So for those of you who'd rather watch Spongebob than the world around you, here are the Top Ten candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties ... names you'll be hearing, a lot of, in the next two years ... and my take on them.
Today we're tackling the Republicans (listed alphabetically):
Sam Brownback, Senator, Kansas. Elected in the Republican Revolution of 1994; took over the Senate seat held by Bob Dole in 1996. Called the most sincere politician by those who know him; he has a plan for Kansas, and America, called "Reduce, Reform and Return" to restore the American Dream. The New York Times calls him "one of the most conservative, religious, fascinating -- and, in many ways, admirable -- politicians in America today."
Bill Frist, Senator, Tennessee. Was Senate Majority Leader when GOP had control. Licensed medical doctor, pilot (multi-engine, commercial, and instrument rated). Has performed over 150 heart and lung transplants, so perhaps he can transform America, too. Served two terms as a Senator from Tennessee before giving up the seat to consider his presidential run, so he won't be neglecting his senatorial duties while running. As a doctor, backs stem cell research and believes in a woman's right to choose, so he's a moderate.
Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor, NYC. Time's "Man of the Year" in 2001 after his handling of the Islamic terrorist attacks. Lawyer, two-term mayor of NYC; After 9-11-2001 he may have ruled NYC, but as I said about Hillary, there are 370 other cities, and 49 other states, he needs to visit.
Newt Gringrich, former Speaker of the House and Congressman from Georgia. Resigned as speaker and left the house after the 1998 Republican loss of five seats (he predicted a 30 seat gain). Best known for starting the "Contract With America" to reform welfare, campaign reform, balance the budget and tackle crime which led to the Republican Revolution of 1994 when the GOP took 54 seats in the House from Democrats.
Chuck Hagel, Senator - Nebraska. Businessman, Vietnam vet including two legit Purple Hearts; former newscaster, founded VANGUARD Cellular Systems. Has a son named Ziller (and a daughter Allyn) so he thinks outside of the box in a lot of ways.
Mike Huckabee, Governor, Arkansas. He's a bass player, which automatically gives him cool points (see Nye, Mark [Swig Tooth], or Oestreich, Joe [Watershed]). Named one of the top 5 governors by Time Magazine; believes in education, Medicaid and welfare reform, and nutrition reform as well. having lost 110 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003. First Republican elected in Arkansas to a state-level office since Reconstruction; got the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1998. Has written four books: "Character is the Issue" 1997; "Kids Who Kill" 1998; "Living Beyond Your Lifetime" 2000; "Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife and Fork" 2005.
Duncan Hunter, Congressman, California. Wants to follow fellow Republicans Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan as Californian Congressmen who became President. Supports the Secure Fence Act to strengthen the border with Mexico. Vietnam Vet, chairs the House Armed Service Committee, been in Congress since 1980.
John McCain, Senator - Arizona. He's old. He'll be 72 on Election Day 2008, only Reagan at 73 on his second election day was older. McCain's a former military officer, and was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Elected to congress in 1982; elected to Senate in 1986. Ran unsuccessfully in 2000 for Republican nomination. Seen as a centrist, but has many enemies. Most likely candidate at this point in time.
Milt Rommy, Governor, Massachusetts. Elected in 2002, got rid of a $3 billion (with a B) budget deficit in his first year of office by cutting the fat, streamlining and enacting comprehensive economic reforms; which lowered unemployment and spurred job growth, so he can get things done. Made the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah a success by taking over as President and CEO of the Salt Lake organizing Committee, erasing a $379 million debt. Ran Bain & Company as CEO, a management consulting firm, and Bain Capital, the venture capital company that launched Staples, Domino's, Sealy, and the Sports Authority, amongst others.
Tommy Thompson, former Governor - Wisconsin (1987-2000). Also former Health & Human Services director (2001-2005), and one of the first implanted with a "Healthcare ID" chip which "can be scanned at hospitals" to "keep track of the implantee's medical data." Member of the Council for National Policy with Trent Lott, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, amongst others. Scary.