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People who complain about Christmas coming earlier and earlier every year have no idea how good they have it.  Try being a politics junkie.  Forget about hearing Christmas music early in November.  Try speculation on who's going to be running in the Presidential election in four years.  President Obama hasn't even been sworn in for his second term and the wonks are already handicapping the races on both sides.  Let's take a look at the contenders and pretenders.

Candidate Resume

So there are rules about eligibility both written and unwritten.  The U.S Constitution clearly stipulates that the President must be a natural-born citizen at least 35 years of age.  Unwritten rules show preference towards men with government experience.  Those who are currently serving as governors and senators can step to the front of the line.  Also, let's just eliminate people from the House of Representatives.  There's hasn't been a President elected from the House since the 19th century.  Bye-bye Paul Ryan.

Republicans: Those who have run before

First up, we have those who have run before.  On the Republican side it usually takes a couple of campaigns before you can get any traction as a candidate.  See Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, John McCain, and the Romney.  Modern history dictates that if you receive the party's nomination and lose, you aren't allowed to run again.  That eliminates RomneyBot.  So the new group includes Jon Huntsman & Rick Perry.

Claim Stakers

Next up we have folks whom have already staked their claims to running.  According to Politico, Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, Bob Kasich, Governor of Ohio, and Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia have all made overtures toward Sheldon Adelson to fund their campaigns.  And Senator Marco Rubio made the earliest fund-raising trip in Iowa history like the day after the election in November.

Governor Chris Christie also bears mentioning as he is not only a sitting governor but also had a prime-time speaking gig at the Republican National Convention.  A gig he was supposed to use to make Romney look good but where he actually spoke about himself for almost the entire speech.  After hearing that speech, I just assumed he'd be running in four years.

Finally, we have Jeb Bush.  Apparently we aren't done with the Bushes yet.  Maybe one more won't kill us.

The Jokers

Michelle Bachmann.  What can we say about that one? I hope Herman Cain runs again because, like Rachel Maddow, I'm sort of convinced he's a performance artist.  Truth be told Bob McDonnell aka Governor Ultrasound could also be in this group.  If you think Romneybot had trouble courting the woman vote, wait till the nation gets a peek at that guy.  I'm sure we'll be burdened by Rick Santorum again.  But being that he currently has a job with World Net Daily, a publication that traffics in conspiracy theories and birtherism, he's an even less serious candidate than before.  If that's even possible.

The Democrats

Not to be outdone by the Republicans, the Democrats are also feeling out their potential candidates for the Presidential hoopla of 2016.  This is also one of the rare times in history where there is no completely obvious heir-apparent for either party.  Usually if the President isn't running for another term, the Vice President is next in line.  But Joe Biden is almost certainly too old and definitely too honey-badger crazy to make a serious bid for the 2016 nomination.  DNC Keynote speaker Julian Castro raised some interest and generated some starry-eyed comparisons to Obama earlier this year, but with the exception of major cities (and even sometimes then) Mayor is not a prominent enough gig to lead to the White House. See you in 2024, perhaps.

In terms of serious candidates, according to Politico, Martin O'Malley, Governor of Maryland has already started meeting with mega-donors in Los Angeles.   And it's an open secret that the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is also said to be eyeing 2016 for his run.  Unfortunately for those two gentleman, they'll probably be running to see who can be the Vice Presidential Nominee. Which brings us to the rhinoceros in the room...

Hill-Rod:  There is no candidate with as much experience, knowledge, name recognition or potential donor base as Hillary Clinton.  I mean legal experience, first lady for eight years, Senatorial experience and is currently serving as the nation's top diplomat as the Secretary of State.  Sorry, boys.  The nomination is basically hers if she wants it.

It's way early but that's the basic field of candidates.  I'm sure there'll be an extra yahoo or two though.

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