Somebody’s Gotta Win

By Ed O'Keefe

Dec 27, 2007 11:19am

Opinion by Matthew Dowd, ABC News Political Contributor

I hope everyone’s Christmas and holiday was joy filled and peaceful, and you were able to connect with your loved ones.

As we head into the final week of the primary season before the Iowa Caucus, it is an interesting moment to touch on some conclusions by various people speculating on the state of the field.

It seems there is a consensus by most pundits that this is a field of candidates in both political parties that are flawed and can’t win.

Below is a summary of much of these conclusions about the dominant candidates on the Democratic and Republican sides. (Before you blog me to death with responses, I am just rehashing what is being stated by many.)

Hillary Clinton can’t win because she is too polarizing, doesn’t come across as warm (unlike her husband), and overall perceptions of her are much too negative.

Barack Obama can’t win because he is way too inexperienced and America isn’t ready for an African-American president.

John Edwards is "old news" from 2004, and for many comes across as overly marketed and too "political".

John McCain can’t win because he is too old, and has damaged his brand of independence by siding too closely with President Bush on the War in Iraq.

Mitt Romney has flip flopped too much on important issues, so folks question his authenticity. And the country isn’t ready for a Mormon president.

Rudy Giuliani can’t win because his personal story is too "complicated" for mainstream America, and questions concerning his post-mayor professional career are a vulnerability.

And Mike Huckabee is unelectable because of many "outrageous" positions and statements in his past, and he may come across as too much of a fringe conservative.

This is a pretty pointed summary of what many are saying.  (Again, for continued clarification, not necessarily my views.)

The really interesting and somewhat ironic thing is that even though all these candidates are described as "unelectable", one of them is more than likely going to be our next President. Though each "can’t win", one will win!

And one very important aspect of how voters view candidates is that once a candidate gets the nomination of their major party, the public automatically assumes they are qualified and can be president.

The nomination process on its own gives enhanced credibility and status to the nominee — just teaches us about politics (and life), where snap judgements are often misguided, and shows the importance of not judging facts solely on their own, but the importance of putting things in context.

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