Iraq does represent a serious and significant opening for a candidate other than Hillary. It will be an interesting and revealing test to see how she handles this....granted, so far she has not been direct or forthcoming.
But that will have to change. At a minimum I expect Edwards to aggressively go after her on this front if she leaves this opening. She has to close this opening to win the nomination.
I am blown away that anyone seriously thinks Giuliani can capture the GOP nomination, for a long list of reasons, each one of which could be a dealbreaker, let alone abortion. My favorite underappreciated one: supporting Mario Cuomo in '94 for NY Gov.
I agree. Voters flocked to Kerry because they were looking for a winner. This almost always happens.
I think you're right re: if one person wins the first two - unless that one person wins by razor thin margins.
I echo the analyses of HRC's appeal that most made above. It's not that she doesn't inspire (how often does a Pres candidate actually inspire? Rarely) It's that she's up against the two best Democratic pres candidate communicators since Clinton and JFK. On the other side, only Reagan compared to Edwards and Obama.
And we haven't seen the best of Edwards and Obama yet. They will try to outdo each other. It's going to be a great thing for the party, this campaign.
Merely mentioning the word "poverty" as part of a central message is a risk in itself. He didn't use that word much in 2004, if ever, IIRC. I think the idea of Edwards being perceived as cautious is only true among political junkies. If this is the biggest hurdle he has, he's in great shape.
You're right Matt, re: leaving progressives to wither.
I have a "career", but were I your age and were there a track available other than slogging through the Hill, or going to the JFK school and going up that ladder, I might choose it.
The problem, as has been commented before, is that only children of privilege can stick out such a work life, dedicated to serving causes. (Unless you live in a cheap -- i.e. economically limited -- area of the country). We do need to figure out how to change that.
There must be ways that foundations can mimic the conservative movement's leadership pathway development. Hope you do it.
To indulge in psychologizing.....R's are even more susceptible to front-runner syndrome than D's. The impulse to rally around a winner is stronger, it's part of their seige-herd mentality. If a single person wins both Iowa and NH, that will be big.
The strange thing about McCain is that he has improved, IMO, in his chances in the primary and worsened in his chances for the general (were he to win nomination). Iraq is a huge albatross for him. Plus he looks old.
Subjectively, somehow the joy seems gone from him, although he was great in 2000.
Of Brownback and Huckabee, who might conservatives "fall in love with?" Some say Huckabee, but he strikes me as soft. How is Brownback on the stump? One of these two will need to rake in bucks to emerge as the anti-McCain; there could be a movement to make this happen.
Generally I have always rejected CW on McCain and Romney, for multiple reasons. Romney has next to no chance, and Giuliani has no chance at their nomination, and it's clear that the knives are out for Rudy, and there is so much to go after. It will be fun to watch. The whole thing will be fun to watch.
Matt (I think) and Barry Ritholz and I and others like us are not talking necessarily about a major long term drop in GDP; we are talking about at a minimum a contiuation of the current situation.
When you consider wages and the persistence and increase of risk for the bottom 90% of the population, then you see that even with today's "good numbers" there's ample reason for dissatisfaction - and it will only get worse. Health care will only get more expensive, outpacing inflation; same for higher ed costs. And fuel costs. And the housing bubble has only started to deflate; bank on it - there will be at least a 5 year real decline (real, not nominal) in home prices - with attendant ripple effects throughout the economy. It might be 10 years; wouldn't surprise me. Has happened before.
Check the polling; people are NOT happy about the economy.
His tragedy is why Edwards got into politics in the first place. I disagree with you on this; his motivation and conviction are deep. Or as deep as anybody who runs for national office (depending on cynicism, pick whichever you like).
If you've ever met trial lawyers, many are justice-driven and on a mission, even those without a hint of interest in politics.
Polling won't become really relevant until voters/the public has at least some sense of what each individual campaign is about, at least superficially.
Even the two seemingly defined campaigns (Edwards - economic justice, let's call it, and Obama - new generation of leadership, let's call it) are only known for their names right now. Clinton, I think voters have no clue at all what she'll be about next cycle.
Personally, although Obama gives a great speech and is charismatic, we don't know whether he can deliver on creating a national theme that will work on the trail.
It's really basic - regular people (not activists, not poli-nerds, not the blogosphere) do not care for partisanship, and are very attracted to people who project themselves as above the fray.
Not only do they not despise Lieberman (they could care less), but they really see him (silly as that is) as "independent."
This is why Perot was strong, this is why Ventura won, this is why a mythical fire-breathing hard core partisan Democratic national candidate would fail....unless you want to imitate Rove's base-only 50% plus one strategy. Which is not stable long term....
This is why the "center", real or imagined, will always be the best place to be i.e. winning races.