Are you bored with the 2008 election already? I am. So let's move past it, to the gargantuan race looming just around the corner: the 2010 California Senate race.
Yes, I'm talking about the California Senate race that may very well pit pint-sized incumbent Barbara Boxer against the incumbent larger-than-life governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Why is this race likely to occur?
Arnold is facing two opponents that he cannot defeat, either in his action movie persona or as the governor. He is up against term limits -- he will not be able to run in 2010 for reelection to Sacramento -- and he is not permitted, as a foreign-born citizen, to run for the presidency.
Consequently, if he wants to continue to have a career in politics, there is only one place left for him to go, and that is Washington, D.C. Some may say he may not want to go to D.C.; others say he may not want to be a junior senator in a minority party. They might be right, but the speculation is, they will be wrong.
The governor has received mountains of good publicity for his new moderate persona. This new image came out of necessity; Arnold initially governed as a conservative, and that didn't work, as his initiatives were trounced at the ballot box, and people's opinions on the governor ranged from pathetic to apathetic.
He then jumped into the phone booth, quickly discarded his old ways, changed his staff, and came back out of the booth as Supermoderate; his poll numbers have skyrocketed, he's running California as if it's a country of its own, and he's appeared as a can-do leader on the cover of Time.
And what of Senator Boxer? If the governor runs against her, should she cower in fear or is the senator going to live up to her last name?
Senator Boxer is going to fight, as she always does. She knows that, as the Chairperson of the Environment and Public Works Committee, she is in a unique position to help California, whereas Arnold may very well be the most junior Republican, in a minority party, and it may be a decade before he can realistically achieve much at all for his home state.
The senator can bash Arnold on his hypocrisy: yes, he's a big talker on the environment, but as the Los Angeles Times reports, he's not a big doer. "(Arnold's) administration is helping California's construction industry stall tough new air quality rules here at home," states the paper. And then there are Arnold's Humvees; two are Hybrids, three are not. Three Humvees? What an environmentalist!
Further, in Senator Boxer's favor is the fact that California has many more Democrats than Republicans. Senator Boxer and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein have operated as an effective team for about 15 years, and in three years, many people in this blue state will ask, "Why change now?"
There are, though, solid reasons for Arnold to run. It is likely that a Democrat will be in the White House in 2010, and the first off year elections often favor the party out of power. So Arnold has that going for him, as well as his current popularity. And he will have plenty of cash on hand as Republicans will be desperate to cling to the last vestiges of their power.
The 2010 Senate race in California already shapes up to be legendary. So, go ahead, speculate about 2008. But if you're already bored, as I am, by Rudy, Fred, Mitt and McCain, Hillary and Barack, look ahead, get ready, and get your checkbooks out, because the big fight is looming right around the corner.