by user Vtbub

As we prepare for an onslaught of snow here this morning, anywhere from 10"-30" in northern Vermont by Thursday, lets warm ourselves by looking at those most likely to be the next occupants of America's most famous housing project, the White House.

(Alphabetical Order)

Hillary Clinton

The biggest name in the race has come out flat. She can't sing, she can't run away from her hawkish stances, she leads on name recognition alone. That's not a bad thing either.

She will be able to fundraise like there is no tomorrow. Unlike the others, she is a known quantity by insiders and in executive branch circles. Her biggest plus is her biggest minus, her experience.

Waiting out the comet that is Barack Obama is essential. She will need to offer a warm alternative when he stumbles.

She faces two major fights to win. First, her core beliefs are not the same as the core of the base. She's too hawkish, too establishment, and too stiff. She needs to really get in the forefront on environment and health care issues. She needs to explain herself better and reassure the left that they share some common ground issues. She also needs things in Iraq to go a bit better, her war stance will haunt her.

If she gets the nomination, her next fight is herself. She will have a horrible balance in trying to be a candidate for change against her biggest asset, her husband. Her paradox will be trying to have swing voters forget her past, while putting front and center why we voted for them to begin with. She matches up better against more conservative GOP'ers, but if the GOP goes moderate, she will have a tougher time distinguishing herself.

Let's give her 9:5 at the nomination and 3:1 to win it all.

John Edwards

Poised to make a stronger showing than four years ago, John Edwards shows great strength in his bid for the White House.

He exudes niceness and being a human being, two things that will draw voters. His two America's concept is not new, but he plays the class warfare car with gentle regard and demonstrates that we are stronger being together than portraying the rich as evil.

His health care plan will go under great scrutiny, and he will need to differentiate himself from Obama in particular. Edwards should easily be able to differentiate himself from Clinton. His question mark will be in foreign policy, as we really don't know much about it.

After a strong finish four years ago in Iowa, focus turned to him being a #2 on the ticket. How will he face front runner status if he gets it. Edwards isn't really that battle tested.

If he gets the nomination, what will he offer swing voters? He's a Bill Clinton/Jimmy Carter liberal in his personality, what does he do to establish the trust of the Reagan Democrats who came home in 2006. Is his greatest strength in the general election the fact he's not a Republican?

6:1 in getting the nomination, and 6:1 in winning the whole thing. Edwards the reality needs to match Edwards the concept to win.

Rudy Giuilani

To show you just out of whack it has become for the GOP this time, there is a serious chance for a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, Rockefeller Republican in winning the whole enchilada.

Giuliani also has the biggest potential to be the biggest wreck this time around as well. There is a lot that voters just don't know about him, not saying that in a bad way either. Like Clinton, his job will be easier to get if he survives nomination.

He's an ex-District Attorney. They tend to see things in black or white. He is a New Yorker through and through. That alone will drive up his negatives and up the "car wreck" effect up several notches.

He needs to establish policies that don't make southern GOP'ers reach for airsickness bags, while reassuring others that he respects rights to their privacy, AND show everyone that he can come up with a tough security blanket. A tough task all the way around.

Even for the nomination and 6:1 to win, it's a tough time to be a Republican.

John McCain

60 days ago, this was looking like a cakewalk for nomination. 60 days is an eternity in politics. His turn to the right in order to seek votes in the South has alienated those independent voters who saw him as a maverick in 2000. His send more troops to Iraq defies conventional wisdom. His abandonment of his own campaign finance law makes him look like John Kerry.

Yet, like Clinton, he has the most name recognition, the best organization, and the best fundraisers. Patience is John McCain's best friend.

McCain's domestic policy isn't well known. If elected, he would be the oldest inaugurated first term president in history, and health is an issue.

This is his best chance, yet can he cobble enough of the independents he had back in 2000 to win? McCain, rightly or wrongly, is heavily tied to the success of the war. If the surge is a failure, it will reflect perhaps more harshly on McCain then on Bush.

Even and 6:1 are the odds, though one wonders if McCain peaked in 2006. A staunchly pro-war candidate cannot win.

Barack Obama

Hello World!

Like a a tidal wave, Obama has struck the fancy of the Democratic Party like a schoolgirl crush. He has JFK's charisma and Bill Clinton's personality. He will go very, very far at some point, but is it in 2008?

He came out of the school thing with Fox a stronger candidate. He handled a heckler at a town hall meeting with charm, the $64,000 question is when holes get put in the Obama aura, is there enough substance to fill them.

He will be painted as very liberal, there will be plenty of "wink-wink" things about his race, he has almost no experience on the national stage, and most don't know what he stands for. Yet, if there is a candidate that can overcome that, it is Obama. He must differentiate himself from Edwards and Clinton, while reassuring the "Bush weary" that he offers something for them.

His press has been extraordinary, what happens when it changes?

The weakness of the GOP field, along with Hillary not being crowned off the bat opens up the door here. As close as he is to the base, his biggest challenge is opening up and showing the country who he is. He must find ways to be different from John Edwards without throwing away the general election voter. You can imagine that this would be the guy the GOP wants to run against, he'll be the easiest to paint in a corner.

10:1 for both. So much potential, so much lack of margin for error.

Mitt Romney

In a year that features no clear front runner, Mit Romney's hopes depends on a collapse.

In most years, he would be a non-starter. If he was a Democrat, he would be a non-starter.

Yet, he has a shot, albeit a tiny one. He must get the favor of the conservative wing to get the nomination, and fend off charges of flip-flopping from everyone else.

Romney has run for president since 2004, he really wants it very badly, yet he has no real qualifications. While it helps some, it hurts him because he comes across as so packaged. He is the GOP Al Gore, willing to do anything to get the nomination, yet looking as uncomfortable as a six-year old on Santa's lap.

Romney has curried the favor of House GOP'ers who are anti-McCain. He could get the hearts and mind of the base by speaking well and defending his decisions. The money is there and he'll get it if they think he can win, but it's a long shot at best.

Like Howard Dean four years ago, everything must go right. Romney is better known than Dean was then, but any serious mistake ends it quickly.

25:1 and 100:1 are his odds. A Romney win would produce absolutely the weakest general election nomination since Tom Dewey in 1944 for the GOP. Even if they drew Obama to run against, Romney's skills are average at best and faced with just how unpopular the party is as a whole, they would be handing the Dems the White House.

(crossposted at Kitchen Table Politics)

From The Opinion Wiki, a Wikia wiki.

From The Opinion Wiki, a Wikia wiki.

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