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Happy New Presidential Race

What better way to start 2006 than by ruminating on 2008? As Jay said last week, it's difficult to make any interesting arguments about '08 this far out, but that hasn't ever stopped me before. There's just too much good fodder out there to resist.

Like this quote from Ronald Kaufman, former White House political director for Bush 41, taken from the AP story today reporting that John Kerry is keeping his options open for 2008: " "I go to bed every night praying Kerry is the nominee again," Kaufman said. Apparently, Kerry still hasn't gotten the memo he's finished as a presidential nominee.

In a great bit over at bloggingheads.tv, Al Gore (played by Mickey Kaus) says he's running in 2008 but doesn't even know it yet. This made me think back to a quote from one of the delegates at the annual meeting of the Florida Democratic party last month:

"The most interesting ideas right now? They all belong to Al Gore," said Mitchell Berger, a top Democratic fundraiser from Fort Lauderdale who is holding out hope Gore might join the race.

If Russ Feingold - referred to yesterday by Jon Meacham as "a sane Howard Dean" - doesn't catch fire with the base, Al Gore may be irresistably drawn to taking up the mantle of the hard left as the sweaty, podium-pounding alternative to Hillary Clinton or Mark Warner.

In related news, Bill Clinton told 60 Minutes his "gut" tells him the country is ready for a woman president:

My gut is, yes, that if a woman came across as strong and seasoned and well prepared, if you said the right things in the right way and you had a good record to back it up, my gut is, yes. But the hard truth is we won’t know until it happens,"

In other words, Hillary will be electable in 2008 if the base of the party would just allow her to triangulate properly.

Finally, Robert Novak writes about a recent move by Mitt Romney that may help him in '08, while the Boston Globe reports on one which might hurt him.