This weekend (2-12-05) Howard Dean will probably assume control of the top spot in the Democratic National Party. That will probably eliminate him from any chance of again running for the presidency, in 2008. His little shouting incident in Iowa appeared to be the real elimination factor.....but.....us old folks can recall Richard Milhous Nixon losing to John Kennedy (1960) and losing a congressional race (1962), saying after that loss, "You won't have Richard Nixon to kick around anymore." (Dean's run did highlight the effectiveness of using the internet to get a message out.)
In this Bear's early 2005 opinion, here's where the parties stand/sit. in respect to the 2008 election. (Remember, effective candidates will be "running" within a couple years.)
On the Democratic side.....If Bill Clinton could run again he would win. Say what you want about the guy (oh those dirty stains), a lot of people like him and say they trust him. I don't think that he has the ability to positively or negatively affect his wife's candidacy. People either love her or hate her.....doesn't seem to be a middle-ground. This Bear thinks its' time for a woman to be president....but not her.
I wouldn't be suprised to see Wesley Clark make a more successful run. Attach him to a more conservative (there's gotta be one in the DNP) and you'd have a strong ticket, potentially able to change the few notes necessary in states that were evenly-divided.
John Edwards will certainly run again. His wife (and her struggles with the "C" word health issue) are strengths that will help him. But, IMHO, he still appears to be just an average national candidate. And he has to shed the mole!
2008 will be too soon for Osama Baraka. He will be closely watched in the next few years to see if his actions can match his rhetoric.
John McCain is certainly the front-runner in the party of the big elephant. He keeps saying that he has not made a choice but you just get the feeling that he's already there. (This Bear likes McCain.)
I have heard a few other minor names bantered about for the 2008 GOP run, but those names (and credentials!) escape me. None of those names are in the Bush cabinet. How the war in Iraq progesses will certainly have an affect......because if things are going badly in about 2006 and 2007, some GOP candidates may disassociate themselves from Dubya.
OTOH, the "appeared" success of the conservative moral right-wing may bring out GOP candidates who use that as their ONLY torch. If they do that, they'll lose.
(I can hear the applause all through the tree-lined boulevards of Cyburbia!)
Since this Bear joined the earth people (in 1948) there have only been a few two-term presidencies. Dwight David Eisenhour, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton....and if all goes well for Dubya, Bush II. Lyndon Johnson became prez when JFK was shot in Dallas. He was elected in a huge landslide (over Barry Goldwater) in 1964 and we all thought he would run again. Our national involvement (and a nation divided on whether or not we belonged there) in Viet Nam was the reason that LBJ decided not to run.
Now I will sit back and see if any other Cyburbia residents have a take on the 2008 prez elections.