I really haven't weighed in on the '08 race since my guy (Fred) dropped out. Here's where I stand on the GOP side at this point: I see a race between McCain and Romney. Everybody says McCain is the front-runner, but he has yet to win more than a third of primary voters, or successfully demonstrate that he can get most of the actual Republicans out there to vote for him. And that's a big"if." This guy has spent most of the past 7 years sticking a finger into the eye of the GOP base--on immigration, campaign finance "reform," judicial filibusters, embryonic stem-cell research, and the federal marriage amendment, just to name a few issues. He definitely is good (as I define "good") on the war and abortion, which are major issues for me. But I have to admit, my tentative support for McCain is based far more on his personal courage in Vietnam and grudging respect for the "straight talk" that shows the courage of his convictions than on any real agreement on the issues. I fear that folks like me would be on the receiving end of lots of unwelcome "straight talk" from McCain were he to become president.
The other option is Romney. I agree with his (current) position on almost all the issues, and of all the candidates out there, he is the one that I most see as having the potential to be a great chief executive. I like his intelligence (valedictorian at BYU, combined JD/MBA from Harvard), his business sense. I like his family values (I even kinda view the Mormon thing as a plus--somehow a devout Mormon feels more squeaky-clean than a lukewarm Methodist). But there is something about him that worries me. Maybe it's his hair (admit it, he's a Ken doll). Maybe it's his millions of dollars (even though I believe he earned every dime) Maybe it's that he's TOO perfect. And part of it is the fact that he doesn't seem to have the same straight-talk attitude as McCain. I haven't yet seen him take any unpopular stand and stick with it on principle. If enough people have a similar uneasy feeling about him, at the end of the day I'll wind up nodding in agreement at every line of his concession speech in November.
Supposedly McCain does better in the general election polls. He does have the advantage of having not ticked off the Huckabee voters nearly as badly as Romney has. He also occupies the same "space" in the electorate as Giuliani (tough on terror, not truly orthodox conservative). So he could be the nominee. I wonder if when push comes to shove, the country will really vote for a 72-year-old man. I also worry that he would under-perform in debates. I still think there is a better chance for Romney to emerge as the nominee. But either way, there are two things I can be thankful for: (1) My state's primary is over, so it's out of my hands now; amd (2) I believe now that the Democrat nominee will be Hillary Clinton, who I think is a far weaker general election opponent than Obama.
That brings me to my Democratic prediction. I still wish Obama would beat Hillary. But she's a savvy politician, and she (and her hubby) know all about fighting dirty. She has mostly pulled out of SC, conceding the state to Obama. That should be good for him, right? Wrong. She's done a great job in the past couple of both keeping him on defense against the vaunted Clinton attack machine, and also of taking him out of his "race-transcendent" role of earlier this year. He'll win SC with her gone, and it will be credited to a monolithic African-American "bloc" vote. This will serve to drive even more white Democrat voters to Hillary (a category she already leads in by a huge margin). In the end, Clinton will use race to beat Obama. Then, she'll turn around and still win 85-90% of the African-American vote in the general election anyway. I hate it for poor Obama. But watching him complain (with little effect) about how Bill Clinton is being dishonest about him brings back memories of Newt Gingrich. Welcome to the big leagues, Barack. I should be happy, as she is probably the single greatest chance of uniting the GOP base this November. I don't think either of the leading Republicans could beat Obama, but if the other choice is sending Hillary (and don't forget Bill) back to the White House, I think things could get interesting.
As always, I reserve the right to change my mind as the whole thing evolves.