We've circled "Back to the Future." Once again we're talking about a general election race between John McCain and Hillary Clinton, just like we were at the beginning of this campaign, two years ago (or was it longer than that?).
Since that first flurry of pundit speculation, McCain's campaign has experienced what can only be described as a resurrection that would do Pastor Mike Huckabee proud.
Actually, let's make that a rise from the ashes, since Senator McCain does live near Phoenix. But whatever silly way I describe it, John McCain was considered a goner just a short time back, by those of us who make the big bucks telling everyone what's going on.
Well, we were wrong. Just like we've been wrong predicting each and every up and down for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Having said that, let's pretend that McCain and Clinton are the nominees. Now it's time to talk about running mates.
Let's begin with the GOP standard bearer: Would it be a McCain-Huckabee ticket? That would certainly appeal to the flock of religious conservatives who consider John McCain a relative of Satan. McCain could continue to regard journalists as his "base" (that's how he described us), and Huckabee could make sure the fundamentalists' fervor for the party would be born still again.
Or McCain might insist on his old buddy Fred Thompson. In his few presidential campaigns, Thompson presented himself as a conservative and those who have been off-put by Dick Cheney's aggressive activism might be assured by a potential Vice President who probably wouldn't want to work very hard.
I doubt seriously that Mitt Romney would get the nod, even though he might be willing to embrace whatever position McCain wanted him to. As for Giuliani, no way in hell. He's probably just going to stay in Florida.
Now let's talk about the Democrats. Forget it: Bill will not be Hillary's running mate. Not officially anyway.
I seriously doubt whether Obama would be willing to be Number 2, and it would probably not be a good idea because a ticket like that would rally every racist and misogynist who would then vote as a huge "Bigot Bloc" for the white guy Republicans.
In spite of the fact that Dennis Kucinich would probably file a lawsuit demanding to be included on the ticket, one can only assume the best bet would be Bill Richardson.
He's a nice guy and has the same claim to experience that Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have but he would be less likely to overshadow numero una, Hillary.
This assumes that Obama doesn't win the big prize (Would Hillary take second billing? I doubt it). And we haven't even talked about a scenario that includes an independent candidacy of Mike Bloomberg (I don't think he's going to run, but if he did, would be refer to his VP as a "C.O.O."?).
At some point soon, we can look at what a McCain-Clinton race would be like. Of course, we probably should hurry before that assumption is in tatters.
This is idle speculation, obviously, and it's riddled with shaky premises. But no shakier than what we've been putting out as insider perspective for a long time. About all we know is that somebody will be a new president and vice president next January 20th, assuming the current ones don't pull some sort of fast one to override the Constitution. That next administration will then get to work restoring the other parts of the Constitution that have been so badly damaged.