Barring miracles or disasters, it'll be Clinton or Obama versus McCain or Romney. IMHO, of these four contenders, in the long run the worst possible outcome would be a Clinton victory. Not that she'd be a worse president - or at least, not much worse - than McCain or Romney, but a victory for her would do a lot of damage to the Democratic Party, just beginning to restore itself after the damage done by Bill Clinton and his conservative friends in the "Democratic Leadership Council".
A Clinton victory would also be a terrible blow to feminism. What's the lesson for little girls here - the path to success is marry a scheming bastard and ride his coattails? I'm all for a female president - but I want the real deal, a woman who gets there on her own merits. Hillary Clinton's senatorship and presidential candidacy is an insult to all the female officeholders who won office through their own efforts.
And I maybe could forgive all this, if she hadn't been so wrong on Iraq, and hadn't sponsored an attempt at an end-run around the First Amendment. Clinton delenda est.
McCain is old. He's hale and healthy for his age, but the office takes a toll on a person, and there's a good chance that if he made it, he'd be a single termer. He certainly wouldn't see the end of the hundred years (or thousand, or million years) of American occupation of Iraq that he wants. Still, he's a comfortable choice for a lot of people. And the far right hates him, which is something of a plus. If he gets the nomination, he could win in November - if he manages not to blow his top.
Romney makes a lot of noise about his experience as a CEO. Wasn't W supposed to bring us his business acumen, to be the "MBA President"? Running a country ain't like running a business. But it isn't like Romney was running a real business, a factory or a store or something - he ran a robber baron investment house that put a lot of people out of work to fatten investor's wallets. If he's the nominee, and the economy continues to tank between now and November, the Democrats can beat him like a gong if they spin it this way.
As for Obama, all I can think of is the poster that hung over the desk of Fox Mulder on The X-files: "I Want to Believe". I mean, look at this piece by conservative pundit Andrew Sullivan: .
At its best, the Obama candidacy is about ending a war — not so much the war in Iraq, which now has a momentum that will propel the occupation into the next decade — but the war within America that has prevailed since Vietnam and that shows dangerous signs of intensifying, a nonviolent civil war that has crippled America at the very time the world needs it most. It is a war about war—and about culture and about religion and about race. And in that war, Obama — and Obama alone — offers the possibility of a truce
Obama is rapidly becoming more myth than man. I guess there's always been an element of that in the presidency, our dangerous psychological drive to look for a king, a savior, an alpha male (or alpha female) to lead our pack. Still, I think just the reality of a black president would do this nation a world of good.
I grew up Catholic. (But I'm feeling much better now.) I was a teenager before I learned that Catholics had once been a persecuted minority in this country. I think that the presidency of John F. Kennedy did a lot to wipe out that prejudice - not anything that he did as president, mind you, just the fact that he was, and that the world didn't end as a result.
So, yeah. It's irrational, it's unlikely, but I Want to Believe.