Monday, February 19, 2007

In Honour of Presidents' Day

First I have two reasons to be really happy tomorrow. The first, obviously, is that it is Fat Tuesday, aka the night everyone in town goes out on a weeknight and acts nuts (because in theory the Catholics amongst the debauchers can hit up confession the next day...and yes, I know there's more to Lent than that, but work with me here, this is supposed to be a parenthetical aside and that alone and see how off track I am already?) but the second reason is that I shouldn't have to hear that horrible "Crunk remix" of "Hail to the Chief" on the Chevy ads. It's my fault really, I thought they couldn't top the "This is our country" ads for sheer musical annoyance, and yet here we are...

(Ladies, this is the
real reason you get dumped right before Valentine's Day...)

And now, some more important stuff (especially among the betting-inclined members of my tiny readership.) It's time for the

It's not quite handicapping because I'm not going through the increasingly brobdingnagian list of potential presidents-to-be in the 2008 election. Instead, I'm going to focus on some of the top candidates for each major party (sorry Libertarians, Greens, Socialists, and Anti-Masonites...we'll get to you later...perhaps at a time I'm less inclined to refer to myself with the "royal we" for no real reason beyond "it sounds kinda cool.")

First up, the "defending champions (at least for the Presidency)" (sic), the Republicans:

Rudy Giuliani - It's possible that even if you've been living under a rock, in a cave, on Mars, with your fingers in your ears for the past few years you've still heard of Rudy. He was arguably the most popular political figure period in 2002, primarily because of his handling of NYC after 9/11. Reeeeeally early polls have him as the favorite in the general election. But not so fast...there's a chance he might not make it through the Republican primaries. Dubya and friends rode to the White House on chariots pulled by the Religious Right, and that sub-group won't take too kindly to a candidate that has pro-choice views that also doesn't share their (and Tim Hardaway's) views on gay people. So all fans of irony should watch with great interest to see how the GOP deals with the fact that their best chance to beat the Democrats not only doesn't toe the party lines on some major social issues, he also (cue *gasp* from the NRA--and someone get the medics ready, Mr. Heston's getting on in years) actually advocates some forms of gun control. Then again, millions of card-carrying Republicans voted for W. in 2004, despite the fact that Shrub was increasing both the size and spending of the Federal government and I had always been under the assumption that those things were just not done by the Grand Ol' Party...

John McCain - He's giving it another go. I'm not going to write too much about McCain. Yes, I did vote for him in the 2000 primary, but Mr. David Foster Wallace has a story about that campaign called "Up, Simba" that does a far better job on McCain than I ever could. In addition to those pre-existing issues, McCain also has to deal with being hamstrung financially by the McCain-Feingold bill (somewhere Alanis Morrisette is playing...), and a really long paper trail that should make for some cringe-inducing negative ads.

Mitt Romney - He's a Republican...from Boston? That can't be right...ok, here we go: Former Gov. of Mass., and Mormon. In theory then, if he could either sway or outflank the liberal Bostonians and Irish Catholics to become Governor he must know a thing or two about politics. On the other hand, he has previously espoused some Pro-choice views (he's since "recanted"), and then there's the issue of how the Evangelical base will feel about a Mormon president (however it's unlikely they'll get angry enough to serenade him with the song from that South Park episode, because...well let's just say the odds that James Dobson watches and enjoys South Park are even greater than the odds that Jessica Alba, Stacy Keibler, and Vida Guerra all read my blog, have fallen in lust with me and come knocking at my door to take me off into a wet and wild foursome... btw, I hate it when people knock at inopportune times and turn out to not be fantasy-cum-reality. And that doesn't mean what you think it means. Really.)

(Forget bouncing quarters off it, she can deflect 50 cent pieces...)

Newt Gingrich - He hasn't actually said he's running, but he did fire up the GOP back in 1994 with the whole Congressional revolution and all. If enough people are sick of the Neo-Cons and their "betrayal" of the party, he could be a favorite. Then we could get reminded of how his dislike of Clinton led to millions of taxpayer dollars being spent on investigating a blowjob once the general election rolled around.

(Obligatory Monty Python - Newt Visual Gag)

And in the blue corner...the Democratic Candidates:

Hillary Clinton - she's potentially the front-runner (at least in the whole experience of her staff+money being raised=front-runner equation) and has the added bonus of two easy media angles: 1. could she be the first female president and 2. she's the wife of a former president. Complaints and falsified stories about mountain-climbers-inspiring-her-name aside, she is very politically savvy. But...we've already had two decades with either a Bush or a Clinton in the White House, wouldn't a change in last names be nice? Plus to some, Hillary's "savvy" isn't near the league of her husband's. If a lot of potential voters feel everything you say is calculated to manipulate them, how can they trust you enough to vote for you?

Barack Obama - I'll admit I have a bias here. I own one of his books, and I hope he'll get a good shot at the general election. The basic message of "the current system's not working right, we should work together to fix it" overrides any current sort-of-Libertarian, and former Republican-influenced qualms I might have about his call for universal health care. Hollywood seems to like him (and the Dreamworks SKG has deep pockets). He's a great speaker (and surely even Dubya's most ardent supporters won't argue that our current prez is good at public speaking). On the other hand, he's got very little major political experience, and hasn't had to run a competitive campaign. (But then again, after Giuliani dropped out, neither has Hillary...people forget that.) The key for Obama will be spinning lack of experience in Washington as a good thing, and he's got a message that can fit with that strategy. His handling of past drug use was excellent. No cutesy "I didn't inhale" nonsense, just "I did it, it was kind of dumb, I don't do it now," that seemed straight from the formerly drug-loving Baby Boomer/Gen X parenting playbook.

John Edwards - He was the runner-up in the '04 primary and is back for another go-around, but this time he's got the "outsider" persona going, as he's no longer in Congress. He should have the strict anti-war crowd locked up, because unlike Senators Obama and Clinton he can call for troop funding to be cut or other drastic measures without actually having to follow-up on them. Promises you can't make until you're President are a lot easier to "keep". He does seem more polished and better with the media than before, but will the hardline anti-war stance be enough in this primary? Plus, his trial lawyer past can play right into certain Republican/Right Wing stereotypes about liberals.

(Ah politics, where even the Otter schemes...)

So my early guesses? One of the favorites above does make the general election, and the other comes from out of nowhere (after all, who called George Dubya in early 1999?)

(So go on, place your bets)

(Final footnote: I have to share this excerpt from Vida Guerra's Wikipedia entry: "She often appears on Spanish television shows and is well known because of her ample buttocks." Now that's good stuff.)

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