”FAQ - The Democratic Candidates!
Posted by Dean Barnett | 10:00 AM1) Where you been?
I had a whirlwind weekend trip to Californian. Just got back last night. Whenever I’m out West, I always wonder how these people endure football starting at 10:00 a.m. on Sundays and the night games ending by 8:30. Doesn’t this bother them?2) I’m relieved. I thought you may have gone fishing with Andrew Sullivan. Now on to the topic at hand. Will the race for the Democratic nomination be thrown into tumult by Evan Bayh dropping out?
Who?3) Evan Bayh. The Senator from Indiana.
Oh yeah. Believe it or not, the dynamics of the race will not be significantly affected. Also in the “believe it or not” category, I have a personal friend who told me this summer that she was an enthusiastic and early supporter of Evan Bayh and had already made plans with his people to throw him a fundraiser. While I try to be respectful of the political views of others, I dissolved into laughter upon hearing this news. She is an intelligent, thoughtful woman and yet for some reason she had decided that Evan Bayh should lead our country. Life is strange.4) What makes someone like Evan Bayh arrive at the conclusion that he should be president?
God only knows. You might as well ask why the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, or why Carl Levin chooses to wear his hair in that ludicrous comb-over fashion. There are some mysteries of nature that will forever be hidden from us.5) So with Bayh gone, who’s left?
In the top tier you have (assuming they’re all running) Obama, Hillary, Edwards, Clark and Gore. In the bottom tier, you have Biden, Richardson, Vilsack and Warner if he re-enters. In the delusional tier you have Kerry and Kucinich.6) That’s pretty harsh on Kucinich isn’t it, lumping him in with Kerry?
True. Sorry Dennis.7) It’s been kind of a big month, with Obama going about 80% of the way to tossing his hat in the ring and Edwards making it official.
True enough. And I’ll give you another piece of news to file in the “for what it’s worth” folder: Some smart people who know about these things are suggesting Hillary might not run if Obama enters because she’ll feel she can’t win and doesn’t want to diminish her standing as the country’s First Harridan.8) Really? The Republic is saved! (ed. I have NO IDEA where the emoticon came from. I didn't put it there and I can't get rid of it...the computer gods are angry)
It’s just what I’ve heard from a few people, and I don’t give it much credence. Besides, on the list of top-tier Democratic contenders, we could do worse than Hillary.9) No way.
Way. Al Gore is practically mentally ill. And I offer that not as a personal insult but as a caring clinical diagnosis. He’s angry, bitter and weird. Of all the people seeking the presidency, he’s the only one who truly scares me because he so clearly lacks the demeanor for the job. He combines the worst features of Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon.10) How about Edwards?
Edwards is a good politician but a less-good man. His cynical use of Mary Cheney in his debate with the Vice President tells you everything you need to know about his character. He’s running as a populist (are there any populists who aren’t zillionaires?), but the good news on that topic is I’m sure he doesn’t believe a single word that emanates from his mouth. When the pressure is on, Edwards is always revealed as an empty suit. The guy had six uneventful years as Senator and other than that spent his adult life chasing ambulances. They say Obama’s résumé is slight, but compared to Edwards’ it isn’t.11) What about Obama?
Well, obviously he has “it.” But he’s never run a competitive campaign, and this time he’ll be running against the Clinton machine which has an opposition research operation unparalleled in the business. He’ll also have to offer more than bromides during 20 months on the trail. 12) So he’s not the favorite?
No, he is. But they’re all long shots. Even the favorite has to have a lot of things go right for him to win. The same goes for the Republican candidates.13) What about Hillary?
The country doesn’t like her. The nutroots hate her. I just don’t see it working out for her. It’s kind of strange; in spite of it all, she’s the strongest candidate in the Democratic field and she probably doesn’t have a chance. 13) You feeling bad for a Clinton? Now I’ve seen everything. What about Wes Clark?
A bit like Gore – an odd duck. Not certifiable like Gore, but a strange man. A relentlessly ambitious individual, Clark’s former colleagues are almost as unanimous regarding him as John Kerry’s. They detest him. He’s also politically tone-deaf, doing things like accepting the sickening sweaty embrace of Michael Moore. There also seems to be no reason behind his campaign other than his endless ambition. What is his agenda? All the other candidates could more easily answer that question than Clark.14) So they all have their weaknesses. Big deal. All politicians have their weaknesses.
It’s not so much that the Democratic presidential candidates all have their weaknesses. It’s that they’re all so conspicuously lacking any identifiable strengths. It really says something that the front-runner is the front-runner because he a) Gives a good speech; and b) Is a “fresh face” which is political talk for an unknown quantity. All the known quantities except for Hillary are lacking in strengths.15) Hillary has strengths?
Of course. She’s very bright. She runs a great organization. She has experience in the White House. And, of course, her cookie recipe in Parade Magazine was top-notch.16) It sounds like there might be room for one of the bottom tier guys to move up.
Perhaps. Not Richardson, because he’s damaged goods from the “drafted by the Oakland A’s” thing. That would have sunk his campaign if it happened in-season, and it will surely be resurrected in-season if he makes any progress. But Vilsack, Warner and Biden will all have a chance to move up.17) But will they?
If the comedy gods are kind, Biden will. Now that would be fun.