As the year draws to a close, it is traditional to consider who is up and who is down
Dateline 14 December 2005
It has been a good year for . . .
The Virginians . . . Virginia produced four of the first five US Presidents, and the odds that it will produce the next one have increased significantly during 2005. Former Governor, Mark Warner, has established himself as one of Hillary Clintonís most dangerous rivals for the Democrat nomination. Meanwhile, US Senator, George Allen, another former Governor, has arguably become front runner for the Republican nomination.
John McCain . . . he is more and more the go-to guy in the Senate and seems to have patched up his quarrel with the Bush family Ė he even mentioned the Governor of Florida as a possible running mate for this 2008 bid. Every winning Republican candidate since the 1920s made their careers in the South West.
Haley Barbour . . . the Katrina clean-up in Mississippi was smoothly handled, he knows everyone in the GOP establishment and knows that Republican primary voters love governors best of all.
Bill Richardson . . . if there is any issue on which conservative voters can be detached from the GOP it is illegal immigration, and Richardson has acted to stake out this territory for the Democrats. He is insulated from frightening off Hispanic voters by his own Latino heritage. The first Hispanic President?
Hillary Clinton . . . she is still the unchallenged frontrunner for the nomination. Everyone concedes that Richardson and Warner are battling for second place, and Kerryís hat in the ring makes it harder for both of them.
John Robertson . . . a lifetime appointment and the reassurance that almost everyone else on the Court will retire before he does.
Itís been a bad year for . . .
George W Bush . . . since winning the largest ever vote, it has been all downhill. The Iraqi voters have expressed their support, but American voters are slipping away. He may be glad he doesnít have to face them again, or maybe not, as there is already evidence that this slippage may be temporary.
Harriet Miers . . . who?
John Kerry . . . heís running again, and this time no-one cares.
Rudi Giuliani . . . well, relatively at least. He still heads the field, but there is only room for one maverick Republican in the race and he was hoping John McCain would have given up by now.
Kathleen Blanco, Ray Nagin and Mary Landrieu . . . somehow Louisiana didnít handle the hurricane as well as Mississippi, and blaming Washington doesnít cut it. All the polls show that Blanco and Nagin in particular have real reasons to start job-hunting.
Bill Owens . . . formerly every conservativeís favorite, the governor of Colorado is suddenly toxic. Divorce was bad enough, but tax increases are fatal. Did he never take conservatism 101?
Arnold Schwarzeneggar . . . in a state with a large Democrat majority in the legislature the Governatorís only weapon was his huge popularity and the threat of taking an issue directly to the people. After losing four out of four votes, the threat doesnít seem so deadly.
And the first person to claim a good 2006 is probably going to be Sam Alito . . . but letís see what the Senate makes of him first.
Copyright © Quentin Langley 14 December 2005