Atrios posts some numbers from a Newsweek poll on the favorable/unfavorable ratings of some leading Democrats:
Isn’t it obvious from this that only Edwards from that list ought to be seriously considered as our nominee for ’08? Unfavorables are hard to drive down and easy to drive up. If your candidate starts with unfaves in the 40s, you’ve got a tough row to hoe.
Newsweek also reports that voters want a Democratic rather than a Republican President in ’08 by 50%/31%. But all the trial heats have Hillary and Kerry running behind McCain, and I doubt that the Republicans will cooperate by running Cheney.
It’s true virtually every year that the voters prefer the generic Democrat to the generic Republican. If we got to run “Democrat to be Named Later,” that imaginary candidate would win in a walk. The problem is that we have to run some actual human being, and the Republicans can be counted on to do an excellent job of dirtying him (or her) up.
So our strategy seems to me obvious: run someone as close to “Generic Democrat” as we can find, someone who presents a narrow scattering cross-section for sliming. It looks as if Edwards fits the bill. (The Republicans have already had a shot at making him Mr. Evil Tort Lawyer, without apparent success.) So do Clark and Warner. Hillary, Kerry, and Gore don’t.
So do we want to win, or not?