Virginia is a hot state, politically, at the moment; some excellent politicians on both sides of the aisle are running for state and national offices, or being talked up as presidential or vice-presidential candidates in 2008. At the moment, no one's hotter than Virginia GOP Senator George Allen, who was recently the champ in a poll of Washington insiders.
George Felix Allen - official bio
John Behan's Commonwealth Conservative is always a good source of info on Allen buzz (his own dream matchup is Condi-Allen) [CORRECTION 05/07/05 - that's the dream ticket of Will Vehrs, posted at Commonwealth Conservative - John prefers to see Allen at the top of the ticket].
Resume - U.S. Senator from Virginia; 67th governor of Virginia (1994-1998); former member of the U.S. and Virginia House; Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee; son of coaching legend and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer George Allen
Let's stipulate up front that Allen has some very attractive things going for him - superficially, he's tall and boyishly handsome; he's from the South (and at least a FORMER Southern governor); and he has a solid history of winning elections. Those who know him say he's got a bit of Bill Clinton's 'common man' touch. So how seriously should we take him, at this point?
First, a look at where he stands on the issues. Education is one of his stated priorities, but curiously, education issues never seem to offer much traction in presidential races. He's a solid pro-lifer; his voting record is pretty strong re: fiscal conservatism; and he's very pro-business. In other words, those who might be looking for an alternative to the perceived social liberalism of some of the GOP frontrunners should have no problem with Allen.
As for negatives, some apparently see his folksy demeanor as a sign of lack of intellect (hmm, where have I heard that before? - maybe that's not such a negative); senators don't have a great track record on presidental runs; and he's perceived by the liberals as a hardcore 'winger' (again, is that really a negative? Maybe in the general campaign, but not in the primaries).
I'm inclined to say Allen's a strong dark horse candidate in the middle of the pack with Mike Huckabee and Mark Sanford. His lack of name recognition outside of Virginia keeps me from putting him with the frontrunners, but I think the man's got a real outside shot, at least at a VP slot. He's definitely laying the groundwork for a run; two important things to watch for Allen and other up-and-comers are (1) how the campaign staff starts to shape up, and (2) the money, honey, always the money. Allen's worth keeping an eye on.
CURRENT ODDS: 20-1
UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:
CURRENT ODDS: 14-1: see here...