Do you remember President Dewey? Do you remember President Muskie? Do you recall that former president George Herbert Walker Bush seemed to be a shoo-in for re-election in 1992 after the First Gulf War?
There is no sure thing in politics and it is irritating to see media and political analysts act as if this presidential race has already been narrowed even before the first primary vote has been cast.
It is irritating to hear and see only Hillary and Obama and Romney and Giuliani being mentioned as the only possibilities to win their parties respective nominations for president.
At this point national polls are meaningless. We do not vote in national elections for the primaries. We vote in individual state primaries and participate in individual state caucuses. What matters are how the candidates are doing in the specific states and those polls are much tighter than the national polls
Surprisingly, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is now in double digits in some early primary and caucus states. After the recent CNN/You Tube debate early results from focus groups indicated that Senator Joe Biden had been one of the favorites and had stood out among the candidates.
On the GOP side conventional wisdom now is that Senator John McCain's campaign is finished. Last year he was considered the frontrunner. It is too early to count out McCain. He is a fighter and might just be a better candidate as the underdog.
Another irritating thing happening in these early stages of the presidential campaign is the emphasis the media places on fundraising. Obviously, it is a key factor but not the only factor in the race. If McCain and others fall behind in raising funds some in the media consider them out of contention. If a candidate begins to win in the early caucuses and primaries money will flow into their coffers.
Once people start focusing on the candidates this fall we could see some changes in the poll standings. Senator Clinton has very high negative ratings. Many people cannot say why they do not like the New York senator other than they feel she is too structured and too programmed. Some say she does not seem real or have beliefs that haven't been tested before focus groups before she gives a speech.
And, as I have stated many times before, America is a large country of over 300 million people and there are good candidates and potential candidates for president not named Clinton or Bush. If Hillary became president for eight years there would have been a Bush or Clinton in the White House since 1988. Twenty-eight years of a Bush or Clinton in the Oval Office is too much!
Rudy Giuliani's lead in the GOP presidential race also seems as it could fade over time. Has he given Republican voters a reason to vote for him other than the fact that he was America's hero on 9/11? Can anyone tell us when a mayor has gone on to become president without a stop at the governor's mansion or a term or two in the United States Senate?
Prevailing wisdom in 1968 thought that former Michigan Governor George W. Romney, Mitt Romney's father, would be the Republican party's nominee. Romney wasn't the GOP nominee in 1968. The man who everyone said would never be a candidate again in national politics--Richard M. Nixon--won the nomination and the presidency going against prevailing opinion of the time.
The idea that has caught on that there are tiers--first tier, second tier and third tier candidates--is also strange and annoying.
This is try-out time for the candidates. This is spring training. These are rehearsals before going to Broadway. Each candidate is perfecting his or her lines before the big game or opening night.
To put the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the former Secretary of Energy and United Nations' Ambassador in the second tier for the Democrats is condescending and possibly will not be accurate when the votes begin to be counted.
On the GOP side Congressman Ron Paul is certainly different from his fellow candidates but he is earning some respect, money and possible votes in the future.
Senator Sam Brownback deserves more time in the national media than he is getting these days. He is an articulate spokesman for his activist brand of conservatism.
In the end Hillary and Rudy could be their parties nominees. However, I doubt that by the beginning of 2008 as the voting gets ready to begin that they will look as certain as the Democratic and Republican nominees.
They are both formidable candidates but they both have something else in common----a lot of negatives.
Today's frontrunners could be old news by this time next year. They could be possible vice-presidential contenders in Denver and Minneapolis next summer.
Don't forget Newt Gingrich, Michael Bloomberg and Al Gore and other newcomers to the presidential race. Politics, especially presidential politics changes by the hour.
We may see a President Hillary Clinton or a President Rudy Giuliani take office in 2009 but at this point it is far from certain that either of these candidates will be their party's nominee.
Stay tuned and listen as the fat lady has not even begun to sing!