POINTLESS PROGNOSTICATION….‘Tis the weekend, apparently, for spouting off about who the eventual GOP nominee will be in 2008. I usually try to abstain from this things, mostly because: a) I don’t know, and b) I don’t think anyone else knows. Still, the idea that “Huckabee, Hagel, Brownback, and Graham” (Graham? Lindsay Graham??) are the guys to watch was enough to rouse me for a few comments.

First of all, I didn’t even know Mike Huckabee was thinking about running until a few weeks ago and there’s a good reason for that. A poll of Arkansas voters in February revealed that 52 percent of them would choose Hillary Clinton over Huckabee. Remember, the spin was that she left the state as an unpopular woman. Maybe so, maybe not, but people there seem to think she’s a better option than Huckabee. Only 39 percent of Arkansas voters think he’s qualified to be president. You kind of need your own state behind you if you’re going to make a run.

Hagel is seen as an apostate, a traitor (see: McCain, 2000). Even conservatives who like him tell me he would never get past the base.

Brownback is interesting. The old guard of the Christian Right may just be angry enough to get behind him. They wanted Ashcroft in 2000, settled for Bush, and although they’ve gotten two Supreme Court justices out of the deal (they hope), they’re still feeling burned. Rather than compromising in 2008, they may insist on their own guy. And that would be fantastic. Because as my friend Jeff Sharlet showed in this fantastic Rolling Stone profile of Brownback (writer’s cut can be found here), Brownback is about as extreme as they come in the Christian Right world. Finally, a religious candidate who actually deserves the scorn of the knee-jerk left.

And all I’ll say about Lindsay Graham is–true or not–if he ran, we could expect push-polling about this “never-married”, neatly-groomed senator. Even in his home state of South Carolina.

Who will be the nominee? I have no frickin’ idea. But I wouldn’t count out John McCain or George Allen. Never discount the willingness of GOP leaders to make a pragmatic choice.

Amy Sullivan

Amy Sullivan is a Chicago-based journalist who has written about religion, politics, and culture as a senior editor for Time, National Journal, and Yahoo. She was an editor at the Washington Monthly from 2004 to 2006.