Good news for me. It seems that Wes Clark is IN!
So he will probably announce this weekend at the DNC winter conference/on Hardball. With him in, the field goes to 10 (just like 2004). So, let's take a look at the field and see who's up, and who is down (and who should be out):
1. Obama: his timetable legislation is specific and tough, with a date far enough away to be realistic and not 'too liberal' it forces other candidates to either make their time tables sooner (and seem to be followers or 'too liberal') or reject timetables altogether (and be labeled as Joe Lieberman clones).
2. Clinton: she went to Iowa and demonstrated how much press and people she can attract. But some seemed non-plussed with her who weren't already firmly behind her beforehand. And then her big splash in NH got canceled due to a family illness. I hope they get better.
3. Edwards: with Hillary and Barack in, he is a front runner who is running against the media this time who is hell bent on making this a two-way race. Obama timetable outflanks Edwards who cannot do anything other than make a speech. (that's the downside of not being in office). But he can hang out with primary voters and raise money all day long (that's the plus side).
4. Richardson: His Darfur peace treaty seems to be holding up, and his resume is pretty impressive. But the fact that he was part of the When Ho Lee scandal (as Clinton's Energy Secretary), and the rumors of philandering may kill his candidacy before it starts. Plus, he lost NM for Kerry.
5. Clark: he starts off much better off than last time. Like Edwards, he learned a lot by running last time. He now has a real organization behind him (WesPAC/VoteVets/etc.), he has campaigned for candidates all over the country in 2006 by request, just like Obama. His wife, who was against it in 2003, learned to love campaigning in 2004. A general who make a lasting peace in ethnically divided land and ran a competent war (save the embassy bombing) seems like a pretty good selling point in 2007. Now who is he going to hire? Where is his money coming from?
6. Vilsack: he keeps going lower and lower in Iowa, where he was governor for 8 years. If he can't win Iowa, how can he win nationally? Plus, that name is terrible.
7. Also rans (Dodd, Biden, Gravel, Kucinich): none of these guys have a prayer. Dodd said he is competing with the margin of error in polls. A paper replied, you wish, the MoE is 5.4%, you are at 1%. Ouch. Biden made news today by making a racist-sounding "compliment" to Obama. This from a guy whose whole strategy is to convince South Carolinians that he is just as racist as the worst of them (saying that Delaware was once a slave state and wished it could have joined the Confederacy, mean old Maryland and DC where in the way). Gravel will never be heard from. Kucinich is trying to capture the Nader vote, so I guess that is useful, but he is a joke.
To me, the biggest threat to Democrats wanting the White House is no longer John McCain, but ex-AR Gov. Mike Huckabee. He really sounded great on the Daily Show. My wife remarked that she had no idea that he was a GOPer until the label appeared. His anti-fat campaign is something that many Americans can get behind. After all, there are lots of overweight people in America. His story of losing hundreds of pounds is about as inspiring as Obama's to some.