After daydreaming presidential politics in the car this morning, I figured it was as good a time as any for a post. The field is just about set, and it's never too soon to discuss a presidential election.
At this point, we're going to gauge candidates in three areas: message/buzz (to get the media attention), fundraising (to add to the aura of serious candidate), and organization (it's how Kerry won Iowa over Dean). We're going to focus on the top tier of candidates in both parties, so we'll ignore (for now) Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback. Maybe we'll see them later. Anyway, here we go:RepublicansJohn McCain
The rundown: A POW with an amazing story, the centrist voice of the Senate. Ran in 2000. The center -- in both parties -- loves the guy.
Message/buzz: He'll have to something more than war theory at some point, but it's a good message starting point. He gets good buzz because even the people who won't vote for him respect and like him.
Fundraising: You have to figure he'll be able to do what he needs to. Ran nationally once, has big upside in the general.
Organization: He's been working on this for awhile, and certainly has some pieces of this 2000 organization still in place. He was rolled by Bush's conservative movement in 2000, however, and he likely won't be the conservative's darling this time, either. That might make it tough in the primary.Rudy Giuliani
The rundown: Former mayor of New York City, best known for handling 9/11. Second is cleaining up Times Square.
Message/buzz: Message is unformed, but you gotta figure "leader" will be in there somewhere. His handling of 9/11 gives him good buzz. But being out of office tempers that somewhat. Has some work to do.
Fundraising: Who knows? Considering his last campaign was for mayor, he doesn't even have a state-wide organization. He'll need to pluck some big money names at some point soon.
Organization: Again, who knows. He has a lot of work to do here, and in short order. He has a lot of grassroots work to do.Mitt Romney
The rundown: We know his story too well. Running for the last two years, he has the leg up on the conservative wing of the ballot. As Massachusetts learned, he lies to benefit himself. We'll see how he plays around the country.
Message/buzz: Tough to define from here, where we already have such a clear picture of the guy. He's the conservative, however, and that will go a long way. He'll play the "red governor in blue state" card, if you haven't heard.
Fundraising: Apparently, based on his $6 million day this month, pretty strong. He has big-money players on board. When you start running in early 2005, all that planning helps.
Organization: He gets the benefit of being the head of RGA last year. He spent all of 2006 building a network. He's going about this the right way, and he might be the most conservative option out there. He has some name-recognition work to do, but he shouldn't be discarded at this point.Democrats
The rundown: One-term (and not all of that term) Senator from Illinois. The progressive left can't help but drool over him. Is America ready to elect a black person?
Message/buzz: Has no discernable message at this point, but he makes up for it with super buzz. He'll need to show some substance someday, but for now he can skate on his message of "hope" (remind you of someone?).
Fundraising: He's been given instant top-tier status, so he'll grab some big money guys. He'll do what he has to.
Organization: He'll be building it from the ground up. He'll need to find room with other top tier candidates, who have some built-in advantages.
The Rundown: What don't you know? New York Senator, former First Lady. About 40 percent of the country absolutely loves her, about 40 percent of the country absolutely hates her. Is America ready to elect a woman president?
Message/buzz: Message is still forming, but like Obama has ridiculous buzz. The party loves her. She'll never win over those who despise her, so she needs to lock down her base and grab a lot of the few undecideds.
Fundraising: You gotta figure Bubba's team is on board. There's a lot of money out there, and she'll grab her share of it. Not a problem for her.
Organization: Again, does she tap into Bill's network? Her name alone will gather her a lot of support -- particularly from the real dedicated folks who will remember being at the forefront of Bill's effort in '92. She should be fine here, but needs to pay some attention to it.
The Rundown: First, an admission. I absolutely love the guy, and will very likely vote for him on any ballot he's on. That said, former N.C. Senator, Veep candidate in 2004.
Message/buzz: He'll stick pretty close to the "One America" message from his own prezzie run in 2004. It's a good one, so why change it. He's considered a top-tier candidate, but is lacking in buzz as Clinton and Obama are the early headliners.
Fundraising: He has a national organization in place, but fundraising was one area he fell behind on in 2004. He needs to do better, and it will be tougher battling the Clinton-Obama lovefest.
Organization: Again, he has a foundation through his 2004 effort. It was OK in Iowa and probably second-best (behind Kerry) in New Hampshire. Again, he'll have to better -- particularly in Iowa. Again, it will be tough with Clinton-Obama scooping up names by the handful early on.