June 20, 2005

2008 Hopefuls

Joe Biden admitted he wants to try for the nomination and that he's been operating since last year as though he's running for President. Pretty frank admissions, since people are supposed to play hard to get. Kerry basically admitted he was running for President in like February of 2000, as well. Most people wait a while, form an exploratory committee, get a faux Draft Me campaign going, whatever.

So Biden's running. Aside from the 1988 plagiarism thing, which nearly every cursory report on him will mention, he has a good reputation going for foreign affairs. He's been dealing with foreign relations in the Senate for many years and so he has a natural credibility when he speaks on the issues. What it really means is that unlike Kerry he would have a far better grasp on how to craft - and present - a fairly consistent foreign policy. That doesn't mean it's good, but at least it'll be honest and something people can believe in.

It seems to me like Biden is shooting for the honest-man campaign, trying to do it without spin. His speaking style is sort of like McCain's in that they both (on the Sunday shows) just talk in a fairly candid way about their own opinions rather than simply falling back on rhetoric or talking points. That doesn't mean they don't have rhetoric or talking points, or that they're totally honest, but it definitely comes off in a much more credible, personal manner than other politicians.

Mitt Romney is also running, though he hasn't admitted it yet. There's a good chance he won't run for Governor of Massachusetts in 2006 because besides needing time to campaign it might force him into a more lefty corner and screw him in the primaries. If he ended up losing the race, his chances in the primaries would be significantly hurt - which is strange, because I would expect Romney to be a perfectly reasonable candidate even if he had no chance of winning Massachusetts (be cause he doesn't). He does, however, have Michigan lining uo closer to him, and I'd suspect Utah as well but Utah's always Republican so who cares.

He'd be the first Mormon President (and Biden would be the second Roman Catholic President) and he would probably be able to run with the support of a number of conservatives, including religious conservatives. He's worked with many evangelicals and he's got many supporting him or at least willing to support him if no better candidate comes along.

Ultimately Biden is unlikely to win the nomination because he won't grab hold of the base and foreign policy is too hard to motivate more than a small portion of the electorate - and those who do rate it highly are more Republican than Democratic. Romney might be in a very good position given his record, his propensity to win Michigan (which went to Kerry) and his ability to play up conservative credentials.

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