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June 12, 2005

Warner to Explore Exploring

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Democratic Governor of Virginia Mark Warner, term limited out of office, has mentioned that he will likely set up his PAC/Exploratory team to run for the 2008 Dem Nomination for President.

The tax victory -- and Sen. John F. Kerry's loss in states such as Virginia in the presidential race -- helped propel Warner to national prominence. He is often mentioned along with Sens. Kerry (Mass.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), former senator John Edwards (N.C.) and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico as possible Democratic contenders.

"Mark is seen as one of the most thoughtful, promising leaders we have in the party," said Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democrat Network, a centrist group.

For the past year, Warner has been chairman of the National Governors Association, a position that gives him the freedom to travel the country.

Last week, he went to Iowa to prepare for the association's annual meeting in July and make the rounds of the state's top Democrats. In Iowa, Warner criticized Kerry for failing to appeal to moderates, according to the Associated Press. "I can't tell you where he ever broke with anything in Democratic orthodoxy," the AP quoted Warner as saying.

Warner would face significant disadvantages in a Democratic primary: He is little-known nationally, he is a centrist in a party where liberals dominate primaries, and much of the party establishment is lining up behind Clinton.

He's also hired one of Gore's top staffers, Monica Dixon. I guess there isn't a whole lot of that Gore v. Clinton love going on there, since we all know Hillary is giving it the eye...

March 01, 2005

ACT serious?

By Jim Dallas

There's been a lack of clarity about the future of the 527s (at least in my mind) since November. John Kerry's loss, according to some critics, sent the message that a decentralized Democratic party would never be able to compete with the top-down GOP. I've taken these critics seriously.

America Coming Together (ACT) has no doubt heard plenty of carping too. So I suppose it sent a message today when Ellen Malcolm announced (in a mass-email) that Hillary's heavy-hitting-hombre Harold Ickes is going to be taking over as ACT's chair.

Now, I'm neither a Kremlinologist or Chappaqualogist, but I would imagine that this means the 527s are here to stay?

February 24, 2005

Mitt in 2008?

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

Not with his flip-flopping on Gay Marriage, Civil Unions, and Constitutional Amendments. Best quote in reponse to his changing position?

Gay activists said they also found Romney's statements puzzling. "The governor's kind of 'bi' about this issue," said Arline Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "In one venue he swings for civil unions, and in another venue he says he has always been against them."


Bill in 2008?

By Karl-Thomas Musselman

No, not Clinton, but I wouldn't be shocked to see Bill Richardson (current Gov of New Mexico) take a stab at a run. I've had my eye on him, and Western Democrat has an interesting find as to his Foreign Policy cred.

February 10, 2005

What America Needs Now

By Jim Dallas

We need a public debate between likely Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken and declared Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman.

January 31, 2005

How The GOP Will Win in 2008

By Andrew Dobbs

I've started thinking a lot about the 2008 Presidential election on the GOP side. It is an interesting set up because without a sitting President or Vice President seeking the job (for the first time since 1952), a lot of opportunities present themselves. If there is an open primary anything can happen, including the nomination of someone less than stellar. But if Bush selects a successor things will be much smoother and the party could stay united behind a single standard-bearer. Either path is a possibility, but which is more likely? The answer lies not in President Bush, but in Karl Rove.

Karl Rove isn't content with having a two-term President in George W. Bush and a solid GOP majority in Congress. He and his colleagues in the GOP are seeking a permanent super majority- a set up wherein the GOP is the unquestioned majority ruling party for a generation or more. He seeks the eventual disintegration or at least marginalization of the Democratic Party. To do this, he must first create a united and competent GOP and simultaneously kick the slats out of the Democratic Party. To the end of the former, he will want Bush to name a successor and to the end of the latter he will want it to be someone who can take away serious demographic support from the Democratic Party.

The Democratic Party has a majority in only a handful of demographics. The cornerstone of our survival are the overwhelming majorities we recieve in the minority community, particularly African Americans. If only white people voted we would lose every national and statewide election (with a small number of exceptions), if only racial minorities voted there would be no Republican Party to speak of. We also see a majority in college educated professionals, but much of that stems from our relative majority among women. If only men voted we would lose almost every election, if only women voted we would win almost every election. Other groups- academics, union members, gays, etc.- give us strong majorities, but their numbers are small enough and concentrated enough that they matter only on a local and occasionally state level, rarely on a national scale. All of this is to say that with a significant reduction in the level of minority support for the Democratic Party and an even greater reduction in the level of female support for the Democratic Party, we would be toast.

And if you think Karl Rove doesn't realize this you are a fool. He is going to get Bush to pick a successor to keep the Party united, and he wants one that can undermine the Democratic Party's base. A minority female who is well-qualified to be President. Someone who Bush has promoted up the ranks, with a national profile and intense loyalty to the Rove/Bush axis of power. Who could it be?

Could it be Dr. Condoleezza Rice?

I came up with this scenario not to long ago and only one thing has changed- I suspected that Cheney would resign as VP for health or family reasons and Bush would replace him with Rice, but now I doubt that that will happen. The reason being that such a move would require a second confirmation hearing for Secretary Rice, in both the House and the Senate. Democrats are likely to ask tough questions that could hurt her in a Republican Primary. I suspect she'll just resign as Secretary of State and Bush will stand next to her as she announces her candidacy for President.

Some of the questions that will be asked one way or another which could hurt her are:

"Madame Secretary, in 1999 newspapers reported that you are in favor of a woman's right to choose. Is this true, and if so, how do you think this will affect your standing with religious voters in the GOP primaries?"

"Dr. Rice, in 2003 you came out in favor of race-based affirmative action. How will this affect your standings in the GOP primaries?"

"Secretary Rice, in 2004 New York magazine reported that you accidently called President Bush your husband at a dinner party. While no one seriously suspects any kind of improper relationship, it does raise the question as to why you have never married. Is there anyone in your life romantically?"

To be fair, I think that the last question is beyond the pale, but it does not mean it won't be asked. An intensely right-wing religious nut a la Roy Moore or Rick Santorum (if he is reelected in 2006, which is looking increasingly unlikely) could use her pro-choice, pro-affirmative action stances and mix them with a whisper campaign about Rice's sexuality to cause her trouble in Iowa and New Hampshire. Still, she would be likely to run away with the GOP nomination and even if she only gets 35-40% of the Black vote and just a bare majority of the woman vote, she would beat the living daylights out of virtually every Democrat. She is likely to do quite a bit better in both of those categories.

So what to do? If a right winger were to beat her out in the primaries it would split the party down the middle and would taint the GOP as a party of racist misogynists to those who don't already believe that. We could win walking away. But the whole scenario is unlikely- Rice will have the backing of Bush and the smart money will be on her side. Any other campaign would have a hell of a time just keeping up with the well-funded behemoth Rice '08 would likely be.

More likely would be that a combination of factors could give the Democrats a fighting chance. Things are looking up in Iraq and the elections were a big success. Success in the political realm is likely to dampen the resolve of the insurgency and with continued success in military training, Iraq is not very far away from being self-reliant and free. But if something were to happen to change the fortunes- say a nationalist government is elected that asks the US to leave and either Bush does and a civil war erupts with an Islamofascist government ending up the victors or Bush doesn't and the insurgency becomes a much broader-based revolutionary uprising- Rice would likely have to carry that burden on her shoulders for the duration of the campaign. Also, a religious conserative is likely to run in the primaries against her and is almost certain to lose. But a Roy Moore type (who is leading in the early polls for governor of Alabama in 2006) could easily form a right wing third party to join forces with some of the independent organizations and movements already in place and strip away enough of Rice's GOP support to throw some Southern and Midwestern states to the Democrats. Finally, and this is not something I am suggesting but simply a phenomenon that is likely, Democrats could nominate a Southern male- Mark Warner, Phil Bredesen, John Edwards- for President who will pick up some of the racist/misogynist voters who would never vote for an African-American or a woman. Sadly, those people exist and are all throughout the GOP. A mixture of the three, with an empahsis on the second two, is likely. If Roy Moore raises questions about Rice's religious right credentials and then forms a third party movement to challenge her from the Right, that could strip several points from her and lose her several states, particularly if Southern voters are more comfortable with the Democratic candidate. Still, for every Southern white who votes third party or for a Democrat they don't particularly agree with, there will be an African American or female Democratic voter that will switch sides to see a Black woman in the White House. So Rice is likely to be in good shape.

It will be a tough battle if what I suspect happens. It will be tough because a part of me will be excited to see a woman, an African American woman, a person born in an age when her parents couldn't vote or sit at a lunch counter, a person who was likely told throughout her youth that unless she was a nurse, a teacher or a mother she would be of no use to society, a person who is undeniably intelligent and qualified become President. And it will be tough because we will likely be drawing dead against her. But perhaps I am wrong about all of this, I hope that I am.

January 29, 2005

We want Keyes

By Jim Dallas

Oliver Willis finally has the infamous mosh clip available for viewing on his site.

January 12, 2005

What we need is some Aggies

By Jim Dallas

One of the mysteries of the last few years for me is why R.C. Slocum doesn't get more respect in football circles. He did a pretty good job at A&M, had a few rough years, and got canned. Nonetheless, he still sports a pretty good career record - 11 bowl games, a .721 win-loss percentage, etc.

In the ultra-competitive world of college football, though, everyone - particularly those everyones who are members of the 12th Man Foundation - is a critic. And after losing enough times to Texas, it was just inevitable that he'd lose his job.

In the "bizarro world" of Democratic politics, of course, things aren't so cut and dry. Amy Sullivan now joins the gaggle of grassroots gurus who are calling for the heads of the Consultant Class.

Why? Well let's just say that if Bob Shrum had R.C. Slocum's win-loss percentage (or alternatively, if Democrats had as much self-respect as the A&M alumnis), we'd be living in a much different country.

P.S. Of course the same principle (sortof) applies to Mackovic, but that was longer ago, and if I'm going to use a metaphor, it'll be one that's easier to remember.

January 07, 2005

Warner 2008?

By Byron LaMasters

He's a southern governor, the only winning strategy for Democrats in the past 40 years for the presidential ticket, so take a look at Draft Mark Warner.

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