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Will Vegas Kill Hillary in 08?

More speculation on 2008 from a well-connected liberal pen pal of mine:

Edwards maintained his strong organization in Iowa as this [Iowa] poll demonstrates. Hillary will buy some good organizing talent in the state, but these are anti-war caucus goers who are, paradoxically, also extremely pragmatic (that's how they settled on Kerry, who they figured--wrongly--would be an anti-war warrior who could, therefore, beat Bush). She's going to lose both ways--she'll pull neither the hard core anti-war votes (Edward's early renunciation of his Iraq vote is looking brilliant), nor any of the pragmatic voters (Warner stays in the picture here, especially with his surprising netroots support--Markos and, obviously, Jerome are surprisingly open to him). If Vilsack can't do better than this poll demonstrated, he won't even bother to run, which frees Harkin to support Hillary, something of a plus for her (although he didn't help Dean very much last time around).

But another problem for her looms: There's a reasonable chance the DNC might put a Nevada caucus between Iowa and New Hampshire. Why is that a problem for Hillary? Because a caucus, of course, is all organizational turnout--and the only organization that matters in Nevada Democratic politics is the 60,000 member strong Culinary Workers Unions in Nevada (the union that has 90% of the Las Vegas strip organized, enabling Latino hotel maids and their families to live a middle class life--and the union that reelected Harry Reid by 500 votes or so in, I think, 1998). A couple of years ago, Nevada magazine rated D. Taylor, the brilliant leader of that union the third most powerful person in the state after Harry Reid and the Governor. And who will the Culinary Union support? John Edwards. This isn't Iowa--Culinary will get its people out for Edwards.

Iowa, Nevada....certainly doesn't lock things up for Edwards, but would deal a huge blow for Hillary's inevitability. Where she finally gets help is not New Hampshire but the Southern and industrial states. Charlie Cook's poll shows her getting 50% of the minority vote among the Democratic field, more than from any other subgroup--I'm now convinced that Bill's magic with African-Americans does help her to a large extent, despite the fact that she lacks his political gifts.

Edwards, Warner, and Hillary as the likely finalists--Wes Clark as a possible dark horse if he can exploit his national security credentials by contrasting them to what the others lack--the bloggers like him, too, but I think he's everyone's VP.

So--while I'm on a roll--I'm convinced that McCain killed himself with the GOP base re: immigration, and, notwithstanding Ryan Sager re: Giuliani, the party will never nominate a pro-choice, pro-gay rights nominee (moreover, one who actually lived with gay men for several months while separated from his (second) wife (sharing the same bathrooms!)--don't think that story won't circulate in South Carolina if he runs--alas, these things matter to some Republican primary voters.

So you're left with Allen and Romney. As a very smart and very prominent neo-con friend of mine says: If Republicans nominate who they want to nominate, it will be Allen, if they nominate who they should, it will be Romney--and, say a Romney/Cornyn "Health Care for all, plus a bit of gay bashing and, with a fresh look, we'll solve this Iraq thing asap" would beat Hillary 54-46. Edwards/Clark would be a toss-up.

On the latter point, I think that Allen is the only GOP nominee--Bush plus chewing tobacco and confederate flags, minus brush on the ranch--that Hillary might beat (very close race, like the last two).

Feel free to join in the '08 parlor game by sending your thoughts to me here.