DC gossip

A friend who follows US politics very closely gave me his best guess as to how 2008 will play out. 

  • Gore beats Hilary (and Kerry, Edwards, Bayh, Warner, etc) to win the Democratic primary.
  • McCain easily wins the Republican primary.
  • McCain elected president. Born in 1936, he would then be 72, making him the oldest person to be elected President for the first time (Reagan was 69 in 1980, 73 in 1984).

Of course, we all know that betting markets tend to do better than pundits, but it’s entertaining to speculate nonetheless.

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20 Responses to DC gossip

  1. Sacha says:

    What are the betting markets currently saying? (for Dem/Rep nominations and who wins the election?)

  2. Steve Edney says:

    Bet fair has

    Hillary clear favourite over Gore then Warner and Edwards

    MCain is clear fav for Republicans with a bunch of others like Giulliani, Allen and Romney a fair bit behind.

    And Democrats favourite to win (no candidate specified). 53% to 47%

  3. Sacha says:

    Does it say anything for particular candidate contests?

  4. Corin says:

    I reckon the primaries will have a surprise or two on the Dems side – I think there will be a better candidate come out of the mix than either Hillary or Gore who will catch fire but the idiot Dems hierarchy won’t back it – see Edwards in 04! And will always back the boring big name – so Gore might be the man after all …

    But agree that McCain will romp home in the main race.

  5. Yes,

    From a long way away it seemed Edwards was an excellent VC candidate. Trust the Dems to ensure he can’t run for President in favour or unelectable Hilary or Al.

  6. Sinclair Davidson says:

    What makes you think Hilary can’t win? I agree Al can’t win. A Hilary run would be interesting from a whole range of perspectives. For a start, it would probably end the “America isn’t ready for a woman (name any other non-white male group) president” argument. It would also cause a carefull assessment of the Clinton Presidency. It would generate a whole bunch of tasteless jokes. Overall, however, it’s not obvious (to me) that she’s a no-hoper.

  7. Corin says:

    I already had this debate – see: http://andrewleigh.com/?p=109#comments

    So not point me repeating it.

  8. Andrew Leigh says:

    Sinc, the argument that my friend was making on Hilary related only to the primaries. It was that the antiwar left dislike her, and that given the number of Hilary-haters in the electorate, the pragmatic right won’t be able to use the classic “sure she’s moderate, but at least she’s electable” defence.

  9. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Good points both. I’m just reluctant to write her off until the game begins. With Hilary comes Bill and all his people.

  10. Mork says:

    I have a near-perfect record in being wrong about U.S. presidential politics, but that’s not going to stop me weighing in!

    I agree that Hillary can’t win the Dem nomination. There are just too many Dems who, although they’re personally somewhat sympathetic too her, just really, really wish she’d go away. I think the real front runners for the Dem nomination are Edwards and Warner. I’m still not fundamentally convinced that Gore will run, but I do agree that he’d have a very good shot if he does.

    On the GOP side, I don’t think McCain can win the nomination. Let’s not forget that this guy was beaten in 2000 by George W. Bush, of all people. All the reasons that he was shunned by the GOP establishment back then still exist, and I think he’ll get a lot less cross-over support in the primaries than he did in 2000, because moderates and independents are going to vote in the Dem primary. If the primary season starts with him and Guiliani as front runners, I think Giuliani wins in a canter. Even though there are things about Giuliani that will make conservatives uncomfortable, I think they’ll be more willing to overlook them in Giuliani because they haven’t been in people’s faces like McCain’s episodes of apostasy.

    I think either of them is vulnerable to an attractive candidate from the right. But I’m not sure who that might be. Maybe Mitt Romney doing an extreme makeover.

  11. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Giuliani can’t win – too many people will remember his disgraceful assult on Wall Street in the late 80s. The man’s just a thug, who was fortunate (I’m sure there is a more appropriate word) to be mayor of New York on 9/11.

  12. Sacha says:

    Sinclair, what did he do to Wall Street?

  13. Sinclair Davidson says:

    Giuliani made his name as a district attorney in the late 1980s. Wall Street fell into his jurisdiction. Now there were a series of insider-trading scandals at the time. Giuliani took it upon himself to ‘clean up’ Wall Street. a very famous incident occurred when investment bankers were arrested in their offices, before the media, and lead away in handcuffs. I’m sure there are several individuals who will contest my version of those events, but consider the following stat: Everyone who pleaded ‘not guilty’ in court was ultimately acquited.

  14. Sinclair Davidson says:

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Milken

    an interesting contrast is seen in
    Stewart, James B. Den of Thieves. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. (this book is somewhat anti-semetic)
    and in
    Fischel, Daniel R. Payback : the conspiracy to destroy Michael Milken and his financial revolution. New York, NY : HarperBusiness, 1995.

  15. Sinclair Davidson says:

    From his wikipedia entry:

    ‘Giuliani attracted some criticism for arranging very public arrests of people, then dropping charges for lack of evidence rather than going to trial.’

  16. Dom says:

    Interesting stuff – I agree with Mork and others that it would be hard for McCain to win the nomination for the GOP, although he would probably beat Hillary or any other Democratic candidate in a general election.

    It is a truism in US politics that for a candidate to be nominated, s/he must appeal to his/her party’s hard-core activists, which means moving towards the extreme right in US terms (GOP) or left (Dems). Once nominated, the candidate must immediately rush back towards the centre, to appeal to the mainstream of voters.

    This is McCain’s problem – despite recent attempts to reach out to evangelicals, he probably does not have the credentials to energize the ‘religious right’ voters who have turned out so reliably for Bush in 2000 and 2004. Giuliani has some of the same negatives for the religious right – sympathy for gay rights, gun control and abortion.

    Gotta remember that voting is not compulsory in the US – if not sufficiently motivated, many eligible voters will simply stay home. So, it’s not just a matter of getting them to vote for you, but getting them to vote at all.

    Having said all that, I like McCain – saw him again on Jon Stewart last night. Seems to me a thoughtful, intelligent Repuplican like him might realistically be our best hope, even though ideally I’d like to see a liberal Democrat in the Oval.


  17. Corin says:

    Dom – I agree that the Republicans could do a “Goldwater”! but I also think that they have a rump hardened realists as well. Realists in the pragmatic and international sense who are troubled by the drift into overstretch. I expect that “overstretch” will be the main undercurrent in the overall Presidential election and McCain is the main candidate that can bridge the divide between America turning even more Neo-Con or turning away from the world. I think a Democrat could as well, but they are generally poor at overall strategic vision – see Kennedy/LBJ/Carter/even Clinton. I mean what is Clinton’s international position? Can you define his world view?

  18. Dom says:

    Corin, read some of your earlier stuff – interesting. I’m a fan of John Edwards as well, but I guess he would need a running mate with strong defence and foreign policy credentials – is Gen. Wesley Clark still interested I wonder?

    There’s been some interesting stuff in The Atlantic lately about how a moderate Dem (ideally from the South or West) may well be competitive these days in a bunch of (pale-red) Southwestern states, due to changing demographics. Seems to me a guy like Edwards could play well there, esp if he can somehow address his perceived shortcomings on the ‘security and defence’ front.

    I agree with you that someone like McCain would be a good option for restoring rationality and competence to both foreign and domestic policy.

    Speaking of ‘overstretch’, surely the next President will have to do something about the deficit. Bush’s adventures in Iraq and military buildup, combined with huge tax cuts for the rich and additional expenditure on Medicare have turned surpluses into large deficits. I’m no economist, and I know the budget deficit is no higher in % of GDP than many European nations. That said, I’ve read lots of persuasive arguments that the proportion of global savings eaten up by the US budget and current account deficits is unsustainable and will produce a nasty correction if left too much longer. Without Bush’s obsession with tax cutting, McCain might be the guy to start bringing this under control.

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