I’m willing to make a bet right now. Unless both parties nominate senators in 2008, I’m willing to bet that the party that nominates a senator (or anyone from Massachusetts) will lose.
Senators make terrible, terrible candidates. They always have made terrible candidates. The only successful candidate to come from the Senate in recent memories was John F. Kennedy — and he barely won (good thing Nixon didn’t pull a Gore).
The GOP will most likely pick a Governor or someone from the President’s cabinet. The odds are on a governor like Bill Owens or Mark Sanford. The GOP will likewise choose a southerner or westerner. The age of New England national politicians is over in the GOP and by God it should be for the Dems (Dukakis and Kerry?!). Romney and Pitaki can kiss it goodbye. The only one with a chance is Guliani, and I think he can only get it if the President appoints him now to something big where he can prove his loyalty to the conservative base on abortion and gay rights (will Cheney step aside in December of 2006, so GWB can pick the successor?). Further, Guliani only has a strong chance if GWB can solidify a conservative Supreme Court now. Conservatives will not even “wink-wink-nod-nod” to a liberal Republican if the court is in the balance. Priorities, people!
The one truism for the parties is this: Republicans tend to have an annointed candidate (even in open primaries, though with more dispute then) and the Democrats tend to have intraparty bloodbaths (without clear nominees) surpassing the carnage in Republican open primaries. The beauty of 2008 is, unless GWB hand picks someone, both sides will have wide open primaries. Political junkies rejoice!