(This post was updated at 8:30 am)
Joe Trippi, the guy who ran Howard Dean's campaign in 2000, has his list of front runners
and also rans for the 2008 DNC nomination in the Washington Post today.
Joe has a few errors in his whole column, the biggest being that the conservative ideology has run out of gas. He might want to look at the majority of the new Democratic House members. On more than few issues most would be welcome on the right. What ran out of gas was America's tolerance for bungling in Iraq, and Republican's who forgot conservative philosophies.
Tuesday's election was a mandate on a number of things, a progressive agenda wasn't one of them.
So, back to his list of front runners. He of course has Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama on the top of the list, the "rock stars" as he calls them. I can't disagree that Bill being around Hillary helps her, he's the only proof since 1980 that Democrats can win the White House.
The problem with Hillary, that Joe doesn't mention, is that she energizes the rights base as much or more than the left's. I kind of equate Hillary to Newt Gingrich, both are good politicians, who've done a bunch for their party, but have enough baggage to fill an airliner.
His second star, Obama, is as he says inexperienced, and as he doesn't mention, now tied to indicted fund raiser Tony Rezko here in Illinois. Should Rezko go down ugly, naming names to save his butt, Obama may go from Rock Star to shelf decoration quickly.
The third guy on his list is Al Gore. I'd think that Joe would have been smart enough to leave Al off the list. I can't disagree that he's reenergized a portion of the progressive base. However, he's also created enough soundbites since 2000 to get killed in another general election.
John Edwards is the next on his list, and probably the guy the party should be looking at harder than a few of the others above him. He didn't make any huge gaffes in 2004, is still telegenic which is important, but may get caught in the "what have you done for me lately" trap.
The laugher, is his "Down But Not Out" selection, of John Kerry. John's out. Like the other guy from Massachusetts he needs to quit aspiring to hirer office, and be content in the Senate. Even the AP piled on his comments about the military a few weeks ago, dredging up his 1972 statements about the disaster an all volunteer military would be.
His next two selections, Joe Biden and Evan Bayh are one's I find interesting. Biden has been one of the less confrontational members of the Senate; he seemed to get that hissy fits aren't always the best way to work in the Senate. Bayh was a decent governor in Indiana, but will have a hard time getting support from the coasties, who believe Indiana exists only for them to fly across. Both are too centrist on many ideas to energize the progressive wing, which Trippi, and others, believe won a mandate last Tuesday.
His one to watch is one that I'm sure Republicans would love to see get the nomination, Russ Feingold. Russ, like most Senators with more than a single term has to deal with the issue of his votes. He has lots of them, and while the progressive end of the party will love them, the centrists that have to stick with them to get a President elected may well be scared off by his record. UPDATE:
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reports today that Russ won't be running in 2008, H/T to Pundit Nation
. The reaction is mixed at Daily Kos
, though mostly sad, because many of them thought Russ had a chance. That should be the first indication he didn't.
Another guy who probably should have been higher on his list is Bill Richardson. Though combative at times as Governor of New Mexico, he probably does have the best resume of any Democratic contender. If the GOP decides that illegal immigration is going to be their 2008 wedge issue, this would be THE GUY for the Democrats to run to counter that. The question is would the North East elitists, and Hollywood activists rally to someone from New Mexico?
His final two guys on the list, Wesley Clark and Tom Vilsack, a former general and current Iowa Governor dont' have a chance. Yes, Clark got some support and status in the party in 2004, but he also came off as enough of a flake to turn off a lot of the party fairly quickly. Vilsack is a good governor, but he's from Iowa, and no one really knows much about him outside of there. He's probably better suited for the number 2 spot, to help attract midwest votes in 2008 before working for number 1 on his own, in 2012.
Joe finishes with this paragraph:
...To get the chance to lead the nation in meeting the challenges of the next decade -- globalization, energy, health care, terrorism -- the winner will need to break out of the ideological box and stop defending the ideas of the past. Gore or Bayh could run a campaign like that and possibly pass a cautious Clinton to win. But if Clinton or Obama runs such a campaign, the 2008 election could be even more historic than the wave of change we witnessed last Tuesday.
First, as many have pointed out Tuesday's wave of change was anything but historic, it was average for an off year election of a two term president. Joe seems to have forgotten that two of the things on his list (terrorism and globalization) have actually been baggage for the Democrats.
Iraq might have gotten them over the top last Tuesday, but most Americans don't see Iraq as a terrorism issue; when reminded of past Democratic failures on the issue, it's probably not a winner. Globalization is one of those things that stymies the Democrats because dealing with it makes them look isolationist, even though Bill Clinton got NAFTA through (and many Democrats are still not happy about that).
Energy, as much as they want it to be their center piece is more of an Achille's Heel for them. Their own arguements against drilling in ANWR, 'it'll be ten years before we get anything from it' can be used against them on alternative energy. They have no In the Mean Time
plan to use until renewables and hydrogen become viable and cost effective. At the same time, they almost have to demonize oil, and can't be for any expansion of domestic production without angering their own environmental base.
Health care could be a winner, but the tough job on that one is convincing 260 million Americans who are covered why they'll be better off with what ever change they propose.
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