It's difficult to say how the election would have played out absent a) the financial meltdown, which didn't occur until September and b) the Caribou Barbie meltdown as Palin became exposed. Remember, McCain was leading in the polls through the summer and the bounce and counterbounce of the conventions were still playing out when the financial meltdown hit.
Richardson has something of a resume but Hillary has that "it" factor and I think would be very compelling when speaking with world leaders. I'm torn...I like the idea of Hillary becoming a lion of the Senate but she'd have more immediate impact as SecState and if the choices were narrowed to Hillary, Richrdson, Kerry, and Holbrooke, I'd take Hillary.
Absent an disastrous first two years for Obama, I think 2010 is looking good for the Democrats. At most they'll have three competitive seats, the Republicans at least twice that many. Good odds that we push past 60 in 2010.
As for the hypothesis that the Republicans will recruit well, that presupposes a clean and quick resolution of their impending civil war...I don't see that happening.
Okay, raise your hands: how many of your really thought the New Politics was something besides the Old Politics with a new coat of paint and a good marketing campaign?
So far, Obama has done little that I wouldn't have expected him to do, including giving Lieberman cover in the Senate, much as I hate to say it. Otoh, he's given me cautious optimism with some of his appointments like Emmanuel and now Holder. Hillary as SecState would startle me but if the other options are Richardson (a "resume" candidate) or Kerry or Holbrooke, then Hillary looks pretty good.
Obama will have his genuine progressive moments. But he's also going to play the bi-partisan card at times and going to be very, very mainstream much of the time.
At the end of the year, the "netroots" will find a lot to celebrate. They will also have gnashed their teeth so often that I advise securing good dental care in advance.
I think it's a lot more fuzzy and chaotic than you make it. The tension between "free markets" and "egalitarian," from my perspective, does not have a clear and consistent winner...it's "sometimes this, sometimes that."
Might as well reply here, the same reply could be to several other posts as well: the Senate is not just a "job." It's an extremely small, intimate village where today's ally is tomorrow's adversary and vice-versa. The person you're pissed at today you will vitally need tomorrow. In this environment, you choose carefully which bridges you want to burn.
I agree with Jonathan that the secret ballot cuts both ways. In fact, I noted that in a diary just yesterday. I'm just not as sure as Jonathan that this hurts Lieberman more than it helps him; from where I sit, it's a virtual certainty that there will be some Senators in each camp, voting to strip Lieberman's chairmanship and voting to let him retain it, under cover of secret ballot.
If Lieberman leaves the Democratic caucus, it will be his choice.
What's at stake is his continuing to serve as chairman of the Homeland Security committee. If allowed to continue, it sends the message that there is is no standard of party loyalty required to attain or retain such a position.
I soured on Lieberman when he played pattycake with Dick Cheney in the 2000 veep debates. At this point, I'd happily drop kick him over the field goal posts of life.
Richardson has a resume. Clinton has star power coupled with a tough personalilty and a wonkish mind.
While I'm not wild about Clinton leaving the Senate, if the SecState is between Richardson and Clinton, my take would be Clinton in a flash.
I'm actually not wild about Hillary taking the SecState job. I'd prefer to see her accumulate seniority in the Senate and become a lioness there.
On the other hand, as I remarked to several people about Rahm Emmanuel, it's hard to say "No" when the President asks. In taking that position, Emmanuel has most likely derailed his shot of ever becoming Speaker of the House, something he dearly wanted.