Saturday, July 30, 2005

If not Hillary, then who?

Even a devout Schweitzer-arian (gotta be careful how I spell that) like myself understands that Hillary Clinton is the proverbial elephant in the living room of the Democratic Party. (sorry to use Republican imagery, as I am in no way attempting to smear Ms. Clinton)

My sense is that if Clinton wants the nomination, then she will achieve that goal regardless of what any other candidates for the position say, do or stand for.

But like some (and unlike others), I believe running Hillary Clinton will result in yet another presidential defeat for the Democrats, along with congressional losses.

Clinton's rep is not well-deserved but it is a reality.

She would not attract any voters from the Republican base. Her negative rating with males in the states where Democrats are seen as competitive is astronomical. I can't imagine any Midwestern, Mountain West or Southwest Democratic U.S. Senate or House of Representatives candidate wanting to campaign alongside her.

Ohio is a good example. Just how would she end up with more votes than John Kerry did? Florida is another state where I see the same difficulty.

If national security is supposed to be the numero uno issue in 2008 (which I disagree--I believe personal and political integrity will be the most resonating concern) then being female (again, this is unfair but true) will be no asset and actually a hindrance in 2008.

So, maybe, just maybe, Clinton will not run for president in 2008. Maybe she will set ego aside and realize what is best for the Democratic Party.

Then who?

Realistically, Wes Clark, John Edwards, Mark Warner and Evan Bayh are the only 'announced' candidates with any chance of success.

Clark, an extremely intelligent and thoughtful person with obvious national security credentials, was simply inept in his first presidential go-round. One slip this time and he's mincemeat again. That has to scare any supporter of his. This has to scare the Democratic Party. But he is someone who could campaign successfully in the Midwest, Mountain West and Southwest.

Edwards, another extremely smart and skillful individual, has to overcome a pretty meager record (one term as a U.S. Senator). He may be able to pull it off but positioning oneself as being for the little guy is difficult to do as a millionaire lawyer. However, he did represent average Janes and Joes in his litigation. His youthful handsomeness may woo some independent female voters but does it detract from trying to present national security gravitas? I don't see Edwards as being a candidate who can do decently in the Midwest but not pull in any Mountain West or Southwest fencesitters.

Warner has confounded skeptics by winning and remaining popular in Republican Virginia. A software millionaire, he has shown the knack for winning the votes of individuals one wouldn't expect to line up with him, despite no obvious charisma. However, he does lack national security 'gold stars' for his resume. He is a difficult one to judge regarding vying for Midwestern, Mountain West and Southwest voters but he has managed to pull it off in the Old Dominion state.

Bayh has won in redstate Indiana (his family's political legacy doesn't hurt) and despite lacking a 'wow' factor personality, is a good speaker. He obviously could campaign well in the Midwest and possibly the Southwest. I think the Mountain West voters would want more 'individualism' from him. The biggest issue for Bayh will be to go beyond sort of a milquetoast-type image (fair or unfair) and become someone people can feel the desire to rally around.

Who knows? Maybe, with Clinton on the sideline, we will finally have another political convention where things become deadlocked and other candidates get drafted.

That's where Brian Schweitzer could come to the fore. He obviously has to be very careful at this point with anything he says or does that might 'demonstrate' any interest in running.

But can he win in the Mountain West? Duh. The Southwest? Yes. The Midwest? Just give him a few minutes with farmers. Smart? Check. Ability to win over independents and fencesitters? Absolutely. Charisma? No doubt.

National security credentials could trip him up. But I have the sneaking feeling that many voters in 2008 will be focused on who they feel is telling them the truth and can be trusted, even on the issue of national security. Instilling confidence is a Schweitzer trademark.

Yes, it is early. Early for Schweitzer and for thinking about 2008. But our goal is to keep the name Brian Schweitzer visible so that come the right circumstances in 2008...


Blogger Nonpartisan said...

Not sure I agree with you here, Kevin -- a brokered convention isn't very democratic-seeming to me. I think Schweitzer's strength is with the voters on primary day.

July 31, 2005 3:52 PM  
Blogger BiLL Earl said...

Hey, what's HE doing here? LOL...Obviously, I'm already deeply linked up w/ the Bayh campaign, but I wanted to drop in and tell you, that, YES, Schweitzer is one attractive Dem that has a big future in our party. Schweitzer projects an image of toughness, or as they once said about Mario Cuomo, "you can hear his ba*** clank as he walks down the hall." Good luck, guys, but not TOO good. :) We may all meet again down the pike.

BiLL Earl
Americans For
Weekly Op/Ed Columnist

August 25, 2005 11:43 AM  

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