At a Hartwick College tailgate party two Saturdays ago (Hartwick won another huge game that Saturday), a fellow conservative friend and I were talking. After a while, he asked me who I thought would be the candidate chosen from each party for the upcoming 2008 elections.
I tried to weasel out of the answer since I had sworn to myself not to get overly involved in all the campaign rhetoric until early next year. He went to get more food, and I thought I was off the hook. But when he came back, he continued to hold my feet to the fire.
After giving a lot of reasons and thinking about the issues, I came up with the tired old conventional choices of Sen. Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.
I was actually hoping it would be Hillary on the Democrat side, but Rudy was not my desired answer for the Republicans. He just doesn't excite me much, and I think he carries a lot of baggage that will be exploited in the general elections.
I think this election, for the first time in a very long time, will be determined by the selection of each party's running mate. I feel this is particularly true on the Republican side. The conservative base has to be brought back to the voting booths, and I don't think a Rudy nomination has the ability to do this by itself.
Way back in June, I wrote a column about Mike Huckabee, a former governor from Arkansas (he was the honest one). I thought he was a pretty impressive option and would make some serious waves before the campaign was over.
Sure enough, that is exactly what he is doing. In Iowa he has risen to second place in the polls behind Mitt Romney (27 percent to 19 percent) and is still getting stronger.