The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball


Las Vegas odds: the 2008 presidential election

Is it too early to start handicapping the 2008 presidential race? No!

Here in Las Vegas, the odds for the next championship are posting as the final seconds of the clock tick away for the current year's big game. The odds for the 2006 Super Bowl were up even before Donovan McNabb started running the least urgent two-minute drill in NFL history. So, by the standards of your typical Las Vegas Sports Book, I'm late posting the odds for the 2008 presidential nominations.

Here are the first Las Vegas Odds for the Democrat and Republican presidential nominations in 2008:

1001 Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) 3-2
1002 John F. Kerry (MA) 4-1
1003 Evan Bayh (IN) 10-1
1004 Mark Warner (VA) 15-1
1005 John Edwards (NC) 16-1
1006 Phil Bredesen (TN) 18-1
1007 Howard Dean (VT) 25-1
1008 Joseph Biden (DE) 30-1
1009 Al Gore (TN) 35-1
1010 Bill Richardson (NM) 45-1
1011 Tom Vilsack (IA) 100-1
1012 Russ Feingold (WI) 150-1
1013 Barbara Boxer (CA) 400-1
1014 Janet Napolitano (AZ) 450-1

2001 Dick Cheney (WY) 3-1
2002 Rudy Giuliani (NY) 3-1
2003 Condoleezza Rice (CA) 7-2
2004 Bill Frist (TN) 6-1
2005 George Allen (VA) 17-1
2006 Jeb Bush (FL) 27-1
2007 John McCain (AZ) 35-1
2008 Mitt Romney (MA) 36-1
2009 Newt Gingrich (GA) 60-1
2010 Rick Santorum (PA) 70-1
2011 Bill Owens (CO) 250-1
2012 Mark Sanford (SC) 300-1
2013 George Pataki (NY) 350-1
2014 Chuck Hagel (NE) 500-1

These are the odds at the exact instance in time, 40-42 months prior to the nominating conventions.

For the Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton, obviously, is the early favorite. John Kerry, who is sending signals about running, is the only other "top tier" candidate. John Edwards does not warrant inclusion in the top tier because he was a drag on the ticket as Kerry's veep choice in '04. His only shot at getting the nomination is to have all the viable candidates self-destruct in front of him, which is possible.

The odds are relatively high on Evan Bayh, Mark Warner and Phil Bredesen, as they are current or former governors who are prospering politically in red states. That could be a Democrat goal in '08, depending on how the 2006 midterms go. Howard Dean is so low because of his promise not to seek the presidential nomination if he was elected DNC chair, which he was. Joe Biden is so low because, politically, he is way past his sell-by date. Bill Richardson (who would be my personal choice among the possible Dem candidates) is being assigned low odds because of the rumors of skeletons in his closet that twice now has derailed him from being slotted as the Dems'vice presidential candidate, despite charisma and foreign policy cred. The others have no realistic shot, but between now and the Fall of '07, will be "mentioned."

For the Republicans, the highest odds are for Dick Cheney, who has said he is not running. Two historical reasons for such high odds: (1) the fact that sitting vice presidents tend to get their party's presidential nomination and (2) the curse of Tecumseh could render him an incumbent. Given the anger in this world (and nation) toward the incumbent, this, unfortunately, must be factored in. If the War on Terror is the issue in the Republican nominating process, the two best positioned candidates are Rudy G. and Condi Rice. Given that Condi recently refused to rule out a run, the odds for her are getting higher.

Bill Frist will probably be the best positioned of the rest. George Allen does have the gubernatorial credentials that are fairly essential, but he's too much of an unknown nationally to be a likely nominee for the R's. John McCain doesn't have a realistic shot because of his age (he'll be 68 in 2008). Jeb Bush's chances would be higher if there was a likelihood of him actually running. Mitt Romney is from the state most demonized in Republican circles, and the whole Mormon thing, fair or not, will be a huge hurdle for him to overcome (e.g., Protestant evangelicals aren't entirel comfortable with their LDS brethren). Bill Owens is now out of the realm of serious candidates because of the spanking the R's took in Colorado in 2004 elections. And Chuck Hagel is a 500-1 shot because, typically, Republicans prefer to nominate an actual Republican/

Addendum: The Washington Post is quoting Condi in an ABC-TV interview as saying that she has "no ambition" to be president and "no intention" of running. Hardly Sherman-esque. And definitely the right tack for an ambitious underling to be saying this far from election time. The 7-2 odds still look about right.
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