John Kerry has maintained a very high profile since his loss in 2004 to President Bush. This is highly unusual, as most losing candidates tend to fade away and disappear. So is he planning to run again in 2008? It seems highly likely. The question is: Is Kerry the best the Democrats can do? I think that the answer is a resounding no.
Let’s just take a look at three possible Republican candidates. First, John McCain. He’s a moderate conservative who has allies in both parties. He’s popular with both the old and the young. He’s a war hero. More importantly, he’s flexible and is willing to work on bipartisan issues. Kerry wouldn’t have a shot against McCain.
Next: Condoleeza Rice. She would seem to be a long shot candidate, but she has a lot to offer. She has experience in the White House, and she is highly intelligent. The African American community might rally around her, despite the fact that African Americans tend to vote Democrat. She would be able to raise enormous funds for a campaign. Kerry could win here, but it would be an uphill battle. He’d have to move away from the left and more to the center in order to attract his base. He would have to work really hard to win the Southern Democrats over.
Finally: Rudolph Giuliani. 9/11 brought him to the attention of the world and made him a hero. He’s one of the more moderate Republicans in the nation. Like McCain, he has more broad spectrum appeal. He’s a dynamic, intelligent, and popular man. He surrounds himself with the most talented people. Kerry wouldn’t stand a chance. He’d be lucky to win a few states, but he’d have no chance to take the nation.
So who does stand a chance to win under the Democrat ticket? Hillary Clinton has been mentioned again and again. She could certaintly raise an enormous war chest. Polls show her as the leading Democratic candidate for 2008. Could she win? It’s hard to say. She’s shown her willingness to move more towards the moderate end of the political spectrum, but it’s hard to forget her far left history, and many Americans resent her sticking her nose into the health care issue while her husband was President. It seems hard to imagine that Hillary could win given the current political climate. Howard Dean is another potential candidate. As chairman of the National Democractic Committee, he certaintly has the ability to raise money for a campaign. Unfortunately, Dean has the tendency to say things that get him in trouble. For example, as Chairman of the DNC, he said the Republican party was “pretty much a white, Christian party.” He was critized for using religion to divide.
In my opinion, the Democrats’ only chance to win the election in 2008 is to rally around a relatively unknown Southern Democrat. If the party does this, they might just be able to gather enough states to take the White House.