Saturday, August 06, 2005

Sucking the Air Out of the Room

There's a growing sucking sound out there. Hillary Clinton is starting to take up all the political oxygen in the 2008 presidential speculation. The preliminary speculation is all Hillary all the time. One of the ways that governors and senators begin to become nationally known is speculation about their presidential ambitions. But political talk has focused on Hillary to such an extent that none of the other possible contenders has made any headway. On the Democratic side, there's been no exploratory profiles of ambitious governors like Tom Vilsack, Mark Warner, and Ed Rendell, nothing on John Kerry's chances for a second nomination. No speculation about Al Gore either. What's even more surprising is that potential Republican contenders don't seem to have any breathing space either. After the Terry Schiavo fiasco, Bill Frist has been twisting in the wind, but he's getting about as much national media attention for his suffering as Nancy Pelosi. Not a good sign. Things haven't been any better for other Republican senators. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania published a right-wing manifesto entitled It Takes a Family, but the book seems not to have gathered any national notice. Sam Brownback, George Allen, and other ambitious Republicans seem just as obscure as ever while Hillary's cautious speech to the DLC was micro-analyzed to death. If this continues, Hillary Clinton may end up running against herself, a race that she admittedly could still lose. Either that, or the Republicans will have to hold their noses and nominate John McCain--the only functioning politician with more prestige and gravitas than Hillary.


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