Ah, America, where more people are concerned about quarterbacks involved in dogfighting rings and NBA referees who fixed games than an attorney general who may have perjured himself in congressional testimony. Can we please just impeach Bush and Cheney and get out of Iraq already? How much longer do we have to go on with this until Nixon rises from the grave and announces he's running in '08? Think it's unlikely? A run-away administration, a no-balls congress, and a whole field of uninspiring presidential candidates ... that's what's called a power vacuum, and Nixon never, ever passed up an opportunity to seize unwarranted but available public trust. So what if he's dead? He was as good as dead in the mid-60s, and was sitting in the Oval Office before anyone knew what happened. Don't say you haven't been warned.
So, I think it's only appropriate that we profile some of the real dark horses for 2008. And we're not talking about the Mike Gravel kind of darkhorses, either. More like ...
Barbaro: Like Nixon, he must overcome being dead. Unlike Nixon, Barbaro was almost universally beloved. We all cheered him on in his valiant struggle to overcome a near-fatal injury in the Preakness (well, maybe not Michael Vick). We all felt the warm tingle of a single tear down our cheek when that nearly year-long struggle ended as we all feared it would (again, Michael Vick excepted. And probably Dick Cheney, too). Just like Ike in '52, either party would be lucky to have such a unifying force on the ticket.
Harry Potter: So what if he's fictional? Did you see how many people lined up to get that book? And he's still making news a week after it came out, the kind of publicity that Al Gore could only wish for. Sure, he's got Pagan leanings and there are all those questions and concerns from religious conservatives about what he really believes and stands for, but that's no different from Mitt Romney.
Charles Manson: America is a forgiving nation. Full of forgiving people. And we have technology to remove swastika tattoos, too, so that helps. Hey, he put a whole family under his spell, so don't doubt his persuasive abilities. He'd kick ass in a debate. Plus, he's got celebrity friends, like former housemate Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. Take that, Hillary!
Arnold Schwarzenegger: The governator's a legitimate politician, and a fast-riser at that, with ties to the Kennedy family. He's a true centrist with broad appeal. So what if the Constitution prohibits anyone who wasn't born in America from becoming president. You think the Constitution matters any more? Not in Bush's America. And not in Schwarzenegger's Amerika ... er ... make that America.
Jean-Claude Van Damme: OK, so he faces the same kind of uphill battle as Schwarzenegger, which is probably even steeper since he isn't a politician. But Van Damme always tries to outdo Schwarzenegger, and never underestimate the loyal fanbase of an action movie hero. They will vote, vote early, and vote often.
Paris Hilton: She's rich and the media loves her. Instant name recognition. Unfortunately for her, she's an ex-con, but Bush is an ex-coke addict, and he was elected twice. And she may be dumb as a rock, but again, so's Bush. If she can recruit Karl Rove to run her campaign, and my guess is she has the money to make it worth his while, all bets are off.
And I gotta say, with Rove on her side, Paris would be my pick out of this bunch. So my thoughts on the impending Hilton presidency? Well ... that's hot.