Joe Biden (DE)
- PROS: Long-term Senator and party stalwart. Outside of a plagerism scandal that derailed his 1988 attempt at the White House which turned out to be nothing but media overkill, Biden has no scandals of note. His voting record is consistent with Democratic views, and he also demonstrates bipartisan skill. Intelligent, even-tempered, and... and...
- CONS: He's as flat as drywall. He's talks a lot but doesn't really say anything. Try to remember the last appearance he's had on television, be it a debate or a Sunday talk show. As part of a Democratic leadership that has failed to stand firm against Bush's possibly corrupt practices regarding torture, invasion of privacy and other civil liberties issues, Biden could suffer a backlash from angry Dems.
- ODDS: If it were any other year, without Hillary or Obama running, Biden might have stood a chance. He occupies a comfortable centrist position that could appeal to moderates if only there was something else there to root for. As it is, he's a second-tier candidate with a very long shot at making any impact in the primaries.
Hillary Clinton (Clintonland)
- PROS: She's Hillary Clinton. Who else is as ruthless, driven, capable, prepared, as she is? There are remote tribes in the Kalahari that know who she is. There's a massive campaign machine behind her, there's a thousand cameras on her, there's a million people voting for her. Simply because of who she is. There are enough voters who can compare her husband Bill's 8 years in office to Bush the Lesser's 8 years in office, and who will think things were better then and overlook the blemishes now.
- CONS: She's Hillary Clinton. No other candidate brings as much baggage as her. While the Republican Mudslinging Machine is gonna trash any Democrat that wins the nom, Hillary will be their biggest, easiest, most desired target. Any other Democrat could keep the GOP dispirited and divided: Hillary would unite them, and give them enough motivation to win. There is also the growing ennui of having another Clinton in the White House: a dueling family feud between Bushes and Clintons. Not so much Scandal Fatigue, which is obvious, but simply Clinton Fatigue, that we've already seen this TV show before. Some voters will think she's already been President (twice). And speaking of Scandal Fatigue, there are questions about where Clinton is getting her money from. Clinton is also ruthless to the point of savagery. Clinton's camp is willing to pick up on a nasty Republican slander on Obama, underlying how desperate she is to win. And despite all her political skill, if you ask any of her supporters, they can't tell you what she's FOR (other than being President). Nearly every other popular candidate, especially Obama, can be seen as running for someTHING. Hillary doesn't. For all her power and reputation, there's no PASSION for the office. This time around, she's not offering CHANGE (That's Obama's bumper sticker now), she's simply taking POWER.
- ODDS: With all the power, fund-raising skill, and name recognition, Clinton is as close to "Designated Winner" as the Dems will see this Primary season. Except for the fact that people are starting to look away, either because the other candidates (Obama, cough) are more exciting and deserving of support, or that her phoniness and blatantly open desire for power are turning voters off. People are beginning to realize Hillary represents four more years of hell, blood-crazed Rush Limbaugh clones, and Bill Clinton as First Dude. Insert screaming noises here.
Chris Dodd (CT)
- PROS: Dodd is a long-standing Senator, and has been a major player in the Democratic ranks for years. His positions are consistent with the party line. He's recently made headlines as being one of the earliest candidates to openly oppose some of Bush's heavy-handed attempts to subvert the Constitution, such as granting telecom companies retroactive immunity from any illegal wiretapping.
- CONS: Other than his dramatic stands against telecom immunity, Dodd has pretty much been invisible this campaign. He has the same problem as Biden: a solid resume but no charisma to sell it to voters. Dodd has the incumbent's usual problems of having too many close ties to certain lobby groups: his ties to Arthur Andersen and other accounting/financial firms that are normally under his committee's oversight.
- ODDS: This is a second-tier candidate struggling to stay in the fight. One gets the feeling his bravery in standing against the telecom immunity efforts by Bush is more for show and relevancy than anything else (which doesn't say much for the other Dems in the race), simply because he's talked about it but hasn't done anything about it. If he's lucky he could be in the race for the Vice President's slot, but even that's a crowded field this year.
John Edwards (NC)
- PROS: A major player from the 2004 Presidential campaign who kept himself in the public eye all these years. Was one of the first to openly declare and develop a head start. Has focused his campaign aggressively on poverty and health care, making those topics his signature issues. He's positioned himself in most respects as a candidate with more compassion and sincerity than Clinton, and more experience than Obama.
- CONS: He's not Hillary. Nor is he Obama. Which is a problem the rest of the Dem field has to deal with anyway. But for Edwards it's worse: being third place in this race isn't doing him any favors. And the media has, in its own way, decided not to treat him as a serious candidate, hurting his public perception.
- ODDS: This is a make-or-break campaign for him. He's not running to be a Veep like last time (at least he'd better not be: it's be almost like a step down for him). But with Hillary as the Machine candidate and Obama as the Scene stealer, Edwards is screwed. His best chance is that Hillary implodes somehow, which right now is improving as her campaign is starting to show signs of strain and overreaction.
Mike Gravel (AK)
- PROS: He's not Ted Stevens.
- CONS: No one else knows who he is. Which is a pity because he's apparently been a major player for the party for years. And in the debates he's not winning anyone to his side with poor performances.
- ODDS: If Vegas has any mercy (and oddly enough they usually do), they'd have taken him off the board by now. Most people I've talked to about the elections didn't even know he's on the ballot.
Dennis Kucinich (OH)
- PROS: Is a well-known candidate from the 2004 campaign. He's also one of the more vocal opponents of the very unpopular President Cheney, uh Bush: he has attempted more than once to propose impeachment proceedings on Cheney regarding "manipulated intel" and false reports of ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Kucinich is campaigning as the "Peace candidate," promising immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Is the only Dem running who has consistently voted against the Iraq invasion and funding of it. If elected, his wife becomes the hottest First Lady ever (sorry, Jackie!)
- CONS: The media depicts Kucinich as a tad... well... crazy. But let me state right off that it's not that he's reported seeing a UFO: lots of normal, honest people report UFOs all the time. No, it's that he's openly praised Ron Paul and even suggested having him as a running mate. Dude, if crazy people are flocking to Paul (and they are), and if Kucinich is flocking to Ron Paul... Look, if A = B and if B = C, then A = C, right? Right. Other than that, Kucinich has a snowball's chance in hell of winning.
- ODDS: Like the last time, Kucinich seems to be in this race mostly for the principle of the thing. Making sure his anti-Iraq platform stays in the debates. He really doesn't have much of a chance.
Barack Obama (IL)
- PROS: He's what I call the Bartlet candidate. Ever watch the "Two Cathedrals episode?" It's not the Latin speech blaspheming God that caught my attention, it was the Origin Myth back-story of how Mrs. Landingham met Josiah Bartlet when he was younger:
Mrs. Landingham: Because you never had a big sister and you need one. Look at you. You're a boy king. You're a foot smarter than the smartest kids in the class. You're blessed with inspiration. You must know this by now, you must have sensed it...
- Obama is the Boy King for the Dems this election cycle: he brings with him youthful vigor and freshness, an ability to express optimism without being cheesy, something more veteran candidates can't pull off without any bit of cynicism. He's positioned himself well on most of the issues Democratic voters consider come choosing time. There's a good reason why Hillary is having a hard time campaigning against him: Obama represents Change, not only Change from corrupt Republican to less-corrupt Democratic, but also Change from Clinton World Domination to a World without Clinton Fatigue. If Bill Clinton was the Change candidate in 1992, Obama is the Change candidate now, and that's what got Hillary and Bill running scared...
- CONS: Obama is genuinely new to the national and international political stage. He's only been a U.S. Senator for 3 years. Other candidates can harp on his lack of experience, and there are times that lack of experience shows. It's probably the biggest reason why he's not trumping Clinton so early in the campaigns. Racism will, sadly, become a factor at some point especially if he wins the early primaries (in the Good News category, the response from voters over the sleazy "He's a Secret Muslim" whisper campaign suggests any racial attack could backfire). Despite his "freshness," he's still as ambitious as any other politician running for the Presidency (after all, ambition is made of sterner stuff), so he deserves the scrutiny for hypocrisy same as any other candidate.
- ODDS: Obama is currently the Number Two guy on the list, and with Clinton faltering in the last hours of the pre-primary campaigning he's one upset victory away in Iowa or New Hampshire from running the tables. He's starting to get more support across the board.
Bill Richardson (NM)
- PROS: Um, he's not Ted Stevens? Actually, let's start over. Richardson's a major party player and has a resume bouncing all over the board: Congressman, Cabinet Secretary, ambassador, hostage negotiator, state Governor. Experience is not a question for this guy. He's of Hispanic descent, possibly the first Hispanic running for President (if I am wrong, please correct meh).
- CONS: Has too many ties to the Clinton administration, and with Hillary also running he's not getting any support from their admirers (which makes up a sizable portion of Democratic voters). There's not much passion coming from his campaign, and little passion for it from voters. Is coming from a relatively small state of New Mexico. There's no indication he's getting any support from Hispanic voters, at least not enough to dent either Hillary or Obama's efforts.
- ODDS: Richardson is another second-tier candidate who's not making much noise. There's been talk online that Richardson, if he tries to stay in the race, will jockey for a Veep spot considering he's from a key region (Southwest/West) that would balance out the ticket with the current leader Hillary Clinton (Clintonland).
So... who do I think will win it in 2008?