« A Christian nation? | Main | Taking Ten »

The White House 2009

Less than a year before the first primary races, and yet far too early in most people's minds, the election race for the Presidency is accelerating to full speed, and we are beginning to get a clear picture of the field. There may be a horse or two which are still at the gate, but unless they start very soon they may be too far behind to have a chance at the nomination.

The race appears to be surprisingly predictable, given the unusual conditions. The sitting President ran for re-election in 2004, 1996, 1992, 1984, 1980, 1976 (Ford running for his first election), 1972, 1964 (LBJ running for his first election), and 1956. The sitting Vice-President ran for his party's nomination in 2000, 1988, 1968, and 1960. Not since 1952 have we seen a race where the President was not running, nor was the Vice-President.

There is, therefore, a question of which model will be the winning one. Most modern Presidents ran successfully as a Southern Governor. That gives hope to Bill Richardson among the Democrats, and Jeb Bush among the Republicans, although Richardson is largely unknown and Jeb says he does not plan to run. This time, anyway.


The Vice-President is not running, so while that is a historically good choice, it won't happen here. Obama is pinning his hopes on the Charismatic-if-Clueless-Senator-From-the-North-Wowing-Folks-So-Much-That-They-Don't-Ask-Any-Hard-Questions plan, which worked so well for JFK. Of course, Obama never served so he can't play up his service the way Kennedy did, and he won't be running against Nixon.

For some reason, the Shrill-Scream-of-Outrage still sells well among Democrats, and Tom Tancredo seems to think such a plan could advance his own ambitions. Forgive my bluntness please, but God Forbid. Seriously.

As I mentioned the odd little Dance In Three Acts which is the Presidential campaign continues along generally predictable lines in both camps. The Third Party possibilities are even less impressive than in the last few years, which clears the field from having to deal with the annoying drone of a Perot or a Nader. The current leader among the Democrats is Hillary, although Obama is closing fast. An interesting contrast, the crafty veteran and student of Macchiavelli, and the man who would be JFK II. And the Donk base seem conflicted on who would be better. I do not believe they will join on the same ticket. Wanna-be's like John Kerry and Joe Biden have already faded to the point that they seem completely irrelevent to the race, so the Democrat contention appears to come down to Clinton, Obama, or a late entry with serious financial backing and a wedge issue. John Edwards is right out.

Among the Republicans, Rudy Giuliani leads the pack just now, and the GOP field appears quite crowded, but again in actual fact the number of serious contenders is already dwindling. After Giuliani, the race for the Republican nod comes down to McCain, Romney, and Fred Thompson. Tommy Thompson and Newt Gingrich are simply not going to grab the kind of support to contend. As with the Democrats, of course, the possibility of a late entry must be considered, but again that will require serious money and something to flash-start the campaign. And John McCain, while he is considered a 'front-runner' in the media, is losing more and more momentum. Unless he repudiates his former anti-freedom of speech stands, by next spring he will be less exciting than topsoil.

So for now, we are limited to a small group, basically Hillary and Obama on the Democrat side, and Rudy, Romney, and Fred for the Republicans. Given historical lessons (Bill Clinton, for instance, jumped in late in the 1992 race and came from behind to nab the party nod), we must consider the late possible entry of a dark horse, but at the moment it's difficult to imagine who would find the resources for the sprint needed to win; modern primaries are front-loaded, so that early victories canm become insurmountable, and candidates are judged more heavily on the mythical quotient of "electability" - the fictional depiction of appearing to be like Reagan or FDR to the party faithful. That filter will undoubtedly have its impact. For instance, Obama is closing fast on Hillary at the moment, but he - perversely - is likely to be held back by Democrats because of his race. Why? It has already been suggested that Obama is primarily successful with blacks, which could earn him the "black vote", another myth which presumes that an entire race can be swayed to vote for someone on primarily on the basis of skin color. The reason this would be held against Obama in garnering the party nomination, is the impression that blacks represent a much larger portion of the Dmeocratic Party machine, than of voters in the country overall. Therefore, goes the thought, if a candidate appears to be tremendously strong with blacks, that support must somehow be diluted when calculating the national vote. And therefore, unless Obama starts winning stronger support in places like Seattle or Miami or Norman, he will be presumed by party leaders to be suspect in his strength, so that even popularity will not be enough. Some of this talk is undoubtedly whisper campaigning by Hillary's network, but it is also aligned with past behavior of national political parties. As a result, Obama is likely to influence the statements and promises made by Hillary, but she is in a better strategic position for the Democrat's nod than the media suggests.

As for the Republicans, I have said many times that the biggest mistake made by the GOP in the last couple years, is the wholesale defection of party egos from support of the President. It's not just that I think President Bush is generally correct in his stance, especially on the most important issues, it's also the image projected to the nation, the difference between consensus and chaos, between a team and a bar fight. In the end, the race for the GOP nomination will not matter unless a candidate emerges who can re-unify the party. Fortunately, any of the group from Giuliani, Romney, or Fred Thompson is capable of the task, but I wonder whether they will get the chance.

In closing for here, both parties have a large task ahead of them in claiming the General Election. The national mood seems to lean towards the Democracts, but the fact remains that they are only going to win the White House if they can claim states which Bush won the last two go-rounds. And both parties should be well aware that there are a number of electorally important states which could go either way, depending on a number of factors.

Comments (14)

Very nice analysis. It wil... (Below threshold)

Very nice analysis. It will be an interesting 18-19 months with many possibilities. I wouldn't be surprised to see a "dark horse" emerge from either or both sides. I, for one, have "candidate fatigue" with many on both sides. I like Bill Richardson and he certainly has the credentials to be elected. From the Republicans, Huckabee looks like an intriguing "dark horse" type of candidate.

The liberal mainstream medi... (Below threshold)

The liberal mainstream media is already relentlessly trying to discredit each potential Republican candidate.

Rudy in 08!!! ... (Below threshold)

Rudy in 08!!! The only candidate on either side of the aisle running on his record of accomplishment. The only candidate on the right with any real vision.

Rudy is also the only candi... (Below threshold)

Rudy is also the only candidate on the right supporting the use of federal funds for abortion. Running Rudy is going cause many of the fundie voters to stay home (praying that the Dems don't win) and away from the voting booth on election day.... but I agree that Rudy represents the best shot Republicans have.

I look at the entire field ... (Below threshold)

I look at the entire field and get weary as well. Seems like the same old people, pandering to the same old other people. No candidate on either side gives me a vision of FDR, JFK, or Reagan.

I find presidential electio... (Below threshold)

I find presidential elections anything but predictable. I don't think we can assume that the frontrunners in the primaries of either party will win the nomination. Frontrunners often stumble and they certainly don't seem unbeatable this time.

With today's scrutiny, any candidate can be eliminated almost any time with a "gotcha"--either some significant slip or problem in his/her past, or a not-significant one which still gets traction in upsetting voters.

A third party candidate often swings a close election. If so, that's probably in the Republic Party's favor (I would guess) because only Nadar seems like a possible spoiler this time.

With no spoiler, it might be close yet again...in which case the winner might be the one who can take the most votes from the opposing party...or at least independents. That, I think, might fall to the Democrats advantage, because to win the Republican nomination requires, I think, a narrower focus than in the Democratic Party. (Guiliani----the Republican with the widest appeal, I think, will probably not win because he's too liberal for the Republican base...)

Of course, this is all speculation. Really, I think the only thing I feel fairly confident to say it that this election seems unpredictable.

Of course, the big issue may be the war in Iraq; I suppose if the surge works (whatever "works" means in this context), that would help Republicans--who uniformly support the war and the president. If it goes badly (as much of the war has), then that would help the Democrats.

Who the heck knows? I just hope we get someone good...

Federal funds for abortion?... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

Federal funds for abortion? How about federal dollars for breast implants? Botox injections? Federal bucks for facelifts would be a good idea, too.

Brian claims that Rudy is t... (Below threshold)
David Glick:

Brian claims that Rudy is the only candidate running on his record of accomplishments. Give me a break. The only thing Rudy is running on is 9/11. And quite frankly, that might have been less of a disaster if he hadn't made some pretty poor decisions prior to that - like placing the OEM (Office of Emergency Management) in the World Trade Centers AFTER the first attack on them a few years previous.
Look, as a New Yorker, I thought Rudy made a good mayor by NY standards, but presidential material he aint. Go Mitt!

Lee stop spinning your fals... (Below threshold)

Lee stop spinning your falsehoods-

Here is what Giuliani said verbatim-

Giuliani to social conservatives: Take it or leave it

Watch Giuliani's comments on abortion at a Columbia, South Carolina press conference Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rudy Giuliani's message to social conservatives: If you don't like my views, don't vote for me.

The Republican presidential frontrunner Thursday reaffirmed his support for federal funding for some abortions, a position which puts him at odds with many conservatives. During a press conference at the State Capitol in Columbia, South Carolina, he said he didn't expect to win over 100 percent of the voters.

"If that's real important to you, if that's the most important thing, I'm comfortable with the fact that you won't vote for me," the former mayor said.

Although Giuliani said he is does not like abortion, he said he would not change the standing law. Specifically, he said would not change the Hyde amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortion to cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

"I'm against abortion, I hate it, I wish there never was an abortion and I would counsel a woman to have an adoption instead of an abortion," the former New York mayor said. "But ultimately I believe it is an individual right and the woman can make that choice."

Giuliani also said this to CNN's Dana Bash in an interview Wednesday.

The current law also leaves the decision up to each individual state and Giuliani said he agreed with that. South Carolina is in the process of passing a law that would require pregnant women to see an ultrasound before having an abortion.

CNN interview with Giuliani

If social Conservatives are going to toss Rudy out for maintaining the STATUS QUO Hyde amendment which allows for federal funding of abortion in the case of RAPE, INCEST OR LIFE OF THE MOTHER-than it is these types of hypocritical Social Conservative absolutists that need to be jettisoned.

Don't tell me if YOUR DAUGHTER was RAPED you wouldn't consider abortion for her.

Disgusting-I swear if men were raped and had to go around for nine months....and then deliver- we wouldn't even be "discussing" this "issue".

Additionally you could pass STATE laws -remember you are supposed Federalists to override the Hyde amendment at the state level.

Remember though how that worked out for Social Conservative extremists in South Dakota that wanted to abolish abortion eveneven in cases of rape and incest and they did that this last election cycle which probably cost Republicans nation wide due to the media attention it received....

How did that work out for the extremists?


That being said-Rudy most likely won't make it past the primary, the media will "discover" weaknesses of Thompson "suddenly" but only after the primary and we will end up with a-

Democratic, Senate, a Democratic House with Hillary at the Helm.

Heaven help us.

I agree on several points. ... (Below threshold)

I agree on several points. However, I would add that the democratic party will fall back on Hillary, additionally because they won't allow a black man on the top of that ticket. But She may well choose Harold Ford as VP.
He can take Tennessee easily. Just my opinion. Clinton Ford .... Although it rings of Clinton Gore, doesn't it? But it won't matter with the field we have. Aren't we all waiting on the one who will unite us to get to the polls. Those 3 don't come close. I would say it is easy sailing for Hill and a rough sea ahead for conservatives.

When the Thompson Robots bu... (Below threshold)

When the Thompson Robots buzzed this site last week, I gleaned an interesting link from them:

It's pretty darn accurate viz personal convictions; candidates match: maybe). Take the test and then press "analysis". I agree: I'm a populist-leaning conservative. Good site!
(The Thompson Twins were confused though; image/reality paradox maybe.)

I have no doubt that someda... (Below threshold)

I have no doubt that someday I will vote for a woman or an African American for President. But '08 is not the year. Hillary or Obama neither one have the ability to guide us through tough times.
I am beginning to believe that Moveon.Org and the media will determine the next president unless people begin to put some independent thought into their choice and learn to weed out the propaganda.

A sound analysis. ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

A sound analysis.

I can't help but wonder what you mean by "re-unify the Republican Party"? Neal Boortz blames "the fundies" for the party's disarray and lack of broad support. I say Republicans are suffering because of the liberalization of the party. Far too many Republicans fancy themselves as independent and are willing to stray off the reservation - most often for the favorable attention such a move garners from the insincerely fawning MSM. If we do not get back to first principles of conservatism (both socially and fiscally speaking), the party is doomed IMHO. The disenfranchised will continue to feel that they have no place left to go and will simply opt out of both parties, giving an automatic win to the Democrats in the process.

Incidentally, Giuliani is probably not one who is going to accomplish the foregoing unification.

With the absence of any bon... (Below threshold)

With the absence of any bona fide Southern Governors, 2008 is shaping up as a new kind of race model where an Italian American, an African American or a woman all have a decent shot at ultimately winning, best reflecting the growing diversity in America and the shrinking societal clout of the WASP male.

Whether 2008 ultimately turns back to a more traditional election model in the end remains to be seen, giving wilting hopes to the Fred Thompsons and John Edwards.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy