Fourth, Senator John S. McCain, III (D-AZ). He was the front runner but did himself in. Supposedly his campaign is coming back, which I doubt. McCain-Feingold won’t be forgiven by conservatives. His campaign is teetering. His chances are slim-to-none even if he wins New Hampshire.
Fifth, former Governor Mike Huckabee. He is a brilliant orator who has parlayed a second-place finish in the Ames Iowa Straw Poll into near first-tier status. He would be doing better if he did not have a penchant for saying the wrong things, thus making enemies of potential friends.
There remain two others, further on the sidelines.
Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO). I hate to say this but he really doesn’t belong on that debate stage. He speaks well and takes positions which Republicans should be taking. His former chairmanship of the Armed Services Committee gives him a national platform but not a national organization or the ability to raise money. He is fading from the scene.
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). It is too bad some of the ideas he advocates are strange because many of the things he says makes sense. Because he is a Libertarian he has enough money to stay around for a time. His overall showing is the major surprise of the political season.
The upshot is that none of the GOP candidates, except perhaps Romney, is really exciting to at least a portion of the grassroots. At this stage, that is not good news for a party which will have trouble winning anyway.
Among the Democratic candidates, the fact that many people, including former President Jimmy Carter, are urging Gore to run is also an indication that not all is sanguine on the Democratic side. Should Gore succumb to a draft it would be bad news for the Republicans. They might defeat Clinton because she is such a polarizing figure. Gore, who in 2000 won the most number of popular votes by one half million, would be very difficult to defeat. Many believe he was cheated out of his last race. That would give him an emotional edge this time. We shall see.