Back and forth political tides in America are part of the once globally envied system of checks and balances in our democracy (though there are days I really don’t feel like we are anywhere near the democratic standards we used to boast in our pre-9/11 history).
While it is well known that I would have strongly supported Chuck Hagel for President, I am also convinced that a Democratic President would be healthy for the nation — as long as that Democratic President put an end to many of the most self-destructive trends initiated by the Bush administration. I don’t unconditionally support any Democrat, and also for the record, there is much in Mitt Romney’s profile (his old profile) that I could support.
But let’s roll ahead and be politically incorrect for a moment and speculate on winners and losers. No offense to any of the candidates!!
I think Obama has a very solid chance — but he’s not yet doing any of the key things he needs to do to seem like a serious alternative, a better alternative, to Hillary Clinton. He’s not savage enough. He’s sort of a hybrid Humphrey – McGovern – Adlai Stevenson personality right now, and she comes off as a shrewd master of a political and policy machine second to none.
I’d love to see Edwards doing better — and frankly — he’s in the best spot of all of the contenders to get a boost from the growing economic anxieties in America. A mega-billionaire global investor told me recently that he thinks America is already in recession — which means that there may be a political aftershock (that always comes later) that helps propel Edwards in the early primaries. If the economy can get ginned up as a real issue, Edwards is in a far better position than most of his rivals to address it seriously.
But Hillary is the frontrunner — and she is going to have a Republican challenger.
Guffaws aside for the moment, I don’t think that the race will be a slam dunk win. Mitt Romney would be a formidable challenge for Clinton — and his distance as a former Governor would inoculate him from responsibility for the war. As things look now, I think he’ll beat the field he’s up against — including Giuliani and Thompson.
The solid-faith South will find a way to support a solid-faith Mormon candidate, and then Romney has a national security advisor, Mitchell Reiss, who is a class act.
If the war is going really, really badly — and the main street Republican conservatives are ready to launch a coup against Bush & Co., then Romney could bring on a Chuck Hagel as VP running mate. I know it’s hard to imagine today — but could happen.
If the economy is the dominant theme, and the polls show that Romney needs to shore up his Southern flank, then Mike Huckabee will be invited to join the ticket in my view.
A Romney/Hagel ticket or a Romney/Huckabee ticket would give nearly any Clinton ticket a seriously tough race.
That’s why Dems should do all they can to run against one-note Johnnie, Rudy Giuiiani. His foreign policy advisory team is the dream list to run against. Giuliani’s pal, Bernard Kerik, sweetens the pot, and there is so much more there to put in headline news every two to three days.
Newsweek just ran a graph of Giuliani’s foreign policy team. As Daniel Pipes just emailed me, it’s all screwed up. Five of the six listed names have the wrong photos.
But kind of like the false metaphor of a global war on terror that needs to be completely disaggregated into component pieces to be understood, this list of high profile neoconservatives need to be known individually for what they do and what they think rather than just a list where the names and faces don’t matter.
So, for the record — Peter Berkowitz’s picture is on the Daniel Pipes profile. Daniel Pipes’ photo is on the Martin Kramer profile. Norman Podhoretz’s picture is on the Nile Gardiner profile. Martin Kramer’s photo is on the Norman Podhoretz profile. Nile Gardiner’s photo is on the Berkowitz profile. Phew. . .
But this mismatching of names and profiles doesn’t change the essential point is that Giuliani would be an ideal nominee to run against. Please. Please. Please.
— Steve Clemons