Possible Democrat Candidates for President in 2008

2008 Roundup – The Democrats,” by Scott Shields, MyDD, 26 July 2005, http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/7/26/215835/108.


The MyDD post, with my commentary:


Hillary Clinton. Say what you will about Hillary, she’s put herself at the top of everyone’s list merely by keeping her name out there. She’s lately engaged in all sorts of high profile activities that seem pretty calculated to get the voting public to reconsider their preconceived notions of her. Rather than running it all down, I’ll trust that you’ve been following the news..


Comment: Hillary Clinton will be very strong. She is running to the right on values and to the center on health care. A natural and strong politician.


Guest-blogger Aaron has told me she can’t win because she is a woman.


John Kerry. Kerry writes a ton of e-mail. But I probably don’t need to tell you that since we’re all on the same lists. As the 2004 nominee, Kerry automatically earns some respect in the race, and some instant support. While he does hold the claim to winning the second highest popular vote total in history, he was a less-than-ideal candidate running what was pretty widely recognized as a bad campaign. I don’t see him winning the nomination again in 2008..


Comment: Kerry’s latest email criticized Sandra Day O’Connor, putting him out of step with “go-along” Democrats like Clinton. Being the first Democrat since Dukakis to lose to an majority-elected candidate can’t help. Nor can losing to Bush, to all those Democrats who think Bush is an idiot.


Josh and Mark might remind of his fine and politically “interesting” wife, Terehhhhhza


John Edwards. Like Kerry, Edwards earns an automatic spot on the list. That said, I don’t think his chances are very good. He’s now a former one-term Senator who had the second spot on a losing ticket. But he’s staying active and staying public. Edwards was never supposed to get as far as he did in 2004, so he can’t be immediately discounted. Then again,.


Comment: Like Kerry, Edwards sends out email. Pretty boring ones, mostly, except for those that pine for strong unions.


Kos thinks Kerry is a spineless ass.


Wesley Clark. Coming out on top of recent straw polls here and at dKos, Clark has emerged as the netroots candidate. Somewhat oddly, he recently joined Fox News as a military/foreign affairs analyst. This shouldn’t have any impact on him in the primaries, but if he manages to endear himself to a few Fox viewers, that’ll pay dividends in the general election..


Comment: General Clark made the mistake of letting Michael Moore endorse him. I have little idea what he really believes, as he entered the Democratic ’04 primary as a pro-Iraq-War Republican (literally!).


Mark Warner. As Chris wrote earlier, voters in Virginia would rather see Warner, their current chief executive in the White House than George Allen, their former Governor and current Senator, by a 55-to-47% margin. However, Warner may want to challenge Allen for his Senate seat next year. The same poll finds Warner with 47-to-42% support to take over Allen’s position.


Warner was another one of the Democrats to speak at the recent blogosphere-boiling DLC conference in Ohio, so he’s definitely running for something. My guess is that he’s still trying to figure it out himself..


Comment: Who knows? Who cares?


Bill Richardson. Here’s a name that came up time and time again in the lead up to 2004. Lately? Not so much. But still, many consider Richardson a deadly serious contender. He’s a heavyweight in the areas of international relations and energy policy. He’s a Western Democrat. He’s Hispanic. And he’s a Governor. It’s an extremely attractive profile for a Presidential candidate..


Comment: Is Wen Ho Lee enough to stop him?


Tom Vilsack. Last year, it seemed to me that Vilsack was secretly running for Vice President. Now it seems that he’s learned that sitting back and waiting for a phone call isn’t enough. He’s now the Chairman of the (in some circles dreaded) Democratic Leadership Council. And according to Political Wire, he’s set to launch a website for his Heartland PAC, which seeks to “close the ideas gap” and generally promote activism among Democratic moderates.


Now, I take exception to the idea that there is an “ideas gap” between the parties. And I know I’m not alone. We’re told day in and day out that Democrats don’t have any new ideas, that we don’t stand for anything but “no.” Vilsack is essentially making his pitch by saying that this premise is accurate and that he’s out to fix it. That’s hardly a winning strategy for winning over primary voters, grassroots Democrats who, day in and day out, live and breathe the very ideas that Vilsack says are lacking in our party. Then again, if my theory is correct, he doesn’t have to win over primary voters. He just has to win over the person who does win over the primary voters..


Comment: When I taught in an Iowa community college, Vilsack gave us a day off of work (or something like that). You have to like a man who knows how to manipulate state employees.


Evan Bayh. A few short weeks ago, Bayh was the DLC candidate. Now, in the aftermath of the meeting in Ohio, Bayh has clearly been pushed back in that pack by Hillary. I never took Bayh all that seriously as one needs far more than good looks and the backing of From and Reed to win the nomination..


Comment: Bayh-bye?


Joe Biden. Biden’s been running since about November 3, 2004. If he could have started running any earlier without looking unseemly, he would have. His new PAC website, Unite Our States, is quite impressive and shows the general tone and feel a Biden Presidential campaign would take on..


Comment: Biden’s site is very impressive. As is his blog. A nice, unoffensive cult-of-personality. But no Senator has become President since JFK.


There are two big obstacles in Biden’s way. During the primaries, he’ll have to somehow explain his support for the bankruptcy bill — something many Democrats have pledged not to forget. And then in the general election, he’ll repeatedly run into the plagiarism scandal from his 1988 Presidential run. Neither will be an easy task.


Russ Feingold. Though Feingold telegraphed early his interest in running, many saw the announcement of his divorce as a de facto end to his chances at winning the nomination. I’d tend to agree if he indicated that he was no longer in the running. The combined stress of a divorce and a brutal campaign seem too daunting for anyone to overcome. But he’s still out there, still campaigning. Don’t count Russ out yet..


Comment: For the Presidential nomination, maybe not. But it is safe to count Russ out from winning.


South Dakota is the birthplace of McGovern and Humphrey (think Walter Mondale without the charisma). We’re used to losers. Russ looks familiar.


Barack Obama. People keep talking about him, but he’s not running. “I am not running for president in 2008.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that..


Comment: He would wrap up the American expats in Indonesia community


Brian Schweitzer. Again, lots of talk from the grassroots, but he’s not running either. When Schweitzer was asked about all of the people trying to make it happen, he called them “kooky.” I’m sure he meant that in the nicest way possible.


Comment: The Montana Governor won his seat by having a Republican as Lieutenant Governor.


Only one question remains: What about Daschle?


Update: In its “2008 Election Preview,” Right Wing News demonstrates how not to campaign against Hillary.

4 thoughts on “Possible Democrat Candidates for President in 2008”

  1. Let me be clear. I would vote for a woman, if she wasn't Hillary Clinton. I just don't think a good portion of America would. In the land where a female Nascar driver earns constant criticism for her abilities, I think a woman, or on that note, black person (I would vote for Colin Powell or Condi Rice, you know, if she wasn't a warmonger and carpetbagger), are too much a longshot. My fear is Hillary will fail to win handily. My only hope is that John McCain dodges whatever machinations the crazy Right candidates have. Perhaps we'll see McCain / Daschle and make my dreams and Dan's nightmares come true. Now THAT is a campaign I would quit my job to work for.

  2. There is still a large constituency for big government plus nationalism (a la FDR, Truman, Kennedy, LBJ). The Democrats started losing when they abandoned the nationalist part. I think Hillary and Bill Richardson are both able pull this off. There are many people like Armed Liberal, Michael Totten and Roger Simon who probably would have supported a Democrat who was strong on national security. But if the choice is between someone who will pursue an aggressive policy and someone who thinks that “nuissance” terrorism can be tolerated, well even Democrats will vote for a Republican. But what if the election was between a Democrat and Republican who were both equally strong on national security? Americans want both more gov't services and less taxes; so how would Ds and Rs compete?

  3. Phil,

    Agreed that vigorous liberalism can succeed. The anti-war ideological insurgency has crippled the Democrat Party for almost two generations now, but it is easy to imagine a world with that.

    However, the anti-wars know that their subversion is working (they succeeded in handing South Vietnam over to a leftist government, they also succeeded in undermining the wars in Lebanon and Somalia before they even began), plus they are now an Establishment in their own right, so it will be very hard for hawk Democrats to get rid of them.

    In a contest between an equally strong Republican and Democrat, the Republican wins. This is because the anti-wars have tarnished the Democrat “brand,” so to win a Democrat has to be a super-hawk (which Hillary sometimes looks like she is trying to be).

    While to a certain extent nuisance terrorism should be tolerated (“managed”), al Qaeda is far more than a “nuisance.” Kerry was trying to cement himself in a very energized anti-war community. We can all be thankful that he is not President now — that would have sent the Democrat Party a message that they can win by embracing the anti-wars.

  4. Dan,

    I agree with everything you just said. I would add that I think that Tony Blair offered Democrats an opportunity to support the invasion of Iraq without necessarily supporting Bush. Blair is most definitely a man of the left, even further left than many Democrats. He has also been a great articulator of the reasons for our actions in Iraq. Democrats could have built their support for the war around Blair. But the influence of the anti-war leftists and the irrational hatred of Bush prevented them from seeing this opportunity.

  5. I've heard Blair called a “NeoCon” by liberals. Blair's problem is that he is exactly what the Democrat Party needs — a perfect example of how one party can combine internationalism, environmentalism, social leftism, and patriotism.

    The anti-wars do know better. They recognize an able enemy, and so they will naturally attack Blair more than they would another politician. A Blairite democrat might permanently transform the Democrat Party (as Clinton almost did). That is exactly why they know they must stop him.

  6. The antiwar Left does see Blair as an enemy – a bigger enemy to them Bush because Blairism cuts into their base and renders them irrelevant and powerless – like the Tony Benn, Galloway Old Labour types have been shelved ( except perhaps for ” Red Ken” who maintained his traction by verbally fellating Islamist clerics for the Londonistan activists)

    Ps – Dan check this out

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  8. The Kreider Vs. Blunt could have a major impact on the Presidential Race because southwest Missouri is what keeps loosing the state.

    Kredier can win! Take a look—help us!

  9. Steven,

    I see from Lincoln '08 that you are the Treasurer of the Draft Lincoln movement. I hope your experiences are pleasurable and that you meet many interesting people along the way.

    However, I don't believe Senator Lincoln has a prayer.

    The Democrat field is full of several titans, including Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Edwards, and Richards.

    MyDD recently commented on a new poll of front-runner Dems, and included these numbers (http://mydd.com/story/2005/11/12/25339/690)

    Yes No Gap
    Clinton 41 13 +28
    Edwards 14 3 +11
    Gore 12 17 -5
    Kerry 10 14 -4
    Biden 5 6 -1
    Clark 4 9 -5
    Richardson 3 4 -1
    Other 1 – —
    None 4 31 -27
    Unsure 6 13 -7

    While presumably Blanch has a lower net negative than anyone but Clinton or Edwards, because she is so unknown, it will be very difficult for her if she decides to run.

  10. It's the beginning of 2006, so I'll make a prediction. But I'll bury it down here in the comments instead of as a post, so I can ignore it if it is wrong! 🙂

    McCain easily wins the Republican nomaination, defeating Frist, Romney, Allen, et al. Clinton gains the Democratic nod, defeating another failed liberal insurgency, possibly from Feingold. McCain wins an absolute majority of the popular vote, shutting out the Democratic Party from the Presidency until at least 2012.

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