It’s two years until the first presidential contest of 2008, and pundits have visions of a dream matchup: Hillary versus Condi.
Never mind that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has ruled out a run or that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t a sure thing. That hasn’t deterred a new book, Condi vs. Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race, coauthored by Dick Morris, who was Bill Clinton’s political Svengali.
Why stop there? Here are more unprecedented matchups:
OLD DOMINION DUO. Democrat Mark Warner, who just stepped down as Virginia governor, versus the state’s junior senator, George Allen. Virginia, however, would not add to its record as the birthplace of eight presidents. Allen was born in California, Warner in Indiana.
THE DOCTORS ARE IN. Senate Republican leader Bill Frist of Tennessee versus Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean. But neither physician has the bedside manner to heal a nation.
NOT BORN IN THE USA. California Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger versus Michigan’s Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm. The constitutional requirement that a president be American-born would have to be altered to allow a race between the native Austrian and the native Canadian.
A PAIR OF MAVERICKS. Republican senator John McCain of Arizona versus Democratic senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. Both could foster bipartisanship because each has strayed from his party’s position on so many issues.
VIETNAM—AGAIN. Democratic senator John Kerry of Massachusetts versus Republican senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. The two veterans could replay the 2004 campaign, only this time the valor of both candidates could be debated.
SE HABLA ESPAÑOL. Republican governor Jeb Bush of Florida versus Democratic governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. Despite his Anglo name, Richardson is of Hispanic descent. Jeb’s wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.
MR. MAYORS. Rudy Giuliani, the Republican former mayor of New York, versus Democratic Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. No one has gone directly from the mayor’s office to the White House. Yet experience managing the nation’s two largest and most diverse cities might be a real plus.
ABORTION ACROBATS. Republican governor George Pataki of New York versus Democratic senate candidate Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. Each opposes his party’s position on abortion: Pataki is pro-choice, Casey pro-life. As president, each might forge a national consensus.
CAROLINA CONTEST. North Carolina’s 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, John Edwards, versus Republican senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. It could be a neighborly affair between two attractive Southerners.
WE’RE NUMBER TWO. Democratic former vice president Al Gore versus Vice President Dick Cheney. Both say they won’t seek the presidency. Many in both parties hope that they keep their word.