It’s official: Obama is thinking about running. Of course the knock against him — the only one that will stick, I imagine, but a big one — is his lack of experience. For my part, I tend to think that character and circumstance define a presidency. Presidents are out of their depth the minute they walk into the office. No one is ever prepared to become the world’s most powerful human being. It’s how they react, who they hire, what kind of people they are, and above all, what happens in the world around them that ultimately matters.

John Kerry thinks he deserves a second shot at the presidency. The theme of his run, which is all but inevitable, is that he learned his lesson during his last run. He’s ready to get tough, fight back, etc. My guess: not a chance in hell.

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Also, as you’ve probably heard, Mark Warner took his hat out of the ring, which leaves an opening for a non-ideological moderate — expect the fortunes of Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh to rise, at least in the short term.

On the Republican side, unless something or someone powerful intervenes, I’m assuming the candidate is going to be John McCain. He’ll be tough to beat, not least thanks to his charisma and the incredible myth he’s built around himself. He’s bamboozled the press and a good chunk of the public into thinking he’s a maverick and a free-thinker and a “reasonable” conservative. But while he would almost certainly be an improvement over Bush on the domestic front — how could he not? — he is, if anything, more enamored of war and foreign aggression than the neocons.

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If it comes down to McCain vs. Hillary or Kerry, McCain will win. McCain vs. Gore or Obama would, at the very least, be a far more interesting race.