But someone did speak out and loudly: Republican Chuck Hagel. He's been a star in knowing the appropriate course for the sake of our country.

As a Progressive Independent the one trait I had in common with the Right is that I liked a strong and fearless candidate.
But this group of Dems is the most timid of the lot. And most of us will never put a Republican in the White House again.

Give us boldness with intellect, diplomacy with conscious and I see only two possibilities

Al Gore or an I-Chuck Hagel.

Posted by: hazmaq | December 10, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

William -- just a few things.

1. Matt Blunt currently has a 38% approval rating in Missouri, making him one of the most unpopular governors in the country. One of the reasons McCaskil won the Senate race is b/c the voters had buyers remorse over narrowly electing Blunt. So you may want to revise your rating of him as a "rising star."

2. Rahm is a moderate Democrat, not a "liberal" as you put it. He was one of the driving forces behind welfare reform in the Clinton White House and has long been one of the faces of the New Democrat movement. I agree he'll never be president, but it's not because he's too liberal

3. Spitzer is only 47, so I'm not sure why you view his age as a negative. Sanford, who you apparently love, is only one year younger.

Posted by: Colin | December 10, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Zach.

I agree with you about Shuler. Right now he is too conservativeto appeal to the Democratic base. But when Clinton won his first term as the governor of Arkansas, he was probably too conservative too.

If Shuler stays as wildly popular in his district as he is now, and performs well in Congress, perhaps sometime in the future he could run for senator or governor of NC, and from there he could moderate his views and move to the left to prepare for a presidential run. John Edwards followed this path (though Heath was never a trial lawyer, so his opponents couldnt stereotype him as an ambulance chaser like they did to Edwards.)

As a Republican, I like Heath Shuler. He's one of my favorite Democrats.

Rahm Emanuel is a highly skilled politician, though his voting record is very liberal. He would have to move a lot to the center to position himself for a presidential run. I think the character Josh Lyman, President Bartlett's deputy chief of staff from the west wing, was actually based on Rahm. I think if he achieves higher office he will definitely be qualified to be president. The question is if he can be elected. I think it would be interesting if he ran someday. It would certainly be an exciting race. He is a good debater.

Elliot Spitzer is also a rising star in the Democratic Party, but I doubt he will be able to win the presidency. He's older than a lot of the other rising stars, and he will presumable run for reelection in 2010. I suppose he could run in 2012, though. If Hillary becomes president or vice president, then I think perhaps Anthony Weiner will replace her in the Senate. Even though he is only a 2 term congressman, he is Shumer's protege and Shumer is working hard to help Weiner rise. As for Spitzer, he has a reputation for being mean, which will hurt with voters if he runs for president. He does seem like a very smart guy though. If he wins the presidency one day, he would be the first Jewish president.

You mentioned Jeb Bush. The reason I didn't list him is that I kind of think his star has reached it's apex, and is now going to decline. If he ran in 2008, that would be one thing, but by the time 2012 rolls around, he will have been out of office for 6 years, and will be almost forgotten. He cannot run for Senate, since Nelson just won reelection, and Martinez is a Republican. And Crist will run again in 2010. So Jeb will be out of the political loop by 2012. Also I think that even most Republicans are sick of Bushes. Bush 1 was a flop, Bush 2 was a disaster, and no one wants Bush 3. Even as a Republican, I am not enthusiastic about Jeb. He is strongly pro-amnesty, and he is a Bush. If Clinton wins, the same 2 families will have run the country for 20 years, or 5 presidencies. No one wants Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton, Bush. It's time for some fresh faces.

Re: Sanford, I definitely agree with you. He has presidential ambitions, and conservatives adore him. If he runs a tight ship during his next term, he can leave in 2010 to run for president in 2012. With Brownback, Huckabee, and maybe Gingrich in, I think Sanford may be scared away in 2008. I hope he does run though. He is a true conservative. Sam 'I love amnesty and hate the death penalty' Brownback and Mike "Mexico's Man" Huckabee are not conservative.

It disgusts me how Pawlenty is kissing McCain's ***, hoping for the VP spot. I hope McCain loses the primary. He has sold us out too many times. I would vote for Hillary just to deny smug, sleazy McCain the staisfaction of being president.

Personally I think Sanford and Blunt are STRONG GOP candidates for 2012. I like both of them, and hope one or both run in 2012.

For 2008, there are NO conservatives in the race, and by ruminating and hinting, Gingrich is scaring them off from running. He needs to stop.

Romney is a liberal who is flip-flopping. Huckabee is a big-government, tax and spend conservative who has a shaky record on the death penalty and STRONGLY supports amnesty. Brownback also opposed capital punishment but supports amnesty. McCain is a liberal sellout, who scorned and denigrated conservatives, and now expects to win the nomination nevertheless. That moron needs to be returned to Ariz.

Duncan Hunter is an obscure congressman with no chance of winning the nomination, and he has corruption issues. No one remembers Tommy Thompson, and he and Pataki are just crowding the moderate wing of the GOP even more. ALL of the GOp candidates running are MODERATES!

Tancredo would be a good president but he has no chance of winning. Personally, even though I am very conservative, with the current slate of candidates, I will support Guliani, since at least he is honest about his views, and isnt trying to flip flop. He has lots of baggage but I think he is a good man.

Posted by: William | December 10, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter: I did not single any one out for what is being said about Hillary. These are comments made in a general way about her from those who oppose her. I recall a short time back that you made almost the same comment to me regarding Hillary. I do think there are a hidden number of folks that really do want her to make the run in 08, but that is something we will never know. My close to 60 years of following politics and never have I found a party, as a whole, as afraid as the repubs are of Hillary. Winning is the only thing in politics and Hillary is a winner. Warner as her running mate is just adding a little more to make her that much more powerful, as would Warner add to any ticket. As for my "feeling" I have named the winner in every POTUS race since 1948 when the parties had choosen their nominee, and some before they announced. Do not make the mistake of thinking the repubs want to run against Hillary when in fact she is their worst nightmare.

Posted by: lylepink | December 10, 2006 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Lylepink... "Jealously, envy, resentment, being a womam, polorizing, unelectable, shrill just to name a few of the things being used against her...." are these "feelings" really the reasons you think people don't want Hillary?

I'm not for Hillary and I'm not jealous, envious or resentful of her nor hold it for/against her she's a woman. There is no argument she is polarizing, probably unelectable, and, especially when she tries to orate, shrill.

One big reason she shouldn't seek the nomination is because she's a Clinton (and I thought Bill was a good president in many respects). The country has had a bellyful of the Bush/Clinton dynasties and don't now need another Clinton to continue pushing the country toward NAFTA, a North American "community" and internationalism.

In 2008 I'm not going to vote my "feelings" but my convictions and priorities. I'm searching for the candidate who can get us back on course... jobs, protecting our borders, and sane non-corporate interests driven policies.

Surely there is someone who can lead this nation besides more Bush or Clintons.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | December 10, 2006 12:05 PM | Report abuse

By Cain Burdeau
Associated Press
Sunday, December 10, 2006; Page A10

NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 9 -- Voters looked past a federal bribery investigation of Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) and reelected the eight-term congressman in a runoff election Saturday.

Jefferson grabbed a commanding lead over state Rep. Karen Carter, a fellow Democrat, almost as soon as the polls closed in the New Orleans district. With 44 percent of the precincts reporting, Jefferson, had 61 percent of the vote.


Jefferson now re-elected after Nagin. Time to seriously rethink those billions being thrown at The Crescent City.

New Orleans - Iraq at home.

How do you want your tax dollars spent?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Colin: U R Reading what I am trying to say wrong. In no way have I ever stated Hillary is the only one that can win in 08. Just as many of you are being sucked in by the political analysis that is going on 24/7. I have stated many times the best ticket,IMO, for the dems in 08 is Clinton/Warner and have given so many reasons for the way I firmly believe it to be the best. Simple logic is a big factor in that the best way to do anything is usually the simplest. Stop and think how the repubs are playing this and the amount of money being spent this early to drive her negatives up. The thing I have found that even folks that support her are unwilling to say so for it is not the trend in todays world. The media plays a big role in this also. Flavor of the week or month and etc. Jealously, envy, resentment, being a womam, polorizing, unelectable, shrill just to name a few of the things being used against her. Now I ask you to think again and maybe you will see why I am convinced she will win if she makes the choice to run in 08.

Posted by: lylepink | December 10, 2006 5:56 AM | Report abuse

lylepink -- We get it - you really like HRC and think that she and only she can win the white house. I don't hate her and agree that she COULD win, but am quite curious to hear WHY you think she's SOOOO strong as a candidate. Her negatives are huge and most people have already made their minds up about her one way or another.

William -- I'm sorry to hear that you apparently think that any black politician is required to "pander" to african americans. While I'm sure that kind of view point will leave you in the good graces of the Republican party, it does nothing but reveal your own predjudices. Why don't you actually take a look at what Obama stands for instead of making snap judgment based upon the color of his skin or his religious beliefs.

Posted by: Colin | December 10, 2006 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Several comments have been made about race, religion, inexpierence etc., concerning Obama. If he does choose to make a run for 08, IMO, he will be torn apart on so many things, but not in the primary, for the repubs want anyone but Hillary to get the nomination. That is but another strong reason why they will do anything to deny her for they know that they cannot beat her in the fall election.

Posted by: lylepink | December 9, 2006 10:54 PM | Report abuse

The list of Democrats is very impressive. As far as experience goes I'd have to pick Evan Bayh. I'd love to see a Bayh-Obama ticket.

After Bayh my favorites are Edwards, Richardson and Obama.

I'm still keeping an open mind.

Posted by: Carol | December 9, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Obama has a Muslum father wont matter. Get real folks if you think he wont be ripped apart then you are living on another planet. Several have posted the obvious and there are those that cannot or will not accept facts. The fact remains that Hillary is the strongest candidate the dems have to offer for 08 and if she makes the choice to run in 08 I still cannot figure how the repubs can possibly beat her and with Warner on the ticket with her we have a sure winner.

Posted by: lylepink | December 9, 2006 10:44 PM | Report abuse

JEP...Thanks for your comment.

I wish I could snap my fingers and make $100 million presidential campaigns go away.

Maybe the Internet WILL lower those cost barriers de facto.

But not in '08.

TG...appreciate your loyalty to Biden.

For what it's worth, he and Obama headlined our Ohio state dinner last summer.

Joe went first. He was good. But seemed to be trying almost too hard to look and sound presidential.

Obama just wowed us.

I have done a lot of speech writing.

Obama knows how to deliver.

I like Joe Biden. But he'll need to polish his rhetorical skills.

And...one more for-what-it's-worth...Hillary's delivery has the same earnestness. Solid, bur rarely inspirational.

Posted by: Kurt Landefeld | December 9, 2006 10:36 PM | Report abuse

'Get ready. For some reason the media is making Obama out to be some kind of messiah, but when voters find out more about him (such as the fact his mom is white and his middle name is Hussein) the Obama mania will come to a screeching halt.'

Man, William, you are one creeply little racist fu**. His mom is white -- omigod. He has a funny name.When are you going to crawl back into the hole you came from?

Posted by: drindl | December 9, 2006 10:20 PM | Report abuse

In order to get us out of not only the mess in the Middle East, but the possibility of an economic meltdown, we need an optimist who can communicate it. FDR, JRK, RFK, Reagan, Clinton all had it. Markets and people respond to a "can do" kind of guy or gal. The country voted for a new batch of economic populists who want to tackle the big problems. Who enjoy governing and don't think it's "hard work". They believe in a lean mean government that can solve the health care problem with single payer. You need somebody with vision. There's a great man out there and it's John Edwards. He's a serious Atticus Finch type guy trapped in a youthful body. But trajedy and smarts haved kept him growing and maturing. I like that quality. The guy also was waaaay ahead of everybody with the poverty and prison issue. When Katrina hit, everybody knew he had been right about Two Americas. It takes guts to go against the powerful corps. And they are already gunning for him by encouraging Obama. They will do anything to keep him away from the prize. He would have won Iowa with three more days,I was told by a reporter. This is a man of the people. Shake his hand and look in his eye, then tell me what you think. We the people have deternined we want something bold and he's the guy that can get on that white horse. Besides, Elizabeth Edwards will finally be the kind of woman that will make it safe to be a feminist again. Oh and Hilarly? She's an introvert. Much better suited for the Senate. She should lead it.

Posted by: bordercollie | December 9, 2006 9:20 PM | Report abuse

How many Democrats trust Bill Clinton's political judgment? One thing to keep in mind when you talk about Evan Bayh was that in Clinton's autobiography he mentioned Evan Bayh as a possible candidate for President and said he would be a strong candidate if he ever ran. Think about when the book was published....its been out longer than most of the country has heard of Barack Obama.

Posted by: Jeremy Miller | December 9, 2006 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Good list William.

Dems:
I'd disagree with you about Schuler. Both parties are defined by their stands on social issues and he is a good fit for his district, but DailyKos-ers would call him a R.

I'd love to see Rahm run for President someday. He's a smart guy.

Kaine has charisma issues. His response to the State-of-the-Union was horrific to watch.

I might add Elliot Spitzer to the list. His probably to liberal to win a presidential, but he did win the NY governor's mansion with over 70% of the vote.

Ken Salazar from out in Colorado also fits the image of the "New" Democratic Party - western, moderate, etc.

GOPers: It looks like Pawlenty is going to be McCain's VP choice if he wins the nomination. He did escape Hatch in a bad year to be a GOP Gov.

I think Sanford is going to consider a run for Pres in '08. Huckabee and Newt are the only other southerners and I know conservatives adore him.

Pence has the problem of no GOP seats in Indiana being open soon. Bayh isn't up until 2010 and Lugar won't be gone until 2012. Mitch Daniels is up for re-election in 08, so the GOP won't be nominating a gubernatorial candidate until 2012. He's not that young.

If we are purely looking at potenial 2012 or 2016 candidates, Jeb Bush has to be on the list - popular governor of a purple state.

As a true rising star, I might add Rick Perry just because he is a two-term governor with known presidential ambitions and solid conservative credentials.

Posted by: Zach | December 9, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the Obama bashers need to go back and view some of his speeches. He has qualities desperately lacking in the last two dem candidates: charisma, extraordinary public speaking technique, and the ability to connect with people in a way that Gore and Kerry rarely managed. He is also very smart and a natural politician. When Turdblossom or surregates start on his name he will not be out somewhere wind-surfing. He will turn it around and rub their faces in it. He also has an attractive family and so far is pretty clean. Remember a young inexperienced politician called JFK who was unelectable because he was a Roman Catholic? I am old enough to remember the reaction to that and I remember that republicans voted for him after hearing him speak because he preached a gospel of hope. Obama can do that at least as well. I don't think the Harold Ford experience is a cause for pessimism. In a year when being clean was a major requirement a guy from one of the dirtiest political families in the country got close enough to scare a lot of republicans. Not to mention that he is a single black guy who suffered from speculation about his leisure activities. He should have been blown away early in the campaign. I think Obama will gather all the usual states and have a clear shot at some border states and maybe even a couple in the deep south. It is true that blacks mostly vote for dems but many are resentful and are feeling used. Look at what Steele could do in MD. Obama will bring out a much stronger black vote.

The Hillary strategy of keeping what Kerry won and picking up a little extra is a joke. She wont carry PA unless she gets Ed Rendell on the ticket and there isnt one single state won by the repubs in the last election that she has any chance at all of winning. Here in PA she needs to do very well in the suburbs and she wont. I don't know anyone who will admit being willing to vote for her.

pa indy

Posted by: pa indy | December 9, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards has been working for minimum wage, to help unions, poverty worldwide - he has been on the ground in the Sudan, helping with habitat, has a food drive set up nationwide possibilities through the America Harvest network on his OneCorps group web-link. He has worked with College for those who want it in a county in NC.

Universal Health Care,
Timed withdrawal for our troops from Iraq,
and Working on improving America's image worldwide, and is about getting America back to the America that cares about it's people.

http://www.oneamericacommittee.com

"WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS, AMERICA CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS!" ~ John Edwards

Posted by: dk2 | December 9, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Colin, as I said before, does the Democratic party want to make multi-cultural statements, or actually win elections.

If it's the former, why don't you nominate Keith Ellison or Bernie Sanders for president. How about Al Sharpton? He's charismatic. I've heard him speak, he's a good speaker. He's a minister too. That will appeal to avangelicals!!!

Ellison, Sanders and Sharpton can't be any worse than Obama. I am simply stating the truth: Obama has no chance of winning, and even if many people say that race doesn't matter to them, in the privacy of the voting booth, it will sway their vote, along with Obama's other negatives.

And it is not unfair to consider: Will Obama pander to African-Americans (and Kenya, which seems like his second home) or will he do what is best for everyone.

I think we all know that he will pander, like most, if not all, black politicians. And that is the truth, sad as it might be.

Posted by: William | December 9, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

RISING STARS

Even though it isnt even 2008, I am going to list some rising stars for both parties whom you may see running for president in 2012 or 2016. Basically these young men and women (comparatively speaking) are rising stars in their parties and in a few years will be well positioned to seek higher office. They represent the "new image" that both parties are trying to convey.

Democrats:

John Lynch, governor of New Hampshire. Lynch won reelection in 2006, in a moderate to conservative leaning state. His charisma and moderate views would appeal to many voters. He reminds me of the president from the West wing, who was from NH as well. Lynch's wife is even a doctor, like Pres. Bartlett's wife was.

Kathleen Sebelius: Governor of KS, reelected by a huge margin in 2006. Stands a good chance at being the first female president if Hillary loses. A moderate governor from a conservative state, Sebelius is still liberal enough to excite the Democrat base.

Heath Shuler: He is only a Congressman elect now, and it will be hard to predict his performance in Congress, but if his popularity keeps holding up, he may be a senator or governor of NC someday, and from there, he could run for president.

Rahm Emanuel: I don't know if he could be elected president, but I can definitely see him replacing Durbin, who is old, as IL's senator, or running for governor to succeed Blagojevich.

Brian Sweitzer: Governor of Montana. He clearly appeals to voters in conservative states, and is young and energetic, at least as far as politicians go. Also, if he moves to the left on issues like abortion (but not gay marriage) he will still stay popular in MT since it leans libertarian. Expect Sweitzer to run for president in 2012.

Tim Kaine: popular governor of VA.

Jon Tester: He is only a senator elect from MT so far, but he appeals to moderates and conservatives and also liberals (he wants to scrap the entire Patriot Act and I, a conservative, agree with him.) He is an example of the new, more moderate Democrat, who still excites the liberal base. He also has a grassroots beginning.

Republicans:

Matt Blunt, governor of Missouri. Young (only 35), popular in his state, charismatic, solid conservative, and Baptist, he will excite the GOP base. He is up for reelection in 2008 and widely expected to win. Look for him to run for president in 2012.

Tim Pawlenty: Charismatic, with strong conservative credentials, though not as strong as Blunt's. He is the governor of MN, and won reelection in a strongly blue leaning state. However, he only won by 1% and received only 47% of the vote, which doesn't signal that he is extremely popular in the North Star state. He has been cozying with McCain lately, probably hoping for the VP spot.

John Thune: A lot of women think he is very handsome, and he has strong conservative credentials. The base absolutely loves him, and a lot of moderates and liberals do, too, even if they don't agree with the South Dakota senator on every issue. He has a reputation for being at least somewhat independent of Bush, unlike many GOP senators.

Mark Sanford: Conservatives absolutely LOVE this man, who vetoed numerous budgets passed by his own GOP controlled legislature because the budget has too much pork. He will almost certainly run in 2012 and may even change his mind and run in 2008. He is a budget hawk, and even returns federal aid when his state doesnt need it. He is the governor of South Carolina.

Mike Pence: Probably too conservative to win the presidency, but this congressman from Indiana is adored by conservatives and, if he replaces Bayh or Lugar in the Senate, or eventually runs for governor, could run for president if he moderates his views.

Louisiana Senator David Vitter: Less charismatic than some of the others, but a strong conservative and popular in his state. However he is older than a lot of the others on this list.

Haley Barbour: Governor of MS, handled the Katrina crisis very well, extremely popular among conservatives, former RNC chairman.

Other popular GOP senators who might be rising stars: Tom Coburn from Oklahoma (too conservative and kind of old) and Jim DeMint, from SC.

If I left any rising star out, feel free to add!

Posted by: William | December 9, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

As a moderate Independent, aka Swing Voter, I am not at all impressed with any of the Republicans so far. All are Bush and war supporters, and most are members of the Do-Nothingest Congress in history.

The Dems don't fair much better, except for John Edwards, who should have been on top of the ticket in '04 ! His vision, intelligence, judgement and compassion strike me as great leadership material, especially his ability to admit mistakes.

I like Obama and Gore too, but my mind keeps changing back to the Edwards family.

Posted by: Denise | December 9, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

William -- I find it interesting that you want to "help" Democrats avoid having Obama "BBQd" by Republican smear tactics. Here's another idea though -- how about republicans like YOU stop using racist tactics to avoid discussing issues. The Democratic party was wrong when it embraced its segregationist wing and the modern Republican party is currently controlled by those same ugly elements of society. You seem to view the way for Democrats to deal with this issue is to ignore it and just nominate white protestant men for the presidency. That strikes me as a pretty cynical answer to a real problem.

After all, to quote Dante the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.

Posted by: Colin | December 9, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Edwards has only ONE term in the Senate for experience. He does seem like a caring guy, who genuinely wants to help people(even as a Republican I will admit that.)

But he has very little experience and remember what happened to him in the 2004 debate? McCain will shred him in 2008, if McCain is the GOP nominee.

Also, don't assume that just because he is from the South he will appeal to most Southerners. His lack of experience and liberal views on guns, etc will turn off a lot of voters. Remember, Gore was from the South and he didnt even win his own state.

Posted by: William | December 9, 2006 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich does not have any chance of being elected, as I already mentioned. I have no idea why he is perpetuating the rumor that he might run, unless he is just fantasizing, or simply enjoys the attention. In either case, the effect he is having, whether he knows it or not, is to scare off a vaible conservative from running.

Romney is distrusted by most conservatives, and that will only increase when they find out about his gay rights views.

Brownback is anti-death penalty and pro-amnesty (kind of like the RC Church) and a lot of evangelicals will like a Catholic more than a mormon, but if Brownback was Protestant, he would be a lot more popular among evangelicals. He and Huckabee (who is also anti-death penalty and pro-amnesty) are not solid conservatives.

And for those of you who think the name of a nominee doesnt matter, Brownback and Huckabee are weak names too that would be easy to poke fun at. Obama isnt the only one with a weak name.

There are no good conservatives in the race, and it looks like Sanford, Rounds, and Perdue won't run, Barbour and Sessions are up for reelection in 2008.

Some people here still seem to believe that just because the Democrats retook Congress in the elections, that politics has somehow been re-shaped permanently, and no one will care about Obama's details.

If you believe this, you need a wake-up call. When the GOP retook Congress in 1994, did that mean liberalism was dead? After the 2004 elections, many Republicans were predicting the demise of the Democrats as a national party, but that didn't happen, did it?

In general, the American people do not like one party rule for more than a few years, and they give the other party another shot.

As I said before, Obama-Hillary is the GOP dream ticket. Not only will you not pick up any new states, but normally blue states or blue leaning states will be up for grabs, such as MN, OH, IA, WI, MI, PA, WA, NM, CO, etc.

Do you really think Rust belt voters will vote for Obama? Get real. Even Hillary has a better chance of winning.

But average voters in Colorado, or Ohio, etc will vote for a moderate Dem like Bayh or Clark or Bredesen or Easley.

If you want to throw away your party's newfound return to power just to make a statement for "diversity" go ahead.

The GOP isn't stupid like that and that is why we win.

Remember Harold "Call Me" Ford and Harvey "Hands" Gantt?

Obama will be BBQ'd a thousand times worse.

Get ready. For some reason the media is making Obama out to be some kind of messiah, but when voters find out more about him (such as the fact his mom is white and his middle name is Hussein) the Obama mania will come to a screeching halt.

I think it's actually kind of mean of you Dems, leading poor Barack Hussein on and maing him think he has a chance. He will be devastated when he finds out you lied.

Poor Obama will find out you all lied to him and made him think he could win and he will be really really sad.

Posted by: William | December 9, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Very good rankings. I appreciate the insight. In my opinion, John Edwards is the most dangerous democratic candidate. Hillary Clinton has too many drawbacks, and Barack Obama is too inexperienced. Edwards has strong likeability and previous presidential campaign experience. An Edwards/Obama candidacy would be a challenge for any republican. I am a republican, but I think this much is certain: it doesn't matter who the republicans run if the situation in Iraq is the same as or worse than it is today. The Democratic candidate will win out of the sheer frustration of the electorate.

Posted by: Diane | December 9, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is the candidate for the People.

He is the one that has the heart of the people in front, instead of the Bi-partisan rhetoric you hear from Obama (which to me is a sell out).

Posted by: dk2 | December 9, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Hillary might win the nomination but she will not be elected. Why? - because most women, no matter what they say, will NOT vote for her.

Obama sounds good now, a refreshing change with charisma, almost too good to be true but look at what happened to Harold Ford (or worse, Bobby Kennedy and MLK).

Posted by: johnwdecatur@earthlink.net | December 9, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hillary might win the nomination but she will not be elected. Why? - because most women, no matter what they say, will NOT vote for her.

Obama sounds good now, a refreshing change with charisma, almost too good to be true but look at what happened to Harold Ford (or worse, Bobby Kennedy and MLK).

Posted by: johnwdecatur@earthlink.net | December 9, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

In a move that could seriously complicate Mitt Romney's efforts to portray himself as the true conservative alternative to John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, some leading social conservatives have opened fire on Romney for some comments he made about gay rights more than 10 years ago, today's New York Times reports.

As Election Central reported over a week ago, a New England gay and lesbian newspaper called Bay Windows in November reprinted excerpts of a letter that Romney wrote to a gay organization back in 1994, when he was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy. In the letter Romney argued that he would be better on gay rights than Kennedy. Among other things, Romney wrote: "[A]s we seek to establish full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." In recent days Romney's opponents have been circulating Romney's comments.

Now the story's gone national, with two leading social conservatives unloading on Romney in the Times:

"This is quite disturbing," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who had praised Mr. Romney as a champion of traditional values at the group's conference in late September. "This type of information is going to create a lot of problems for Governor Romney. He is going to have a hard time overcoming this."

Paul Weyrich, a founder of the modern conservative movement, said: "Unless he comes out with an abject repudiation of this, I think it makes him out to be a hypocrite. And if he totally repudiates this, you have to ask, on what grounds?"

Posted by: bad news for romney... | December 9, 2006 2:59 PM | Report abuse


"First up, Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), who comes out looking very, very bad.

A former House page told the committee that he sent Kolbe, to his personal email account, a copy of an instant message he received from Foley in 2001 in which Foley had "made reference to the page's penis size."

When the committee asked Kolbe about this, he said he couldn't recall whether the page had contacted him or his assistant or whether it was by phone or email. What's more, he said he never knew the specifics of the young man's allegation against Foley, and "did not attempt to speculate."

As if that isn't bad enough, Kolbe appears to have tried to keep the kid quiet when the scandal broke: the former page also told the committee that he'd called Kolbe after the Foley story broke this September and asked for advice. He says Kolbe replied that "it is best that you don't even bring this up with anybody.... There is no good that can come from it if you actually talk about this. The man has resigned anyway."

Kolbe's side of the story? He told the committee that "the page had already decided that he was not going to report the IM, and the he merely responded, 'That's your decision.'"

But The Washington Post caught wind of the page's story anyway. And soon after being contacted by a Post reporter about it, Kolbe called the page and left a message: "It looks like you did some talking."

Posted by: Anonymous | December 9, 2006 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Republicans spent nearly $40 million on House races in campaign's final days. Didn't win one seat; lost 29.

That's something like $1.29 million spent per seat lost.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 9, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Time for a reality check. Many Democrats are posting that they have a preference for somebody other than Hillary, because she couldn't get elected.

If she does end up with the Democratic nomination, after eight years of the Bush Administration, does anybody think that the core Democrats are going to "stay home" and not work for her? Even if they can't stand her.

President Bush has guaranteed that any Democrat will have an energized core base; which means that they can target and shape their campaign towards the Independents.

As much as I see polls like the Quinnipiac "warm and fuzzy" poll and wonder if she could be elected, that's thinking about her as a "stand alone" entity. She, or any other Democrat, start off structurally with a good bit of what they need to get elected.

The question in my mind is "Will she 'turn off' Independents?" Maybe, but maybe not.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 9, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a self-identified fish out of water on this site because the thought of our airwaves, newspapers, blogs...being flooded with junk about a horse race that's two years down the road is more than nauseating. America treats its president like some sort of god, a creature omnipotent, omnipresent, infallible - THE GREAT DECIDER. We need to get over it!!!!!!!! You'd think we'd have learned our lesson by now given what's presently occupying the OO. This phenomenon has thrown our Constitution so far off balance, that it's going to fall over if we don't regain our senses.

Posted by: felicity | December 9, 2006 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't realized that the evangelicals were as "far out there" as is appearing in these posts.

From spending sometime the South a while back, I did know that being a "Christian" meant being a Southern Baptist; but I didn't know there was such deep-seated antipathy towards other organized Christian religions.

I'm beginning to sense that Romney would not just be the Crackers' Boogeyman, but their Freddy (or Jason) - a Mormon from the Northeast. Would a Romney candidacy mark the Beginning of The End?

Lord Help Us! (and the Crackers too!)

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 9, 2006 2:40 PM | Report abuse

JEP: Your post 10:21am in that you remind us not to let the media make up our minds for us is one of the reasons for my strong support of Hillary. Just today they are pumping Obama with all they can think of to try and distract folks out here to thinking he may have even a slight chance of victory and each of us know that his chance of being elected POTUS is ZERO, repeat ZERO. Once the folks get to know some of his history they will get away from him like rats leaving a sinking ship. This is the real world and I am only stating facts that most of us don't like to admit.

Posted by: lylepink | December 9, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I bet William belongs to the College Republicans, where you learn to watch FOX to know what to think. always a shame to see one so young become a parrot.

I sincerely hope he does 'punish' his party by styaing home on election day, if the repugs dare nominate a so-called 'moderate'. And I hope he encourages all his friends to do the same.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 9, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

About Richardson as a VP to Edwards, that just seems to me like a deathtrap for Edwards. It would just highlight his lack of experience. At least with Clinton-Gore, Clinton has a lot of experience as a governor, but only needed Gore for foreign policy. With Edwards-Richardson, everyone would just remember how little experience Edwards really has.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 9, 2006 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I think it's great that Edwards is concerned about poverty, and he may genuinely be a good person, but I suspect there are many moderates out there who would be put off by him. I remember seeing him interview on the Daily Show a few weeks ago, and he just seemed so sleazy and fake. Furthermore, his resume is really a stickler for me. Being president is a serious job. As much as I hate Cheney, I think he trashed Edwards in the 2004 VP debate, which really just shows that he's a lightweight. I would probably vote for any Dem except for Edwards. So rather than say that he simply has a good heart, I think Edwards supporters need to overcome some of the real suspicions moderates are going to have with him.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 9, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

'When Bush got all snippy with Jim Webb, George Will distorted the quote precisely to highlight Webb's supposed lack of deference.

All the Beltway 500 code words--Civil, Dignified, Ungracious--for trashing Democrats and preventing them from saying what needs to be said have to do with Republicans reinforcing this fundamental aristocratic value of deference.

It's the same deal with Civil, Moderate, and Bipartisan are also code words for reinforcing deference.

That's why it's important to mock, belittle, insult, degrade and make Republicans laughable at all times and in all conditions. These are all tools for eliminating deference from our political discourse.

Naturally, when we do this, the Beltway 500 clutches its pearls and calls us Shrill or Rude. That's a good sign: It means we're displaying the lack of deference appropriate a Democracy.'

Posted by: Anonymous | December 9, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I support John Edwards because he is smart, knows where the country needs to be headed and well he can win. He is from the South, charasmatic, handsome, and well anti-Washington. I think that the notion of presidents having to be governor is well over played. Not that people do not like governors or anything but that people like candidates that are anti-Washington. People have these bad feeling for people in Washington of course because it seems corrupt and nothing gets done. I think that is what the appeal is of Governors. Edwards can and has sucessfuly cast himself as anti-Washington even though he was a Senator. He can rail against the corrupttion in Washington because he been there and can say "Thank Goodness I am here in my homestate of North Carolina because Washington is corrupt and does not refect the views of the people." The media has characterized him as this too.

Edwards does need a running mate that does have executive experience and foreign policy tickets to balance the ticket. The hispanics are a growing block of voters and they can swing the election to the Democrats in key states in the West and Florida. Plus a governor would feed into peoples mind that the ticket is anti-Washington and reflect people outside of that bubble. With this in mind I would pick Bill Richardson. He fits all of these and is charasmatic. The ticket would win Ohio, New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. The Dems would be smart to pick that ticket and would lead them to the White House.

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | December 9, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Now, if we could just get all these Southerners to do something about that pesky speech impediment they all seem to suffer from...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 9, 2006 1:19 PM | Report abuse

John Edwards is the one candidate -- Democrat or Republican -- who can unite the country. As for the South (I grew up there), it is a cultural thing. There is a subtlety in the way Southerners speak and hear others. The nuances are deep. And John Edwards understands this very well. But he is also of the "new" South, which can speak to all, Southern or not. The only other politician today who understands this is Bill Clinton. And John Edwards is smart like Clinton. He is also involved in politics for all the right reasons. It is his genuine concern for the people of this country and the well-being of our nation that people respond to. He is a good, decent, smart man who has been tested, and is more than ready and capable to take on the responsibilities of the Presidency. (He is the absolute antithesis of George W. Bush!)And we do not want to forget that Edwards' wife is loved and admired by all who have met her. She is, beyond Edwards' smarts, charisma (after Bush we need some of that!) and electibility, his greatest asset. (Besides, wouldn't it be nice to have a REAL Camelot in Washington?)

My dream ticket would be Edwards-Obama. Why? Because Edwards is ready, and Obama, who has not been tested, needs more experience and knowledge, would be brilliant as a Vice President who could represent American in many regions of the world where he would be a definite asset. And at the same time he would be tested, and learn what he needs to know to be ready to become President.

Sadly, HIllary simply will tear us apart. What we need are two brilliant, vital young leaders to forge an new vision for our country, and make us proud again. In order to do that the only real choice is an EDWARD-OBAMA ticket!

Posted by: Johanna Dordick | December 9, 2006 1:00 PM | Report abuse

There's more than one Mormon Church, folks, just like the Lutherans have different "Synods" and the Methodists have different divisions, the Mormons have their factions, too.

I don't know which faction Romney hails from, I would guess it is RCJCLDS (Smith's remnant that stayed in Missouri.)

But, I heard a knee-slapper from someone who doesn't know much about the Mormon Church, the Brigham Young/Joseph Smith split, or the difference between Young (Utah) branch and their rogue polygamist offshoot.

This old Methodist wondered aloud, if Romney should win, will we have not only a First Lady, but possibly a second and third lady?

Still LOLing

Posted by: JEP | December 9, 2006 12:46 PM | Report abuse

you forgot the one big idea on the right:

EXHUME GOLDWATER!

http://exhumegoldwater.wordpress.com/

it's a funny picture too

Posted by: mittwins | December 9, 2006 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Kurt;
You seem determined that the mainstream media is our only course for future Democracy, you may be right, but are there alternatives that we should consider either adding to the formula, or replacing it completely?

Do you think there is ANY way to have our Democracy without these billion dollar campaigns? Or are we doomed to suffer the "call me Harolders" for the rest of our natural lives?

If there are alternatives, how would it work? And really, lets be honest, why DOES our system of government depend almost solely on advertising money for its transitions, as you suggest?

Just remember the 21st Century political Catch 22;, the media, not the public, is the ultimate beneficiary of your "big money" campaign construct, so they don't want anything to change about that, and will be listening very carefully totrivialize any hint of change that might dry up that perennial gravy train.

Just what options might we consider?

Posted by: JEP | December 9, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Gee, with and AJ and a Jon on this blog already, it's tough for a distinct name.

Multiple choice Mitt - good one, AJ. Here's a link to his "I was for gay marriage before I was against it" remark:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/12/08/romneys_94_remarks_on_same_sex_marriage_could_haunt_him/?p1=MEWell_Pos1

Will the evangelicals like him saying it is a state's rights issue?

Posted by: another jon | December 9, 2006 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who would like to help with the canned foods drive this Christmas can do so, regardless of whether you join us in the Edwards One America campaign project or not, just by going to this link and finding the nearest food collection center.

http://secondharvest.org/export/sites/harvest/_resources/images/common/A2H_logo.gif

Posted by: JEP | December 9, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

As an Ohioan, Edwards EARNED my vote in '04.

He was not on my radar screen early on.

But as I watched him campaign in Iowa, it was clear he was connecting. He had a message and people were listening.

Given another week or ten days, he might have won there.

But his loss also pointed to two crucial elements missing from his campaign: money and organization.

Many, many other good, even exceptional, candidates have fallen by the wayside because they lacked these essentials.

It kind of goes back to Mondale's "fire in the belly" speech. Or lack thereof.

A winning candidate must have the time and skills to do the dirty work of campaigning. Carter had it. Clinton had it.

All of which goes to say: I like many of our potential presidential candidates.

Edwards, Obama, Richardson, Bayh, Gore and others would probably make fine presidents. Certainly when contrasted to the current occupant.

But until they start showing the money and organization to go along with their messages, it will be hard for any of them to win during primary season.

Of course, money and organization in a campaign without a message won't be enough to win in the general. Just ask John Kerry.

Posted by: Kurt Landefeld | December 9, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think Gore and Clark will run and make a great impact. Gore will be a front runner if he runs. The reason he is not "up there" now is because nobody thinks he will run. But his latest statement "I have not ruled it out yet." is a bit different than his earlyer statements. And his film/book has opened him up to new groups of voters.

Clark is a netroots hero and could become the Howard Dean of 2008. He has worked good ans systematicly for candidates in 2006. And not only the big names.

Gore/Clark 08!

Posted by: Jorn Henriksen, Norway | December 9, 2006 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"...I like Edwards, and I liked him in 2004. But I'm not sure he has more to go on than having his heart in the right place and being really smart."

That's about the best resume for the job I've read so far.

But it seems to me there's some paid political provocatuers at work already here, especially from General Clark's quarters. Amy, be honest, I may be wrong, but you sure seem to have a BB loaded in your air pistol for most everyone.

Let me just remind EVERYONE, Republican or Democrat or Independent, that while all the others are out playing the pay-for-play game of million-dollar politics, Edwards' OneAmerica Committee is going to be out gathering canned goods for food banks across the country.

I'm trying to convince the group I'm going with to sing Christmas Carols as we go, and make a real holiday event out of it.

So keep that in mind as you watch all the big fundraising galas and ballroom fetes that these other candidates attend and milk for every questionable penny they can grab.

There is only one candidate on the starting blocks (unofficially, as yet, but there none-the-less) who is willing to spend his political capital doing good works for the less fortunate.

And as for all this discussion about Edwards' dimensional depth, Edwards is no cardboard cutout. He is personable, very personal and heartwarming, and anyone who says otherwise has never shook his hand and looked him in the eye. The smile that breaks across his face when he sees one of his old friends could never be fake, he has sincere affection for his campaign people and his old friends.

And as has been noted more than once, he's probably one of, if not THE smartest candidate in the flock, which should make all the rest feel a bit intimidated. We've had six years of overt stupidity from our President, and we are all ready for a President who can string a whole sentence together, let alone a paragraph.

Edwards is both profound and articulate, both in his speeches and from-the-hip.

Don't let the media make your opinions for you. Thjnk for yourselves.

There's too much at stake to hand this Presidential season over to the pundits and the power-brokers, it is up to "The People" to build a populist wave reminiscent of the non-partisan league from the turn of the 20th Crentury, that installs a true populist "All-American Candidate" in our highest office, not another Washington insider or a preppie skull n' boneser.

The power brokers, the lib military, the book cookers, the evangelicals and the neocons have their Hillarys, their Clarks, their Romneys, their Brownbacks and their McCains. And they will bend all the rules to hold onto their power.

But "The People" have Edwards, and its time We, The People, finally had our say as to who we choose to lead us.

If you would like to spend some of your own political time doing good works for people less fortunate than yourselves, then join John and Elizabeth Edwards' OneAmerica Committee, and spend some time with us singing Christmas Carols as we gather canned goods for the poor.

Here's some links for anyone who might find the compassion and personal humility to take part in a truly meaningful, populist Presidential campaign.
http://blog.oneamericacommittee.com/images/admin/food_drive_oac.jpg
http://onecorps.com/

Posted by: JEP | December 9, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse

JEP's Daily Truth Award;
Anyone who wants to know why the war in Iraq really happened, why it failed, and why we're still there longer than WW2, just read this article from today's NYTimes.
...(sorry, WaPo staff, I couldn't find a similar story here in your papewr), so it's the NYTimes that gets JEP's "Daily Truth" award today.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/09/world/middleeast/09oil.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

Save a copy of that oil-distribution map, and just for kicks, mark down where Anbar Province lies atop it, seems like there's not much oil for the Sunnis (Arabs)to control, if the Shia (Iraniana) get their way about things. But it looks like the Turks have a big stake in it, so obviouylsy that three-headed dog is still growling.

The big disappointment for the neocons who started this war is that this map was never intended to be carved-up for the benefit of the Iraqi people, it was the multinational oil companies who planned to own all of it.

But somwehere on the way to Baghdad and us being welcomed with open arms, we slipped on an oil slick, and now the "Blood for Oil" truth that so many of us were proclaiming long before "shock and awe" will be proven.

Its a few hundred thousand lives and a couple trillion dollars too late, but here it is, in NYTimes black and white, for all the world to see and for all the same old liars to re-spin so the stupic public doesn't understand what is staring them in the face.

HYPOCRITES!

Stop trying to put a tuxedo on this pig, just admit the truth and lets get on with making peace instead of war.

This was NEVER a war to find weapons of mass destruction, or to free the Iraqis from their evil despot, or to create a shining new democracy in a tribal land of ancient vendettas.

This was a war for control of Iraqi oil, in order to consolidate and perpetuate one of the most egregious and evil (in every sense of the word) monopolies in the history of the world'

As they carve-up this billion-gallon oil beast, we all wait to see who wins and who loses. I would still bet the multinationals will become the ultimate benefisiaries, no matter how the Iraqi oil pie is finally divided.

And surely, in that sandy land of vendetta and martyrdom, there is a lot more blood to be spilled before it is all over. I only hope and pray it is not American blood, we have spent too much of that already.

Let them HAVE their barrells and gallons and trillions.

I just want our sons and daughters back at home.

Posted by: JEP | December 9, 2006 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I like to see a Edwards-Bayh ticket- which is identitical to the Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992.
Edwards= Bubba- Southerners with boyish charm personalities.

Bayh= Gore-1992- Moderate Senators from red states- they had boyish charmed persona's as their runningmates. but they added experience to the ticket. Bayh and Gore were son of statesmen like Senators.

Edwards-Bayh will give Dem's at least 300ev

Posted by: Neal Patel | December 9, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I've seen several comments that some of the GOP base would "punish" the party if someone like McCain or Hagel won the nomination in 08. I can tell you this, I will punish the party AGAIN in 08 if someone like Brownback or God-forbid Newt wins. I was one of the moderate Republicans who voted Dem last month for the first time because the Party has gone way off course. There are many Republicans like me who will not vote for a far right conservative ever again. If the GOP doesnt move back to the center it will die.

Posted by: Mikepcfl | December 9, 2006 8:57 AM | Report abuse

murphy,

I know a lot more than 2 evangelicals, they are practically a majority here. They will mostly go for Brownback if he hangs in. I think the Mormonism coupled with being from Massachusetts and his past moderate positions on social issues make Romney distasteful to a lot of Southern evangelicals.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 9, 2006 8:31 AM | Report abuse

On the Dem side I think CC is about right, though it is very tough to judge HRC's actual support. She will have to win NH, because I can't see her winning IA and Obama will hurt with African American voters in SC.
On the GOP side, I am not sure what CC is smoking. Gingrich can only win if the GOP decides they don't want the burden if controlling the WH anymore. I'd reverse his and Brownback's position. If conservative voters start question Multiple Choice Mitt's sincerity Brownback could become the conservative candidate.

Posted by: AJ | December 9, 2006 8:26 AM | Report abuse

JimD,

Several evangelicals I know personally are of the opinion that as Christlike as mormons appear, it's still a cultist church of the devil. One former evangelical I know is now a mormon convert.

I've asked two of them how Romney's religion would affect their votes. All things being equal, they'd rather vote for a "mainstream" Christian. Given the option of Romney, McCain, and Giuliani, they both choose Romney with their theological noses held tight. They fully acknowledge that Romney is the only one of the big three GOP candidates who represents their political values.

Now if Brownback is still in the race next year, that may be trouble for Romney. I just don't see him being a spoiler candidate. No doubt he knows how to read the tea leaves. He's in this race to make sure his pet issues (abortion, immigration, Darfur, etc) get attention. He's not in it to split votes and give it to a pro-abortion Giuliani or an anti-religious-right McCain.

But as I said at 5:14pm, it's the response of the evangelical leaders and "foot soldiers" at Romney's big gatherings that informs my opinion. Far more so than the two personal examples I have.

Posted by: murphy | December 9, 2006 1:55 AM | Report abuse

I think one thing to keep in mind is that both parties try to keep control Congress and the White House like a sports team rebuilding or bringing up new talent or even keeping a great player in the minors for a few extra years. Based on that logic, for the Democrats the best possible ticket might be a Clinton-Edwards ticket. Should they loose in '08 Obama would have a good shot in 2012 and give the Democrats a strong candiate, while he would have to be re-elected to the Senate, that probable won't be a problem. At the same time, if Mark Warner decides to challenge John Warner for the VA Senate seat in 2008, he would have another chance of making a name for himself and there might be a Obama-Warner ticket in 2012 that would be a pretty powerful ticket.

Posted by: Jeremy Miller | December 9, 2006 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are desperate for the Presidency and therefore they are unlikely to take a chance with another Senator. It's simply too much work that goes into a Presidential campaign to bother with a Senator when they could have an Governor instead. Obama or Clinton is likely to be the VP nominee.

Posted by: Chris Baker | December 9, 2006 12:54 AM | Report abuse

On the GOP side, I can't see Gingrich in the top 10. His personal history is just too sordid for him to have any shot at getting the nomination.

On the Dem side, I like Hillary, and she has been a competent senator, but she's a lousy speaker. Both Edwards and Obama can be inspiring, and so can Gore sometimes. And as to Obama's qualifications, in 2008 he'll have a background that's at least as strong as Bush's was in 2000. Bush, you may recall, was the governor of a weak-governor state, and that's about it.

Posted by: Eric | December 8, 2006 11:50 PM | Report abuse

If Gore decides to lose his advisors/minders from 2000, and speak on subjects he is passionate about like he has been doing recently, then he'll waltz into the White House!

He has been right on so many issues where the current President is wrong. If past performance is a predictor of future performance, he's the man! Obama is a big risk (what if the pop star reception goes away?), but give him VP to learn from Gore.

Gore/Obama sounds a great ticket, and the one HRC fears most...

Posted by: JayPe | December 8, 2006 11:49 PM | Report abuse

William, I find it pretty bizarre to suggest that Obama's name or race will be a crippling handicap. Race would have been a handicap... in 1985 or so. His name might have been a handicap... in 2003 or so. Back when people could still be cowed by fear and fooled by soundbites.

Look at exactly how many moderates he pulled in the Illinois senate race in 2004, back when the whole terrorism schtick was working much more effectively at the polls. Tell me, why are Ohio moderates in 2008, the same ones who just deposed the entire ohio republican power structure by massive margins, going to respond to him differently?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Why have you got Evan Bayh or Bill Richardson on there? Even if you had to truncate the list at 3, it would be better. But there are Al Gore, Wes Clark, Tom Vilsack. Gore is likely to be the subject of a draft, and the other two are more credible than either Bayh or Richardson.

Posted by: eatbees | December 8, 2006 10:38 PM | Report abuse

William: Your comments bring to mind the 1980 race when the dems was wishing for Ronnie. Think back and you will find the REAL dems were more afraid of him than anyone else and this is the same thing that is going on with Hillary. The repubs know they cannot beat her and the so called dems that say she is divisive, polorazing, unelectable and you know some more juicy tidbits that go along with them. I don't know if she will run but if she does choose to enter the 08 race she will win and you can take that to the bank.

Posted by: lylepink | December 8, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

murphy,

I have one question for you - how many evangelicals do you know personally? I know quite a few and the depth of their distaste for Mormonism is intense. As long as a conventional religious conservative like Brownback is in the race, I think Romney will have real problems attracting those votes in the South and the GOP is heavily dependent on the South. It is interesting how things change over time though. Brownback is Roman Catholic and 20 years ago that would have been a huge problem with Southern evangelicals but given a choice between a Mormon tryin gto disavow a history of moderation on social issues versus a Catholic with a steady history of far right stands on these issue, Romney is toast.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 8, 2006 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Freedom, Evan Bayh is hardly a person who "appeals to the right wing of the GOP."

But he is moderate enough to appeal to enough people in swing states and even some conservative states, and nominating a moderate is the only way you will win the election.

Harold Ford was young and charismatic, and even very conservative, but he lost to a bland, boring, old white guy who was considered a light conservative.

A McCain against Obama race would end up like that.

Conservatives dont like McCain but they wont stay home if Obama or Hillary are the other nominee.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Edwards, and I liked him in 2004. But I'm not sure he has more to go on than having his heart in the right place and being really smart. I see him as a VP candidate again, running with Hillary or a darkhorse that will emerge in 2007. Edwards can speak to rural & blue collar workers. (I grew up in a blue collar area & I've lived in rural areas) The "culture war" is really urban vs. rural in my opinion.

Posted by: amy_e | December 8, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Don't underestimate the power of charisma over experience in '08. If Obama enters the race, his charm combined with impressive political savvy will overwhelm a cautious, triangulating HRC. In an Obama v. McCain general election, the contrast between a hip, articulate Obama and a curmudgeonly 70-year old would be stark. If McCain continues to call for sending more troops into the Iraqi abyss, then he may not even make it to the general election.

Posted by: Nomad | December 8, 2006 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone hear about the fresh controversy surrounding McCain's campaign?

http://polibuzz.blogspot.com/2006/12/2008-quick-hits-hillary-gets-some-love.html

He's hired the guy behind the nasty Corker "Playboy" ad as campaign manager. However, Terry Nelson was also a top W man in his '04 reelection run. Is it a good hire?

Posted by: matt | December 8, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

William, remember the Democrats are not going to nominate someone who appeals to the right-wing of the conservative party. With that said, which democrat could win over Republicans?

As a former-Republican (pre-Bush), I could see myself support McCain (not enthusiastically) or Hagel. I liked Romney pre-2002, but he's gone off the deep end now. It's a shame too, because he could have positioned himself as the great REpublican pragmatist. Tommy Thompson also seems like a decent guy, but his time has probably passed.

Posted by: freeDom | December 8, 2006 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody get the impression that William is at home on Christmas Break and has O'd on Faux News?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 7:12 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk, i hate McCain too.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

hagel has no chance at the nomination. He's just as bad as Lincoln Chafee.

I find it odd that liberal Republicans who have consistently sold us out now think they can get the nomination.

I think John McSlime and S**muck Hagel and their foul ilk are going to be in for a surprise, come the primaries.

And if they win the primary, we will punish the GOP by sitting out the election, unless there is some loon as the Dem nominee who would simply be a disaster for the country (Hillary, Obama, etc.)

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Colin, Barack Hussein Obama is not unqualified because of his name or race or religious history. He is unqualified because his entire national political experience consists of less than two years in the Senate, during which he was never a committee chairman or vice chairman, or even the chair of a subcommittee. He has no meaningful credentials that would indicate he has the requisite experience to make a good president.

No, his race and name do not make him unqualified, merely unelectable.

To all the people here who think Barack Hussein Obama is a strong President or VP nominee, you are in for a ROUGH awakening in 2008 if he gets the Dem nomination. Then you can all go back to whining how horrible it is that a half black man with an odd name and a Muslim dad cannot be elected in this country.

The American electorate does not consist of people who read Daily Kos.

If you nominate Obama, he will be BBQ'd.

But if you don't believe me, PLEASE, nominate Hillary or Obama or Richardson, or Al Sharpton.

And get ready for another 8 yrs of a GOP Congress and GOP President.

Evan Bayh or Clark or Vilsack might be more moderate than most Dems would like but at least they have a chance of being elected.

Believe it or not, simply being charismatic and appealing to liberals does not make you electable.

Barack Hussein Obama will be annihilated in an election. He will be LUCKY to get 30% of the vote.

But go ahead and nominate him, if you don't believe me and want to throw away your party's new lease on life and majority in Congress.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

In some ways Edwards is a lot like Obama. What makes Edwards different are two things. He's white, which is good for a Presidential hopeful. But he's empty and two-dimensional, which is the kiss of death.

How can we take seriously, to occupy the office of the President of the United States of America, someone who already took a back seat to Kerry? I mean, Kerry!!


Posted by: Golgi | December 8, 2006 6:33 PM | Report abuse

TG:
'Fifth - I would be curious to know who most of the hard core dem bloggers on here would nominate on the R side if they had a gun to their head and had to pick someone they could live with.'

I would bet you think I'm pretty hard core Dem, right?

Maybe Hagel. Any of the theocrats like Brownback scare me. Mitt is like pataki --air. Guiliani has substance, but speaking from knowing him as mayor -- slippery, volatile, too confrontational. John McCain, at one time I woud have. No more. Olympia Snow or Susan Collins are kind of interesting tho maybe as VP, but I don't know enough about them. Newt Geinrich--never. Very smart, but too devious by far--and tied too closely to the 'conservative revolution' that has worked so well for us so far.

But Hagel SEEMS to the real thing.;; honestly consrvative, thoughtful, gravitas.

Posted by: drndl | December 8, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, count me in Senator Obama's camp. Having seen him recently on Jay Leno, I am reminded of Bill Clinton's famous saxophone stunt on Arsenio Hall. (Was it that long ago?) Except it was better. Likeability, a telegenic nature, palpable sincerity and moderation, these are now necessary prerequisites for what Amy rightly flagged above: a certain communication genius. Obama has it, which is critical for swing votes.

I would argue this kind of communication is more critical than either middle of the road political positions or a long political resume. That's why Senator Bayh or Governor Richardson would put in play fewer states than their proponents above might believe. After all, "competence not ideology" didn't work that well for Michael Dukakis.

Hillary has trouble with this kind of communication as well, not necessarily because of any personal shortcomings, but because of the elephant in the room that follows her wherever she goes, the question Leno could never ask: "So how did you feel when you found out your husband had inappropriate relations with Monica Lewinsky and then misled you and the country about it?" She also becomes a conduit to everything that people did not like about "the Clintons," and you can be sure the media will love resurrecting one of their favorite circuses in recent memory.

Moreover, Senator Obama's positions are pretty much at the dead center of the Democratic party, which is fine for the general election in 2008, and helpful in the primaries. He has no Iraq albatross as Senator Clinton and several others clearly do (and aside from the sour memories, this is her second greatest weakness). Her vote for the Iraq war, like Senator Kerry's, neutralizes what should otherwise be a huge Democratic advantage in 2008: having the prescience to oppose at the time a popular but horribly conceived foreign policy and security disaster. It also exposes and reinforces a too-clever-by-half streak that will hurt Clinton, as it hurt Kerry.

By the way, Kerry didn't run a horrible campaign and is an intelligent and decent guy. Gore didn't run a horrible campaign and is an intelligent and decent guy. But as with the Clintons, I am pretty sure the country would be unexcited, at best, with a rerun of either.

Someone above (Freedom I think?) mentioned John Edwards's double-edged charisma, and that's insightful. His message is important, and I don't personally doubt his sincerity. But in terms of electability, aside from the rerun problem, that megawatt smile sometimes appears a bit insincere, as does, come to think of it, Senator Biden's.

On the Republican side, I suppose if the Republicans ran Senator McCain, there could be a compare/contrast on Obama's relative lack of federal experience. But John McCain's position on Iraq also suggests that if experience means a continuation or expansion of certain Republican policies, then experience may not be that important in 2008, if it ever was. Ultimately, McCain seems caught either being too much of a maverick for the Republican base, or not enough of one for the country.

That said, the rest of the field, maybe Romney aside, look like also-rans at this point. By the way, someone asked what Republican candidates could Democrats honestly live with. Of likely candidates, it would be Chuck Hagel for me. Despite many positions that are closer to my own, Giuliani can seem almost frighteningly programmed.

Lastly, Zach mentioned wanting Newt versus Hillary for the entertainment value. I'm still wiping up the water I spit on my desk and screen. Bravo, sir. Bravo. But ultimately, while that race might bring us a few amazing, absurdist laughs (plus really modern medical recordkeeping), I'm a little more sober, and a little more hopeful, that the 2008 election can rise to something more than entertainment.

See? Senator Obama's already having his effect.

Posted by: A. Fate | December 8, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

You guys have got to stop analyzing tickets. No one votes based on VP (unless it is a really bizarre case like Kerry-McCain). There's a reason there are so many jokes about the vice-presidency.

Posted by: Zach | December 8, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I really can't understand why so many people like Edwards. The man is a paper tiger. Not sure how people see him as middle class, given that he made his fortune suing middle class docters.

I could warm up to a Clark candidacy if he can show he has staked out positions on issues and be disciplined. His problem in the last campaign wasn't so much that he entered late, but rather that he seemed like such a clown when running. I remember some of the over-the-top hyperbole his campaign used to describe him. If he can get on seriously this time, I'd put him in the top-5 (and bump Edwards off).

As for Richardson at State or UN, I think he probably feels he's already done the UN (from 96-98) and Holbrooke is a shoe-in for state under any Dem, so that won't work. I think he going to be involved somehow though.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 8, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Having gone over the posts today as well as I can figure the main themes are not who is the best, in terms of winning, candidate for the parties but what the media is/are doing. The media has to have someone to build up just so they can take away what they have built up. To the media what matters now is money in the form of ratings. I like Clinton/Warner for the dems and Hagle/Graham for the repubs. Many of you like Richardson and I think he would be good at State or the UN for either party.

Posted by: lylepink | December 8, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse


Good tickets

Edwards-Obama
Obama-Edwards
Warner-Obama
Obama-Warner
Bayh-Obama
Obama-Bayh

These are winners.

Posted by: values matter in IL | December 8, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I think those pointing out the fact that both Obama and Edwards are very weak general election candidates, especially against someone as well known as McCain are right on the money.

Another thing. McCain or whoever wins the GOP nomination will have a massive warchest to beat up on the Dem nominee. Tne only prayer the Dems have is to have someone with a similar organization and warchest and the ability to build on those things at a massive rate. The only person who can do that? Hillary. Using Bill's popularity and the resources he can put in place, Hillary is the only candidate who could form a bullwark against the GOP in 08.

The Dems could pick a centrist like Bayh or a 'hope' candidate like Obama, but without the massive resources McCain will have, they will be swamped out regardless of thier credentials. Dems need money and resources to win in 08, and Clinton is the only person who can get them.

Posted by: P Chase | December 8, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

McCain is looking like a weaker and weaker candidate--as popularity for the war in Iraq continues to fall, his calls for increasing troop presence there seems more and more out of touch. I believe Giuliani should be number 2 on the republican side, and Hagel should be in the top five. Newt will go nowhere.

I agree that Edwards is the number 2 Democrat right now, and is really well positioned to win this election. Would love to see Gore get in it, but seems unlikely.

Posted by: windserf | December 8, 2006 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for the shots that will be planted on Romney by Mass Dems looking for revenge. A few videos of him passing himself as a moderate on abortion in his 2002 debates; a little bit on Big Dig spending, carshing roofs, leaks, and rejected opportunities for oversight; and maybe some economic stagnation/lost population for starters. Everything Mihos threw at Healey was really a shot at Romney's record, so the commercials are made already. In 1986, Michael Dukakis looked as good as Romney does now. There were many Republican operatives who made a good living for 20 years ripping him up (Card, Natsios, Kaufman, Celluci).

Posted by: another jon | December 8, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

JimD,

Yes, if Brownback was still in the race come primary time he would siphon social conservative votes from Romney. No doubt about it. Brownback is aware of this as well, and the potential risks in handing the nomination to McCain (who has open distaste for religious conservatives) or openly pro-choice Giuliani. Being an man of principle, I think Brownback is largely in the race at this point to raise awareness about his pet issues (abortion, immigration, Darfur, etc). He will no doubt drop out if it becomes obvious that doing so will give the GOP a more socially conservative nominee.

As for the evangelical "ground soldiers", I expect them to be won over by the political persuasions from Romney and their own religious leaders. Most love the pro-life movement more than they hate mormonism. In fact, if you look at Romney's recent reception amongst evangelical audiences, it is ovation after ovation after ovation.

www.evangelicalsformitt.com

Posted by: murphy | December 8, 2006 5:14 PM | Report abuse

One more thing, this long cycle will be a test of endurance and experience. It is so easy to make one dumb little slip and be remembered just for that (Allen, Kerry). all the policy and ideas go out the window after that when ninkompoops like that poof-da gregory start asking you if you really meant to insult the troops (blacks). for that reason, look for a rookie slip from Obama that will disqualify him (remember the scream, even if it was after the fact, it was the defining moment for Screamin Dean). In that loud room under those circumstances, it probably didn't seem like it was when portrayed over and over and over....

Message control is not for amatuers.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 8, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

murphy,

I agree with you about the main political evangelical leaders being OK with Romney's Mormonism. It is the followers I am less sure about. I live more or less in the Bible Belt (NE Florida) and I personally know many evangelical Christians who regard Mormonism as a cult. I think Brownback could siphon off enough of the hard core Christian conservatives, especially in the South, to seriously undermine Romney's candidacy.

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 8, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

My heir would not have a nice thing to say about McCain. Our kingdom frowns upon impingments in the freedom to speak about government in any forum, so the Mccain Feingold laws you have in the US are punishable by instant stoning here. Much as I like Newt and admire his abilities as a policy wonk, I just don't see him getting the nomination. He should be used to cook up new policies that solve problems. We Libertarian/conservatives will most likely be drawn to Rudy for his liberal social and frugal spending coupled with aggresive foreign policy. I would be very happy to see the Republican party drop its anachronistic views on many social policies, but I do understand that there are many, many Americans who feel strongly about these topics and they do deserve representation. they may not seem as "enlightened" as some of "us" NE progressives, but they have beliefs which are a matter of opinion and not fact.

for example, I think abortion policy works pretty well as is, but I could easily be convinced on a philosophical level that it is for the most part wrong. I could also entertain the idea of higher taxes for agreed upon social programs for the needy (not bike paths and corp. finacial protection), but I would rather consider taxes on the wealthy, not income taxes. I make a good salary but am not that wealthy. How about the guys with $2 mil in the bank part with some of it - Like most of your esteemed Senators, who by the way make a fairly modest salary.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 8, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Nissl,

Your democratic perspective is generally on the mark. Romney indeed benefits the most from the Allen and Frist fallouts. He has serious claims to credentials popular with the right (tax cutting, spending slashing, business friendly, socially conservative values). He also has claims to bipartisan credentials (health care reform, blue state governance for example). And his charisma can't be overlooked (much as I find it detestable to make presidential races into beauty contests).

From the republican perspective, there are some squeeky wheels on the evangelical side with his mormonism. But the fact is that no leading evangelical seriously involved in politics wants to make an issue out of it. Many on the religious right are savvy enough to know how their bread gets buttered, and it's not pro-life McCain or pro-choice Rudy that's going to be doing it. Huckabee isn't making any noise, and Brownback is a democratic dream come true. As distasteful as evangelicals find his theology, "Romney the candidate" is the perfect vehicle for their views.

Take for example some quotes:

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told National Review, "I have a deep disagreement with Romney's theology, but I won't rule him out. Among the presidential candidates who have surfaced, he's the closest to the Southern Baptists in his social and moral beliefs."

Echoing previous comments, the renowned Chuck Colson told National Review, "[Gov. Romney is] a very attractive and viable candidate. As an evangelical, I'm not troubled that he's a Mormon. I would have theological concerns about his soul, but not about his competence. I'm looking for someone who shares my values and is capable of governing."

Posted by: murphy | December 8, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I think the current field of both Republicans and Democrats for president are fairly weak. I think this election is up for grabs. The "top" candidates all have some big flaws. Although I once voted for McCain in the primaries for 2000, I can't stand him anymore. He's shown his true cards and I doubt he will appeal to moderates like he did 6 years ago. Giuliani will never get past the primaries. Maybe Mitt Romney will end up with the best shot of taking the whole pie for the Republicans. Kennedy got past the Catholic thing, MAYBE Romney can get past the Mormon thing--I do think it's a different animal though. On the Democratic side, not only does Hillary have all of her baggage from her time when Bill was in office, but as a moderate on the liberal side, I just can't vote for a quarter century of 2 families in the top office. Do we still live in a democracy? I think there are a lot of other people who feel this way, and I think it may hurt her in both the primaries and general if she gets there. I actually think Hillary may end up dropping hard in the primaries. My prediction. I don't know a lot about Obama. From everything I've heard I actually like his mind and his approach to things. He'd probably be my kind of guy. But I wonder how his past drug use will play--he's essentially admitted to using cocaine, along with pot. The psychology of past users is a concern to me, as I think it's proven to be with Bush 2. I also fear that our country still hasn't dealt with race, especially after seeing how Harold Ford fared in Tennessee. I thought he was an awesome candidate and exactly the type Democrats should be running in the south if they want to win. If I still like Obama as I get to know him better, I may vote for him in the primaries. 95% chance I'll vote for the Democrat regardless of who's running. But I worry about how he'll do in the general election. Both Hillary and Obama seem to have some serious electability issues and breaking out of the blue-red divide from what I can see. I still think Clark is completely and ridiculously undervalued for his potential. I don't know if he could pull off the nomination, but he's a huge fourth option to Hillary, Obama and Edwards. There's no way pundits should be leaving him out right now. He has depth as a person and as a candidate. If the media starts talking about him on a regular basis, I think he'll emerge as a force to be reckoned with.

Posted by: Jon | December 8, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm so eager to go into the voting booth and cast my Presidential ballot for Hillary, "one of the most skilled politicians of our era"!

Wait a second. That isn't such an appealing trait after all. OK, never mind...

Politicians who are really the most skilled never get called skilled politicians by their own fans.

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

On the democratic side, Edwards has always struck me as style over substance. He lacks experience even more than Obama does.

Clark was uninspiring in the 2004 primary and hasn't added any credentials since then.

Gore isn't running.

Clinton has a likability problem. She's wooden on the stump, liberals think she's moderate, and moderates think she's liberal. Plus the republican base loathes her. She just can't win the general.

Bayh and Vilsack are both popular red-state guys who are totally uninspiring in person; they remind me of Mark Warner in that regard.

That leaves us with Obama. He has an extremely strong likability score, and a ton of substance to back it up. His intelligence and diplomatic skill leave me with little doubt he'll handle a general well. As others have pointed out, his rise to power has gotten help from opponent scandals, but he has opened massive leads before the scandals.

In a general election, Obama's obvious attackable points are actually strengths. The average ohio moderate won't be swayed by his middle name being hussein, not in 2008. The fact that he's black won't be a disadvantage outside of the deep south, which no democrat will pick up anyway. The fact that he has slightly less experience than some of the other candidates is something your average swing voter just doesn't care about, especially with his strong private resume. Indeed, against McCain, that attack just makes McCain look old, tired and stuck in the same old ways by comparison.

My call is Obama 2008.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Al Gore's HARD negative numbers are way too high to consider another run for president. When 66-67% of the American people don't want you to even RUN -- http://www.pollingreport.com/2008.htm#misc -- that's not exactly an invitation to jump in to the slime pit of politics again.

It's between Edwards and Obama for the nomination, and Democrats should hope Edwards wins.

Posted by: David Williams | December 8, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

What a pathetic list on both sides. HRC or Newt? Guiliani or Obama? Except for Newt, these would all be good VP picks, but really they don't have the credentials. Shall we vote for Rudy because of his performance on 9/11? Gee, wasn't that what he was elected to do? When people hear about his record prior to his big moment, he'll be toast.
Shall we vote for HRC because she's married to Bill and we long for those idyllic Clinton days? If the woman could only come out and say something that didn't sound scripted and parsed, maybe I could consider it. She and her husband, however, are old news,old ideas, and she should be grateful she was handed the Senate seat in NY. She just might, with a few more years, develop into an effective Senator. However, she will never be president (unless she runs as VP and has to assume the office).
Shall we vote for Obama because he gave a pretty speech and has a nice smile? He is more than a little thin in the qualifications department.
Where are the statespeople to lead us forward? This is mostly a list, on both sides, of been there, done that.
One last thought - Governors make better Presidents than Senators - thus maybe a Romney v. Richardson contest will emerge.

Run Al, Run!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Debster | December 8, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Here's a democratic perspective on the republican side.

I see this as a two-horse race if republicans want to win, and they better take account of how badly they got shredded in the key state of Ohio this time to do it. Brownback and Newt are democratic wet dreams. Brownback is simply way too far right to be elected in a general election in the current climate. Witness Santorum. Surveys show people still remember Newt, meanwhile, and his personal life and ethical failings will be easy to highlight. Guiliani's liberal social positions and checkered social life doom him in the nomination contest. That leaves us with McCain and Romney. McCain looks tired. Those paying attention know he's not the independent maverick he was in 2000, but I don't know how many are paying attention. Plus the base seems to hate him even after all of the Bush obedience he's shown the past couple years. He's a reverse Hillary, except with more moderate appeal. Romney I don't know much about. He seems like the most likely replacement for George Allen as a reasonably charismatic, strongly conservative republican who can play as a moderate in the general. The mormonism is a major question mark, but not being a republican I'm not sure how it plays in the primary.

Posted by: Nissl | December 8, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Re: I really don't understand why Hillary is considered the "presumptive frontrunner.".....

Hmmm, maybe b/c (like her or love her) she is one of the most skilled politicians of our era?

Re: 'Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is spending the night in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.....

COOL! Maybe he can be wrongfully convicted and locked away for 30 years like what happened to the Angola 3.

Posted by: F&B | December 8, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

William -- Are you being ironic with your post or are you actually arguing that Senator Obama is somehow unqualified because of his middle name, his race, and a background that includes living in - gasp -other countries where everyone isn't christian. Honestly, if your being sarcastic here that's fabulous. Unfortunately, I think you may simply be trumpetting your Fox News talking points. If so, that's both sad and scary.

RMILL -- I agree that there is no objective reason that Richardson's ethnicity ought to be anything but a plus. That being said, I do think that there will be some challenges for him in blue-leaning states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio. To be fair, the same concerns exist for Obama.

As far as Bayh goes, why exactly do you like him? I grant you he's electable in a general election, but that's in large measure because he doesn't support some core Democratic principles. His strong support for the Bankruptcy bill was terrible and I believe he's in favor of repealing progressive taxes like the estate tax. If he was somehow the nominee I'd pinch my nose and vote for him, but honestly I don't find him appealing at all.

Posted by: Colin | December 8, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich has no chance, and most conservatives consider him an intellectual conservative voice, but will not support him for president.

I am beginning to think he is some kind of stalking horse for McCain, by putting off his decision until Sept 2007 he is scaring off true conservatives like Sanford, Perdue, Barbour, Sessions, etc until it is too late for McCain to be challenged.

Gingrich needs to grow up and realize his career is done and go back to being a news analyst. He is only serving as a flank guard for moderates in the GOP primary, and he needs to stop.

McCain is hated by the GOP base, and we will only go for him if the other candidate is Obama, Richardson, Hillary, or Dean.

Otherwise, we will punish the GOP by letting him lose.

We would rather lose with Sessions or Tancredo than win with McCain, UNLESS they Dem candidate is a far left loon.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Zach, if Bayh ran he would take Indiana. Also your state is a bellwhether when it comes to congressional elections, which is what I was referring to. In 2006, an anti-GOP year, the Dems were 3-3 in competitive races.

IN has one moderate GOP senator, and one moderate Dem senator.

You have had moderate Dem and GOP govs in recent years.

You are a bellwhether

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hi Amy.

I am not sure if everyone there knew Obama is United Church of Christ, and if they liked his message they would still applaud.

A lot of evangelicals think that Catholics are basically pagans but they will still applaud someone like Santorum who agrees with them and works for the same goals they share.

Brownback was there at Saddleback with Obama and he is Catholic (which is one reason the evangelical wing of the GOP is not enthusiastic about him. )

About smears, I think even true things can be turned into smears, such as Kerry's ambigous military record. When a lot of Americans are actually preparing to vote, I think that most people will be disinclined to go with someone with such an odd-sounding name as Barack Hussein Obama.

That is sad, but I am being realistic. It would never have occured to me, if I was creating an ad, to do the "Call me" thing. But obviously the GOP is willing to do things like that when they get desperate, and Obama is just one huge smear waiting to happen, as I explained in my post before.

McCain has even hired the Call Me guy already. He is gearing up for a dirty campaign, which is his usual style. I hate McCain.

Even though he is young and charismatic, I see Obama as a very weak candidate.

The Dem party does have some rising stars, but I can't see Obama winning the presidency.

I think the Dems will have to choose an old guard nominee to pave the way for some of your rising stars in 2012.

These rising stars include younger people who are liberal enough to excite the base, but moderate enough to have broad appeal, like Sweitzer, Sebelius, Tim Kaine. But they are not in position to run in 2008 so you need a good nominee to hold down the ship until 2012.

I think that the GOP is especially vulnerable in 2008 because there are no good candidates (even Brownback and Huckabee are strongly pro-amnesty, even if they are conservative on other issues.)

So the GOP base is completely demoralized, moderates have seemed to decamp for the Dems, and there are no candidates who can excite the base, since Allen fell apart and Sanford has indicated he will not run and Pawlenty is now brown-nosing for the VP slot on a McCain ticket.

The only person who might run who appeals to the base is Jeff Sessions, as its getting late if he wants to jump in.

If a liberal Republican like McCain or Guiliani gets the nomination, a LOT of Republicans including myself will probably not vote or vote for another party. If the GOP nomination is liberal, I can see the right wing launching a 3rd candidate such as Jeff Sessions or Tancredo.

In such a situation, a Southern or moderate Dem would prevail.

Conservatives would say "well the Dem is relatively moderate, so lets sit this one out and teach the GOP a lesson."

But if a candidate like Obama or Hillary who terrifies them and is far-left is the Dem candidate, conservatives will go to the polls.

That's why your best bet is a moderate Dem.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Hi Amy.

I am not sure if everyone there knew Obama is United Church of Christ, and if they liked his message they would still applaud.

A lot of evangelicals think that Catholics are basically pagans but they will still applaud someone like Santorum who agrees with them and works for the same goals they share.

Brownback was there at Saddleback with Obama and he is Catholic (which is one reason the evangelical wing of the GOP is not enthusiastic about him. )

About smears, I think even true things can be turned into smears, such as Kerry's ambigous military record. When a lot of Americans are actually preparing to vote, I think that most people will be disinclined to go with someone with such an odd-sounding name as Barack Hussein Obama.

That is sad, but I am being realistic. It would never have occured to me, if I was creating an ad, to do the "Call me" thing. But obviously the GOP is willing to do things like that when they get desperate, and Obama is just one huge smear waiting to happen, as I explained in my post before.

McCain has even hired the Call Me guy already.

Even though he is young and charismatic, I see Obama as a very weak candidate.

The Dem party does have some rising stars, but I can't see Obama winning the presidency.

I think the Dems will have to choose an old guard nominee to pave the way for some of your rising stars in 2012.

These rising stars include younger people who are liberal enough to excite the base, but moderate enough to have broad appeal, like Sweitzer, Sebelius, Tim Kaine. But they are not in position to run in 2008 so you need a good nominee to hold down the ship until 2012.

I think that the GOP is especially vulnerable in 2008 because there are no good candidates (even Brownback and Huckabee are strongly pro-amnesty, even if they are conservative on other issues.)

So the GOP base is completely demoralized, moderates have seemed to decamp for the Dems, and there are no candidates who can excite the base, since Allen fell apart and Sanford has indicated he will not run and Pawlenty is now brown-nosing for the VP slot on a McCain ticket.

The only person who might run who appeals to the base is Jeff Sessions, as its getting late if he wants to jump in.

If a liberal Republican like McCain or Guiliani gets the nomination, a LOT of Republicans including myself will probably not vote or vote for another party. If the GOP nomination is liberal, I can see the right wing launching a 3rd candidate such as Jeff Sessions or Tancredo.

In such a situation, a Southern or moderate Dem would prevail.

Conservatives would say "well the Dem is relatively moderate, so lets sit this one out and teach the GOP a lesson."

But if a candidate like Obama or Hillary who terrifies them and is far-left is the Dem candidate, conservatives will go to the polls.

That's why your best bet is a moderate Dem.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It appears KingofZouk has an heir.

William, I live in Indiana. I'm a DLC Dem. We are not a bellweather state. LBJ was the last Dem we voted for in a presidential.

As to McCain being "formidable", I think he's going to get ripped apart. He's going to have trouble in the primary. If somehow he does get through it, Dems will rip him apart for all the flip-flopping of the last six years.

Posted by: Zach | December 8, 2006 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Watching an Evan Bayh speech is like watching paint dry...or worse, Joe Leiberman. And whoever said Chuck Hagel has a chance to win the Republican nomination, uh - no. He and Giuliani would both get more votes as Democrats. As for Gingrich, I'd bet the Dems are salivating to run against him and the evangelicals mostly distrust him. If Obama is "a walking talking hope machine," Gingrich is a walking talking political gaffe. To the guy who wrote the Obama/Osama/ nonsense, junior high is over dude. Yeah and his initials are B.O. so obviously he would have no chance.

Posted by: Brad Burklow | December 8, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

William -- interesting discussion!

Re the United Church of Christ -- anyone who gets a standing ovation at the Saddleback evangelical megachurch doesn't sound like a wishy-washy Christian to me!

About smears... dunno, I tend to think that for some reason the most effective smears work when they are 100% false. When something is utterly false, it is impossible to disprove because there are no facts to show.

For this Hussein middle name thing, it really is his middle name. It's obviously embarrassing, but it's also obviously true. To me, this just doesn't have the feel of an effective smear.

But no matter what my guess is, it will be interesting to see what really happens. Or, if you want a rhyme, how about "I'm all ears to hear the smears"?

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

IndianaDem, Obama will sink any ticket no matter who the Pres nominee is.

If it is Sweitzer-Obama, they will not even take Montana.

Honestly, it amazes me how out of touch with the attitudes of this country you Dems are. Do you believe the College Dem consensus at Columbia reflects the beliefs of the entire country?

The only reason you won in 2006 is because real conservatives and also moderates are angry at the GOP, and only the GOP lapdogs voted for the GOP in 2006.

If you want to establish an enduring Dem majority, running Obama is not what you want to do.

Moderation is the key word. Appeal to people in the midwest and mountain west and even the south, like Clinton did. And that is how you will win.

Personally I like Tancredo. But I do not go on the Free Republic and advocate Tancredo being the GOP nominee because I know he has no chance of winning.

You may like Obama. But most Americans will not vote for him.

So lose him and choose someone who appeals to places where people named Space and McNerney and Shuler and Donnelly and Ellsworth and Altmire and Murphy could win.


and re: Chuck Hagel...as a Republican I can tell you, he has 0 respect in the GOP. He is another Lincoln Chafee, whose only use is when it comes to voting for who will control the Senate and be majority leader, pro tempore, etc.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Brad, even though I am a Republican, I am trying to help you Dems out since I am mad that the GOP has not been acting conservative lately, and losing is the only way we will return to our roots.

So I am giving you Dems some advice. If you want to win, nominating your far left poster boy is not going to fly. Caring about multi-culturalism is nice. It goes right along with getting your *** kicked in the general election. Remember Harold Ford and Harvey Gantt?

Get real. Obama will not "reshape" American politics, he will precipitate the resurgence of long dormant prejudices in a trip back to the 1950s, and be blown out of the water.

At least choose someone who is qualified.

I am a Gov/Pol major, and I think the country is upset at the GOP and wants an alternative, but Obama, Richardson, and maybe Hillary are too unacceptable for the average American in a rural or moderate state to stomach.

States like OH, Missouri, Colorado, Indiana, etc are bellwhether states, try to think if a candidate will appeal to average voters in those states.

African Americans will vote heavily for the Democrat regardless. You don't need Obama. And Richardson has a past, and anyway, will be perceived as owned by Mexico.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

P.S. And he was anti-Iraq war when it wasn't cool to be, giving him a leg up on Clinton and Edwards.

Posted by: Brad Burklow | December 8, 2006 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Amy: Obama is United Church of Christ (which is considered by some people to be a wishy-washy brand of Christianity, but I suppose those people wouldn't vote for Obama anyway so it doesn't matter.

He did attend Muslim school, and the GOP will smear him as being Muslim, and just as the Dems kept saying "George Felix Allen" to embarrass him, the GOP will repeat over and over "Barack HUSSEIN Obama."

If the GOP smeared McCain the way they did when he ran vs. Bush, and if the smeared Kerry and Harold Ford that badly, well, you can imagine what they will do with Obama.

I mean, think of all the points I listed above. You couldn't design a weaker candidate who is easier to smear if you tried.

Obama's only plus is that he is energetic, youthful, charismatic, and appeals to the left wing of the Dems.

Even in states where the Dems are otherwise strong or at least competitive like OH, MN, MI, WI, IA, OH, PA, NH, NM, even CA, they will be in danger of falling to the GOP if Obama is the candidate.

Why run Obama when you can run someone who appeals to more voters?

I think the strongest Dem ticket would have been Bredesen-Bayh or Bredesen-Warner. But Bredesen has told the media he will not run in 2008, but said he would be "delighted to be chosen by his party" in 2012.

So from the current candidates, I think Bayh (who has been a two term governor and a two term senator) is the strongest candidate for president, and then Clark or Warner or even Bredesen in the VP slot.

As for Edwards, he has too little experience and will not appeal to the South, where he is seen as an Al Gore style sellout.

As I said, if you want to win in 2008, and actually have a chance to implement your ideas, you need to follow the Clinton mold in choosing a ticket.

Richardson, Obama, Hillary, etc are all losers.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I mentioned earlier that Hagel will be the dark horse republican. I think he takes the maverick status candidate now that McCain has mainstreamed himself.

Posted by: RMill | December 8, 2006 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Richardson? Clark? Bayh? Get serious. There are 3 Dems and 3 Dems only who have a shot in my view: Obama, Edwards, and Clinton in that order.

Clinton is a smart and savvy politician, but I agree with the person who says she is light on communication skills and comes across as too senatorial, not unlike Kerry or Gore. Edwards is a good, inspiring speaker with a solid organization, but Obama is a great one and I think the money and organization will follow. The bloggers and Deaniacs are suspicious of him to say the least with his votes for Alito and the bankruptcy bill, and that might give Edwards an opening.

I do think however that Obama gives the Dems the best chance in the general election against a formidable McCain. Besides giving the best keynote at a convention since Cuomo, I've seen him in a high school gymnasium and he is equally effective in communicating with coal miners, farmers, and blue collar workers as he is with teachers and professionals. He comes across as genuinely empathetic and knowledgable about every day problems and articulates the American narrative better than anyone I've seen. I firmly believe that he could pull off a couple of southern states in the general and could even make it an electoral blowout. As McCain senior advisor Mike McKinnon stated recently, "Barack Obama is the most interesting persona to appear on the political radar screen in decades. He's a walking, talking hope machine, and he may reshape American politics."

Posted by: Brad Burklow | December 8, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

What about Chuck Hagel? I don't think he's getting near enough consideration. He's the only one in the field who seems willing (or able) to discuss our foreign policy at a high intellectual level. That aspect of his character should carry him far.

-BD

Posted by: Brooklyn Democrat | December 8, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I like Bayh, not just because he is my state's former governor and current Senator, but also because he can win. Pair Bayh with Obama, Richardson or Edward and you'll have the White House faster than you can believe. Also, another good VP would be Mark Warner, Russ Feingold if he's interested, or even Montana's Brian Schweitzer. That's about it.

Posted by: IndianaDem | December 8, 2006 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Hi William,

Obama's grampa was Muslim. Obama's parents aren't Muslim, and Obama isn't Muslim, but Obama was named after his grampa.

I know what you mean about this issue, but my feeling is that Americans already have enough experience with immigrants and embarrassing family names to get their heads around this one.

And I'm not delusional or retarded, just making a guess.

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who believes Barack Hussein Obama should be the next president is either delusional or, with all due respect, retarded. His ENTIRE national political experience consists of less than two years in the Senate. He is not qualified for the job, and is too niave and inexperienced to trust with the job in the dangerous and conplex world we live in now. His answer to every problem is "unite the country and reach beyond partisanship." Which is something he has no experience doing, and never explains how he will achieve this. He does not have the experience necessary to make the tough decisions required of a president. He is more of a pretty-boy than anything else and would be better suited as a magazine model, or one of those people who stand outside of Abercrombie stores dressed in the clothes that the store is promoting.

Also, the elephant in the room is Barack HUSSEIN Obama's race. While this might not make a difference to the Dean wing of the Dem party, it will be something on the mind of everyone else. WIll Obama do what is best for his own people, or everyone? I think we know the answer.

Interestingly, Barack HUSSEIN Obama's mom was white, and dad black (another HUGE negative that will turn off voters) but both BLACK and WHITE people consider him black, even though technically he is just as much white. I guess the 1 drop rule is still in effect, even among Democrats

Moreover, Barack Hussein Obama studied at a Madras, basically an Islamic school, as a kid, growing up in INDONESIA (while all the other candidates were growing up in America.) Who knows what else he was doing in Indonesia?

His last name rhymes with Osama and Ted Kennedy even called him Osama Obama.

Come on, a guy named Barack Hussein Obama for president of the US? You must be kidding me. We didn't go to war in Iraq to get rid of a Hussein only to choose another Hussein for president here.

So please, run Obama, he is the GOP dream candidate.

And on Nov 8 08, when the GOP regains the Senate and Congress since people were turned off by Obama, and when there is a GOP presdient in the White House, you can all whine about how it's so sad that Obama lost.


You want to win? Follow the strategy of your hero Clinton. Choose moderate WASPs from moderate states as your President and VP nominees.

Otherwise, get ready for another eight years of GOP rule.

Posted by: William | December 8, 2006 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I agree with you, Cara, that things would have gone much better if McCain had beat out Bush in 2000. Since then, the lessons he's learned are all about selling your soul for the big money support. He's not the same guy anymore. And he would be a disastrous president now.

Posted by: Sagacity | December 8, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Off the wall is what will work best in this election. Situations like:

1. Thompson deciding to run. (should of been eight years ago, but I didn't hear his camps thoughts.)

2. What about Obama/Clinton. Clinton still will have an uphill battle, is America ready for a female president. That could be the big down side for her and I have seen no reference to this question.

3. Simplistics, that works best; keep the trash in your garbage can. We all have one and there isn't one of the candidates with a pristine reputation; I think that died even before Washington was elected. Too bad the politicians don't wake to realize America understands that.

4. Rock the boat, stick with your plan to solve the issues; who cares who slept with whom; who voted down what, after all when you say they voted against; not one of them will say what truly brought the vote down.

To me, none of them are standouts yet. I myself look forward to them coming to my town; but I hope they have answers with the ability to answer all questions and quit the constant "I will make a change"; when there is 400 others you have to sell it to in order to make that change.

Posted by: Andy A | December 8, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Tom Rinaldo (above) about Wesley Clark, but I think he has to declare early this time (Like by January 07) and he could shoot right up there. I like him, too. Though I also like Edwards on class issues, I think Clark has the security gravitas required for these times, and I think his instincts are good. Personally, I don't really believe Obama is going to run now, and I'm not sure his appeal will last thru Nov 08. I'd love a candidate with his charisma and Clark's experience. I like Clark/Obama myself.

Posted by: Sagacity | December 8, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I am still trying to remember why Senator McCain lost the primary against G. W. Bush. Was it because Bush's father had been president? Without bathing in what could have been for too long, I have to say I truly believe the United States would be better situated today if McCain would have won the primary and the presidency over Bush in the first place. At this point - and heading towards eight years later, I think McCain should retire from politics and start enjoying life with his family. As much respect as I have for him, why should he waste four or eight years of his life cleaning up the mess of a man who beat him out of that office in the first place. Go golfing. Travel. Hike Camelback mountain. Go horseback riding. Rollerblade through Scottsdale. Enjoy!
I would be in complete shock if McCain didn't win his primary, but cannot understand why he would want to.

Posted by: Cara | December 8, 2006 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I think most Dems want Dean or Gore, with Obama as the VP choice.

Based on what?

Sorry Will, but this is the first I have heard this combo.

What compelling evidence do they have for her being as popular as they claim?

illiniwatcher

$50 M and leading all the polls taken to date. That gets you front runner status.

Whether that ends up being a plus for her candidacy is another story.

Front runners get beat up on the most. Expectations are through the roof. Any slip up is magnified. That's American politics and media for you.

Posted by: RMill | December 8, 2006 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I think most Dems want Dean or Gore, with Obama as the VP choice.

Not many of us are Sen. Clinton fans. Not for Pres.

Which brings up the question: is Hillary sucking all the oxygen out of the room for other women to run for Pres or VP?

Posted by: Will in Seattle | December 8, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Gore cannot be President. Don't you remember how he flipped out and grew that bizarre beard after the Supreme Court took his Presidency away in 2000? That was just weird.

Gore is doing WAY more for our whole planet by being the point person for preventing global warming. Thank God somebody is taking this on. Gore is doing a super job, don't stop him!

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll grant that geography has not played as important a role as in the past (pre-1992), but I have a felling it will be much more of a factor this time around.

Flipping NM for a start, a state that has been basically a deadheat the last two times around going blue in 2000 and red in 2004.

Also, western states have added significant victories in governorships, Senate and House seats in the midterms. A western candidate can better take advantage.

Having events in Missoula with Senator Tester or in Lincoln with Senator Nelson or in Enid with Governor Henry or Casper with Governor Freudenthal and being able to "speak their language" is a powerful combination.

Other problem states like Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio can be taken with a candidate like Bayh on the ticket. He speaks the language that can appeal to conservative voters that make up the swing independents in these states.

The same would hold true in conjunction with a running mate like Bayh, introducing to a Munice audience or Cedar Falls with new Governor Culver and Congressman Braley.

His hispanic heritage can play both ways. With a name like Richardson, it will not be in voters faces but key hispanic demographics in states like Nevada, Florida, Arizona will rally behind a hispanic candidate. This could push these states into play.

These are things that no other candidate can do.

Posted by: RMill | December 8, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

In reply to JoJo, Romney fits the "ideal" of the Republican candidate: looks presidential, little experience and gravitas, son of a former Republican officeholder, and an empty suit.

Posted by: Boca Raton | December 8, 2006 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Amy, I agree about Edwards. People like to point out that Obama has a thin resume, but Edwards does also. No one seems to bring this up. Edward's a nice guy, has a fabulous wife and is REALLY organized in Iowa. And Nevada I understand.... after that, I look for him to fade (hopefully).

Brownback highlighting the success of faith-based initiatives in prisons could backfire on him since many of those "converts" end up being radical Muslims.... emphasis on radical.

I also think Clark and Gore should be on the Dem short list.... talk about resume, Gore's got it. How about Gore/Clark?

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | December 8, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Govenor Tom Vilsak for President:

Centrist Winner
Experienced Executive
Experienced Underdog Winner
Ignored By the Press
Not Hillary Clinton
Not a Neo-Con
White Mid Westerner

'nough said

Posted by: Long Beach, CA | December 8, 2006 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree with other posters about Hillary. The media, somehow, have anointed her the frontrunner. What compelling evidence do they have for her being as popular as they claim?

Other names Chris ticks off - Obama and Edwards being my personal favorites - I believe have a better shot than Clinton does. If Gore decides to run again, the whole list on the "D" side will have to be revisited because lots of folks would be salivating for payback for 2000 - talk about passion. At this point it's not likely, but who knows?

On the "R" side, Brownback may be a rising star with social and religious conservatives, but I think those are the only two groups enthused about him. Everyone else tired of dogma, fear, intimidation and arrogance (think Rick Santorum) won't go for him. McCain is probably the best pick at this point, but only because he's got name recognition and done this before - his stance on continued occupation of Iraq isn't as politically popular anymore (Iraq Study Group, results of 2006 midterm elections, etc.). I would personally have to say Giuliani is probably the best pick on the "R" side. He's a Republican in the way the "Guvernator" is (like "Ahhh-nold" in "Californee") - more of a pragmatist with a Libertarian flavor when it comes to people's bedrooms.

I sincerely hope Brownback stumbles and fails; it would be satisfying to see Rick Santorum II thumped early.

Posted by: illiniwatcher | December 8, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's problem is that she doesn't have the knack for getting her point across. That would be a serious failing in a President.

She is an awesome Senator, don't get me wrong, and I actually really like her. I just think that her communication abilities are best suited to stay in the Senate and talk to her 99 peers who have the same job and concerns that she does. The job of becoming President and having to talk to 300 million people of all different stages in life is not for her.

The best Presidents are communication geniuses. I like Hillary a lot, but she isn't a genius in this particular respect.

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

On the contrary, Governor Richardson has been extremely careful not to pander to hispanics.

His stance on the "fence" is long in coming and well-thought out. He attacks the underfunding of the federal government for the project and instead use the funds to beef up border patrols.

Plus, I thought this was the country that tears down walls, not builds them.

Regarding the Los Alamos facility, since the Bush administration has had a series of their own security breaches, it takes some of the wind out of this angle. Still a concern, I agree.

Not sure Americans want an outsider for President with all that is happening and needs repairing.

As far as personality, Richardson has more than maybe all the rest of the candidates put together (maybe Edwards and Obama excluded). Definately likeable.

Posted by: RMill | December 8, 2006 1:53 PM | Report abuse

'Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) is spending the night in the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to highlight the success of faith-based initiatives in prisons around the country.'

Wow, this guy knows how to build momentum... because converting prisoners to christianity is certainly the foremost thing on people's mind's today. Don't drop your soap, sam!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Edwards is just a smooth talker, no substance. I felt this very strongly through the whole 2004 campaign and I still feel it. I voted for Kerry anyway but I never liked Edwards.

I was initially concerned that the same might be true for Obama. But after paying more attention, I came to feel that Obama has plenty of substance and that his speaking talent just allows that to come through.

Posted by: Amy | December 8, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Biden -- never in a million years. This is a guy who has never met a corporation he couldn't be bought by, who panders constantly to wingers [he recently appeared to a crowd of republicans gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Secession Papers and made jokes about being from a slave state. The Repugs loved him -- I bet you would be hard-pressed to find 10 Dems who wuld vote for him.

Sorry, never. He should run as a republican.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2006 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I quote you directly in the piece I wrote below. Feel free to respond. Richardson competing with Vilsack and Dodd for your final slot? How do you come up with this stuff?

The Donkey In The Room: Wes Clark 2008

Tradition says an elephant in the room doesn't get talked about, but tradition's just another word for conventional wisdom, and CW until a few months ago said the U.S. Senate would stay under Republican control and George Allen was running for President. The elephant in the room can wait, let's focus on an underreported donkey; General Wesley Clark.

Political pundits seem determined to talk right past Clark until he rears up and kicks them in the teeth. The beltway crowd is more tightly scripted than a corporate radio play list: "We're about to play some back to back Spice Girl Hillary hits, but first here's an Oldie but Goodie from Joe Biden, and don't dare touch that dial , we'll have some of that hot new Obama sound coming up for you shortly also!" Poor John Edwards isn't the freshest face on the block anymore.

Tradition says an elephant in the room doesn't get talked about, but tradition's just another word for conventional wisdom, and CW until a few months ago said the U.S. Senate would stay under Republican control and George Allen was running for President. The elephant in the room can wait, let's focus on an underreported donkey; General Wesley Clark.

Political pundits seem determined to talk right past Clark until he rears up and kicks them in the teeth. The beltway crowd is more tightly scripted than a corporate radio play list: "We're about to play some back to back Spice Girl Hillary hits, but first here's an Oldie but Goodie from Joe Biden, and don't dare touch that dial, we'll have some of that hot new Obama sound coming up for you shortly also!" Poor John Edwards isn't the freshest face on the block anymore.

The beltway pros only recognizes early momentum when they manufacture it themselves, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they fail to recognize Wes Clark; after all they didn't "manufacture" him. Clark's sheer talent and ability always wins him some friends in high places, but the tail wind pushing Clark on essentially comes from the roots. At least that was true for most of two years since the 2004 Presidential Elections, but that now is changing, and that too is underreported. Wes Clark scrambles media signals. They can't really get a handle on General Clark because he doesn't fit neatly into the holes they already have pegged for Democratic Presidential candidates. It's amusing to watch them fumble pegging Clark when they do try; until I remember that "talking heads" still speak for real power in America. Then it stops being funny.

There's a lot to be said about the fallacy of political pundits and conventional wisdom about Wes Clark, too much in fact. So I'll narrow my focus to an almost startling disconnect that the pundits themselves make in those rare instances when they find themselves compelled to comment on Clark's possible presidential candidacy. They just can't make up their minds where Wes Clark's strongest support comes from. They are down right schizophrenic about it. Actually it's worse than that even, because they are also in denial about their illness. The blocks Clark draws support from are not that hard to assemble into a complete picture. It's not like one of those marathon jig saw puzzles that take over the dining room table while you try to sort it out. Basically, Wes Clark appeals to liberal Americans, Wes Clark appeals to moderate Americans, and Wes Clark appeals to conservative Americans. That about covers it, and the thing is, the pundits already know it. They know all of it, but somehow they just can't hold those pieces of information together in their heads, not all at the same time.

I believe the last time Chris Cillizza from the Washington Post's "The Fix" column actually mentioned Wes Clark as a Presidential contender was way back in December 2005, when he wrote: "Clark replaces Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold as the wildcard in the field, thanks to the fervor and energy for him among some in the party's liberal base, particularly Internet activists" Chris also said this then about Clark "On paper, Clark's resume is unmatched if defense and foreign policy issues are still dominating the national landscape in three years time. " That is increasingly looking like a safe bet Chris.

More recently, on October 12th, Chuck Todd in the National Journal wrote a few words about Wes Clark's potential 2008 chances: "He's tried to become the surrogate/endorser/fundraiser-in-chief for military vet candidates. We're not sure it's worked." Well I beg to differ with Chuck, but with hindsight now available after the mid term elections, he may differ also. Todd wrote that before General Clark's featured role in "Because of Iraq", VoteVets powerful national 2006 campaign ad. And of course Wes Clark was the first National Democrat to strongly back Jim Webb in Virginia, back when Webb was considered a long shot to even win the Democratic Primary. Plus Clark worked hard for Democratic Vets Joe Sestak, and Patrick Murphy, and Chris Carney in Pennsylvania, who all took seats away from Republican incumbents in the House of Representatives. Even when Democratic Vets supported by Clark lost, like Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, or Eric Massa in Western New York, the races were tight, and the Democratic Party came out of them all stronger than they have been in years.

So I want to get back to that "startling disconnect" I mention above. Don't any of these pundits wonder what is right (as opposed to wrong) with this picture? The same beltway pundits who are so eager to consign the netroots to a separate, but unequal, political basement waiting room, for being too leftist for the mainstream Democratic Party, are well aware of Wes Clark's support from that activist constituency. They are also well aware of Wes Clark's support for and from America's military Veterans, a constituency typically thought to be significantly more conservative and less Democratic as a group than most. These pundits watched Wes Clark welcomed by Ned Lamont's campaign for the United States Senate on one day, and welcomed by Harold Ford's campaign for the United States Senate on the next day, but none of them can add two plus two together?

Meanwhile tired conventional wisdom continues to be spun. Anna Quindlen, in the October 30th issue of Newsweek, makes the case for Hillary Clinton in 2008 while conceding: "the biggest problem Senator Clinton may have is with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party". According to Quindlen, that's because, among other idealistic liberal litmus tests for winning their support, Hillary flunks on Iraq. When describing what Democratic Liberals yearn for in 2008 Quindlen has this to say: "Right now that means a candidate who did not vote for the Iraq war."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15362334/site/newsweek

I can think of a Democratic General who not only didn't vote for the Iraq war, he warned Congress against it before Congress ever voted.
http://www.house.gov/hasc/openingstatementsandpressreleases/107thcongress/02-09-26clark.html

That could be one of the reasons why Wesley Clark consistently wins far greater respect and support at universally regarded as liberal Democratic activist sites like Daily Kos and Democratic Underground than does Hillary Clinton. While on one hand Quindlen frets about Hillary Clinton's tepid support from liberals, she argues for her electability by pointing out: "She only has to take the states that John Kerry took, and then one more". Funny, weren't they saying the same thing about John Kerry in 2004? He only has to take the same states that Al Gore took, and then one more? Rounding down, that's closer to a 15 state strategy than a 50 state strategy (Kerry actually took 19 Sates and the District of Columbia) and to my mind it's a tacit acknowledgment that Hillary Clinton's hoped for path to victory is to hold onto her own base, despite tepid support from liberal activists, while trying to pick off a couple of the Republican States that Democrats have failed to win in over a decade. That strategy of course opens the door for Republicans, under McCain, to take almost all of their own States for granted while they sail off to go raiding in bluer waters.

Maybe Hillary can pull it off, maybe, if you like to gamble, but I don't like the odds. Call me strange I know, but somehow the idea of running a candidate who didn't vote for the Iraq War, who motivates a strong element of the Democratic activist base, and who appeals to veterans and military voters, has a certain compelling logic to it. John Kerry defined himself as a Vietnam Veteran, some are likely to say, and look where it got him. True, but John Kerry was defined by his opponent as an elite, rich, liberal Massachusetts former war protester, which kind of watered down Kerry's appeal to that relevant constituency in conservative states. Consider these comments from the November 11th Arkansas Times:

"Now that the 2006 elections are over, Gen. Wesley Clark is turning his attention toward deciding to run for president. Sources tell the Arkansas Times that Clark has said he will make his decision within the next two months.

Clark's spokesman, Erick Mullen, said, "That's true, but we don't have a timeline for when a decision will be made just yet."

Mullen added, "All options are on the table. Gen. Clark was the number-one requested surrogate, especially in red states and swing states during this cycle."
http://www.arktimes.com/Articles/ArticleViewer.aspx?ArticleID=6112230d-32a5-4169-9fd8-004c3b4a70dc

One might think that political pundits would at least be interested in talking about the prospects of a potential Democratic Presidential Candidate who opposed the War in Iraq AND has strong National Security credentials; who has substantial liberal activist support AND is requested by Democrats to campaign in the most conservative districts in the nation. One would think so, but first you have to find such a Presidential candidate, which is pretty damn hard to do if you refuse to look at the Donkey in the room.

Wesley Clark for President 2008.


Posted by: Tom Rinaldo | December 8, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse


'To bad the "goodbye gun" wasnt around in the 60's. It would have been perfect against the hippies and war protesters!'

Me, i think it would have been perfect for the Repug staffers who mobbed and terrorized the polling places in Florida 2000 and shut down the recount.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 1:27 PM | Report abuse

To me this particular Quinnipiac poll is no better than a high school popularity poll.

Put these people in real campaign modes and the numbers start to change right away.

My guess is that the political media simply didn't have anything better to talk about at the time it came out.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 8, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The Quinnipiac Likeable poll was listed on CNN and other newspapers.
Rudy 64%
Obama 58%
McCain 57%
Condi 56%
Bill Clinton 55.8%
Lieberman 52%
Bloomberg 51%
Edwards 49.9%
Hillary 49%
Richardson 47%
Biden 47%
Gore 44.9%
Bayh 43%
Newt 42%
Frist 41.5%
Reid 41%
Kerry 39%

One of the major elements is whether people LIKE you. Kerry is toast.
The public image of the TOP TEN listed will be a major factor for 2008.
Edwards is the top liked Democrat in Iowa right now, and others say they like Hillary but doubt she can win the nomination or the White House. She is very polarizing with a high negative of over 40%. That is not good.

Posted by: Cheryl Collins | December 8, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

why does everyone rave about Brownback so much? i realize that he would be strong in a repub primary, but i really don't see how a conservative from Kansas could ever get through a general election. how would he explain or defend his home state's laughable posture on evolution? does anyone really want to elect as President a man who may not believe in a scientific concept as basic as evolution? my apologies to those from Kansas, but until your state figures out what the rest of the world has been on board with for decades, stay out of national politics - you'll only embarrass yourselves and our country.

Posted by: anonymousDC | December 8, 2006 1:13 PM | Report abuse

QUOTE
To bad the "goodbye gun" wasnt around in the 60's. It would have been perfect against the hippies and war protesters!

Posted by: | December 8, 2006 12:56 PM
END QUOTE

yes, because we all know how vietnam turned out so well and how those who supported that war to the end have been vindicated by history.

unless you're being ironic in your opposition to the bill of rights. in which case, bravo, sir.

oh, and chris? where's michael "came up just short" steele? if you're putting newt "i divorced one of my wives while she was in the hospital with cancer" gingrich at #3, then steele can't be far behind.

Posted by: subpoena power | December 8, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Where do I start.

First, I think the best dem candidate is biden. I realize he doesn't excite too many people but the likes of Edwards and Obama couldn't hold a candle to Biden in terms of gravitas. Those two are light weights with next to nothing in experience that people seem to like because they are charismatic fresh faces.

Second. I think HRC on the republican side carries as high of the negatives that Newt has on the dem side. I think either or both are unelectable in the general against anyone but one another and that would be a coin flip.

Third - on Richardson. I still go back to this whole four decades of lying on his resume about being drafted into major league baseball. Seems to me that lying on one's resume shows a lack of judgment that is so profound that you have to wonder how many half truths or untruths will be uncovered under the scrutiny of a presidential campaign. I suppose the "everybody lies about sex" mantra from the clinton years will become "everyone lies on their resume" if he is the nominee.

Fourth - I know nothing about Bayh.

Fifth - I would be curious to know who most of the hard core dem bloggers on here would nominate on the R side if they had a gun to their head and had to pick someone they could live with.

Posted by: TG | December 8, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

What about Gore-Clinton... Has the sound of a winner!

Posted by: R Gelber | December 8, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I like Obama's voice and his ability to hold up his image with folks. He seems like the Bill Bradley of 2008, but will need better than expected showings at New Hampshire and Iowa to keep legitimacy.

Bill Richardson's been hitting the talking circuit lately, which may hint at his prospects for national state.

On the GOP side, I am most intrigued by Brownback. He's a social conservative, but he's also got some decent bi-partisan credentials. Dude worked with Schumer on voting rights and introduced relatively progressive bill in the Senate Foreign Policy Committee.

Posted by: Ep Sato | December 8, 2006 1:01 PM | Report abuse

To bad the "goodbye gun" wasnt around in the 60's. It would have been perfect against the hippies and war protesters!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 12:56 PM | Report abuse

FYI: All this interest in Obama is and has been the creation of the media. There is no way he can be elected POTUS. So forget that. Clinton/Warner is the strongest ticket the dems have for 08, and YES it is a winner. The opponents of Hillary are doing all they can to bring her down now because they know they cannot beat her in the 08 election. To me this is so clear I cannot understand how so many of you appear to be against her.

Posted by: lylepink | December 8, 2006 12:55 PM | Report abuse

'Military's 'Goodbye Gun' Makes Targets Feel Like They're Melting

A new non-lethal military weapon designed to control mobs beams invisible waves that penetrate the skin, causing its targets to feel like they're being dipped in lava.'

Wonnder which 'mobs' this would be? protestors at the Republican National Convention, perhaps? Anti-war protestors? Environmentalists?

It's NOT non-lethal by the way. If you can't get out of the beam [like, you're in a crowd] it will fry your skin.

Great use of your taxpayer dollars, eh?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Democrats stop pay raise

In one sign of the approaching Democratic rise to power, future House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, succeeded in attaching to the funding bill language stopping a $3,300 raise members of Congress were to automatically receive on Jan. 1.

They said it was unconscionable that lawmakers get another raise when the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour for the past 10 years.

Posted by: YES! | December 8, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Richardson does have a great resume. The problem with having that resume is that it takes away his biggest weapon as a governor. He can't run as an outsider.

There seems to be a good amount of talk about Bayh. I'm an Indiana Democrat. I like Bayh. He's a good senator. But I don't think he has the charisma or gravitas to be president.

Posted by: Zach | December 8, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"Edwards campaign...a fight for economic equality and social justice...a message that resonated for Democrats in places like Ohio and Missouri in 2006"

It is good to see this definition of John Edwards' campaign here on "The Fix" CC, but it is really a much bigger part of the story than the paragraph it got.

ANd just how many more states can we say are "like" Ohio and Missouri? I can think of at least 48.

That equality and justice "message" resonates across this whole country, as middle-class Americans see the American Dream transformed into Texas millionaires becoming billionaires on our no-bid contracts.

That "message" grows louder every day our home values drop, every day our middle-class families lose loved ones in Iraq, every day the Enron style book-cookers continue to reap their harvest of greed from this bloody no-bid war.

In this field of candidates, only John Edwards currently represents the middle class, he does not just represent labor or "The South" or any one group or faction "someone" might try to pigeonhole him into, he represents the entire middle class.

While he talks about Darfur and Uganda, raising teacher salaries and educatrion grants, his future opponents spend their time smoozing big-money contributors.

And while the other candidates' suporters put together tea and cocktail parties for their political friends, the Edwards grasssroots group volunteers are out gathering canned goods for the poor.

There's a serious change occurring in the entire political process, I blogged long ago that the maodels were stale, and ever day, we wee a new face on the future of government.

The wealthy members of our American society need to understand, economic equality is not some key word for the fearful "redistribution of wealth" it IS the distribution of wealth... To the biggest consumer class in the history fo the world, the American Middle Class.

And Social Justice belongs to the working people, not the corporations who are eating away that American Dream. The real goal of social justice is that our middle class, fairly paid by the money-owners they work for, will swallow up and eliminate the poverty class, forever, just in their sheer abundance.

But until the trickles become a flow, that incredible potential for sustained world economic growth and progress will just be trapped in a few more billion-dollar off-shore bank accounts for their owners to brag about.

Posted by: JEP | December 8, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I do think that Richardson has the most compelling resume of any Democrat preparing to run. However, the Swift Boat attack on him will be Wen Ho Lei and the glaring security lapses at the Los Alamos Laboratory. I can hear the attack ads now - "Under Bill Richardson's management, security procedures at our nuclear laboratories were so lax that our most important nuclear secrets were vulnerable to any terrorist group or spy who might have targeted them. How can we trust him to be President?"

Posted by: JimD in FL | December 8, 2006 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Chris - On the Republican side, Giuliani is the only name mentioned that could win in the general election, but the best of them is CHuck Hagel - why isn't he mentioned? These are both decent men, good leaders, and are free from attachment to the Bush train wreck.

On the Democratic side, they have an embarrasment of wealth with only a few turkey's left over from Thanksgiving - John Edwards, John Kerry (I'm sorry, I like the man), Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, and Bill Richardson are all gems. I am especially fond of Bayh and Edwards.

Posted by: MikeB | December 8, 2006 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Richadson has charisma? I saw a "up close and personal" piece on him yesterday and that isn't how he strikes me. Not all that personally appealing.

And his agenda...he's against the border fence, wants to make nice with Mexico, wants to put illegal aliens on a fast-track for citizenship.

So, if you're looking for Mexico's man in the WH, a Hispanic vote maga-panderer, support Richardson.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | December 8, 2006 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Funny you mention the Bowles/Burr race today in the chat. The Bowles/Dole race in 2002 was really great. I wish I had read the Fix then! Was the Fix alive? Are there archives? Ahh good times.

Posted by: not bluto | December 8, 2006 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Here's my problem with Clark: He lost in 2004. What has he done since? He doesn't hold political office, or a prominent non-political position. I haven't heard of him giving any interesting speeches or presenting any ideas on pretty much anything. He wasn't well-known in 2004, and he hasn't done much to stay in the public eye since then. So why assume that he'll be more successful in 2008?

Posted by: Blarg | December 8, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

You kidding me Chris: "Remember that Obama has never had a serious test in a run for elected office and must prove he can take a punch from a rival." Last time I checked he ran in a seven-way Democratic primary where he started in the low single digits and ended up with 52% of the vote. Yeah, Blair Hull had a sex scandal, but Dan Hynes was way ahead of Obama too until he convinced the voters. And the last Ilinois Senate poll that came out before the Jack Ryan sex scandal came out had Obama up 22 points, 52%-30%. He's got 70% approval ratings today, and even Republicans in Illinois like him. Get off your high horse and report the facts.

Posted by: Adam | December 8, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think Wesley Clark should be #4 or #5. I think he's about on par with Bill Richardson. I get why he's not in the top 3. I don't get why the media, including you, have completely written him off as non-existent. He was, after all, only one of 3 Democrats to win a primary in 2004. He's got the southern appeal, he opposed the war!, he can talk about his faith, but he's got liberal credentials when you look at his positions--he's not Evan Bayh who has no chance at all of winning the nomination. Clark has his flaws. Yes, he didn't perform as well as expected in 2004, but he came to the game late. He's probably become a better speaker since then. But, who doesn't have flaws?!! Clark is seriously underrated. Let's face it. Poll ratings at this point in the game are hugely dependent on how much they show up in the media and in talks by pundits. I think if the media starting talking about him again as in 2004, you'd see his poll numbers start to come in.

Posted by: Jon | December 8, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Zach, great point, save one big factor : Iraq. She's never been really tested on that in an election (the NY primary here was a joke), so we'll have to see how an electorate responds to that aspect of her.

Posted by: freeDom | December 8, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'd vote for HRC in the primary.

Posted by: Boston Dem for HRC | December 8, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that Regional Balance plays as large a role as it used to. The addition of cable news and C-Span with the 24/7 coverage of news and politics to the process gives most of us access and insight not available when only the hometown paper shaped our views.

Once you remove the Cracker's Boogeyman - any candidate from the Northeast - does anybody care that much where a candidate is from?

[Exclude the candidates who are out on the fringes of their parties, who just may fit the press' "regional" stereotyping.]

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 8, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I just do not get Romney's deal. I don't get it.

Posted by: jojo | December 8, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Regarding Obama never being tested by an opponent:

He challenged and lost to incumbent Bobby Rush in a 2000 Democratic primary for Congress.

Posted by: karlo | December 8, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'd swap Gingrich and Giuliani. Newt's acting like a candidate now and there's residual positive feelings for him in the GOP for being in out front for so long and actually making the Republican Revolution happen.

Plus, he's great for them to listen to. He was a History professor with great presentation, talking succinctly and logically. When he's talking strictly History, he's great for anybody to listen to.

The problem for me has always been that 80% of what he says is good common sense; but when you get to the basic premises for the other 20%, watch out! The true believers are so enamored of him though, that they buy the whole package.

He could make it to the Republican Convention as a serious contender. [By that time Giuliani will have been skewered by the Right Wing of the GOP.] After that, Newt's personal baggage can't be ignored and will be a liability.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 8, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

FreeDom, I think that's why Hillary would be a strong candidate. What do the Rs have that hasn't already been thrown at her? She was in the public eye for eight years and most of that time the Rs were taking potshots at her.

Posted by: Zach | December 8, 2006 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The reason we don't have a President Gore is Jim Baker and the Supreme Court. Remember he got the most votes.

The reason we don't have a President Dean is the corporate media.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Au contraire, MichaelnSeattle. In 04, the frontrunner was Kerry for a good part of the time. The problem was getting behind him made the primaries too easy for him. He wasn't prepared for the slime Bush et al would throw against him. I think a real, competitive primary would ready the eventual nominee for battle. We all know Clinton and Obama's history, but we don't know how they'd do in a presidential campaign. Hopefully, but the end of the primaries, the REpublicans won't have any effective strategies they haven't already found a way to counter.

Posted by: freeDom | December 8, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Seems like the Democratic strategy of "slash & burn the frontrunner" the past few presidential elections hasn't worked (Otherwise, we would have President Gore of President Dean). Maybe it is time to get behind a frontrunner early (Clinton or Obama--frankly, they BOTH are extremely popular out west), and generate the enthusiasm that their election to the presidency is exciting & inevitable--give every American the opportunity to play a significant part of history? Or would my fellow Dems squirm because the strategy seems, well, too Republican?

Posted by: MichaelnSeattle | December 8, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Interesting story on Hotline this morning. Inside-the-Beltway Rs think Hillary is the strongest candidate Dems could field. Personally, I'd love to see Hillary v. Newt purely for the entertainment factor.

Posted by: Zach | December 8, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you definitely have the best blog on the Web, in my opinion.

I mostly agree with your assessment, but my line would be somewhat different. My main dispute would be over Gingrich's standing. He doesn't even make my top ten.

Here's the way I would rank them:

Republicans:

1. McCain
2. Romney
3. Giuliani
4. Brownback
5. Huckabee
6. Rice
7. Pataki
8. Hagel
9. Thompson
10. Hunter

Democrats:

1. Clinton
2. Obama
3. Edwards
4. Richardson
5. Bayh
6. Dodd
7. Biden
8. Vilsack
9. Kerry
10. Clark

Now, is this fun or what? For political junkies like myself, it beats the Super Bowl and the NCAA basketball tournament any day!

Too bad there can't be a presidential election every two years. :-)

http://commenterry.blogs.com

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | December 8, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I have long been a fan of the Clinton's and feel that Hilary's presence on the ticket along with someone like Bill Richardson would make one of the most competent tickets in history. We need this with all the problems with Iraq. However, yesterday I decided to re-listen Barack Obama's speech at the DNC 2004. I remembered it slightly but wanted to her it again and see if it was really that good. My conclusion, Obama is amazing. His depth and the tone of hope and inspiration in his voice would make a believer out of anyone. Is it time for competency or hope? I would like to have a bit of both. President Obama sounds better and better every day.

Posted by: Jose | December 8, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON - Americans are overwhelmingly resigned to something less than clear-cut victory in Iraq and growing numbers doubt the country will achieve a stable, democratic government no matter how the U.S. gets out, according to an AP poll.

At the same time, dissatisfaction with President Bush's handling of Iraq has climbed to an alltime high of 71 percent. The latest AP-Ipsos poll, taken as a bipartisan commission was releasing its recommendations for a new course in Iraq, found that just *27 percent* of Americans approved of Bush's handling of Iraq, down from his previous low of 31 percent in November.'

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting... Brownback understands something -- he doesn't want Iraq hanging around his neck like a giant albatross in 2008 -- every serious candidate is going to have to take a positon on this war. McCain has stake his out and now Sam:

'Guess which Presidential candidate is now staking out one of the most liberal positions of the whole field on Iraq, endorsing the findings of the Iraq Study Group and calling for a partitioned Iraq? He happens to be the most conserative candidate in the race: Sam Brownback. The Associated Press reports that the Kansas Senator today supported a three-state solution as a possibility for Iraq, a position that's been rejected by President Bush, who has said, "Success in Iraq requires a united Iraq."

What's more, Brownback now says that "political equilibrium" -- not "victory," as the President or John McCain would say -- should be the U.S.'s principal goal in Iraq. Strikingly, Brownback also agrees with the Study Group's timetable for withdrawal. Key quote:

"We are not willing to impose a military solution in Iraq. The Iraqis, I don't believe, are going to be capable of imposing a military solution. Therefore, you must get to some form of political equilibrium in Iraq. And by that I think you may end up having to have a Kurdish, a Sunni, a Shiite area, and Baghdad being a federal capital. Hopefully you can maintain it in one country."

Posted by: drndl | December 8, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I like Rmill's analysis about Richardson, and would like a Richardson-Bayh ticket, but suspect that it would be too-competence heavy for the general. Someone like Obama might better balance the ticket out with that dash of inspiration and hope. Besides, are the Dems really going to win Indiana if Bayh is only VP?

Rmill and star11 (and others interested) should check out the AMericans for Richardson and Bill Richardson blog. Let's get on this, since I have a feeling he is going to announce in Jan.

For those who don't know who Richardson is, there is a great article from the Economist from the summer of 2004 describing his credentials (essentially saying he would have been a stronger candidate than Kerry). Check it out.

Posted by: Richardson folks | December 8, 2006 10:16 AM | Report abuse

'Thank goodness we're protected by the moderates. Only they, the last firewall against the extreme liberalism that is James Baker III, can save us when we're assailed by something so hideous as a mildly critical paper report issues by a collection of octogenarians. Who are these protectors of the faith?

Two of the commission's recommendations drew scrutiny, however -- a call for the Bush administration to make diplomatic overtures to Iran and Syria and for the U.S. military to accelerate its efforts to train Iraqi forces.

Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed doubt that the United States could coax Iran into helping stabilize Iraq as part of a larger diplomatic initiative in the Middle East.

"I'm skeptical that it's realistic to think that Iran wants to help the United States succeed in Iraq," Lieberman said.

Okay. Joe Liberman defends the Bush diplomatic strategy. But who else can we call on?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took issue with the panel's call for largely phasing out the U.S. combat role in Iraq by 2008.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 10:15 AM | Report abuse

RMILL -- I think people underestimate the breadth of Obama's appeal. I grant you that if we accept traditional voter-participation models, he probably can't compete in as many states as a Richardson or a Bayh. But I'm not sure that those models are actually applicable if he does run. What will the african american vote look like in the SOuth if OBama runs? How many young voters who generally avoid politics might register if he's the candidate?

Now, admittedly all of what I'm proposing is pure conjecture at this point. But I think Obama does potentially change some of the conventional wisdom regarding likely voters and that that should be considered in weighing his relative strengths and weaknesses.

FYI -- I DO like Richardson as well. I wonder, however, how he would play in some of the Rust belt areas. Racism is alive and well relative to hispanics too...

Posted by: Colin | December 8, 2006 10:12 AM | Report abuse

For you Chris--

'The challenge for Republicans -- and for such presidential aspirants as John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in particular -- is how to bridge the widening gap between their Southern base and the rest of the nation. The persistence of Southern exceptionalism is clear in the networks' exit polls, in which fully half of Southern voters identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians, while just one-third of the entire nation's voters did so. It's clear from the fact that in a period of broad economic stagnation, the populism of working-class Southern whites, like a record stuck in a groove, remains targeted more against cultural than economic elites.'

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2006 10:08 AM | Report abuse

'You've seen the numbers and understand that America is growing steadily less white. You try to push your party, the Grand Old Party, ahead of this curve by taking a tolerant stance on immigration and making common cause with some black churches. Then you go and blow it all in a desperate attempt to turn out your base by demonizing immigrants and running racist ads against Harold Ford. On Election Day, black support for Democrats remains high; Hispanic support for Democrats surges. So what do you do next?

What else? Elect Trent Lott your deputy leader in the Senate. Sure locks in the support of any stray voters who went for

In case you haven't noticed, a fundamental axiom of modern American politics has been altered in recent weeks. For four decades, it's been the Democrats who've had a Southern problem. Couldn't get any votes for their presidential candidates there; couldn't elect any senators, then any House members, then any dogcatchers. They still can't, but the Southern problem, it turns out, is really the Republicans'. They've become too Southern -- too suffused with the knee-jerk militaristic, anti-scientific, dogmatically religious, and culturally, sexually and racially phobic attitudes of Dixie -- to win friends and influence elections outside the South. Worse yet, they became more Southern still on Election Day last month, when the Democrats decimated the GOP in the North and West. Twenty-seven of the Democrats' 30 House pickups came outside the South.

The Democrats won control of five state legislatures, all outside the South, and took more than 300 state legislative seats away from Republicans, 93 percent of them outside the South. As for the new Senate Republican caucus that chose Mississippi's Lott over Tennessee's Lamar Alexander to be deputy to Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, 17 of its 49 members come from the Confederacy proper, with another three from the old border states of Kentucky and Missouri, and two more from Oklahoma, which is Southern but with more dust. In all, 45 percent of Republican senators come from the Greater South.'

-Harking back a few columns, when Chris said the Dems had a 'problem' with whether people called themselves libs or cons. The answer -- that's irrelevant now.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree, both, with the Boston Democrat and Jeff-for-Congress.

I really don't understand why Hillary is considered the "presumptive frontrunner." The media is hyping the situation and it's just unfortunate. Senator Clinton's a great politician, but she's underwhelming in speech, no clear positions and just plain uninspiring. I know very few Democrats down here who like her, and I know even fewer who would vote for her. To me, she's old news and her mere candidacy would be completely to the contrary of what she would run as: a common-purpose, pragmatic Democrat. I just don't see a win for her, and I think she knows it too.

As for Edwards: the guy should run. The economic populism that was espoused in this year's election got a lot people elected (Tester, Webb, Casey Jr., Brown, McCaskill, etc.), and they just borrowed from 'ol John himself. He would be credible in Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina, states in which I think he will win. From there: the nomination.

Watch and see.

Posted by: Conservative, Texan Dem | December 8, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I have a better geographical ticket for you Rmill,
Wesley Clark and Richardson/Obama.

That ticket gets Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, Montana, Kansas, and could compete in other places in the south. Clark campaigned for alot of red State Democrats and helped them win.
Everyone says that Ohio and Florida are the most important but if you win Arkansas and Missouri you take it. Period.

The other thing is that Clark is still liked by the progressive movement due to his anti-Iraq war stance. He also has become a better speaker and more refined politician in the past two years.

Posted by: Andy R | December 8, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Rmill states the case for Richardson very succinctly and well. I can even go along with Bayh in the VP slot. I think this ticket brings a lot of moderation with it, which will broaden the appeal.

Posted by: star11 | December 8, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I would love the idea of Gore-Obama. However, I think CC is right not to take the idea of a Gore candidacy seriously unless he announces. He seems pretty adamant that he wants to make a difference outside the White House and is happy in a non-politics role. Also, he knows what a pain campaigning can be. He could always become some sort of special envoy on global warming for a new administration...

Posted by: FreeDom | December 8, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani leads McCain in some polls so #4 seems a little off to me on the Republican side. Also, Sen. Chuck Hagel is a sleeper.

I will be surprised if Edwards comes out at $10 M in first reporting in 2007. My guess is that it is "pledges". He still has debt to pay too from 2004.

Don't be surprised if HRC does not run, that she and husband Bill back Richardson.

Richardson-Bayh is the strongest ticket in my estimation. Covers a lot of geographic territory and puts states in play that otherwise would be tough to win. No other ticket puts as many new states into the mix. Of course, much will depend on the R ticket.

States lost in 2004 in play with Richardson-Bayh
FL, IN, IA, MO, OH, NM, NV

What do the others bring to the table, outside the base?

Edwards- IA (not the Carolina's, he couldn't deliver in 2004)

Clinton- ?

Obama- ?

Posted by: RMill | December 8, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I would love the idea of Gore-Obama. However, I think CC is right not to take the idea of a Gore candidacy seriously unless he announces. He seems pretty adamant that he wants to make a difference outside the White House and is happy in a non-politics role. Also, he knows what a pain campaigning can be. He could always become some sort of special envoy on global warming for a new administration...

Posted by: FreeDom | December 8, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse


'And one of the things that has changed for American foreign policy is a threat overseas can now come home to hurt us, and September the 11th should be a wake-up call for the American people to understand what happens if there is violence and safe havens in a part of the world. And what happens is people can die here at home.'

That is bush speaking. Aopparently, he thinks that 9/11 was the first time the US has ever been threatened by events abroad. Do you wonder, as I do, if he was drunk/unconcious during his entire expensive education? Has there ever been a US president more frighteningly out of touch with reality?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 8, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

An interesting tidbit out of the Midwest... local rap/R&B radio in Northwest Ohio has been running ads since the elections that call into question Obama's credentials, pointing out his brief tenure in the Senate and his lack of foreign policy experience. This seems to be a campaign aimed at undermining his perceived logical supporters--Midwestern African Americans. I have not figured out who is paying for these ads: fellow Dems, scared Rs, some other interest group??? Regardless, it's sleazy and it seems to be working, as I have heard several acquaintances repeat what they have heard on these ads as concerns about Obama's abilities.

Posted by: GoBlue girl | December 8, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Fred -- don't really matter now. His performance at the mega church with Rick Warren, and the standing ovation he got from the congregation, proves that he knows how to move people.

Once again, I think this election will be about competence, competence, competence -- but also hope and vision for the future. Not a dark and violent and desperate vision of war that never ends, of nothing but quagmires and death and destruction, of medieval theological meddling in our every decision. Not 'stay the course' until all our children are dead.

Bill Clinton had it, after the recession and dark years of the Bush I presidency, we need it even more now.

Posted by: drndl | December 8, 2006 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Indy Star is historically a very conservative newspaper. Only recently, since it was bought by Gannett, has that been tempered by bringing in more Gannett people.

Take just about anything they say about Democrats with a grain (or maybe a pound) of salt...

Posted by: Rob | December 8, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Remember that Obama has never had a serious test in a run for elected office and must prove he can take a punch from a rival."

Obama lost a race for Congress. Badly. I think that's a serious test.

Posted by: Fred | December 8, 2006 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, I think that Chris placing Newt as #3 is justified, he is the candidate of the Republican ideological true believer. Given the silly analysis by some Republicans (you know the type the kind that tore the tracks up in the House prior to the Democrats taking over) who claim that they lost the election because they were not conservative enough, look for an opening for this New Right demagogue. "The South Shall Rise, Again!"

Along with Jaysen, I think that Gore-Obama is the logical counterweight to Hillary. Remember several months ago when it was reported that Obama and Gore were the only opposition the Clinton campaign feared. Together they pose a convincing counterforce to Clinton. Gore has the organizational and governmental experience, and yes Obama is the man for our times. He has far better political pitch that Karenna, so Gore could definitely use him on his team. (I saw that Gore still used that quote about Karenna in his GQ magazine interview, nothing against her, but Obama, she ain't).

Also, the poll analysis in today's Post had it backwards (not unusual for this font of conventional wisdom), Gore would likely gain support from Edwards and Obama supporters if he formally announced. But, he is savvy to pay attention to political timing-- he's gotten back some of his political pitch as well. We probably won't know whether Gore will get into this until after the Academy Awards in February. An Oscar wouldn't hurt his image in this celebrity crazy culture. Somewhere between the release of his book on Reason in March, and prior to the candidate debate in May would be my guess for a definitive announcement.

I also agree that Edwards has a valuable message for the party. In many ways he would complement Hillary on the ticket. Many of the progressive economic populists elected to Congress took a page out of the Edwards book. I'm willing to be convinced about Edwards, and Chris is right about the early primary schedule favoring Edwards. But, seeing is believing.

progress4@lycos.com

Posted by: Jeff-for--progress | December 8, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It continues to boggle my mind that Hillary Clinton is considered the front runner for the Dems. While she might make a fine president, I don't know one democrat in Boston that's planning to vote for her in the primary. They want a Democrat to win the White House and she clearly doesn't give them the best chance.

Posted by: Boston Democrat | December 8, 2006 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Nope, I think Obama should be VP. Put to rest he doesn't foreign policy credl argument.

Gore should be potus -- has something thing that the repub side is entirely lacking -- vision and new ideas. Clarity and sound policy ideas. Inntelligence and rationality.

John McCain offers nothing except more of the same rolling bush disaster. We will still be in Iraq in '08 --it's clear that bush has no intention of doing anything differently -- and congress can do nothing over his obstructionism. He and Cheney [and I suspect McCain] have decided we will have permanent bases in Iraq [partly to makeup for when we cut and run from the ones we had in Saudi Arabia after 9/11], partly to guard the oil, and partly as a launch for attacks on Iran, which they still plan. Whether the American people like it or not. Even if it destroys our military capability [which it is doing] and permanently cripples us financially.

The question in '08 may well be -- who can pull us away from the brink of disaster?

McCain will simply urge us to drive off the cliff faster. And Mitt and Brownback--do they actually have any ideas about anything, other than wanting the government to get involved in people's sex lives? Does Newt actually do anything other than cheat on his wives? And Rudy -- now there's a go who knows how to profit off of other people's children dying. He and kerik have probably done better war profiteering than anyone in the country save halliburton.

Out of the list you mention, Hillary is as capable and experienced, and more so than most of them. But I don't like her much, it's that triangulation thing. Richardson and Bayh I don't know enugh about, but seem lackluster. Only Obama and Edwards have got passion and vision and youth appeal.

In the meantime we're in for a rocky two years and a bitter fight, no matter who's running.

Posted by: drindl | December 8, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Still not sure why you like Edwards so much. Sure some labor people like him, but I also get the sense that a lot of people feel he didn't pull his (tiny) weight in 04. He doesn't add anything to the ticket and hasn't shown he can win anything beyond his core constituencies. In fact, in the general election, I bet that for every person who is drawn to his charisma, there is another independent voter who sees him as sleezy or a stereotypical lawyer.

I heard an interesting comment by one trial lawyer, Edwards' main money group, essentially resenting the fact that Edwards gave up his Senate seat. His qualifications and experience will be a big hurdle.

As for Richardson, I don't think he has to announce right now. He's been going around the country making his credentials known. If he were to announce now, he would get lost in the crowd. It might be better to let Obama-mania die down and/or another one of the major candidates self-implode before he presents himself as the qualified alternative.

Posted by: FreeDom | December 8, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I like the way Edwards/Obama or heck Obama/Edwards sounds...Still think (sorry lylepink) that HRC is toxic in a general election. Looking at the gop side with Brownback in it makes it very, very difficult for McCain or Romney to cozy up with the theotards. When the rubber hits the road and McCain is the nominne i think the holy rollers sit it out unless of course HRC is the dem pick..HRC could also negate quite a bit of the independant/moderate vote as well..Capturing the WH in '08 is the goal, and Edwards/Obama would represent some fresh blood...

Posted by: TheIrishCurse | December 8, 2006 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Michael Grunwald's Obama-Gore idea is better, I think, with Gore playing the Cheney role.

Posted by: Reihan | December 8, 2006 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Interesting selection of Newt Gingrich in the 3 slot for the GOP. Problem with Newt is he has both a paper and audio trail longer than the Great Wall of China. It will be easy for his rivals to destroy him.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | December 8, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

What about Al Gore, Chris? I see a possible Gore-Obama ticket as possibly the most energizing inspiring ticket on the Dem side? What do you think?

Posted by: jaysen@camden.rutgers.edu | December 8, 2006 8:24 AM | Report abuse

What about Al Gore, Chris? I see a possible Gore-Obama ticket as possibly the most energizing inspiring ticket on the Dem side? What do you think?

Posted by: jaysen@camden.rutgers.edu | December 8, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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