``Do the Republicans really want to win this year?'' asked Uncle Chet as he poured glasses of red wine to go with bacon-and-tomato pizza.
``They always want to win,'' I said.
``And preside over the biggest defeat in our history?'' he asked, ``the trillion-dollar loss of Iran and Afghanistan? Do they want to be held responsible for gas going up a dime a week and angry people losing their homes, their hopes, everything?''
``It may not be that dire,'' said Alice as she passed the fruit salad around the table. ``How many people do we know who are losing a home?''
``Or would they rather hand this one off to the Democrats,'' he said, ``the failed war and an economy so weak they have to send out refunds a year early and beg us to spend like there's no tomorrow?''
``Now there's a cheery thought,'' said Hon.
``You know your money is becoming worthless when the government sends it back to you,'' said Uncle Chet. ``And you know the Republicans can't be serious when they put up a retro-candidate like McCain. He makes Dole look like a fresh face.''
``He's about even in the polls, last I saw,'' I said.
``Florida's the only state where he has a chance,'' he said. ``He'll go down two-to-one in November when the Democrats rally round Obama, and that's already starting. By Wednesday, Hillary will be out of contention and the big question will be, `who should be the veep?''
``What's a veep?'' asked Buddy, who was following this closely.
``Right now, he's a creep,'' said his older sister, our ninth-grader, and everyone eyed her.
``Very good!'' Uncle Chet beamed.
```Veep' is short for vice president,'' said Hon. ``Uncle Chet is wondering who'll run with Obama to be vice president.''
``I'll take the job,'' I said.
``He doesn't need a New Yorker, you or Hillary. But he'd better pick someone with the same philosophy, or he won't last a year.''
``You mean he'll get shot,'' I said.
``Like Abraham, Martin and John. He's talking about taxing billionaires, ending war profits, reining in the right wing, and that's deadly.''
``I think he should pick Edwards,'' said Alice. ``They're both good on health care and the war, and Edwards seems stronger than he was four years ago.''
``Edwards for attorney general,'' said Uncle Chet.
``How about Bill Richardson?'' asked Hon. ``He's experienced, progressive and he'd bring out the Hispanic vote. They might even win Texas.''
``That's my choice,'' said Uncle Chet. ``With the black vote and the Hispanic vote, we wouldn't even need a majority of the white vote to win the White House. But I think Obama will win the white vote when it's down to a two-man race: It's not rocket science when one guy's singing `bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran,' and the other's offering you peace, solar energy and affordable health care.''
``I think we're forgetting the women's vote,'' said Alice. ``A lot of women were really hoping for Hillary and they're going to be disappointed in the Democrats, especially if McCain runs with Condoleezza.''
``Condoleezza would kill McCain,'' said Uncle Chet. ``He can't run with her, then try to claim he's different from Bush. Not happening, though I wish it would. Love to see it. Can you imagine a black on both sides? Then who would all those `hard-working' West Virginians have to vote for?''
``McCain could pick Romney,'' I suggested.
``Romney or Huckabee,'' said Hon.
``I think Huckabee would be stronger, especially in the south,'' said Alice.
``Obama and Richardson, versus McCain and Huckabee,'' I pondered.
``You're all wrong. He's running with Lieberman,'' said Uncle Chet. ``Who's at his side now, stoking fears of domestic terrorism? Joseph Lieberman. Who's traveling around with him, grabbing the microphone when he has a senior moment? Joseph Lieberman, the former Democrat and the biggest reason Gore lost eight years ago. All the `Joementum' is with the GOP this time, and we already know that's the kiss of death.''
Cooperstown News Bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week.