Saturday, August 13, 2005

Leaders Only Need Apply In 2008

There are probably a thousand and one factors in the demise of the Democratic Party in presidential elections but I'll go out on a limb and boil it down to the foremost reason:

Not nominating a leader.

The Democratic Party hasn't nominated someone who can galvanize this nation since John Kennedy way back in 1960.

Look at the recent litany of candidates:

Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry.

I have faithfully supported each of these candidates to the usually bitter end. I especially liked McGovern but he wasn't exactly a charismatic fireball. Bill Clinton possessed the greatest political skill set and had the most potential but blew (pun intended) it all away. Most everybody else, however decent in character, were/are stiffs.

Just what is a leader? A leader draws in supporters, guiding, influencing and motivating. He or she also does that with the initially curious. A leader INSPIRES others to do greater good, achieving accomplishments previously thought unattainable.
He/she DEFINES himself/herself with words and actions.

It is imperative that Democrats wise up and nominate an individual who is both SEEN and FELT as a leader.

To do all this, requires someone who can connect to both the head and heart of a majority of the electorate. For far too long, Democrats have cast a net solely for thinking voters. This net must be cast wider to nab both thinkers and feelers in the electorate. And that takes a candidate possessing the prerequisites of a leader to do so.

Looking at the list of seekers of the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination who have the makings of a true leader, someone to lure in thinkers and feelers, John Kerry is dead on arrival unless scientists perfect a personality transplant procedure. John Edwards has possibilities but may just come off a bit too slick, and being a millionaire lawyer isn't a plus. Hillary Clinton, despite enormous ability, will never shed or be allowed to shed her 'divisive' mantle. Joe Biden is a northeast liberal who just will not play but on either coast of this country. Evan Bayh seems like the late Hugh Beaumont father character in "Leave It To Beaver," exuding extreme propriety but too colorless. Wes Clark carries some gravitas but has yet to translate that into political momentum. Despite badly stumbling in 2004, Clark has the best chance of this group to break out. Bill Richardson comes off as an old-time pol, like a mayor out of big city politics of the 1960s. Tom Vilsack is, well, just not someone who rallies the troops, let alone the prospective recruits. Mark Warner has some positive political accomplishments under his belt in a very red state (Virginia) but vivacious, he is not. Russ Feingold is coming off a divorce and lacks the contagious persona necessary to draw in newcomers.

This will not be a successful group if visible inspirational leadership and running someone who can pull in a majority of voters, is the goal.

Now, here are three individuals who have indicated no interest in the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination but who do meet the definition of leader, Eliot Spizer, Barack Obama and Brian Schweitzer. In fact, these three are on the cusp of becoming the most influential individuals in the Democratic Party.

Spitzer, the current New York Attorney General and the presumed next governor in 2006, has the least 'contagious' personality. But he has a visible, tangible resume chock full of successes in protecting the average Joe and Jane against corporate and financial institution wrongdoings. Spitzer is the standard bearer for the winning slogan: "Work hard, play by the rules and I'll have your back." He is easily the leading state Attorney General in this country. Spitzer has great possibilities but not as a 2008 presidential candidate.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer (naturally had to bring his name in here) is part of the Mountain West Democratic revolution and singlehandedly turned Republican Montana back into the 'blue' column. He will be up for re-election in 2008 and that obviously complicates matters presidential. But he exemplifies leadership. Definitely watch for this guy.

Obama, the newly elected Democratic Senator from Illinois, is the most charismatic of this trio but has indicated he will not be a candidate for anything in 2008. Any dictionary of worth uses a picture of Obama to define charisma. He has demonstrated ability to draw in registered Republican voters, those of different races and thinkers and feelers.

Will Democrats and the Democratic Party pursue who and what is needed for 2008? Not unless one of these three is the choice.


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