Updated 2008 Rankings
The 2008 race has gotten much more intriguing following the Dem surprise in the midterms. Lots of changes since the last time PB weighed in on the race.
We urge PB readers to give us any and all comments on the rankings. You can even formulate your own list of '08 contenders.
Here's how we think everything stands right now:
Hillary Clinton ↑
Hillary, like most Dems, gets an up arrow after the uber-successful midterms. However, HC is in a precarious position after Obama, Pelosi and Co. really stole the spotlight from her on Election Day. The nationwide outburst against the war in Iraq has left Hillary playing catch-up with war opponents. The big Dem win may also leave the party brass feeling like they can take a chance with Obama in ‘08. But any talk of HC as being “unelectable” has to be put aside. Any Democrat is electable. She’s still on top.
Barack Obama ↑
Barack is a big winner after the midterms. His 2008 stock has skyrocketed. He was political gold on the campaign trail, he was successful on the campaign trail, and the Dem victory means that he will have a much easier time of it trying to gain support as a left-leaning centrist. His constant talk of bipartisanship should endear him to all of the moderate voters from this year if the current mood holds. Can he get past his race? That’s the big question-mark on him, especially after the drubbing Harold Ford received in Tennessee. But still, nobody is hotter than Barack right now.
John Edwards ↔
The ex-Senator has disappeared. While Hillary and Obama were everywhere on the campaign trail before the midterms, getting their names and faces out in public, Edwards went AWOL. His wife made more headlines than JE. What to make of that? He senses that any chance at the nomination is hurtling past him as fast as Barack Obama’s private jet zooming across the country and is contemplating accepting the inevitable. Obama’s sudden entrance as the challenger to Hillary has made Edwards an also ran. He needs some quick publicity before he slides down with Evan Bayh and the rest of the Dem underlings in ‘08. He needed to capitalize on the Dem victory.
Evan Bayh/Bill Richardson/Tom Vilsack ↔
The Dem win didn’t hurt them or help them. These gentlemen are all playing for a Veep slot. They’ll try to make a splash in the debates, probably spouting off utopian dreams and smoothly bashing Hillary. Vilsack is the first Democrat that is officially running in 2008, making his announcement this week. Just a quick publicity grab. Richardson and Bayh are the most intriguing Veep candidates, probably making a good team with either Obama or Hillary. Well, nix the Obama-Richardson ticket. No way the Dems will want to take a chance with two minorities on the same presidential ticket. Vilsack is a possible Veep for Hillary.
John Kerry ↓
What else is there to say about Kerry? He didn’t just shoot himself in the foot with his Iraq/US troops comment, he blew his brains out. His ‘08 chances were slim to none before that, but now he is severely damaged goods; no sane Dem will actively support him, and Dem leaders may even ask him to bow out of the race before his campaign even begins. This tragically vain soul will no doubt press on, but will only make an even bigger fool out of himself down the line.
John McCain ↑
McCain has come out of the midterms looking more like the GOP front-runner than ever before. Voters fascination with moderates has made JMac the best hope for Republicans in ‘08 right now. He's capitalizing on that by already launching his 2008 bid. He was as visible as Barack and Hillary on the campaign trail, jetting across the country to stump for GOPers. There’s always a chance for conservatives to once again become the driving force behind Republicans and trash McCain in favor of a Gingrich or Romney, but the party brass may not let that happen when they realize that he is their best candidate. He’s swung wildly this year, from the only candidate to the forgotten candidate and now back on top. No telling what will happen once he gets smeared by the right-wing.
Mitt Romney ↔
Not much good news for Mitt coming out of the election. GOP governors, of which he is the leader, lost badly on 11/7. And his burgeoning conservative views lost nationwide this week. Voters went looking for moderates, not ideologues. But Mitt was as active as McCain on the stump pre-election, getting his name out and raking in a lot of cash for his favored candidates. His fundraising ability will be his biggest plus in ’08. There’s still the question of his Mormon faith that’s out there.
Rudy Giuliani ↓
Where’s Rudy? Like WaPO, PB can’t seem to figure out what happened to the hero of 9/11. His was the hottest viable name in the GOP in late summer, working the campaign trail and thrashing McCain in all of the polls. And then he vanished. He needs to get out there amongst the GOP faithful and better explain his quasi-liberal views if he wants any shot. He kept saying that he would announce his 2008 plans after the election, so maybe more info will come soon.
Newt Gingrich ↑
While moderate Republicans, Democrats and independents went for moderate views and bipartisanship in the midterms, the GOP base wants to shift even more to the right. That plays right into Newt’s hands. He went super-tough on national security and terrorism on his weekly appearances on FOX pre-election, and now is offering his advice (who isn’t?) on what went wrong for Republicans. His ideas are already getting praise from many right-wing Republican media types. Can Newt emerge as the perfect antidote for a wayward and lethargic GOP? A sleeper pick.
Duncan Hunter ↔
Hunter is the first Republican to officially announce that he’s running. The GOP Vilsack; first to run but nothing more. However, he is Veep material. But that’s about all.
Condi Rice - No, she’s not running.