Phil Brennan, NewsMax.com Roger Stone is one of America's most noted political strategists with a fabled career stretching back to his days working for Richard Nixon's campaign and later as a veteran political strategist for Ronald Reagan's Presidential campaigns in 1980 and 1984. He was an advisor to Nixon in his post-presidential years, serving as Nixon's man in Washington. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called him the" keeper of the Nixon flame." Stone offers a surprising assessment of the political landscape. He says that if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, the Republicans will see a huge turnout on election day - and will keep the White House. He also sees Fred Thompson as a serious candidate who could emerge to be the GOP's Reagan. He notes the GOP must offer a clear idologicial choice next year so voters know why they're voting Republican. Noting the sorry state of the GOP, Stone told Newsmax it would be normal to expect the next president elected to be a Democrat. And it will be unless they nominate Hillary. NM: What are Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the Democratic nomination? Stone: She's certainly a competitive candidate based on the huge sums of money she has and the intensity of her base within the Democratic Party, but I also think that this hasn't jelled in the way Bill and Hillary thought it would. She has not had an easy march or a coronation for the nomination based on the great reverence within the Democratic Party for the Clintons - at least for Bill Clinton. She's now on her tenth position on the war in Iraq. She can't lay claim to being an early opponent of the war as other candidates can. She probably gets upstaged by Edwards, who has been profound in his constant apologies and admissions of a mistake in voting for the war, which puts more pressure on her. That's a problem with the far left base of her party. It remains to be seen whether that discontent with her manifests itself in enough support for a candidate such as Barak Obama or Al Gore to stop her from being nominated. NM: If Gore got into the race would he be a sure thing? Stone: Nothing in politics is a sure thing but I think Gore brings issues and talents and fire power in terms of both people and money to the race that certainly matches hers if it doesn't exceed it. The celebrity quality that she has, he also has, and, by the way, Barak Obama also has. NM: Larry Sabato says that she has too much baggage and that she could walk away with the nomination and then go down in the crashing defeat in the general election. Stone: The election is a different question. First of all, you now know that there will be some discontent if she does get nominated within her own party, which was not foreseeable two years ago. You may have a substantial group of people within that party unhappy with her. And she continues to be extremely polarizing. She doesn't test terribly well with centrists who think she's a liberal, with moderates who think she's a liberal, with independents who think she's a liberal, because they tilt conservative. She's very polarizing and thus very beatable. She's energizing and maybe even motivating for Republicans. You don't get the kind of falloff in Republican turnout that should be expected when you look at the damage to the party brand name in the current marketplace. Republicans are dispirited, very unhappy with their leadership and therefore not really energized to come out unless it's to stop Hillary, in which case they'll pour out. She's the most beatable of the Democrats based on her polarizing nature. I don't know anybody who hates Barak Obama and he seems to be a lot more likable on the stump. He could be very tough in November. NM: Don't the wise men (and women) in the Democratic Party understand this? Stone: It's not up to them. The days when cooler heads could control the party nominations died in the 1950s. It's now up to the primary voters. There are too many primaries, our delegates aren't selected by party bosses anymore. And to the extent they can the party bosses are in her pocket. She's leading among the super delegates already. The super delegates in the party being the party bosses, members of Congress etc. NM: Turning to the Republican contest, the Fred Thompson thing seems to be very interesting. Stone: I think he I think he's got great potential. He can certainly can perform as a candidate. He's very talented, a very articulate, very convincing. He knows what to say in terms of issues, he's a solid conservative. He proved that in eight years in the Senate but a campaign run by committee will not succeed - particularly a campaign that is late starting and therefore can't afford any early mistakes. It doesn't have time for a shakeout cruise. He's got to hit the ground running, his poll numbers are right now quite good but if they don't improve, if they fall back, he's done. He's got very high expectations. The names I'm hearing [working for him] are all friends of mine but I've yet to hear the name of anyone who can elect a president. Let's see if they crash and burn or soar to the nomination. I like Thompson. I think he'd be a great candidate and a great president. He's inspiring. I think he can motivate millions of Americans. He could be a great candidate now but it remains to be seen whether he will choose to put together a campaign that can win. So far he's got a bunch of bureaucrats. NM: Do you think there's any chance that the Republicans will be able to regain control of Congress in 2008? Stone: It would certainly be difficult in the current atmosphere. We're not down by that much ... I think it's up to the Republicans to make the election break away and become more competitive. I expect the Democrat in this election to pull out a lead and hold a lead through most of the campaign. It's up to the Republican candidate to come from behind to win this by laying out a stark ideological choice for the American people. I'm not one of those people who say the guy who grabs the middle wins. The guy who makes the most sense wins. Reagan proved that. With the right Republican candidate and the right timing and with the Democratic Party doing damage to itself as they always seem to do when opportunity confronts them, the GOP may pull it off. © NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.