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As Long as We Remember...

July 13, 2007

Handicapping 2008

Edward Lulie III

It's early, but what the heck, let's have some fun and do an initial handicapping of the 2008 presidential race. We won't even bother with the numerous "second tier" candidates (Ron Paul, Joe Biden, etc.) because they will all fade out of the race as time goes by.

Some of these also rans may be considered as vice presidential running mates; but for the most part Bill the Cat (from the Opus comic strip) has a better chance of winning. Of course, he has the edge as a fictional cartoon character, some of the others presently running have the distinct disadvantage of not being fictional just cartoonish.

The hype already being spun about this race has a tendency to continue the trend of the past decade - extolling fantasy over fact. Neither side of the political spectrum has ever had a monopoly on truth. For one example you can take the leftist media's claim that Hillary Clinton has already won the election.

No, she might win, but it is far from over, and she has a steep hill to climb before she can get the keys to the White House.

The race may end up as a tight one, or, depending on events in the next year, might even be a blowout. It is still over a year away but, let's abandon caution and suggest some odds.

Far and away the Democratic Party front runner is clearly Mrs. Clinton. She does carry some baggage, however, just enough to fill a dozen or so Wal-Marts.

In my opinion she is a complete sham, a fraud, a poser. I believe that from when she rises in the morning until she goes to bed everything she does or says is calculated. Everything is all about advancing her own quest for power, to become Queen. Why else did she stick with Bill through the ordeal of Monica Lewinski?

>From sunrise to sunset, it's one long careful political calculation.

Of course, Hillary joins a long list of professional politicians in that regard; but her smile has a familiar look to me. It makes me recall that grinning image of former President Jimmy (Do you believe in peanut butter?) Carter. He would always smile just like that after he'd finished telling us his latest whopper.

Hillary is a serious hardball player fighting to win; anyone that gets in her way risks a career ending battle.

She is precisely the kind of person we see as a CEO in far too many corporations; damn the company and the consumers if I can make my bonus.

Yet, even with all the baggage and the attacks on her from Barrack Obama, I believe she's a shoo-in for the nomination; 8-5 odds on Hillary.

Senator Obama is both too young and too inexperienced to make the finish line in front (8-1 odds). He would probably make a fine vice presidential candidate - if you could limit his exposure to speaking in public.

He's demonstrated that if he has to explain statements, or answer questions, he's dangerously inept. Except for Clinton supporters, the media sees Obama as a rising celebrity and star. If he doesn't keep stumbling over his own tongue, the media will fawn and adore him as time goes by. If the fighting between them doesn't end up being a scorched earth campaign, then a Clinton-Obama ticket would have the best chance for Democrats in 2008.

Al Gore is still waiting for the nation to apologize and beg him to run. It won't happen. He won't run because he can't win (25-1 against his running). His high watermark has come and gone. I don't see him taking a vice presidential spot either, Clinton-Gore? Been there, done that.

The GOP is in one sorry state. Yet, there is a bright spot that already has the left having nightmares - the candidacy of Fred Dalton Thompson (2-1 odds). He brings back memories of Ronald Reagan to the contest. He is articulate, a better actor than the great communicator, and a wily old bird who will be very hard to handle in any debate.

The left fears that he will snatch victory for the GOP from the jaws of defeat and the attacks have already begun.

Mostly, they are irrational:

1.) He's just an actor. He isn't just an actor; he's a very good actor. Far better then Hillary ever could be judging from the dreadful video in which she tried to do a Sopranos imitation.

2. Former Tennessee Senator Thompson did not have a distinguished Senate career. And Hillary and Obama have?

Both Hillary and Fred were active on legal teams dating back to the Watergate hearings.

Fred Thompson has been an excellent attorney and was highly regarded as such.

The biggest rap on Fred, so far, is that he might be owned by the same good old boys and corporations that run G. W. Bush. I hope that's not true, but I suspect that will be an issue.

Of course, the War in Iraq isn't a plus for most GOP candidates and may be a loser for anti-war Democrats as well. Fred Thompson did vote to authorize action against Iraq (but then, so did Hillary Clinton). Bottom line for Mr. Thompson is whether or not he can distance himself from the issue thanks to the media and the left's endless diatribe that it's Bush's war.

Still, it's a briar patch candidates should be wary of. I believe Mr. Thompson will find a way to handle that issue; if he does, he will be a very strong candidate

Other than Fred Thompson, the strongest candidate on the GOP side is Rudi Giuliani (4-1).He may have too much baggage, however, and he doesn't resonate with the base of the GOP the way that Mr. Thompson does.

Mitt Romney is simply not ready for prime time and may never be (45-1).

John McCain is toast (50-1). He burned his candidacy up when he supported the immigration bill. Fred Thompson, in comparison, has hit the exact right tone on that issue; he says enforce our laws and borders first. Despite the endless recitations of major media to the contrary, that is also the opinion of about 70% of voters.

That might be an early sign that Fred Thompson may be very attractive to moderate (middle of the spectrum) voters, just like Ronald Reagan was.

A much tougher question will be who exactly does he pick as a running mate?

The outcome of a Thompson vs. Clinton contest?

I give Thompson the edge if he runs a decent campaign (it doesn't have to be perfect, just smooth).

Hillary will be forced into running against two opponents, a GOP candidate and her own reputation. She has huge negatives that even a lovefest Democratic Nominating Convention will be hard pressed to lower.

Worst of all is that she smiles just like Jimmy Carter did...that is definitely not a plus.

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