It must seem like a parlor game, to be discussing the 2008 Presidential election this far out, but in reality, it may be vital to consider the political landscape in order to avoid damaging mistakes.
For the Democrats, it is time to make a radical change. VP Gore couldn't win in 2000, in a period of peace and stability. Senator Kerry couldn't win in 2004, even with massive Hollywood support and foreign money, and an Old Media determined to beat President Bush, even committing fraud in the effort. Democrats control less of Congress since any time since the days of Calvin Coolidge. The Dems won't play around in '08. That means, about 98%, that they will roll out their biggest gun: Hilary Clinton.
For the Republicans, it's not necessarily a cake walk. Looking back, the Democrats and Republicans have both found it hard to hold the White House, even as the Oval Office gains more and more influence and power. GHW Bush made it 3 straight for the GOP in 1988, and before that, Truman's 1948 win over Dewey was the 5th straight Democrat White House win. Before that, you have three by the GOP in 1920-28, and before that, 4 more in 1896-1908**. I see a trend there. The Republicans have been able to rack up three straight three times, and because of FDR, the Democrats took 5 in a row at one stretch. The GOP once took six straight, from Lincoln's win in 1860 through Garfield's win in 1880 (although the 1876 election makes this one a lot more iffy). But if you take out Reconstruction (when the Democrats were too weak to really compete), and the New Deal (when Republicans were really as ignored, as the Old Media wishes they would be), the pattern is remarkablly constant: A party may get a term or two, and sometimes a popular President is followed by someone of the same party, but usually only for one more term. Except for very unusual conditions, a party doesn't get more than 3. That means that the GOP is probably looking at one of two conditions:
1. The 2008 GOP Candidate loses; or
2. The 2008 GOP Candidate should plan to have only one term.
This is not cast in stone, by any means, but if the Bush Doctrine is going to get the support it needs, we need to make sure the GOP puts the best candidate out there.
Let's clear the decks quickly: A GOP Senator or Congressman for the Nomination is a clear, loud vote - to give away the White House. Especially since there is no Senator or Congressman in the GOP right now, who excites the nation and represents the sort of vision that George W. Bush does. Yes, there are some good people there. But no Presidents, not right now.
Well, maybe we don't need to know who to pursue right now? Sorry, but yes we do. George W. Bush was a name long before he became a contender. In 1996, people across the nation knew his name. Same, as it happens, for Bill Clinton. He ran late, but got the word out early - he spoke at the 1988 DNC, as a matter of fact. Ronald Reagan was the clear frontrunner for the GOP 1980 ticket, as soon as he stepped off the RNC stage in 1976. And so on. If we don't start moving now, we Republicans are conceding the lead and the momentum to Hillary Clinton, and there's no mistake about that.
OK, so whom do we pursue? Governors are always good for Executive elections, epsecially from a Southern state or a large one. The trouble is, Jeb is not running, and shouldn't. Arnold is not eligible. And Mitt is not from a large Southern state. Sorry, our best chance is not in a governor's mansion right now. As it happens, our best candidate is already at the White House, but in a different chair. If the Republican candidate for President of the United States wins in 2008, it will be because the GOP nominates Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
I hear the disbelief from here. 'She has no resume for the office!', some cry. 'We don't know if she's Conservative enough!' cry others. The funny thing is, those work to her advantage.
Dr. Rice, to begin, is certainly smart and tough enough to run. And I'm going to laugh at anyone trying to toss off the objections about her marital status, race, or gender. The simple facts are these:
No one has to be married to be qualified. The problem in the past has always been, that parties tried so hard to look like the demographic norm (white, married, kids, mortgage) that only cookie-cutter candidates were considered. The road to a long political career is built on that image, that's true. But if you're running as an outsider, who has ideas instead of cronies, who thinks instead of needing to be told what the platform has to be, the wedding ring is as obsolete as the powdered wig.
The only reason that a black has never been President, is that the Democrat and Republican parties were not willing or able to produce a viable black candidate, with true executive skills and a firm grasp of the national priorities. Dr. Rice has those credentials; consider as an example her steely cool under fire from the 9/11 ('Get Bush') Committee. The last black American with this sort of courage and composure was another Doctor, by the name of King, and I am not stretching anything by that comparison.
There are, admittedly, issues with getting people to vote for a woman. On the other hand, the broad support for Hillary Clinton among Democrats shows that gender is not really the issue it was claimed to be, and only the severely demented think that Democrats are less sexist than Republicans. And there is no Republican with better name recognition and a more favorable rep with most voters. That's the Trump card here: Hillary owns the Democrats, Republicans will line up behind Condit, and the swing voters will have a clear choice, and I think that works strongly for Condi.
OK, but what about the issues? Let's start with the big one: We are at war with Terrorism, as in the United States is in a serious, prolonged war to eradicate state-sponsored Terrorism from the globe. With her academic work in the field, her experience as National Security Advisor, and now heading up the State Department, Dr. Rice clearly has qualifications in this area unmatched by any other living person. And there is no second issue that really rises to the level of National Security right now.
On the secondary issues, I should think the former Provost of Stanford would know about delegating tasks and picking qualified advisors in Economics, the Judiciary, and so on. And Dr. Rice has never shown any personal beliefs which are incompatible with the Platform of the Republican Party.
The "litmus" issues? Let's be serious; If Rice were extreme in any direction, we'd have heard by now, and in any case, she resonates with W. That should speak about where her head and heart are - with the Nation.
The task is simple then: Either the GOP vets Dr. Rice in preparation for her 2008 run, finds a diamond hidden in a governor's mansion somewhere in the West or South, or they can load up on lip balm for kissing the shoes of Hillary. As for me, I'm pushing to get Dr. Rice interested in being called "President Rice".
UPDATE: I was not the first, and there seems to already be a movement in the works. Thanks to Ankle Biting Pundits, I have found out about a group founded on November 14, 2004 (Rice's birthday).
Check out 'Americans For Rice'.
** UPDATE II: Boethius reminded me, that with McKinley 1896 and 1900, Teddy 1904, and Taft 1908, the GOP took four straight in that string, not three as I mis-recalled.