Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Year Away

Four years ago, in November 2003, we progressives and Democrats were deeply involved in choosing our standard-bearer for the 2004 election; Howard Dean was energizing the netroots, John Kerry was plodding along in second, and Senator John Edwards was still trying to get on the stage. We were still wondering if Al Gore would make the run. Barack Obama was still a state senator in Illinois, just beginning to get his campaign for the United States Senate going in the Land of Lincoln. Hillary Clinton was four years into her first term, but we all knew that it was still too early for her to run. So while we may have had some things to figure out, the one thing we were all sure of that was, without a doubt, George W. Bush would be a one-term president who would lose his re-election bid by such an overwhelming and humiliating defeat that it would make the race between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter in 1980 look like a squeaker.

Yeah, well, we know how that worked out, and a year before the 2008 election, the future is just as unpredictable. Hillary Clinton may look like the inevitable Democratic nominee today, and given the current state of the GOP, she might as well pull out that folder she kept for decorating the Oval Office she started back in 2001. Rudy Giuliani looks like the front-runner for the GOP, but his role as the sacrificial goat on the altar of the inevitable isn’t assured; the polls are showing Gov. Romney and Mike Huckabee as inching up while Fred Thompson fails to gain traction and John McCain comes back from the ranks of the written-off in July.

But it will all change; the only way pundits keep up their creds is by doing exactly what we’re doing now…explaining patiently that everything is theory until it happens, and history has the lessons to prove it. Harry Truman was thought to be buzzard meat in 1948, and in November 1967 Eugene McCarthy looked like he would be little more than an irritant to LBJ’s run for re-election and beat *snort* Richard Nixon. Bobby Kennedy was just a senator from New York and Hubert Humphrey was comfortably anonymous as the Vice President, about as far from the seat of power as young Dick Cheney, who was still two years away from his Capitol Hill internship.

I’m going to take a wild guess that a year from today, Hillary Clinton will have won a close election against Rudy Giuliani and that the Democrats will have picked up seats in the Senate and the House, but not a super majority in either. Like I said, that’s a wild guess, but it’s probably as good as anything any of the highly-paid pundits can come up with. The only thing I am sure of is that, as a good friend of mine used to say, the good Lord willing, I’ll be here a year from now to look back at this post and wonder what the hell I was thinking.

But if I’m right, you heard it here first.