Edwards is out. Giuliani is out.
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.