Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Road To Washington Weekly - June 21, 2006

Although today marks the official beginning of summer, it also means there are officially only 866 days until the 2008 Presidential Election - too early to start paying attention? Not at all... candidates are obviously already raising money, refining message points, and positioning themselves for a potential 2008 Presidential bid.

We here at PTF will make The Road To Washington a weekly feature, taking a very individual opinion poll of how the potential candidates are doing, and whose stock is going up or down on any given week.

I will provide a personalized list of those candidates whom I believe to be the best Democratic candidates for 2008 - this list will obviously shift from week to week, but I will try to give explanation to the poll positions.

Initially, we will keep the list at ten candidates - please let us know if you feel someone more important has been left off the list. As we get into the Primary season, the list will dwindle down to five candidates.

We will also include a listing of Republican candidates and their activity from time to time, in addition to any potential "other" items of interest, including a focus on third party candidates and other developments.

So, without further ado, here is the inaugural listing for The Road To Washington:

1. Russ Feingold - I've made my case here on PTF for quite a while as to why I like Russ Feingold so much, so this should come as no surprise. Feingold has long been the leading candidate in straw polls, only to be ignored in more mainstream polls. This week's U.S. News and World Report, however, mentions Feingold in the same breath as Warner and Clinton.

2. Barack Obama - Like so many others on this list, Obama has not declared himself to be a candidate. There was a really nice story about him, however, in The Washington Post and it's hard to ignore the potential of this charismatic Senator from Illinois. Obviously, it's easier for a Democrat to play in Chicago, but Obama's success in the "heartland" of southern Illinois as well as in the urban areas make him a VERY attractive candidate.

3. John Edwards - I've still got a soft spot in my heart for Edwards - he was the candidate I supported before Kerry became the eventual nominee. I think he has actually served himself well by taking himself off the radar for a while. While Al Gore has made the environment his pet issue, Edwards has chosen to focus on ending poverty, and is set to deliver a major policy address at The National Press Club tomorrow.

4. Mark Warner - There's no denying the appeal of Mark Warner and his ability to win over voters and draw consensus in a state like Virginia. He's a bit more conservative than I'd like, but he's beginning to talk tough, as well - taking a page out of Feingold's playbook, and making appearances most recently at places like last week's YearlyKos will raise his visibility, but I think Warner is most likely a lock for a veep position - not as a frontrunner.

5. Al Gore - No, he's not running again... at least that's what he says. Still, one has to question what a Gore campaign would look like if he had the same charisma and personality that he's shown lately in venues like his successful An Inconvenient Truth, his appearance on Saturday Night Live, or his interview with Keith Olbermann on Countdown. HIs book connected to the film debuted at #3 this week on the New York Times Bestsellers List. For all of his recent success, however, Gore still has baggage that probably won't allow him to win a Presidential election.

6. Wesley Clark - OK - I get it. He's a Democrat, and he's a former General. There's appeal for a man who truly understands the military to be in The White House. But if this is such a great idea, why didn't it work in 2004? He made the trip to YearlyKos, as well, and has support in the blogosphere. HIs PAC, Securing America, plays on his military experience, but I don't see enough credibility in Clark beyond his military experience.

7. Joe Biden - One of the few that has actually declared his candidacy, Biden prides himself on the fact that he doesn't beat around the bush. Don't get me wrong, I generally like Biden - but I think he represents the "Old Guard" Democrat, and is not what the party needs as a leader right now. I can't shake images of Biden sitting at those hearings, talking endlessly about himself, rather than asking tough questions of the nominee. If he heasn't been able to effectively work against the Republicans in the Senate, why should he be the man to take the White House seat?

8. Hillary Clinton - Too. Much. Baggage. Pure and simple. She's been a great addition to the Senate, and there's no doubt that she's been a great fundraiser in the Democratic party. There's no way she wins the White House in 2008, however, and so people need to stop talking about her and move on. If she's REALLY smart (and I think she is), she should have enough self-awareness to know this, and she should provide some "shock and awe" of her own by not running in '08.

As an aside here, can we PLEASE stop talking about Hillary as though there are not only two political parties in America, but only two political families? First, Reagan for 8 years with Bush as the Veep. Then Bush for four years. Then Clinton for eight years. Then Bush for eight years. Do we really want to consider Clinton for another four or eight years... followed by... I dunno... Jeb Bush for the next slot - are we THAT hard up in America for leadership that we can only turn to two families? I think not. But I digress.

9. Bill Richardson - I add Richardson here because I think he'll run. Not to win, but to be heard and to raise his visibility. At YearlyKos, he was one of the candidates making the rounds, but seemed out of touch with those to whom he was speaking. Richardson is an important voice in the party, but he will never be Presidential.

10. John Kerry - Yeah, OK. He was screwed in the 2004 election. Whatever. He had as much to blame on himself as he did on any poliing issues in Ohio. Kerry falls into the Biden category of Democrats. While someone like Gore has begun a rebirth, Kerry still has the stench of "loser" wafting from him, and his nomination as the Democratic candidate would be the death nail for the party in '08.

So, that's the list. What do you think? Please feel free to submit your lists, as well.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 11:40 AM /


  • Blogger ModFab posted at 2:15 PM  
    A great feature...can't wait to read it every week. (You should also bullet-point some news stories every edition, so we can keep up with it as well as you do!)

    As for the list, I'd move Bill Richardson up the list significantly, and move Biden and Clark down. Biden, in particular, could share the bottom spot with Kerry. Ugh...what a terrible politician.

    And as much as I like Feingold personally, I think he's a mirror-image of Hillary: Too Much Baggage. The minute he decided to censure Bush, he ruined any shot he ever had. Conservative will use that as a battering ram, and moderates will view it as a desperate move of the ultra-left.

  • Blogger Team Cloak & Swagger posted at 1:24 AM  
    I need to do more research on these potential candidates, and other indy candidates out there as well, but my initial vote would be for Obama.
    I'm reluctant to have anyone who's even remotely associated with the last elections in the VP seat, but I want it to be somebody who's history shows a firey side, and is unrelenting in pressing real issues. Someone who will not rest or waste any time once they're there. A reincarnate of Paul Wellstone is what I think I'm looking for as VP.

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