Who leads now?
Chairman's race provides hints for 2008
Wed Jan 12th, 2005 at 10:37:19 PST
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is vetting the leading candidates to be the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman, and asking them to remain neutral in the presidential selection process in 2008. It is the latest indication that Kerry is putting down markers to run again for the party's presidential nomination in 2008.
His outreach to DNC candidates also marks his return to the fray after Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, that candidate he was backing for chairman, ruled himself out of contention in November. The DNC contest is exposing the presidential ambitions of a number of Democratic politicians. In addition to Kerry, other potential 2008 presidential candidates have also contacted -- or been contacted by -- the several DNC aspirants, providing an early list of who is sending clear signals within the party that they will run for the Democratic nomination.
Over the past six weeks, Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y,), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Kerry have been in touch with former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard, said Webb and Blanchard -- the two DNC candidates who agreed to speak on the record on this issue. Those are the same names that several other DNC candidates, or their campaigns, have privately said they contacted.
Good thing I don't have to remain neutral. A BIG HEARTY NO to Kerry in '08. Been there, done that, time to move on.
As to the state of the chairman's race:
The vote will take place Feb. 12, and, much like House leadership races, every declared candidate will be on the first ballot, with the list winnowing by one with each round of balloting.
Several of the campaigns said that Dean is all but a shoo-in to be on the final ballot, with all of the other candidates scrambling to be among the last two or three standing.
"Dean has the highest floor and the lowest ceiling," a strategist for one of the rival campaigns said. Blanchard, who did not attend the first regional gathering of DNC delegates in Atlanta, said, "I do believe Howard deserves a second chance. I don't know if this is the position for him, and this is not an endorsement, but he deserves a second look."
Blanchard is likely out, and even if he says he's not endorsing Dean, that's about as big a non-endorsement endorsement as one can see.
In other DNC news, Jerome has written about Joe Trippi's unfortunately timed endorsement of Simon Rosenberg (which coincidentally came on the same day of Dean's official announcement), as well as some of the netroots reaction to Dean's candidacy (including a surprise endorsement from Kevin Drum).
Move on to to whom?
The GOP doesn't hold a beauty pagent every four years to pick a candidate. They ran Reagan three times before he won. Bush ran twice. Does anyone think GW Bush wouldn't have run again in '04 if his loss had been upheld.
No, if Kerry runs again, he'll win the primaries again like he did in '04, because despite the hype, Hillary Clinton can't win a national election. In fact, her record as New York's junior senator is nothing to write home about.
The problem for the Dems is simple, Republicans control four out of the five largest state governorships. By '08, that will mean maybe twp years of experience at the gubenatorial level. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) was born in Canada and can't run for President. The only other viable Dems now are the same people who ran in '04. There isn't the kind of bench there to say move on to candidate X. The only other viable candidate is John Edwards. Now, things will change in three years, but the odds are better than 50-50 Kerry will run again, and against a weaker Democratic field.
When I hear people talk about Hillary for President, I don't know whether to laugh or just shake my head. I voted for her for Senator and would again, but what exactly has she done to qualify to be President?
If Bill Richardson wants to be President, he might get a shot, but I don't see him challenging Kerry.
As far as Howard Dean goes, it's clear that he's not running, since he wants to be DNC chair. If he loses that job, he might try again, but Dean's run left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths outside his fan base. And his Iowa campaign was a disaster.
I think the Dems need a radically different approach to picking presidents. Clinton was lucky in that Bush Sr. had his war a year too early. Richardson is the only governor in the bunch of possibles, maybe Mark Warner, but come on, the stature gap between Kerry and the rest of the supposed field is pretty steep. Only Richardson comes close.
Presidents don't come from nowhere. People have to see them around in public life. You can't go to the drawing board every four years and pick someone else. It's not like there are three or four candidates of Kerry's stature and connection in the party. There is no Democratic John McCain, someone who is waiting and obviously capable to be president. Anyone who gets the nomination will have to work hard for it as is. But if Kerry is laying down markers in '05, it's going to be hard to surmount that, especially with the closeness of his loss. If his campaign had been run into the ground like Dukakis or he had lost by a wide margin, looking elsewhere would be manditory.
As it stands, John Kerry has three years to convince people he deserves a second shot and he can do that by leading today. We just can't have leaders who arise every fourth year. They have to be there the other three years to have a real shot at winning.
A lot of people are pissed at Kerry for losing to Bush, but the fact is that he lost in an election where the main issue was anything but the 800 lb guerrilla in the room which was the war. They wanted to focus on anything else. And as far as Ohio goes, exactly what was he supposed to fight with? Exit polling data? Suggestions of voter fraud which were unproven. People are certainly wedded to empty gestures and meaningless acts. Ken Blackwell will pay for his sins, but not right at this moment.
Even if Kerry failed in Ohio, he has three years to prove people wrong and to lead. And considering the fiasco in Iraq, national security may be an even more critical issue in '08. If he wants to lead, and social security is a great place to start, then let him act like the leader of the opposition.
posted by Steve @ 2:16:00 PM