The 2008 presidential election is about a year and a half away; will John McCain still be in the hunt a year from now? James Carville, a genius when it comes to campaigns, doesn’t think so. I was at a business meeting last month in Hawaii where Carville and his wife, Mary Matalin, shared political observations and Carville predicted McCain would drop out of the race before the Iowa Caucuses.
“When I look at him, he just looks like a guy who doesn’t have his heart in it. And it is a long haul,” Carville told us. “He strikes me as someone who is playing a role he is not comfortable in. He is 72, which is not too old, but he does not look as young as he did in 2000. It’s a long way to go, and I don’t see him making the cut.”
Carville said he expects either Newt Gingrich or Al Gore to get into the race. He said it is possible both of them will enter the race. He also said he suspects there will be a third party candidate who will get more than 5 percent of the vote.
Then he made a prediction that seems like a long shot to me: Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee. “Why? Because the Republicans love order, and they are not going to get any of it. There is going to be disorder the likes of which you have never seen,” Carville said. “The only name I can think of that if he got in the race that would kind of quell everybody down would be Bush. I don’t think the Republican nominee is in the field” right now, he said.
He went out on a limb even further and predicted Mike Huckabee would be the Republican nominee for vice president.
Among the Democrats, he said it is all about “Obama and Mama.” Carville observed that “Mama needs more spice and Obama needs more seasoning.” He said “any good Cajun knows there is a difference between spice and seasoning.”
Carville said if Hillary Clinton can deliver her message with a little more passion, she will get the nomination; but if her message remains flat and Barack Obama improves his campaigning, Carville said the nominee will be Obama.
He predicted the vice presidential nominee for the Democrats will be Catherine Sebelius, the governor of Kansas.
Matalin explained that each party is looking for the candidate who can win the most swing states. “The question is, ‘which Red guy can pick up more Blue states, and which Blue guy can pick up more Red states?’,” she summarized. “Right now, Rudy Giuliani moves more Blue states than Hilary moves Red states. He puts more states in play.”
Although many observers think the election is in the bag for the Democrats, Matalin urged caution. “You cannot listen to conventional wisdom today,” she said. “Conventional wisdom today cannot predict the tomorrow.”
She said the notion that the Democrats will win in 2008 is based on a “very specious premise, which is the outcome of the 2006 elections. You would only predict the Democrats will win in 2008 if you thought they won in 2006,” she said. “They did not win. The Republicans lost. There is a difference.”
tMichaelB is the web site for Tom Bengtson, who writes about business, religion, family and politics.
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