Since it is more likely than not that the 2008 presidential primary races will be wrapped up by the end of 2007, here’s a few predictions for the success of the front runners in 2007:
- John McCain, anointed today as the Republican front runner, will lose his edge as his “more troops in Iraq” drumbeat gets picked up by the White House and results in little good news.
- With McCain fading, the front runners are likely to be Mitt Romney and Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani is immensely popular, and the race is probably his to lose. Watch the others galvanize around trying to beat him by attacking him on his immigration record — an “open doors” policy that seems to be at odds with his track record on security. Romney also has feet of clay, with news of his old flip-flops showing the conservatives within the party that he’s not necessarily the concervative loyalist that he portrays himself to be.
- If McCain fades, and Giuliani stumbles, look for Gingrich to get more attention from party regulars.
- On the Democratic side of the aisle, everyone says Hillary Clinton has the organziation and the cash to steamroll her way to victory. It makes her formidable, no doubt — but there have been “unbeatable” candidates in the past with money (Gramm in 1996) and organization (Gephardt in 2004) have watched others make acceptance speeches at the convention. Her reluctance to completely distance herself from the Iraq War will probably be her Achilles’ heel.
- Both Obama and Edwards are formidable candidates in their own way. Edwards could be the sleeper pick if Obama decides not to run; if Obama does to decide to run, it is hard to see how any Democrat other than Hillary Clinton could beat him. If Obama runs, watch him fight Hillary to the death in a campaign reminiscent of the Ford vs. Reagan campaign in 1976. Too close to call from our armchair here in 2006.
- Bill Richardson’s got a lock on the veep spot if he wants it.
Happy New Year!