Chris Cillezza has some pretty good takes here. For the Dems, the year just past grades out as a winner for Mark Warner, and he also gives Russ Feingold high marks for having broken into the top tier. John Edwards trails them slightly, managing to keep his profile elevated and positive. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry didn't help or hurt themselves during the year, which is a net negative for them both.
Another Virginian, George Allen, tops the Republican list with Haley Barbour (!?) and then John McCain in third, mostly on the basis of how he manages to alienate the base and burnish his independent credentials at the same time. Dr. Bill Frist had the worst year among all contenders, and the jury's still out on Chuck Hagel and Mitt Romney. Cillezza rates Arkansas Republican governor Mike Huckabee as a darkhorse on the order of New Mexico's Bill Richardson on the Democratic side.
He gives the chances of Condi Rice running for president the same odds he gives Al Gore, about zero. And makes no mention of Dick Cheney standing before the voters again.
Seriously, though, I think he's about right on all of these, and particularly if sad sacks like Allen and Barbour enter 2006 as the GOP pols with the most momentum, then all I can say is "heh."