City of Roses
With the exception of her family, relatives and loved ones, of course, I think Karl Rove is more excited about this announcement than most today because he KNOWS she's a front-runner, yet an incredibly vulnerable candidate and it would take just one real blow once the election season begins in earnest for her to make no recovery.
I'ce said this for months and I'll say it again; I think Clinton will inevitably lose because the people who will vote for Clinton now are the same people who are going to vote for her in the primary. That's what I mean when I say she's polarizing. She may have a chunk of support now, but I highly doubt that she'll gain any additional support in the coming year, like Barack and Edwards are capable of doing.
Why I believe that is virtually everyone has already made up their mind about her, and much of it is not very favorable. In one Newsweek poll conducted last November, 45% of respondents said that there was no chance they would vote for Hillary Clinton, while 33% said that there's a good chance. So the unfavorable group is much stronger than the favorable group, and the unfavorable group makes up nearly half the panel.
Also, each poll reveals that virtually EVERYONE knows who Hillary is and already know whether they like her or not, with each poll result revealing no more than 5% "unsure" of what they think of her. Thus, she has barely any opportunity at all at re-inventing herself, and thus every move she makes to either the left or the right will be obvious to the voters.
I believe most of the early hype for the 2008 presidential election season is pretty pointless and trivial. In fact, I understand Edmund Muskie was the formidable favorite for the Democratic nomination in 1972, but suddenly tanked after anti-Vietnam war furor swallowed Muskie whole due to not being lock-in-step with other anti-war Democrats, and was defeated in the Democratic primaries to George McGovern (who of course went on to lose against Richard Nixon)
I believe Clinton now realizes exactly how strong the anti-war voice in not just the Democratic Party, but a growing part of the GOP has grown, and she is trying to avoid becoming the next Muskie, and THAT'S really why she went on that four-day trip to Iraq; she could pull a stunt and claim she saw all the instability there and decided there a surge in troops was the wrong move and that we should be pushing for a phased withdrawal, when less than a month ago in fact she voted FOR funding the surge.
Besides the Muskie example, so many times historically the clear early favorite ended up being overshadowed by a challenger that came out of nowhere and was barely even recognized. Gary Hart was seen as the clear Democratic favorite for a long time before the Democratic primary in 1988, and then extramarital affair information destroyed his candidacy. Then Joseph Biden was seen as a favorite and he was sued for plagiarizing. Then Al Gore was seen as just as potentially strong as Michael Dukakis, and fell short.
I think it's not too surprising why no Senator or Congressman/Congresswoman has been elected to the presidency in over forty years; voting record transparency has a way of defining those kind of candidates before they can define themselves, and especially in more polarizing election seasons such as the last several and what is bound to be another heavily polarizing one in 2008, I can imagine most are always looking for a less-political alternative, and I hear many calling for just that in 2008 rather than returning to the "Bush & Clinton" sitcom.
If I were a Democratic strategist, I'd be looking to their success in the 2006 mid-term elections in terms of new governorships picked up in six states, including Colorado, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New York, Maryland and Ohio, and find some more experienced, seasoned candidates in Democratic governors that can bring a more moderate appeal to the bunch. Bill Richardson I understand is considering a bid for the White House, and Nevada is one primary state where he could do very well among Latino voters in particular. I think Kathleen Sebelius would also make an excellent Vice Presidential ticket, who is widely popular in the heavily Republican state of Kansas for governing as a centrist and winning over more moderate Republicans in the state who have actually switched parties in that the state's GOP is currently divided between the more socially moderate Republicans and the anti-evolution kind of Republicans in particular.
Governors keep getting elected for a reason; they have far less to worry about in terms of their records being exposed to everyone. Despite that, however, I think Barack Obama may potentially have one of the best shots out of any senator to pull it off and go all the way to win the White House in forty years.
As for the Republicans, I think it's arguably going to be an even more bitter contest in their party than among the Democrats. While the Democratic Party is approaching 2008 being virtually completely united against the war in Iraq (despite disagreeing on a specific alternative plan or exit strategy beyond phased withdrawal) the GOP has become divided on Iraq, where you have John McCain appearing now as the biggest hawk of the hopefuls, with Mitt Romney and Rudolph Giuliani also backing Bush on the war, while Sam Brownback and Chuck Hagel in particular have come out as the more anti-war candidates in the fray.
Add to that the party's divisions between the more moderate Republicans that are associated with "It's My Party Too" and the more hard-line conservative Republicans associated with Focus on the Family, the libertarian Republicans that don't favor warrantless wiretapping and presidential power grabs and Republicans who believe it's a small price to pay to protect this nation from terrorists, the Eisenhower Republicans who denounce this trend of pre-emptive strikes on nation after nation and a growing and increasingly looming military industrial complex with neoconservative Republicans who believe in the "long war" strategy of invading nation after nation for the purpose of spreading democracies across the world and hope they generate domino effects of sorts and influence their neighbors. I think the party is more divided than it appears to be, and a hint of that is reflected both in Arnold Schwarzenegger's amazing comeback in California as a moderate after appearing destined to fade into political obscurity after governing aggressively as a hard-line Republican in a strong Democratic state, and watching every one of his sponsored measures in the special election bomb, which translated into a re-election in 2006 and being one of few Republican incumbents last year to survive, and Charlie Crist being elected Governor of Florida, campaigning as a moderate Republican who favors civil unions and is pro-choice to an extent on the issues among some other things.
I think McCain was originally perceived as the favorite in the GOP for 2008, but he has paid a big price for vocally advocating an increase in troops in Iraq, which puts him heavily in odds with the American populace right now, and with the Iraq war all but certainly likely to continue after Bush leaves office in January of 2009, McCain is not where he wants to be politically in a time where the public has become anti-war in tone.
Giuliani is ranked #1 in most polls now, but I don't see him winning either as the anti-abortion crowd is going to cut him down and he'll be accused by many as being too liberal for the party. Mitt Romney has an excellent opportunity at reinventing himself given his current low name recognition, but the word "Massachusetts" alone is going to turn off a notable bunch of conservatives, and his past record can haunt him heavily in the primaries, where before he is known to have advocated gay marriage and was pro-choice.
I happen to belive Chuck Hagel has high potential to become a runaway dark horse force to be reckoned with next year. Here you have a Republican who has a strong and consistent pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family record that will pacify the more conservative Republicans in the party, while satisfy moderates and independents who now heavily shape the anti-war majority in that Hagel has more credibility than any other Republican besides now-departed Lincoln Chafee on the issue of Iraq in that he has stood up opposing the war and its handling for years now, longer than even half the Democratic Party has, thus will have great credibility on the issue of Iraq in 2008 that other GOP candidates will be on the defensive on.
2008 will be quite an interesting year, that I'm sure we can all agree here.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"