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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Contenders for the Crown (Part 3)

Countdown to Democratic Iowa Caucus: 335 days
Countdown to Republican Iowa Caucus: 339 days

Let’s get right to it. Here is the beginning of my list of Democrats most likely to get nominated, in order from least likely to most likely. Scroll slowly for suspense.
(In case you missed it, here were my Republican rankings and here were some general thoughts on the Democratic race.)

The Long Shots (It’s not happening)
10. Dennis Kucinich, Congressman from Ohio – If there is a God, may He bless Dennis Kucinich. He’s the Russ Feingold of the House of Representatives. He’s been strongly against the war from Day 1, as well as a vocal critic of the Patriot act. His platform includes immediate withdrawal from Iraq, universal health care to all Americans, supporting a woman’s right to choose, abolishing the death penalty, and legalizing same-sex marriage. Sounds great, right? So what’s the problem? He looks like a f#%$'n gnome.

9. John Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts – Yes, I know he withdrew from the race, but since when has John Kerry been known for not backtracking. At any point he could re-enter the race, running on this slogan: “John Kerry: America gets a second chance to rectify a huge mistake.” Don’t forget that he could probably be a top 4 fundraiser in the party.

8. Chris Dodd, Senator From Connecticut – Chris Dodd is an anti-war candidate in a field of anti-war candidates. He’s relying on his experience in Washington to set him apart from the rest of the field, but experience in Washington seems to be working against the candidates not only this time around, but not since 1960 has a Senator been elected President, and not since 1920 before that. Senator Dodd has not been involved in a challenging election in decades, and I’m not sure his reputation could survive a national spotlight. (As a side, look for a gubernatorial battle with Republican Governor Jodi Rell in 2010.)

If everything breaks for them…
7. Wesley Clark, Former Supreme Commander NATO Allied Forces – There was a West Wing episode where President Bartlet noted that there was only one person in the world who had a cooler sounding title then Bartlet himself did as "President of the United States." That title was "Supreme Commander, NATO Allied Forces." Wesley Clark held that rank for over three years. General Clark, the self-described “national security candidate,” could very well have won the 2004 Democratic Primary had he entered early enough. He was the tenth of ten candidates in 2004, and never built up enough steam to make a run at Kerry, Edwards, and Dean. General Clark ended up winning the Oklahoma primary but that was it.

He still brings all of the positive attributes that he had in 2004. He was a popular military figure, he’s fluent in four languages (which is about four more than our current President). In 2002, he gave testimony to the House Armed Services Committee warning them that invading Iraq without a comprehensive policy to not only oust Saddam Hussein but to also form a stable government was a mistake. That’s looking pretty good now.

So why not Clark? Well, for one, he’s never held an elected office. Only one person since Ulysses Grant in the 1870’s has been President without ever being elected to previous office. (Who might that be, fellow history nerds?) Also, he works for FoxNews. I’m just saying.

6. Joe Biden, Senator from Delaware – Senator Biden is probably the most visible critic of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Biden chairs the Senate Foreign Relations committee and is one of the longest tenured Senators, serving in the upper chamber since he was 30 years old. His responsibilities on Foreign Relations and Judiciary will give him free publicity from now up until and through the primaries, which is crucial as he won’t be able to raise funds like his colleagues above him on this list.

5. Tom Vilsack, former Governor from Iowa (Darkhorse) – Last week, I should have included him as a leading Vice-Presidential candidate. The governor of Iowa has a great shot to jump out to an early lead in the primary season. If he can secure the Iowa caucus victory early, he can already begin campaigning in New Hampshire and South Carolina while the rest of the field is spending time in Iowa looking for a 2nd place finish in the first caucus. Current polls show that he’s trailing the front runners even in Iowa, but his campaign hasn’t yet shifted into second gear, as he does not want to spend too much money too early. Vilsack can run on being one of the true moderates of the field, as well as having crossover appeal to the Midwest, a region that went 100% Red in the 2004 election.

4. Bill Richardson, Governor from New Mexico - If Matt Santos, co-star of The West Wing, can be the first Latino President ever; can a real life Latino President be far behind? In reality, Governor Richardson is a real possibility. As a rumored Vice-Presidential candidate to both Gore and Kerry, Richardson has been on the national stage for a while, and is a popular governor near McCain territory. His resume is as strong as any candidate’s, being a successful governor, Congressman,U.N. ambassador and Secretary of Energy. In a field that potentially included the first woman President, the first Mormon President, and the first black President, why not the first Hispanic?

All right, that’s a wrap for this week. Next week I’m going heavy into the Big Three. We all know who they are, but in what order do they rank? Feel free to chime in.

Until next Tuesday…

5 comments:

PresidentWebb said...

No reason to have a maverick like Biden over a stalwart like Dodd. Otherwise, another fine analysis.

Your Top Three: Larry, Moe(ina), and Curly.
Which begs the question, What about Shemp?

IC said...

Why does Hillary get to be Moe?

Dodd is hurt by being a CT Democrat. McGovern, Dukakis, Kerry. New England Dems are oh for their last three, with no Jack Kennedy around the corner. Also, it's worth mentioning the unfortunate truth, Biden just looks better.

PresidentWebb said...

Biden will say something stupid this summer. Like fear mongering weather reports, its inevitable. He would have been a better option in '92, but he just couldn't shut his trap.

Yes, polically Dodd is behind the eight ball due to geography, but he is considered a better candidate then you think. Plus, he was in "Dave". Independent's love that movie.

As for Hilary, something tells me she is good at dishing out pain, the archetype "Moe" characteristic.

sptmck said...

Richardson offers a great deal, in terms of both experience and electability. He may be a key player as we ooze into 2008; think about his "electoral" potential in states like Nevada, Colorado and even in Florida.

IC said...

Right you are, which is why he has the pole position outside of the Big Three.

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