Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Road To Washington Weekly - June 28, 2006

Last week, we initiated this new feature as a way to keep tabs on how potential candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination are positioning themselves, and what actions they've taken in any given week.

There are a few minor shifts in this week's list, as well as noteworthy news for each of the potential candidates. Without further ado is this week's list:

1. Russ Feingold (Last Week's position - #1)
It's hard for me to believe that Russ Feingold is not the clear frontrunner for the nomination, although it's fine with me that he's not, as frontrunners tend to lose their momentum (see Hillary Clinton), and Feingold is positioned perfectly.

Check out Feingold from this past Sunday's Meet The Press:

Here's the timeline - Bush and Cheney state that the worst possible resolution to Iraq is to pull our troops out on a timetable. Senator Feingold proposes legislation on the Senate floor to begin a troop withdrawl on a specific timetable. Senate Republicans begin their mantra of "cut and run" and the proposal is defeated, but Feingold remains resolute. The next day, General Casey proposes a troop withdrawl on a specific timetable that is identical to what Feingold has proposed. Take that, Apologists.

Feingold, in this seven minute clip, explains his position clearly and speaks in a way that all Americans can understand. Those who state that the Deomcrats don't have a plan need to pay attention to Feingold.

Combine this with his eloquent words on the floor of the Senate with regard to the flag desecration amendment yesterday (or listen to it here), and Feingold had a great week.

* Senate Debates Feingold Proposal
* Feingold on Meet The Press - full interview
* Feingold Fights For "Buy American" Reporting Requirement - Attached to Department of Defense Authorization bill
* Hands Up In Support of Feingold

2. John Edwards (Last Week's Position - #3)
Edwards had a good week, garnering significant attention - particularly in light of the fact that he no longer works in Congress and doesn't have a successful documentary playing in theatres. So, how'd he do it?

Edwards laid out a comprehensive "Working Contract" designed to cut poverty by a third in 10 years, and eliminate it in thirty. He proposed to radically overhaul the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to create 1 million "stepping stone" jobs over the next five years, to raise the minimum wage, and to refocus the American education system.

"What kind of America do we want — not just today, but 20 years from now? And how do we think we can get there from here?" Edwards has charm and charisma, and as he test-runs campaign themes with events like this, he may have the substance behind him, as well.

* Edwards Plans Events in Iowa - Can You Spell "Caucus?"
* Washington Post article on Edward's appearance at the National Press Club
* Edwards Coordinating Support
* Edwards Announces His Wife is Cancer-Free (this was a condition of him running for office again, if you recall)

3. Barack Obama (Last Week's Position - #2)
Obama definitely has the star power to remain high in this week's listing. He might begin slipping, however, if his celebrity doesn't translate into taking firm positions on some of the issues, as well as plans for what he might do differently. The current rap on Obama is that he avoids confrontation, which could ultimately be an asset or a detriment. Still, anyone who becomes a subject for Annie Leibovitz, especially a politician, has achieved rock star status.

* Barack to the Future

4. Al Gore (Last Week's Position - #5)
I'm still not at all convinced that Al Gore is going to run in 2008. I actually believe that he's really content doing what he's doing right now, as a matter of fact.

So, why does he move up this week? One reason, and one reason only. He forced George Bush to address the issue of global warming.

An Inconvenient Truth has continued to expand its audience in a busy summer at the box office, making close to $10 million in the five weeks since it's opened - that may be chump change in Hollywood, but there are interesting facts buried in the stats here - it's take at the box office cxontinues to grow each week, meaning that it's business has not been declining as is true of most summer films. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, everyone is talking about Al Gore's issues - regardless of whether they agree or not.

* Gore's Documentary Wins Humanitas Prize
* Al Gore Will Not Seek Presidency

5. Mark Warner (Last Week's Position - #4)
All in all, a pretty quiet week for the former Governor of Virginia. Warner is still largely seen as the moderate alternative to Hillary Clinton... whatever that means. While he reached out to bloggers with his extravagant Blogosphere at the Stratosphere party at this year's YearlyKos, there may be some controversy brewing over it. Something about Jerome Armstrong (founder of MyDD), who was hired by Warner as an Internet counsultant, and his relation to Daily Kos and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (founder of Daily Kos). As Armstrong began working for a given candidate, that candidate would allegedly begin being pimped by Kos. Very underground, conspiratorial stuff - but not great news for Warner, who laid out all that money to get attached to this "underground blogosphere."

6. Wesley Clark - (Last Weeks' position - #6)
Slow news cycle for General Clark. other than the fact that his website, WesPAC, garners more online hits than similar sites for John Kerry, John Edwards, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, or Bill Frist.... So, that has to mean something, right?

* Model of a Modern Major General?

7. Bill Richardson - (Last Week's Position - #9)
Richardson moves up not so much as a result of his own work, but more to the incompetance of potentials like Biden, Kerry, and Clinton. Richardson's news isn't sexy this week, but very workmanlike for a Governor. He largely spent the week working hard for the people of New Mexico. Still, with issues like immigration being so prominent these days, you might think that a Governor of a southwetern state with a background like Richardson's might be more "out-in-front".

* Richardson Decries Plan to Dismantle Worker Safety Agency
* Richardson Announces Ethanol Plant in New Mexico

8. Joe Biden - (Last Week's Position - #7)
Sure, he's visible alright - but that's not always a good thing. I won't bore you with his tired work in the Senate this week. Instead, I choose to focus on how Biden courted the youth vote this week. Biden launched an organization called Generation United, a youth-oriented arm of his PAC. For $40 a pop, twenty-somethings drank purple martinis and listened to Joe Biden state:
Folks, I don’t want to live in the White House.... I will – don’t get me wrong. But I’m not big on the trappings of the office. I would rather go home to Delaware and make love with my wife when the kids are gone from the house.
Now how long is it going to take me to get THAT picture out of my head???

* Biden Courts Youth Vote
* Biden Praises Teamsters
* Senators Call For Direct Talks With North Korea

9. John Kerry - (Last Week's Position - #10)
Kerry moves up a notch for his stand on the troop pull-out in Iraq, legislation he co-sponsored with Russ Feingold that was significantly stronger than the weaker Levin version of the legislation. Still, after the defeat in the Senate, Feingold went on to have a great week, while press was largely negative for Kerry. Maybe he remains a larger target than Feingold right now, but conservatives attack him very easily, and he does little to help himself.

* Congress to Kerry: Oh, Shut Up
* Kerry Was For Finishing The Mission In Iraq, Before He Was Against It

10. Hillary Clinton - (Last Week's Position - #8)
Realistically, the three bottom positions in this poll should all be tied. Hillary is really no worse than Kerry or Biden in terms of her prospects, and truith be told, she has more money that the other two combined. And she is an amazing fundraiser for other Democratic candidates.

So, why is she at the bottom? Like I said at the beginning of this week's column - frontrunners at this stage tend to run out of steam, and this appears to be happening to Hillary Clinton. She is routinely a target of conservatives, obviously. But as of late, more and more Democrats are taking their once solid support of her away. Perhaps its because they feel she cannot win with the name "Clinton" attached to her. I disagree, and feel that it's because of her wishy-washy politics as of late.

* New Ratings Create Buzz For Clinton
* Clinton in New Hampshire
* Clinton Hires Blogger
* Female Base For Hillary In '08 Isn't A Gimme

So, that's the list. Next week, we'll take a break from the Democrats and begin to focus on Republicans, and their struggle to position themselves close to their base, without alienating their base, while supporting Bush, while not been seen as too close to Bush, while trying to... well, you get the point.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 2:59 PM /


  • Blogger jay lassiter posted at 5:03 PM  
    i can't think of anything i would change on this list. well, maybe Hillary sould be a notch or three higher. but i'd put her at 10 too, just to be a bitch.

  • Blogger Kitten posted at 5:15 PM  
    This is an AWESOME feature! It helps me keep up with everything. THANK YOU for adding it.

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