My earnest and knowledgeable colleague, Tina, has motivated me to comment on the 2008 presidential race. Most candidates experience peaks and valleys during a campaign. This is even more so today given that the length of the campaign season is now approximately 2 years. Unless a party completely unites behind 1 candidate, there will be the inevitable his or her “campaign is in big trouble” statements spewed by the msm, cable news and the increasingly irrelevant daily newspapers. Here is 1 person’s opinion on the state of the race. Feel free to opine.

Hillary Clinton – Senator Clinton is experiencing a valley at this moment. Her personality rubs people the wrong way and such an extended dose of Hillary has turned many people off. One would think that professional women would be a main area of support for the Senator but she is not doing as well as expected with this demographic. Her own campaign admits that older women are her strongest demographic. Furthermore, her Christmas commercial was an absolute abomination with an agenda that can only be described as socialism on steroids. Having said all that, she still is the front runner for the nomination. Her organization is strong while her competition is either green (Obama) or weak (Edwards).

Barack Obama – Senator Obama is the real deal. He is charasmatic, likeable and is the 1 democrat who can talk about religion without making people of faith laugh with derision. He also has the Oprah factor on his side and I do not completely discount her influence. In the end though, the Clinton knives will damage him. In typical Clinton fashion, the attacks will be through proxies with the Clinton’s able to maintain plausible deniability. I predict a period of reconciliation will ensue after Hillary ties up the nomination and she will select Obama as her VP candidate. He is the perfect pick for Senator Clinton because he is everything she is not – likeable, charismatic and earnest. I can’t wait to see the video of their “becoming close friends” that will be directed by some Hollywood director. That will make the Democratic convention real exciting. Stock up on your No Dose now. Obama’s Christmas commercial was brilliant. This guy will be a player for decades to come.

John Edwards – OK, the guy is a (phony) populist. It is apparent to me that many democrats can be fooled repeatedly by a guy who is a complete hypocrite. His message may play well in Iowa and Edwards could actually win the caucus. His campaign falls off the cliff after Iowa. Democrats with a brain clearly remember how Dick Cheney demolished him in the 2004 debate. It was kind of like watching a bug being wiped off a windshield.

Mike Huckabee – He is the social conservatives dream of the week. The difference is that he is getting the bump closer to when it actually matters. Huckabee seems like a nice guy to me and appears to have a sensible streak which is rare for a politician anymore. Therein, lies his problem. While Governor of Arkansas, Huckabee made decisions that were not tied to a strict ideology. While that might be the correct way to go about governing, it led him to some decisions that are just beginning to haunt him today. Clemency for murderers, raising taxes and criticizing the Iraq war will not play well with the base. His poll numbers should drop off somewhat now that he has been vetted. Fortunately for him, there is no other candidate without serious flaws so he will remain competitive and could easily win Iowa. It remains to be seen if Huckabee has an organization strong enough for a true national campaign. His Christmas commercial was terrific.

Mitt Romney – I like Romney despite what some people think. He would make a good President who would base his decisions on what is right for the country as a whole. Having said that, he has an almost 0% chance of winning the GOP nomination for the 2008 election. The very people, who should represent his greatest level of support, the evangelicals will desert him when the voting begins. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a prejudice against the Mormon religion especially amongst the evangelical community. Also, and this is minor, Romney has a unique way of stretching the truth on some issues where there is no reason to do so. See “my father marched with MLK” as exhibit 1. He will be weak in the south and if Huckabee and Thompson are still viable candidates for those primaries, the social conservative vote will be split into a pie that is too small for any candidate. Romney, after spending $10 million in Iowa, must place a close second or his campaign will be in big trouble. He should do well in New Hampshire regardless of Iowa. Then he would have to win the Michigan primary to maintain front runner status and hope that the other conservative candidates flame out. That sounds like a lot of wishful thinking to me.

Rudy Giuliani – It is no secret that I support Rudy and think he would make the ideal President for these times. Having said that and with the knowledge that every campaign suffers from peaks and valleys, this is most definitely a valley for Rudy. Many think his slump is the result of his relationship with Kerik or Rudy’s, shall we say, interesting romantic life. Clearly, he is not a favorite of the social conservative, evangelical community for reasons that are well documented and need no elaboration. I think Rudy’s real problems began with his cheap shot in the debate that was directed at Mitt Romney. Holding Romney accountable for every person hired by the landscaping firm that cuts his grass was laughable especially in response to the allegation that Rudy ran a sanctuary city for illegal aliens while Mayor of New York. It was the ruthless side of Rudy that I think many have not yet seen and it cost him some support. Essentially, Rudy had the moderates locked up completely. This idiotic tactic helped to bring John McCain back into the race. Rudy can still recover if the conservative candidates continue to damage one another. It would help Rudy if Thompson could have a surge in the near future. Rudy is still right for this country on crime, taxes, defense and we know he can handle a crisis. Obviously, he won’t win Iowa or New Hampshire. His strategy of placing all of his marbles on Florida and the 2/5 gaggle of primaries is indeed risky but could work. If he is still in 3rd place after 2/5, then the campaign season will be over for Rudy. It is my belief that the election will be over at that point as well. That would not be happy news for Republicans come November of 2008. Rudy Christmas commercial was awful although not quite as bad as Hillary Clinton’s ode to socialism.

John McCain – I will state without equivocation that I was wrong about John McCain when I posted that his campaign was finished. He is truly a fighter who survived a valley where his campaign literally had no money. Things were so bad that he was carrying his own bags while on the road. How often do you think the other candidates stand around waiting for their luggage at the airport? My guess is that never happens. I should not have written off John McCain’s ability to handle tough times in consideration of the fact that he survived several years of torture in Vietnam. I do not agree with him on many issues but my hat is off to him for the sacrifices that he made for his country. I still find it difficult to believe that the Republican base will nominate someone whose record is poor on 1st amendment issues (see McCain/Feingold), illegal immigration and who appears to have a strange goal of becoming Teddy Kennedy’s best friend. I will not make the same mistake of discounting him a second time. McCain is a viable candidate who could become the front runner if Rudy does not recover and if the conservative candidates keep damaging one another.

Fred Thompson – There is 1 rule in politics that has been true for at least 100 years. A candidate must campaign to win. Somehow “Fred” has missed that basic message and frankly I don’t want someone who is lazy as President. Being a nice guy is not nearly enough to win primaries much less the Presidency.

It is still early and anything could happen. I will stipulate that there is a greater chance that I will be wrong than right but that will not stop me from making an early prediction. Hillary and Rudy, with all of their obvious flaws, will win their respective nominations. In November 2008, Hillary will be elected with 293 electoral votes to Rudy’s 245. She will win the popular vote by 1.5%. The democrats will gain 3 seats in the Senate and 6 seats in the House. The celebration will be short-lived with the 2010 mid-term elections resulting in a disaster for her administration.