Prediction for 2008
Obama will win (with a few IFs)
IF #1: Obama can find a way to rebuild that "post-racial" persona that was shattered with his springtime faux pas: Wright and other BLT preachers, Michelle's "Proud to be American" comment. In short, if he can tell the people he has used to get to where he is in the past to be quiet for a few more months, he'll be able to secure the independent white vote.
IF #2: Obama can break his "sweety" habit. I don't think he's a sexist, and I don't think most of Hillary's supports think he is sexist, but if he keeps making slights like that he will alienate enough politically-borderline women to lose.
IF #3: He can show us enough to not fall into the traps that each of the past couple Democratic nominees have fallen into. Specifically, he can't be seen as an elitist liberal. In fact he has to downplay his liberalness, which never plays well in a general election (ask Mr. Card-carrying ACLU member Dukakis). He also needs to mend the hurt feelings his "bitter" comment caused in white rural voters.
If #4: If there are no more Reverend Wright level problems in his future. I can imagine some real killers for him here. If a tape exists with a Wright giving a controversial speech with Obama in the audience would be a big one, as Obama's excuse that he never knew how bad Wright was is flimsy at best. There will be some kind of "swiftboat" attack, probably more than one from (supporters of) both sides. Obama, as the relative-unknown, is particularly vulnerable to this.
and the biggist IF of all:
If # Last: Obama has to actually commit himself to real policies. This was my problem with Kerry (as stated here a few years ago): there just wasn't anything there but "I'm not Bush." Well, Obama is trying the same failed tactic with the "Bush's third term" thing. But other than a couple whitepapers on his sight, there is very little know about what he would do as president when you tear away the fluffy glittering generalities.
Obama has to make his case that he is different. McCain will try and paint him as the stereotypical elitist liberal masquerading as a moderate. Given that Obama has friends (parishoners?) in the mainstream media and a war chest that could fund a small government, I think I have to give the race to Obama.
What I didn't factor in: VP. Who cares with Obama (as long as it isn't Hillary, and it won't be). I can't imagine a candidate that will help him in a significant way. My guess is that he will choose a Biden-like figure to fill a policy gap and not get a candidate that helps him in a particular state.
McCain may be able to nudge the vote his way a tad with a surprisingly good choice. Condi would be such a choice, but my guess is that she will say no. Leiberman would be another, but I can't see that helping him much.
As for the rest of the election, only two things are apparent to me:
1) The dems will win a big and perhaps veto-proof margin in both houses of congress, sadly.
2) California will vote in favor of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, effectively ending 4 months of same-sex marriages. Sadly.
- Ducks will make it into the Stanley Cup finals in 09 (but I'm a fan)
- Dodgers will do great for a while and fail to make the playoffs, again.
- Jimmy Johnson will threepete the Sprint Cup (but I'm a fan)
- Lakers lose to Boston in 08 finals (but they are already 1-3 against the Celts already, so...)