Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Race for the Exits 2008: The Democrats

Yes folks, its time. A mere 22 months before the Presidential election it is time to introduce the Democratic contenders. I have decided to call this "The Race for the Exits" in the hope that whoever wins will be pulling the US out of Iraq. Here in a fairly random order that is more about hype than viability are the Democrats:

Hillary Rodham Clinton
: Clinton is the junior senator for the great state of New York. She won reelection in 2006 easily after the Republicans failed to run anything resembling a serious candidate against her. The lack of a credible opponent didn't stop Clinton from fundraising full out and she now possesses the largest war chest of any candidate in either party. Oh yeah, she's lived in the White House before with some guy named Bill. The party brass love Hillary. The base loves her husband. Two problems. Convincing the base she isn't too far right on issues like Iraq and convincing democrats in general that she's electable.

John Edwards: No, the psychic is not running, that's John Edward. No, this John Kerry's running mate from 2004. The former junior senator from North Carolina, Edwards has a lot of youth for a man who's actually over fifty. He has that sincerity thing in spades. He's passionate about poverty. He's admitted he was wrong to vote for the Iraq war. He has a great organization from the 2004 campaign set up in Iowa and leads in early polls in that crucial state. Edwards should do well among southern blacks, rural whites and youth. His biggest problem: the next guy on the list.

Barack Obama
: The star of the 2004 convention wants to go from keynote speech to inaugural speech in 2008. The junior senator from Illinois oozes charisma and charm. He's smart as a whip. He won election in 2004 in a landslide partially on his own strength and partially from the self-destructing Illinois Republican party. His campaign will no doubt be something fairly familiar to Canadians: Peace (both Iraq and Washington DC), Order (social solutions to crime) and Good Government (record in Illinois state-house working with Republicans to get things done). If Obama can keep up his momentum into the Iowa primary look out. He is capable of running away with this thing. However, he could burn out before the first vote is taken. Like Edwards, he plays to blacks and youth. His biggest problem: slim foreign policy credentials for a nation at war.

Wesley Clark
: The retired supreme NATO allied commander and four star general has military and foreign policy credentials in spades. He's looking to be the Grant to Bush's Johnson. The successful general replaces the incompetent President. His biggest problem: he isn't a politician. This isn't an Ignatieff foot in mouth thing. This is a bad campaigner thing. His campaign in 2004 never gained any steam. I call my blog All Politics is Local after the quote from former Speaker Tip O'Neill. Local is something Clark has not demonstrated he understands. Therefore, I am skeptical of his viability. If he can get in early enough and connect to the average voters though he could be dangerous.

Tom Vilsack
: The former governor of Iowa wants to ride a Hawkeye wave to the White House. Governors have a good history of winning national elections. He's a no-name governor from a small state. Unfortunately, there's already a Clinton in this race. Democrats should also be worried that Jon Stewart may have given Republicans all the ammo they need when he tore apart Vilsack's plan for Iraq in a recent interview. Then again, Vilsack doesn't have a great history of dealing with comedians. Rick Mercer made a fool out of him on Talking to Americans (I'm too lazy to find a link). Stewart thinks his name sounds like something that the Aflac duck would say. I'm sorry to say this because he seems like a decent guy, but this duck is cooked.

Al Gore:
Former vice-President and democratic nominee has repeatedly said he's not running. That's about the only working against Gore. He has shed his robot image since 2000 and would make an excellent candidate on the green ticket. Still, I think he is out of this race as long as Hillary is in it.

John Kerry: The other former nominee pondering a run would be wise to stay out. His 2004 campaign was a disaster. Democrats would be wise not to repeat that disaster in 2008. If he runs he'll get some votes, but he won't win. Edit: Kerry has taken himself out of consideration for the presidency.

Bill Richardson
: The best candidate you might not know about. The Hispanic governor of New Mexico is overwhelmingly popular in his home state and would play well in the emerging battleground states of the West and the battleground demographic that is Hispanic voters. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has gotten Nevada between Iowa and New Hampshire on the primary calendar making the West more important than ever. Richardson was chair of the DNC before Howard Dean so he has the connections to make a serious run. There is no guarantee he's in, but if he is, this is the dark horse.

Christopher Dodd: The other senator from Connecticut. He isn't as controversial or as repulsive to the base as Lieberman but he is just as boring. Nobody's really sure why Chris Dodd is running. Count me among those who don't get his candidacy.

Joe Biden: Biden, senator for Delaware, last ran for President twenty years ago when he got caught plagiarizing his stump speech. Well, he's trying again. Once again, nobody knows why. Could he do the job? Probably. The bad news for Biden: he'll never get the chance. Maybe he can plagiarize his own plagiarized speech. He doesn't even have Joe-mentum.

Mike Gravel
: Who? I don't know. Apparently, he's the former senator for Alaska. He was considered as a candiate for VP in the 70's. He's back and running a fringe campaign on such issues as the establishment of a national sales tax and the abolition of the IRS. I know. They seem to be contradictory. The good news for Canucks: his parents were French-Canadian.

Dennis Kucinich: The congressman from Ohio is clearly running on the overwhelming success of his last place run last time around. In all seriousness, the former mayor of Cleveland is an ardent anti-war activist trying to galvanize the far left of the party. Kucinich likes the fringe which is good because that's where he's going to be.

Rev. Al Sharpton
: Staying on the fringe, we have the always entertaining Al Sharpton. Is he qualified for office? Heck no. Does he have a chance? Hell no. The presence of a credible African-American candidate makes his candidacy less relevant than ever. The good news is you can watch his hair during those torture session they call all-candidate debates.

13 Candidates. Let the Battle Royale begin! This might actually get to the convention floor folks.


liberaltruth said...

Count me in as a true believer in Richardson. His remarkable progress for NM as governor makes him an expert in domestic issues. His experience with the UN makes him an expert in foriegn policy, as witnessed by his recent brokering of a cease fire in Sudan among other huge diplomatic accomplishments. His work with the DOE makes him the go to person for a clear path toward renewable energy and reducing our dependence on foriegn oil. He has been nominated four times for the Nobel Prize for Peace. Governor Richardson would restore greatness and optimism to the US.

Darren McEwen said...

The most fascinating decision will come next Summer in the choice of VP!

The lucky person who wins this thing will have one heck of a tough decision.

However, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, or Richardson could pull a "John Kerry - 2006 Blunder" between now and then - making the choice for VP much easier for the winner.

Go Edwards!

McGuire said...

Take it from a conservative, if the Dems were smart (which would be quite a change), they'd choose Edwards. He is the their best bet against the GOP heavys McCain & Rudy.

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