Now that John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani are officially powdered toast and off the presidential buffet, the races are reduced to two Democrats and two Republicans. Mike Huckabee is a spoiler now for the fractured GOP, costing Mitt Romney enough votes to make him appear more like a silver medalist to John McCain's gold. Huckabee will gladly settle for bronze if it means a looksee as veep. McCain would be insane to even consider the notion, and because he is, he will.
Rush-ribbed conservatives hate McCain with a man-crush purity that's both touching and disturbing. They want all of him, but on their terms. His independence on campaign-finance reform, judicial nominees and immigration means he must be destroyed because if he loved them, he'd do what they say.
The others who've come wooing are so-so suitors. Ron Paul? A non-starter. Romney? Feh. And don't get them started on Huckabee. They want to draft someone -- anyone -- who might save them from the ash heap.
Maybe Newt Gingrich, they consider. Maybe Fred Thompson, again. The most warped souls want Dick Cheney to announce a bid to succeed President Bush. Anything to create a brokered convention. But a bandage atop a sucking chest wound will not save Republicans from November.
Could Ralph Nader? The former consumer advocate is "exploring" a 2008 presidential bid, a prospect that shrivels the scrotums of some Democratic strategists who remember Nader not for his Corvair criticism but for the banderillas he put into Al Gore's flanks in 2000.
This time out he'll draw the kook vote -- no help to the GOP. Only the Democrats can save Republicans, and they have a bizarre habit of doing just that. Twenty years ago this July, Mike Dukakis had a 17-point lead over then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Dukakis proceeded to tank -- literally -- and he slunk into the tall grass in the backyard, where the ghost of Adlai Stevenson hangs out. John Kerry can sometimes he found here with a machete, cutting an aimless path while mumbling about Swift Boats and pajamas.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama left standing, either one strong going into November, neither one looking like a candidate for the tall grass. But stranger things have happened in American politics, and the 20-year cycle for weirdness is due. Everything is too predictable right now in the race for president. The outcome seems too pat. Something must come to spoil the fun.