Now that the congressional elections are over, everyone can pause for about four seconds, said Ed Rogers in The Washington Post. Done? Good. Now we can start obsessing about "who will win the presidency in 2008." The candidates are way ahead of you, said Kenneth Walsh in U.S. News & World Report. For months, they've been "pressing the flesh in New Hampshire villages, chowing on corn dogs at the Iowa State Fair, and dialing for dollars from Washington." Among Republicans, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. John McCain already are setting up exploratory committees. Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will likely do so soon. As for the Democrats, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack formally announced his candidacy last week, and Sen. Joseph Biden says he'll soon follow suit. Everyone, of course, knows that Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want the job too.
The GOP candidates face a real challenge, said Dick Polman in The Philadelphia Inquirer. This past election constituted "a resounding thumbsdown" on the Bush presidency, with its record of extreme partisanship and incompetence on Iraq and Katrina. So the next Republican nominee must represent a real departure. By that definition, McCain and Romney are the men to beat. McCain's warrior credentials are reassuring during the age of terrorism, and his maverick reputation and centrist views could pull in the independents who voted Democratic in '06. As governor of Massachusetts, America's bluest state, Romney can market himself as a "bipartisan problem-solver" who helped provide his state's residents with universal health care. To get the nomination, though, McCain will have to get past religious and social conservatives, who don't trust him. Romney appeals to the social conservatives, but he has no foreign policy experience, and his "anti-gay, anti-stem-cell stances" can't help a party that's striving for moderation.
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