Sunday, February 25, 2007

Handicapping the Presidential Race - Democrats

A week's sojourn away from the keyboard can be nice.

Many years ago, I knew a guy who wanted to run for mayor of San Diego. We agreed on most things political but I thought him to be a petty, vicious, vindictive sort of person. One evening, he invited me to cocktails in La Jolla where he demanded I support his candidacy, or else. Now, I didn't live in San Diego and, while I had some influence in the local environmental community, I was no where near a vital endorsement. I didn't react well to the threat, where upon he took time out of his busy schedule to besmirch my reputation. I tell this story because, more than anyone else in politics today, Hillary Rodham Clinton reminds me of that guy who would be mayor. The David Geffen affair has a bad smell, Clinton has a mean streak in her that goes way beyond being tough.

The President Race - Democrats
Same rules as last week and last December, I'll be offering my odds and, for comparison, in red the odds calculated by the Intrade Trading Exchange.

Hillary Clinton (Sen-NY) - 1 to 1 (2 to 1)
She is about the same in the polls from December, currently 38%, although with Intrade her betting odds are down. She is playing hardball to shut down her opposition early which may be a smart strategy as 2008 will be the year with too many early primaries. The main problem for Clinton is that, by being so tough this early, she can't stumble. She is creating a long list of people who will be declaring support for her and who can't wait for the chance to kick her when she is down.

Barack Obama (Sen-IL) - 3 to 1 (4 to 1)
He has survived the initial rounds with Clinton in good shape (Don't you love how I mix my sports metaphors). His charisma is his magic but he is showing both toughness and policy smarts. What is telling to me is that conservatives are far more frightened of Obama than they are of Clinton.

John Edwards (former Sen-SC) - 12 to 1 (10 to 1)
Everyone's second choice. His best bet is for Clinton and Obama to beat the crap out of each other in a bitter pre-primary brawl. His stumble with his blog rep is meaningless. His biggest problem is that he is yesterday's sweetheart. He doesn't have Obama's charm or Clinton's fangs.

Al Gore (former should have been president-TN) - 15 to 1 (10 to 1)
The pre-Oscar buzz is that Gore will ride an Academy Award for "An Inconvenient Truth" into the White House. It could happen. I hope it happens. If he announces I expect his poll numbers to double inside a month. But, my gut is telling me that Al Gore is not going to run. Pity that.

Second Tiers
Bill Richardson (Gov-NM) - 50 to 1 (20 to 1)
The consensus of stories about Richardson is that his campaign has not being given a fair shake in the media. It is not good when all the media can think to write about you is how they are not being fair to you. Look to Richardson as a Veep to Al Gore.

Wes Clark (former general-IL) - 200 to 1 (200 to 1)
The Invisible Man is more visible. He is running to be Clinton's Veep.

Joe Biden (Sen-DE) - 500 to 1 (70 to 1)
Some people (like George Bush) were born with silver spoons in their mouths. Joe Biden was born with his own foot in there.

The Field - 50 to 1
Mike Gravel, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich, there is not enough oxygen left for the also-rans to catch a breath. I doubt another candidate will emerge this year.

A Lesson
What happened to the guy-who-would-be-mayor? He was the clear frontrunner, destined to win the election. In the final television debate just days before the election his opponent goaded him into losing his temper on television. It was a fiery show, and a frightening one. There wasn't enough time to repair his shattered image and he lost the election. There is a lesson in this, Hillary, if you want to hear it.


Kvatch said...

I can't disagree with anything you've written. I'm only wondering if Clinton and Obama beat the crap out of each other if Edwards will really be the compromise, or will the Dems look elsewhere. I speculated last week that Speaker Pelosi might be good choice: Skilled, more conservative than her wacky district...

KnightErrant said...

I like Pelosi, too, but the chances of us doing anything to counter Bush-Cheney collapses if the Speaker of the House starts running for President. She can best serve the country by being what she is, one of the strongest Speakers in my memory.