Friday, March 16, 2007

Looking at the '08 race so far- the Democrats

A lot has changed since my last post, more than a year ago, on the '08 Democratic Presidential race. Since a lot of my predictions and observations are now obsolete, I figure I'll post some updated thoughts.

Actually, I did the Democrats over a year ago. Anyway, here's my new analysis of the Democratic field:

Joe Biden: My thoughts on him haven't changed, other than to take back my prediction that he wouldn't declare. It's pretty clear that he will declare, but I still don't see him going anywhere.

Wes Clark: I still think he's got no particular direction as a candidate, and if he's going to run he'd better get in soon.

John Edwards: I said back in Jan. 2006 that Edwards had moved beyond the "Two Americas" class warfare shtick. Well, he either changed back or I wasn't paying attention. Now he seems to be the favorite of the liberal base and has been pandering to them non-stop. That will get him about as far as it got Howard Dean. He could still win, but I doubt he will.

Bill Richardson- Still the best Democrat in terms of resume and still the best executive. He was probably the candidate most helped by Mark Warner's decision not to run. He's raising money at a good clip and is up to 5% in the polls, which for a governor this early is not bad at all. Look for him to be in the top tier by late this year.

Hillary Clinton- No longer a clear frontrunner, but still the most formidable in terms of money and ability to mobilize traditional Democratic constituencies. She's not as much of a sure thing as she seemed in Jan. 2006, but she's still the most likely to win the nomination.

Chris Dodd- This is the Democrat who I've changed my opinion about the most. He's raising money very well and is being a leader within the new Democratic majority. He's well versed in economic issues and is good at working with the other side. Still a second-tier guy with only 1% support, but could conceivably do well in New Hampshire. Still not likely to beat Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Richardson though. Would make a great VP.

Al Gore- Still not running, but some people think he might. Still a top tier candidate if he does run. Whether he'd win would depend on which Al Gore he decided to be this go around.

Dennis Kucinich- Still terrible, still no chance. You know you have it bad when even Kos thinks you'd make a bad President.

Barack Obama- I said back in Jan. 2006 that he was a future superstar, but probably not running in 2008. Well, he is running, and he's in second place in the polls. He's the best chance to stop Hillary Clinton for Democrats frightened of her negatives. If he can avoid serious missteps and put out good plans, he can win the whole enchilada.

Mike Gravel- the longest of longshots, but he's no fool like Kucinich and has some genuinely good ideas. Maybe if he wasn't in his 80s and maybe if the field wasn't so strong he'd do better.

My overall predictions for the Democratic field?

Edwards wins Iowa. Richardson wins Nevada. Obama wins New Hampshire. Clinton wins South Carolina. We go into Feb.5 with those four and I'll be damned if I can guess which one will win. I'd say Clinton has the best chance, Obama second, Richardson third, and Edwards fourth.

Out of those four, Richardson matches up best with Republicans.