Q&A Friday #36: 2008-A-Palooza

There were a lot of 2008 related questions, so I’m going to answer them all in one big block.

Question #1: “Hey, John. Love your site, I visit almost daily.

Anyway, I would like you to handicap the Republican primaries in 2008. Is McCain as strong as he looks? The conservative types I hang around with (but don’t follow politics closely) really love McCain. You have to admit, he is a strong personality and has great name recognition. My personal choice would be Allen, but I would vote for John McCain.

Any dark horses?” — fugazi

Answer #1: It’s too early for me to handicap the primaries. Scratch that, it’s too early for me to handicap the primaries even semi-accurately =D

Is McCain as strong as he looks? No, not even close. He’s cruising along on name recognition now and he will fold under waves of withering assaults from the new media in 2007.

Any dark horses? It’s almost too early to tell. But, two guys who might be particularly interesting are Mike Huckabee, Governor of Arkansas and if, he wins reelection, Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota.

Question #2: “I’m thinking this has been asked before, but being a Bostonian, I feel like I should ask this myself. What do you think the chances of a Romney ticket are? Or how about a Romney/Allen ticket? (doesn’t matter which one’s pres/vp)” — Pat_Meebles

Answer #2: I don’t think you can do what it takes to be governor of Massachusetts and then still be a viable candidate in the Republican primary. Also, since I doubt that Mitt can deliver Massachusetts, I’m not sure there would be much value in bringing him on as a veep.

Question #3: “Hi John,

Just a quick question and believe me I certainly hope it never happens but…..Do you think Hillary Clinton would ever make it to the presidency?” — karensp9

Answer #3: The Republicans are all worried that Hillary is nearly unstoppable, while the Democrats are worried that she can’t be elected. The Democrats are more on target. Hillary has really high negatives, tons of baggage, a cold personality, she probably won’t win a single state in the South, and she’s a liberal, with a liberal voting record, from a liberal state. My guess is that there will be 7 or 8 Republicans running in 2008 who can beat her because she’s just not that formidable of a candidate. Does that mean she’s certain to lose? No, but she’s still a very beatable candidate.

Question #4: “How will the republicans choose someone to back in the primary and will there be a grass-roots movement for an underdog? Who do you back as of now?” — liberty

Answer #4: I can tell you the candidates that I don’t like and why, but I haven’t picked a fave yet and won’t until it becomes clear which governors are getting in the race and whether they can raise money and build decent organizations. I do expect there to be a Howard Dean style grassroots movement for an underdog, but it’s hard to say which underdog it’ll be yet. There’s one rule worth remembering though: governors almost always make better candidates than Senators.

Question #5: 2. “Could premature conservative backlash against McCain actually help his chances of getting the Republican nomination? As his name has been bandied about, he seems more interested in working with the party and strengthening his ties with Bush, and two years is quite a long time to rehab an image. By trying to torpedo McCain so early in the process, conservatives are giving him an awful long time to react. And conversely, could any of McCain’s repositioning be genuine and make him a more desirable nominee?” — Mike_M

Answer #5: McCain is permanently tarnished. He might be able to soften his image a bit by pretending to be more conservative than he is, but he’s damaged goods and it’s not fixable, especially since, as is the case with Hillary Clinton, everyone knows he’s simply maneuvering to improve his chances in 2008.

Question #6: “I don’t have time to read the posts today, or follow up, but I have had a question brewing for a week or two. So, here it is.

There has been much talk of governors, senators even former mayors for both parties nominations in ’08. My question, have you ever heard of some one advancing from the judicial branch to the executive or legislative branches? Are there any members of the judicial branch currently (or recently) that you might think have the shot in ’08 if the republicans do the PR to get them nation wide name recognition?” — Chris_RC

Answer #6: Personally, I wouldn’t want any Republican candidate for the Presidency who hasn’t been battle tested by winning a partisan campaign. So, that means judges wouldn’t cut it. Could they possibly make decent candidates for lower offices though? Sure.

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