Saturday, January 27, 2007
White House Scrum
Next week the DNC will host its winter meeting in DC to conduct business and "interview" the Democratic presidental candidates. I'll be there and will report back here as it happens. In the meantime, the following editorial by Tom Teepen takes a look at the possibles.
Somewhere in the scrum for the White House is the next president
Friday, January 26, 2007
If you haven't formed your presidential exploratory committee yet, better hurry. You don't want to be shut out. The line is already long and it is an open question whether the last to join it can get to the registration desk in time to file before the polls close in November, 2008.
There are 19 in the scrum so far and others impend. Either 1) here's democracy at its most exuberant, 2) or at its most delusional or 3) W. has given new life to the old axiom that in America anybody can become president.
The Democratic pack includes the first really serious female, African-American and Hispanic candidates. The Republican pack features – well, 10 white guys, but you knew that.
Hillary Clinton is the Democrat to beat. She's smart, experienced and scares no small number of Democrats half to death. Her nomination would inspire the latent legions of Hillary haters to new prodigies of venom and contempt and would double-dare Americans to catch up with the rest of the world by electing a woman.
Barack Obama, another senator, is the new glamour boy. No, really: Clark Gable had those ears, too. The problem for Obama is that he's still wet behind his. Smart and articulate, he's little experienced and, here we go again, dares Americans to overcome their racial hesitations and misgivings.
Gov. Bill Richardson has great good sense – is that a disqualifier? – and an admirable reputation in foreign affairs from his turns in that field under Bill Clinton. But could he have an illegal immigrant buried in his genealogy, bait for rampaging nativists? And as a base for a campaign, New Mexico ranks right up there with Rhode Island.
And there are John Edwards again, Joe Biden sort of again, Tom Vilsack (sometimes spelled W-h-o?), Chris Dodd, Mike Gravel – an Alaskan ex-senator, if you care – and Dennis Kucinich, again and again and again. In the wings, and proving that the past is never really past, is the Bygone Quartet — Al Gore, Wesley Clark, John Kerry and Al Sharpton. (Oops. Kerry just made it a trio.)
The Republican to beat is John McCain, always conservative but off and on in the past a stray and now making a dramatic dive to the right that includes sucking up to Jerry Falwell and ilk with the ferocity of a swimming pool drain.
Rudy Giuliani – as he would have it, "America's Mayor," although short one city — and the recent Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, have to be taken seriously. Maybe Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, too; he's nowhere in the polls but he is the chosen of the religious right. The field straggles out with Tom Tancredo, Tommy Thompson, James Gilmore, Ron Paul, John Cox and Duncan Hunter who are, respectively... Oh, never mind.
On the GOP's vulture perch, hoping for carrion and an opening, are Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and George Pataki. And Chuck Hagel, who ought to know better — a decent fellow but a sure-enough moderate in a party to which that is the Mark of the Beast.
It is nearly a year until the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and 655 days, give or take, until the presidential election. One. Two. Three. Four...
Tom Teepen is a columnist for Cox Newspapers. He is based in Atlanta.