Krystal Ball: Who Looks Presidential For 2008?
Presidential Tip Sheet: Early Bet on Edwards
Looking under the hood of the muscle car in the Krystal parking lot, it looks like John Edwards could be the next president of the United States.
In this early week in the race for president in 2008, rendered important due to new Democratic Party rock star Barack Obama’s early hints he may run and the resulting step up of Hillary Clinton’s reelection schedule, Edwards also stepped up in the public eye. Edwards the trial lawyer and vice presidential candidate and his smart yet southern wife Elizabeth out hardballed Chris Mathews of MSNBC on Tuesday.
For reasons I’ll explain later, he already has a head start in the early primary and caucus races in Iowa and New Hampshire, and will emerge from the pack as the electable moderate southerner with the strength of character to pull off being president. When you think about it, he even looks a bit like Tony Blair – but without the penchent for supporting George W. Bush.
Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, who has been traveling the world since focusing on his major populist theme of solving the poverty problem here and abroad, was the recent top choice among likely Iowa caucus-goers asked to say who they would support in the 2008 caucuses. Edwards, who has traveled to the state extensively since the 2004 campaign when he was the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, won the support of 36 percent of those polled. U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., finished second at 16 percent. Obama got 13 percent.
Edwards has been working on an upgrade to his profile as the son of a mill worker, the story he used to get the Veep nod after strong early primary showings in 2004.
Trust us when we say this will become even more important as the 2008 approaches and economists officially announce the economic recession. Yes, it will be out of the bag by then.
Edwards has not declared his candidacy yet, so to learn about his recent activities you have to go to his One America Website.
Edwards may also be in a good position from a horse racing point of view. He can refine what his plan is riding loosely in third or fourth and wait for the next turn, while most of the media spotlight shines on the two early leaders on the rail, Hillary Clinton and Obama.
A Cook/ RT Strategies poll looking at the Democratic Party’s crowded field of contenders shows Clinton leading public opinion with 34 percent. Obama is a distant second with 20 percent, even though he may not even run.
Former Vice President Gore, who has been testing the track’s surface of late while fishing for an Oscar for his Global Warming film, still gets the support of 11 percent of the people, while Edwards gets 9 percent.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts tied with 4 percent. Everyone else – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio – scored 2 percent or less in the survey of Democratic voters and Democratic-leaning independents.
Taking Gore out of the race, Clinton rises 5 points to 39 percent, Obama gains 1 point to 21, Edwards goes up 2 points to 11 percent. Kerry picks up 2 points to 6 percent.
Without Gore or Obama in the race, Clinton goes to 51 percent and Edwards grabs second place with 13 percent. Without Gore, Obama, and Kerry, Clinton gets 52 percent and Edwards 14 percent.
But that is before the race has even officially begun.
We still like Al Gore and think he should have won in 2000, and he would prove to be a much more loose and effecitve campaigner now, we suspect. So if he runs, he will be a major contender and may even get our votes.
But then, why would he want to go through it all again – when he can have far more fun and potentially be even more effective on the outside?
Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio, who ran as the Ralph Nader of Democrats in 2004 and didn’t get very far, made an impasshioned speech for peace this week in making his announcement that he would run again.
His key point: “What kind of credibility will our Party have if we say we are opposed to the war, but continue to fund it?”
He says the Congress has already set aside the $70 billion it would take to get American troops out of Iraq and home, and he is suggesting we face facts and do that – rather than give President Bush another $160 billion supplimental appropriation to continue the war for another year?
Which brings up another reason Edwards could emerge as the front runner during the primary process.
Expect to hear Bush take John McCain’s advice, not Jim Baker’s. Watch this.
In a month, Bush will go on national television and ask Congress for even more money to send another 40,000 to 50,000 MORE troops to “win” a “victory” – “Over there.” He still doesn’t get it.
Coupled with the inevitable recession, if this war is still dragging out that will make it very hard for any Repubican to “win” in 2008.
The obvious leader will be Sen. John McCain of Arizona. A few months ago he looked like the only hope the country had. But since his foray to the major-domo of the Christian Right, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and his recommendation for more troops, McCaiin is likely to sink like a horse with a stone embedded in his hoof before this is all over.
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will pursue the GOP nomination (ho, hum) and may well be joined by Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas (yech!), Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (yawn), Rep. Hunter of California (who?), and Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado (give us a break).
The question marks in the Republican race are former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (har, har).
Although national polls of Republican voters often show Giuliani at the front of the GOP’s 2008 pack, most observers with a real grasp of the Republican nominating process think Giuliani’s support for abortion rights, gay rights, and gun control knock him out of any real chance of winning the nomination.
Cook Political Report/RT Strategies polled Republicans and Republican-leaning independents about the 2008 contest. When Giuliani was included in the list of candidates, he ran first with 27 percent, followed by McCain at 25 percent and Gingrich at 10 percent. Romney ran fourth with 9 percent. Everyone else was in the low single digits.
Taking Giuliani out of the mix, McCain’s support rose from 25 percent to 34 percent and Gingrich’s climbed from 10 percent to 16 percent. Romney edged up to 10 percent. No one else drew more than 5 percent, according to the Cook Political Report.
Then there’s today’s front runner on both sides, Hillary Clinton. But does anyone really think she can really win the presidency? Her negatives with men are way to high for her to have a chance, unfortunately.
If the Democrats really choose 2008 to be the year of the woman in American politics, then McCain could very well be the next president.
You will recall that one of the early front runners in the 2004 presidential race, now Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean, said that to win, the Democrats need to appeal to the NASCAR vote.
If John Edwards is listening, here’s a tip on how he can win this thing. Get yourself a muscle car, go to Nashville and make some CMT-style music videos. In essence, start hanging out in the Krystal parking lot and talking it up. Get yourself a cowboy hat. Go country.
The liberals in New York, D.C., California and the other cities, can’t win this thing without some working class votes in the South. And they will never, not in a million years, vote for Hillary.
Edwards has the union bona fides to talk the talk and walk the walk. He may even be able to carry Alabama in two years – once the economy goes in the tank and the war gets even worse.
How about Obama for Veep and president in 2016?