The LA Times's always excellent Ronald Brownstein has a piece today on the contenders lining up on the left and right camps of the Dem. party to battle Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic nomination. He singles out Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia (on the right) and Russ Feingold, senator from Wisconsin (on the left) as Hillary's most formidable contenders at this early date.
Feingold is appealing: he's intelligent, articulate, and seems worlds less pompous, plastic, and annoying than Kerry (or Al Gore the 2000 edition). He does face the potential electoral obstacles of being twice-divorced, a senator, and Jewish. Still, Feingold has tapped into the energy of the left, has emerged victorious in leading the fight against the Patriot Act (you have likely heard many times recently that he was the sole dissenting Senate vote against the Act back in 2001), and has emerged as the premier anti-war candidate as of today. This may play well against Clinton's strident pro-war, strong-on-defense stance; as always, it depends what happens in the next few years.
Version 2.0 in 2008?
Brownstein also notes in passing that Al Gore is still alive and, surprisingly, creating some excitement: "Gore, who insists he's not interested, is also generating buzz on the left by criticizing the war and raising impassioned alarms about global warming." I know I will be dismissed as a crackpot for this, but the OG is giving you the heads up to watch out for Gore in 2008. During a recent trip out to L.A., Gore generated a lot of excitement: Hollywood supporters noted his passionate position against the war and his sterling credentials on the ever more menacing and threatening issue of global warming. In his more recent manifestations, including late in last year's presidential election, Gore has seemed reenergized, rejuvenated, and, probably most importantly, comfortable with himself. Al Gore is a very smart politician with a great deal of vitally important expertise--if he can break out of his animatronic persona of 2000, he will be a very appealing candidate.