Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Improbables

It is another sign of the fragmented state of the Republican Party these days that many of the prominent names discussed as 2008 Presidential candidates are extremely unlikely to actually be nominated. Let’s consider them in order of improbability:

Most Improbable: Ahnuld

It's right there in the Constitution -- the President has to be a “natural born” US citizen. You can't be sure about a lot of things in politics, but I am 100% sure that the Constitution is not going to be amended in time for him to run in 2008. Maybe that part is stating the obvious, but I don't think he is going to run for President in any other year, either. A constitutional amendment requires strong bipartisan support, and is long as Ahnuld is a viable candidate there is no way that the Democrats are going to empower him to run for President. (Incidentally, I think a lot of conservative Republicans would also oppose such an amendment, both out of nativist sentiment and to keep a pro-choice candidate from taking the GOP nomination.) This is not to say that the Constitution will never be amended to allow an immigrant President, but it will not happen when there is a single, clear beneficiary.

Condeleeza Rice

Pro-choice. Black. Female. Never married. These are not the makings of a Republican presidential candidate. She is also the only Republican contender who can be reasonably blamed for the intelligence failures that led to the 9/11 attacks and the US invasion of Iraq. The only edge she has over Ahnuld is the Constitution.

Rudy Giuliani

Everybody loves Rudy (well, most people), but he is too liberal to get the GOP nomination. (You may notice a trend here...) He also has an, er, interesting personal life for a national politician. It is a bit hard for a New Yorker who shacked up with his wife, kids and girlfriend at the same time to get the “family values” vote in the GOP primaries. (At least Bill and Ahnuld kept their shenanigans on the DL.) Also, I feel pretty safe claiming that he would be the first person to use a mayor's office as a springboard to the White House. Ever.

Incidentally, there is a Catholic hospital with a wing named after Rudy. So for those of you who are keeping score: pro-choice Republican who shacks up with his wife and girlfriend -- Catholic hero, pro-choice Democrat -- vote for him and you'll go to Hell.

John McCain

In a world free of sleazeball campaign operatives, McCain would have won the GOP nomination in 2000, and probably the presidency too. (Unlike George.) But Dubya's cronies made sure that the people of South Carolina knew about his Black lovechild. (OK, the kid was adopted, but all's fair in politics and war...) These guys will be back again to remind GOP voters why McCain isn't “one of [them]”. Also – all together now – McCain is a maverick. The vested interests who own the GOP aren't going to support a maverick. You don't shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to buy a loose cannon. That said, he may have a shot as an independent candidate.

Miscellaneous Northeastern Moderates

George Pataki and the like cannot make it through the GOP nomination process.

Bill Frist

Check the headlines to see why he is the newest entry to this list.

Posted by Woody Mena at September 27, 2005 10:37 PM
Comment #82292

I think you could rule out everyone in the current Administration, Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. for obvious reasons.

BTW, Woody, do you think the neo-cons still hold the reins to the GOP? I am beginning to have my doubts. The FREC’s (Fundamentalist Right Evangelical Christians) will have some names, but, their extremism will not garner a majority of popular vote.

I see a new coalition forming near the top of the GOP made up of Libertarian Republicans, FREC’s, and true fiscally conservative moderates. I see a Mitt Romney type coming through with a stamp of approval by this new coalition, though Romney himself may not be the likely candidate.

I am pretty sure you can add Jeb Bush to the list of improbables based on name recognition alone.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 11:05 PM
Comment #82295

I wouldn’t be so sure about Jeb. These Bushes are like cockroaches. ;)

Re the neocons - that is a complicated question. I think that future GOP foreign policy will be more along the line of “speak softly and carry a big stick”, with less wacking with aforementioned stick.

The neocons can reinvent themselves. After all, the Chinese still call themselves Communists…

The GOP cannot survive without strong Christian Right support.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 27, 2005 11:14 PM
Comment #82302

Nonetheless, is there a single one of these candidates who would lose to any of the Democratic candidates being considered? Even if the race were held today?

I think you have a bit of an outsider’s perspective here on the GOP, and some of your assumptions are a little unsound in my view.
The “family values” bit ignores the number of very successful Republican candidates with checkered pasts (party boy Bush) and Ronald Reagan, for that matter.

Pat Robertson himself has said that he’d endorse Giuliani, and GOP primary voters would gladly overlook his past indescretions—especially if it’s believed that it would come down to a choice between him and Hillary.

Condi is more likely to be at the top of anybody’s VP list. As for intelligence failures leading up to Iraq, I don’t see how Condi gets stuck with that. And even if she did, the electorate has already demonstrated in relecting Bush that they’re not looking to punish candidates for that.

McCain, for whatever reason, seems intent on throwing away whatever chances he has by unnecessarily antagonizing the GOP base. He was way to cozy with Kerry in 04. Nonetheless, he has a golden chance to reach out to conservatives if he uses his power as a member of “the gang of 14” to fight hard for Bush’s next SCOTUS nominee. His behavior then will demonstrate whether he’s even serious about running in 08.

As you note, a miniscule portion of Republicans evtalk about Arnold as a possible candidate—even if he could run, I doubt he’d attract many to his cause. And Frist, despite his scandals, simply doesn’t have GOP support as a result of a lackluster performance leading the Senate.

The one big name left off your list is George Allen, who enjoys pretty wide support in some GOP circles.

No matter what, I don’t see any Democratic ticket standing up to Giuliani-Rice, McCain-Giuliani, Allen-Giuliani, or any concievable combination thereof.

Of course, there’s always the possiblility that the Republicans will throw away their chances by doing something silly like nominating Rick Santorum—Kathleen Harris or something like that. But I seriously doubt it. The GOP has shown themselves remarkably adept at doing what it takes to win elections.

Posted by: sanger at September 27, 2005 11:34 PM
Comment #82306

sanger, I know you won’t agree, but, after 3 more years of Bush, Hillary is going to appear like a made to order candidate to a vast number of Americans, including a huge number of RINO’s and independents.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 27, 2005 11:39 PM
Comment #82308

I’d suggest Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich to your list of improbables.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at September 27, 2005 11:44 PM
Comment #82312

I don’t see how this show Republican problems. As Sanger says, most of them can beat the probably Democrats. BTW - who would those Democrats be? If you think Republicans have problems, think to of the Democratic bench.

Posted by: Jack at September 27, 2005 11:56 PM
Comment #82317

David, we already heard the same thing—about John Kerry, the last figure who was supposed to ride to the White House on independent and RINO discontent about Bush. Didn’t happen then and even less likely to happen when Bush isn’t even the candidate running.

Hillary is a pipe dream of the left, second only to Barack Obama for feverish devotion and total unelectability in a general election.

If the election wers held only in Manhattan, Berkely, and similar places, it would be a different story.

But this America. Hillary has her admirers in the media and urban coffeehouses, but no left-wing Northeastern feminist, especially one with you-know-who in tow, will ever be elected President of the United States in 2008.

Posted by: sanger at September 28, 2005 12:17 AM
Comment #82325


“Pat Robertson himself has said that he’d endorse Giuliani, and GOP primary voters would gladly overlook his past indescretions—especially if it’s believed that it would come down to a choice between him and Hillary.”

Oh, boy, Pat Robertson. Now there’s a guy I would want backing my candidacy.

Posted by: Rocky at September 28, 2005 1:51 AM
Comment #82326

sanger said:
“The GOP has shown themselves remarkably adept at doing what it takes to win elections.”

Indeed. We all see how many Republicans are being investigated on how they “won” their elections.

Posted by: Aldous at September 28, 2005 1:57 AM
Comment #82330

Sanger and Jack,

I said that these people were unlikely to be nominated by the GOP. Whether they could win in a general election is another question entirely! Giuliani might actually be a strong candidate (I have nothing against him personally), but there is no way on earth the GOP would nominate him. Sanger, you yourself used NYC as an example of a place that is out of touch with “mainstream” values.

As for the Democrats, I like their chances next time. The GOP won’t have the advantage of incumbency. Bush didn’t even win the first time, and he only won the second time because he was the incumbent.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 28, 2005 7:07 AM
Comment #82331
I think you have a bit of an outsider’s perspective here on the GOP, and some of your assumptions are a little unsound in my view. The “family values” bit ignores the number of very successful Republican candidates with checkered pasts (party boy Bush) and Ronald Reagan, for that matter.

Yeah, you have a point there. The GOP can be rather phony and hypocritical, eh? ;)

But I do think they have their limits…

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 28, 2005 7:19 AM
Comment #82332

“Indeed. We all see how many Republicans are being investigated on how they “won” their elections.”

How many and who? I did a little googling this morning and found some references to Democrat voter fraud, such as here and here, but when I searched specifically for Republican voter fraud, I mostly found bloggers and other opinion pieces, mostly talking about alleged cases. There was a lengthy article over at on the subject of fraud allegations and some flawed statistical methodology used to support it.

I won’t argue that voter fraud doesn’t exist. Of course it does, and on a worldwide basis. It just seems to me that the practice is pretty much politically neutral, isn’t it?

Does anyone have an actual listing of current voter fraud investigations pertaining to Republicans, Democrats or independents? I couldn’t find one.

As to the list of potential Republicans, I don’t see anyone jumping to the head of the line at this point. Unless you count the Hillary fans, the same could be said for Democrats.

Posted by: Owl Creek Observer at September 28, 2005 7:43 AM
Comment #82334

OCO, I think Aldous might be referring to the indictments involving DeLay’s PAC, and perhaps the RNC’s James Tobin who faces four federal charges for conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic get-out-the-vote phone banks.

Posted by: American Pundit at September 28, 2005 8:01 AM
Comment #82336

I thought when Giuliani attacked the troops in Iraq that his future in Presidential politics was over. But we all know that the Repubs are hypocritical in their support of the troops, and I’ve certainly been wrong before.

I think the GOP needs to pray hard that Evan Bayh doesn’t run, as I believe he’d mop the floor with any of those candidates mentioned, with the exception of McCain. But as has been stated, the GOP is probably not bright enough to allow McCain to win the nomination.

If you think McCain is not serious about an ‘08 run, you’re crazy. This guy sold his soul to the devil (GWB) just so that he wouldn’t get rolled under the Rove bus in ‘08. He turned his back on someone he called a friend and played kissy face with Bush all over the country - a man who had spread lies about his children and his military service just a few years earlier. As a result, he lost the respect of many of those in the center.

Posted by: Burt at September 28, 2005 8:19 AM
Comment #82341

Another perspective, from Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard:

Some points from Barnes:

-The GOP should be worried about 2008.

-“The strongest potential Republican candidates are Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. None of them is running and Cheney and Rice are downright adamant about it.”

-Hillary could win.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 28, 2005 8:44 AM
Comment #82344
As for the Democrats, I like their chances next time. The GOP won’t have the advantage of incumbency. Bush didn’t even win the first time, and he only won the second time because he was the incumbent.

No, Bush only won the second time because he was running against a piss-poor candidate. The Dems had several people who would have won 2004 hands-down, but instead they chose to run John Kerry. It’s like each party was trying to run the worst possible candidate, and the Dems were better at it.

In 2008, both parties are in the same boat. Burt mentioned Evan Bayh. He’d make a great president, and would probably win the election, if he could win the Democratic primary. Heck, I’d love to see a Bayh vs. McCain election. Either one would have more national support than Bush or Kerry, but neither would have enough party support to get the nomination.

The GOP has a long list of candidates that would be worth running. Instead, they’re going to run another red-state far-right hack like Bush.

Likewise, the Dems have a long list of candidates that would be worth running. Instead, they’re gonna run Hillary.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at September 28, 2005 9:11 AM
Comment #82348

I’m going to support Russell Feingold.

Posted by: Front National Party at September 28, 2005 9:29 AM
Comment #82354

I dont see Hillary as a truly viable national candidate due to how polarizing she is. That having been said, I also predicted she would not win the Senate seat in NY. (To be fair, her road was eased by Giuliani’s departure and by Rick Lazio’s stupidity).

Its still early. Remember that Howard Dean was a nobody from Vermont who almost won a nomination. Bill Clinton was just a guy from a small backwards southern state.

I’d suggest that Romney is starting to position himself, but its still early.

I do think that Hillary will run. But I don’t think she will win more than the nomination, if that.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at September 28, 2005 9:47 AM
Comment #82365

Predictions from Texas:
Guiliani cannot win here. Plain and simple.
He does not have the right “twang” factor and it is more off-putting than you could possibly imagine. You think I’m overstating? NO I’m not because if you think for one minute the people(sheep) here are not that simple minded, then you are living on another planet. Bush? Who was he? What could he offer? The answer in the pole winning question—“Yeah, I think I could sit down with that old boy and drink a beer whith him!” Bam—Two terms. The first for a good ole boy and the second out of pure fear and a lack of a viable alternative.
Prediction #2 Carol Strayhorn will be the next governor of this state. Bet the farm.

Posted by: toochmerli at September 28, 2005 10:49 AM
Comment #82378

I think people should be _very_ cautious about dismissing McCain. Anyone who looks at his voting record in the Senate will see one thing - this dude is Conservative with a capital C. The whole “maverick” thing is just about pure media fabrication, unless by “maverick” you mean someone who only votes with his party about 94% of the time.

From the VIS Congressional Scorecards Service, the records show McCain is a consistent 90%+ NFIB voter, averages about 75% from the Christian Coalition, 90%+ from Citizens Against Gov’t Waste, etc. Like I say, conservative.

I think his “maverick” reputation will only help him with weak partisans and independents, certainly he seems to be a man of integrity, though I tend to disagree with him on policy.

But don’t count him out.

As far as the Dem bench, I’ve been saying Bayh since 1998 or so. He’s probably the most appealing Dem nobody’s heard of. His running mate? Wes Clark. After all, the Dems need to be thinking not just about 2008, but 2016 as well. Clark can pick up a lot of seasoning and experience with 8 years as VP.

I think Hillary is the Republican wet dream, pardon the expression. It’s the Republicans who want her to be the nominee, I don’t know many Democrats at all who think she’s an appealing candidate. I hope she’s smart enough to stay the permanent Senator from New York.

Posted by: Arr-squared at September 28, 2005 11:46 AM
Comment #82391

Out of all of them I think Hillary would make the best President. She is willing to compromise ideology for her own politic career, and that makes for an effective President assuming the other party has the Congress.

Rudy can get elected down south even though he doesn’t “twang.” He has baggage but as someone said earlier that can be overlooked. He’s a yankee but he doesn’t come off as an elitist ala Kerry.

Please stop the myth about McCain and South Carolina. Carrol Campbell threw his political weight behind GW late and it was all over. That outdoes 500 phone calls to one religious group any day…. McCain pisses party people off and you can’t win elections without their support.

Posted by: George in SC at September 28, 2005 12:23 PM
Comment #82393


McCain is an interesting guy. He reminds me a lot of Teddy Roosevelt. Before he became president, Wall Street-types like Mark Hanna regarded TR as a dangerous “madman” who would destroy capitalism. In fact, he was very adapt at navigating the strong left-right currents of his day. McCain might well do the same, but I think he would have to take the Independent route. Note he is the only person on my list who has already lost the GOP nomination once.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 28, 2005 12:24 PM
Comment #82397


What “myths” are you talking about? Are you claiming that the Bush campaign didn’t spread rumors about McCain’s children? Didn’t talk down his military service? Or are you just claiming that all of that didn’t actually affect the election?

Posted by: Burt at September 28, 2005 12:31 PM
Comment #82409


It’s an empirical question, ultimately, and I’m not a betting man, but I think McCain would beat any of the other named Republican contenders in a head to head primary matchup.

No way any independent candidate wins in our system - Duverger’s law.


Posted by: Arr-squared at September 28, 2005 1:14 PM
Comment #82418

Hmm.. A bunch of people who weren’t planning on running anyway can’t win… Got it.

The only person you listed who’s shown any interest in running for president so far is McCain. And even he has yet to come right out and say it.

I do think he could win, though, if he plays his cards right.

Posted by: The Traveler at September 28, 2005 1:45 PM
Comment #82421

Front National Party, though I am independent and willing to vote for John McCain for example, Russ Feingold has been on my contribution list for a couple years now, and I watch when he speaks. He is as qualified as they come, and though I don’t agree with all of his political philosophies, he is a leader with real intelligence, a demonstrated genuine committment to this nation and all its people, and a pragmatist. All qualities that would entice my vote.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2005 1:49 PM
Comment #82426


If you look at polls among Republicans, Giuliani, McCain, and Rice are always at or near the top (although Rice gets left off sometimes.) So this is not a hypothetical exercise.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 28, 2005 2:05 PM
Comment #82434

I’m not a Democrat anymore, still, in ‘08 I’d vote for Gore or Clark in a heartbeat. Better yet, a Gore/Clark ticket!

I don’t care about the who the GOP chooses, nor do I think the majority of the country will, either. By ‘08 I believe most voters will be in such financial straits that they’ll feel they can’t risk another 4 on the GOP. Just like it was after the Reagan/Bush Sr. years, their threadbare purse strings will compel them to see if the Dems can mop up the mess.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 28, 2005 2:40 PM
Comment #82438


The “myth” is that McCain lost South Carolina because of dirty tricks.

McCain was supported by now Gov. and then Congressman Mark Sanford while Bush was supported by Carroll Campbell and the majority of the GOP insiders in the State. McCain polled well in the general public but at the end of the day Campbell handed the state to Bush as he promised he would. Organization trumps polls most any day.

Davis can whine all he wants about a smear campaign and dirty tricks (although even he admits he doesn’t know who did it). That’s not why McCain lost.

Posted by: George in SC at September 28, 2005 3:09 PM
Comment #82455


Thanks for admitting that those disgusting Rove campaign tactics did in fact take place.

Posted by: Burt at September 28, 2005 4:04 PM
Comment #82468

I nominate a Libertarian candidate. Someone like Neal Boortz.

Posted by: steve smith at September 28, 2005 4:46 PM
Comment #82648
I nominate a Libertarian candidate. Someone like Neal Boortz.

I second that nomination. At least the Fair Tax would get a boost then. :-)

And if McCain ran as an independent then I would consider voting for him as well…

Neither will happen but it’s fun to dream.

Posted by: BradM at September 29, 2005 8:50 AM
Comment #82683

Obviously I am well aware that a Republican never won an election “fair and square”. I wonder however, has anyone from either major party (or anyone at all for that matter) ever won an election without cheating, bribery, clandestine funds, ballot tampering, election day tricks, etc.

Posted by: steve smith at September 29, 2005 11:23 AM
Comment #83123

Don’t think so, but when the margin is wide, it is not an issue. Given recent margins, it is crucial.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 2, 2005 5:45 AM
Comment #119917

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Posted by: James at February 3, 2006 2:41 AM
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