ACTION: Picking our next president systematically and with data

Cross posted at dKos. This is my first diary here, but I'm fairly prolific at dKos. I wrote this primarily for that audience, but I'd love to have the help of anyone here as well.

I have a major project I'd like to undertake here, but I'm not at all equipped to handle it myself. I'm not even the best person to take charge of it -- I can easily think of several dozen kossacks who would do a better job than I could. But I have this idea to make things easier for all of us and help with the 2008 election effort, and so I would like to ask for anyone who is willing and able to contribute to the effort. I can't even offer much incentive (other than the improved prospect of electing a Democratic president, which ought to be enough for anyone), but since I'm known around dKos for my recipes, there will be one in the tip jar for anyone who gets that far.

Like it or not, even though the next presidential election is still nearly 22 months away, the campaign is already upon us. The first Democratic debate of the campaign is just over three months away, and we have a number of declared and undeclared candidates.

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Inside John McCain's Brain (satire)

The diary below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Anyone have the feeling John McCain's political star is declining but nobody has caught on yet? Certainly not the mainstream media or the Republican Party establishment. So I thought I would have some satirical fun and take a peak between his ears.

This is my time. I'll be damned if that crew of chickenhawks in the White House is going to screw it up for me. If I had my way, 4 million troops would land in Iraq tomorrow. What's the big deal? Bunch of sissies in that White House!

I'm older than dirt and nobody is going to stop me. Who else in the Republican Party can pander to conservative nuts but still appeal to the vital center of bipartisanship?

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Reminiscing About the Future: Chuck Hagel vs. Hillary Clinton

The diary below was originally posted earlier today in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Richard Nixon manipulated Americans into believing he had an honorable exit strategy from Vietnam. Ronald Reagan successfully convinced voters he championed a Norman Rockwell society that valued hard work and neighborhood generosity. In 1988, oilman George Herbert Walker Bush won in part as the "environmentalist" candidate. Twelve years later his son stole the presidency after campaigning as a "plain spoken" truth telling man of the people with a "humble" foreign policy.

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Huckabee Strongly Courting the Far Right

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has generally been flying under the radar in his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, trying to position himslef as the alternative for Southern conservatives within the party. As a part of this effort, Huckabee is jumping in front of an issue near and dear to his heart: gay-bashing.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday he hopes the Legislature considers reimposing a ban on gay foster parents, struck down a day earlier by the state Supreme Court.

"I'm very disappointed that the court seems more interested in what's good for gay couples than what's good for children needing foster care," Huckabee said through his spokeswoman Alice Stewart.

With John McCain and Rudy Giuliani having seemingly sown up the self-proclaimed moderates within the party as a result of having held some moderate views in the past (even though they have eschewed many such views as of late), the battle for the GOP nomination in 2008 will be played out among the most conservative segments of the base.

And now, as George Allen -- who at one time seemed poised to become conservatives' favorite -- is embroiled in a very rough Senate contest, there is a real opening in the contest to court conservatives. Among the participants in this quasi-primary are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Giuliani, and McCain, but there are real questions as to whether any of these candidates can actually carry culturally, socially and politically conservative Southerners.

Enter Mike Huckabee, a man from Hope. With Huckabee showing his willingness to bash the judiciary (check) and bash gays (check) while standing up for family values (check), he is quickly positioning himself as a palatable alternative to the cadre above.

As he does this, we as progressives must not underestimate the potential appeal of this conservative Southern Governor and overlook his bid for the White House, because if we don't pay attention to his machinations today, we will be unable to out them for what they really are in the future.

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