Yes, November 2008 is still almost two years away.
But it's not too soon to start talking about the next presidential election—ask anyone who's been to a bar in the last few months. People are talking about the next presidential race now.
That's a measure of how much people—even Republicans—hate George W. Bush. With voters counting the days until his term expires, and big-name politicians maneuvering into position for runs at the Oval Office, you need info to hold up your end of the drunken political conversations you'll be dragged into, like it or not.
So here's a handy primer to help you speculate wildly—and hold your own in bars—until the presidential primaries begin next January.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Current Job: Junior senator from New York; castrating ice princess
No one has generated more ink in the run-up to the run-up to the run-up to the 2008 presidential election than Hillary Rodham Clinton—and she hasn't even declared her candidacy.
Everyone assumes she will soon, however, and in the meantime journalists, pundits, bloggers, and other drunks are fascinated by Clinton. She's an automatic front-runner if she enters the race; if she gets the nomination, she'd be the first woman nominated for president; if she wins the election, she'd be the first woman elected president; she's a "polarizing figure" who has nevertheless won fans in the red parts of New York State; she's smart as hell and, by the admission of many Republicans, a formidable force in the U.S. Senate.
Oh, and she's married to Bill Clinton—did we mention that? Yes, she's married to the ex-president, ex-philanderer, and current international do-gooder. There is even solid evidence that she fucked him once. (See, "Clinton, Chelsea.")
Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in Chicago in 1947 to a Methodist family. In 1964, she campaigned for Republican presidential candidate Barry "Nuke 'Em" Goldwater, but soon switched parties. In 1969 she graduated from Wellesley College, where three semesters of lesbianism are required for graduation. She then entered Yale Law School wearing huge, ugly glasses, and was soon dating Bill Clinton. She married Clinton in 1975, and moved with him to Arkansas, where, according to a video peddled by Jerry Falwell, she proceeded to oversee the Clintons' drug-running operations and hit squads.
When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Hillary became the first first-lady to hold a postgraduate degree and the first to have a successful career of her own (as a lawyer, drug dealer, and assassin). Bill Clinton appointed Hillary to the powerful Task Force on National Health Care reform. However, the body's complicated recommendations failed to gain traction in either the House or the Senate, resulting in the "Hillarycare" debacle.
When Hillary ran for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2000, pundits said she was too polarizing a figure and way too much of a castrating bitch to get her fat ass elected. They were wrong. She was easily reelected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. She voted for the war in Iraq, but has been oh-so-bravely critical of the way the war has been conducted ever since.
Status: Exploratory committee formed
Why He Matters: Mayor of New York on 9/11, famously didn't wet pants, run, or hide
Lionized for his steady demeanor on September 11, 2001, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been mentioned ever since as a likely presidential candidate on the Republican ticket. However, his chaotic personal life, crossdressing, and support for gay rights may make his candidacy a nonstarter with the deeply closeted crossdressing faggots who make up the leadership of the Republican base.
Giuliani was born in Brooklyn in 1944 to second-generation Italian immigrants. He graduated from New York University's law school in 1968 and went on to make a name for himself as a federal prosecutor. In 1993, on his second attempt, he became mayor of New York, ushering in a tough-on-crime era that is credited with making New York safer—except for unarmed black men.
As outlined in a recently leaked (or, according to Giuliani's camp, "stolen") campaign document, the former mayor is aware that he may have difficulty winning over social conservatives and their faggot leaders. He is on his third wife, having left his first wife after allegedly discovering that she was his second cousin (could be a plus with the sister-banging conservatives in the deep South), and having used a news conference to inform his second wife—and their two children—that he was leaving her. It is believed that he was already seeing his now third wife, Judith Nathan, at the time.
But it's not like he was buying meth from gay hookers, right? Giuliani was, however, dressing in drag (on Saturday Night Live and at a charity fundraiser), and supporting gay rights and gay marriage and gay baby rape. He even lived with gays during his second divorce. He's also pro-choice, and has said he believes Americans should have to pass a written test to own a gun, which won't go over well with the sister-banging, crossdressing illiterates in the Republican base.
Status: Declared on Dec 28, 2006
Why He Matters: Former senator and vice-presidential candidate; real purty mouth
John Edwards, a former trial lawyer turned U.S. senator turned vice-presidential candidate turned invisible man turned populist crusader, threw his hat in the ring last month. In October, a poll of Democrats in Iowa, who will hold their much-hyped caucus on January 14 of next year, found that Edwards was the front-runner among likely Democratic candidates, beating Hillary Clinton by 20 points and Barack Obama by 23 points. It's only Iowa, of course, and Iowa is a stinking pig-manure lagoon, but those are impressive results.
Beginning in 1998, Edwards served one term as a senator from North Carolina. In 2000, he posed shirtless for People magazine after they named him "sexiest politician alive." (The competition was fierce—Edwards barely beat out Dennis Hastert and Trent Lott.) In 2004 he became the vice-presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket with John Kerry, and promptly disappeared from sight.
While in the Senate, Edwards co-sponsored Joe Lieberman's 2002 resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq, and then voted for the war—a vote he now says he regrets. (No shit? Really? Wow!) He sort of supports gay civil unions (but definitely not gay marriage), he's pro-choice, and for the death penalty. His wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with breast cancer the day after the general election in 2004. Their first son, Wade, died in a car accident in 1996, at the age of 16. They have three other children: Catharine, Emma Claire, and Jack.
Edwards declared his candidacy on December 28 in New Orleans, in the hurricane-devastated Ninth Ward, promising to reestablish America's moral leadership in the world; rejecting the idea of a "troop surge" in Iraq and calling instead for troop withdrawal; and promising to end poverty in a nation he likes to describe as really "two Americas." Both his nipples are pierced.
Status: Exploratory committee formed
Current Job: Senior senator from Arizona; recovering "straight talker"; very,very old man
John McCain is a war hero and a media darling. He's the senior senator from Arizona and a former presidential candidate who in 2000 lost a nasty race for the Republican nomination to George W. Bush.
McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam where he was held for nearly six years and tortured repeatedly, an experience that shaped his opposition to some parts of the Bush administration's policy on detainees (torture 'em!) and unlawful combatants (torture 'em worse!).
The most interesting part of McCain's second run for the presidency is his attempt to convince the hard right of the Republican base—all those closeted crossdressing, meth-snorting, sister-banging faggots—that he's their man. The big question is whether the ideological and moral contortions that McCain's been going through to sell himself to people like Reverend Jerry Falwell (whom McCain in 2000 described as one of America's "agents of intolerance") are damaging his reputation for moral and ideological rigor.
Another big question about McCain is his age. If he wins, McCain would be, at 72, the oldest president ever sworn in. Before voting for McCain, many Americans will look at the oldest, batshitcraziest fucker in their family and think to themselves: "I don't think Uncle Marv should be driving anymore, much less running the fucking country. Marv can barely control his bowels—and he's two years younger than this McCain douchebag. I'm voting for Hillary, I guess. After eight years of Bush the last thing this country needs is a president that craps his pants during summit meetings."
McCain has been a leader on campaign-finance reform; a hawk on the Iraq war; a promoter of the idea that life begins at conception; and has been all over the map on gay marriage, voting against the Federal Marriage Amendment but supporting a failed initiative to ban gay marriage in his home state.
McCain is married to Cindy Hensley McCain, his second wife. He has admitted to having affairs while married to his first wife, Carol Shepp. McCain has seven children, including a Bangladeshi orphan adopted with his second wife. In the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina, the Bush campaign told those racist crackers that McCain's Bangladeshi daughter was the illegitimate product of an interracial relationship. Surprise! Bush won the primary and ultimately the nomination, leaving McCain furious. But McCain has apparently gotten over it. He gave Bush an awkward public hug during Bush's 2004 reelection campaign. No one has asked McCain's Bangladeshi daughter how she felt about that hug. We imagine she was furious.
Current Job: Junior senator from Illinois; bestselling author; totally fuckable former coke and pot user
Barack Obama is beloved by Democrats for many reasons, but in the context of their hopes for winning the White House, he is beloved because he is a fresh, charismatic face unburdened by a 2002 vote to invade Iraq. (He didn't get elected to the U.S. Senate until 2004.) His charm, intelligence, optimism, and good looks remind many Democrats of pre-blowjob Bill Clinton. Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, is also Clintonian (Bill was the "boy from Hope, Arkansas") and has been on the New York Times bestseller list since it was published last year. And while Obama has admitted to using pot (and coke!) as a teenager, it is not known whether he has ever received a blowjob from a fat white chick.
Another big reason for the attention Obama's been getting: He is only the fifth black senator in the nation's history and, if elected, would be the country's first black president.
Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Kenyan-born father and an American-born mother. His early life took him to Indonesia, California, New York, Chicago, and finally Cambridge, where he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School after having become the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1996, after moving back to Chicago, Obama was elected to the Illinois state legislature.
In 2004, he vaulted into the national consciousness, giving a strong keynote address at the Democratic National Convention and winning the Senate seat from Illinois, beating Republican Alan Keyes, the nuttiest fucking sister-banging, crossdressing faggot in the Republican party. After two years as a senator—during which he has served on the Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans' Affairs Committees—Obama's greatest strength among Democrats, his short record in Washington, is also his biggest potential weakness.
Obama is married to attorney Michelle Robinson. The couple has two children and attends Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. If Oprah had to sleep with a man, she would sleep with Obama.
Status: Exploratory committee formed
Recently: Governor of Massachusetts; total prick
Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has been busy over the last few years positioning himself to run for president as a Christian conservative from godless New England. As part of this process, this obscenely wealthy Mormon has taken numerous shots at his home state. The most prominent examples of this are his repeated attempts to undo gay marriage in Massachusetts. (This stance has been complicated somewhat by the unearthing of past statements Romney made supporting "full equality" for gays and lesbians.)
Mitt Romney was born in Michigan to George Romney, a former governor of that state and a 1968 presidential candidate. Romney attended Stanford for two quarters as an undergraduate and then left to go on his Mormon mission in France. When he returned, he finished his BA at Brigham Young University in Utah, graduating in 1971, and then went on to get an MBA and a JD from Harvard. He was, presumably, wearing those special Mormon underpants the whole time. He may be wearing them still, but he refuses to discuss it. Which is understandable—if your dumb, fake-Christian religion required you to wear some weird gay panties all the time, would you want to talk about it?
Romney then worked as a vice president at a management-consulting firm; helped to found Bain Capital, a private-equity investment firm; and in 2002, headed up the Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee, which he transformed from a fiscal nightmare into a relative success. In 1994, Romney ran unsuccessfully against Ted Kennedy for a Senate seat representing Massachusetts (that's when he had nice things to say about the gays). In 2002, he ran for governor and won.
On the issues, Romney is to the right of Republicans like McCain and Giuliani. In addition to opposing gay marriage, Romney supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay unions. He is firmly pro-life. As governor, he vetoed bills supporting stem-cell research and emergency contraception for rape victims. (Hey, you can always put your rapist's kid up for a gay adoption!) He supports the death penalty. He believes withdrawing from Iraq would be a mistake. He wears Mormon underpants.
Romney met his wife, Ann Davies, when she was in high school. She, presumably, was also wearing Mormon underpants. They have been married since 1968 and have five sons and 10 grandchildren, despite the Mormon underpants.
Current Job: Governor of New Mexico; former baseball jock; current fatso
Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, is like Obama in one way: He is unburdened by a 2002 vote on the Iraq war. He is unlike Obama in another way: Oprah doesn't want to fuck him.
Richardson served seven terms in Congress, but none of them covered 2002, when John Edwards, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and others voted in favor of invading Iraq. Richardson has been critical of the war's management and now advocates a pullout. He recently called McCain "dead wrong" in his support of a troop surge.
Richardson was Bill Clinton's secretary of energy. He also served, in 1997, as Clinton's ambassador to the United Nations. In 1995, Richardson had a famous sit-down with Saddam Hussein in which he secured the release of two American hostages. In 2004, he became the first Hispanic chairman of a national Democratic nominating convention. And in 2003, after he was sworn in as New Mexico's governor, he became the only Hispanic governor in the United States. From his platform as leader of a border state, he's also been sharply critical of the Bush administration's immigration policy.
In 2000, Richardson was rumored to be on Al Gore's shortlist for vice-presidential running mates. Instead, Gore chose Joe Fucking Lieberman. Then in 2004 he was rumored to be on John Kerry's shortlist. Kerry chose John Useless Edwards. Now Richardson, sick of getting jilted by assholes who can't win elections, is considering a run for the top job.
Richardson was born in California, but grew up in Mexico City. He moved to Massachusetts at age 13 to attend high school, played baseball at Tufts University as an undergraduate, and then got a master's degree at Tufts in law and diplomacy. He met his wife, Barbara Flavin, in Boston.
Richardson is pro-choice, has backed civil unions in New Mexico, and supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S., paying taxes, and learning English. He used to tell people he was a Major League Baseball draft pick. He told people that for 40 years. It was a big, fat, stinking lie. If Richardson is the nominee, expect to see Republicans in baseball uniforms at all of his campaign events.
Status: Will enter race Jan 20
Current Job: Senator from Kansas, douche
You know what's the matter with Kansas? Senator Sam Brownback is announcing his entrance into the 2008 presidential race in Topeka, Kansas, later this month. Then Brownback plans to fly back to Washington, D.C., where he will participate in an anti-abortion march marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. It's a fitting maneuver for a conservative Catholic who rode into the House of Representatives during the Republican Revolution in 1994 and quickly made the jump to the Senate. Catholics do not wear funny underpants. They wear Prada slippers—well, at least their Nazi pope does.
Brownback was born in tiny Parker, Kansas, and first got into politics as a student at Kansas State University, campaigning for Ronald Reagan during Reagan's unsuccessful run against Gerald Ford for the Republican presidential nomination. He earned a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1982.
He opposes abortion and gay rights, promotes the teaching of intelligent design, and is casting himself as the non-Mormon/real-Christian version of Mitt Romney. While evangelical Christians tend to be fucking idiots who agree with Romney on social issues, they also think of Mormonism as a "cult." Which is hilarious because that's what the Romans said about the Christians back in the day. And while evangelicals used to think the pope was the Antichrist, the election of a Nazi fag pope seems to have smoothed all that over.
Brownback does not believe the Constitution guarantees a right to privacy. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee he has, however, expressed some concerns about the Bush administration's secret wiretapping program. He is a moderate on capital punishment. (He only supports killing people "a little.")
Brownback is married to a Topeka newspaper heiress and the couple has five children. He's a total asshole.
Stranger intern Sage Van Wing contributed to this story.