Sunday, February 12, 2006

And the South shall decide again

Like it or not, and count me among those who don't, the next president will most assuredly come from the South ... Virginia, to be exact.

While the wags persist with their political wet dreams about Hillary vs. Condi, or McCain, or Rudy Giuliani, the safer bet is "none of the above."

While it seems impossible to imagine the former First Lady being denied the Democratic nomination, there's a rare practicality in the air among Democrats. Some are starting to figure out the inevitable: Hillary can't win. Besides her own negatives, I think everyone's had their fill of political dynasties.

John McCain would win a general election, probably in a landslide. But unless Republicans are feeling desperate, I doubt they will stomach a maverick in the White House. And regardless of what they're now saying about Giuliani, I don't envision conservative primary voters (and closed primaries typically skew to the extremes) nominating a pro-gay, pro-choice candidate.

As for Condi Rice, I believe her when she says she is not interested in a run for the presidency. Does she even have the necessary shallow charisma the job requires these days?

So that leaves George Allen, a senator from Virginia favored by "party regulars" (i.e., those donating the money). The son of a football coach, Allen looks, talks and votes like the son of a football coach. GOP big whigs (for you political historians in the crowd) typically embrace safe, predictably conservative candidates like Allen, which should propel him into a showdown against his successor as governor of Virginia, Mark Warner.

No one knows much about Warner expect that he is a moderate Democrat who won election in a typically Republican stronghold. Unlike John Kerry, he could actually compete in the red states. Would he be a good president? Hell, I don't even know if he was a good governor. Does that matter in electoral politics these days, particularly to a party desperate for victory?

The best man, or woman, never seems to win. My very, very small kingdom for a reformer willing to crusade for open primaries. Until then, expect the parade of the mediocre to continue.

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