Friday, July 14, 2006

The Road To Washington Weekly - July 14, 2006

As I described in my last post, I lost a day this week, and as such, my newest feature, The Road To Washington Weekly didn't appear at it's normally scheduled time, which would have been Wednesday.

Never fear, and without further ado, we move back to focus once again on the latest happenings of the Democrats positioning themselves for a Presidential bid in 2008 - this week embellished with the assistance of YouTube (watch next week for the new, fresh, pine-like scent):

#1. John Edwards (Last Week's Position - #2)

John Edwards has shown in the last few weeks the advantage of having run as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2004, and not having a current Senate seat.

He enjoys the name and face recognition of a national politician, while not having any of the current responsibilities of a politician in office. As such, Edwards has climbed to the top spot on our ranking this week due to the sheer volume of work he's done as of late. Keep in mind - all of the following activity has taken place since our last ranking.

He has made trips to Iowa (where he currently sits at the top of state polls). He's talked to groups in Ohio and Arizona regarding state legislation to raise the minimum wage. He's addressed the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women in Oregon, as well as Teamsters in Las Vegas. He talked up the tech geeks in Seattle at Gnomedex, and flexed his podcasting and blogging skills. And if all this wasn't enough, he's established a network through One America to receive text messages from Edwards on your cell phone. That's a lot of positive work from a high visibility candidate, with no major gaffes. He gets the top slot this week.

#2. Russ Feingold (Last Week's Position - #1)

Feingold remains consistent in the view of PTF, but takes the #2 spot this week only because of the tremendous action of John Edwards. Feingold's name recognition continues to grow across the nation, and Russ will be making another trip to Iowa this weekend. In an interesting bit of news, Feingold placed 2nd in AlterNet's Reader's Poll. Gore took the top slot, but it is our opinion that Feingold is far more likely to run than Gore - making this good news for Feingold.

On Meet The Press, Feingold stated that he will support the Democratic candidate following the Primary in August, even if the current Democratic incumbent, Joe Lieberman, doesn't want to act like a Democrat.

Feingold has also partnered with Senatior Obama to have the Senate put into place rules regarding lobbying reform, despite inactrion by the House of Representatives.

If you want more information, or you're ready to support Russ Feingold, check out the Progressive Patriot's Fund.

#3. Barack Obama (Last Weeks' Position - #3)

Barack Obama continues to be charasmatic and visible in the early '08 race. He seems to have developed a strategy centered on allowing Democrats to claim some of the moral high groud that the Religious Right has allegedly owned for quite some time.

For the past two weeks, almost all of the news about Barack Obama has centered around his speech that he gave last month at the Sojourner's Conference, focused on Democrats reaching out to Christians and allowing the Party to define for themselves where they stand on moral issues. He has followed up with an editorial in USA Today on the same topic.

Not all of the analysis of the speech is positive, but it certainly has kept him out front as "One To Watch" on the Road to Washington in '08.

#4. Al Gore (Last Week's Position - #4)

Gore continues to keep his options open for an '08 run, although he has continued to state that he has "no plans" to run. He took first place in the AlterNet Reader's Poll, which may be yet another piece of information which could convince him.

More convincing may be the continued success of An Inconvenient Truth. As of July 13, the movie has grossed close to $16 million dollars, making it a tremendous success for a film about global warming released as an independent film in an already crowded summer season.

There is a regular reader of PTF who has falsely claimed that I have been singing the praises of An Inconvenient Truth. While this might be convenient for his political axe, it couldn't be further from the truth. FULL DISCLOSURE - I haven't yet seen the film. I have only reported on its objective success, as it relates to a potential tool toward a Gore '08 Presidential bid. And while he tries to point to scientists that dispute the science of the film, the leading scientists who have taken time to actually examine the film and it's science have said that it is, in fact... well... factual.

Regardless of what one's opinion of the science behind the film may be, this much is true. An Inconvenient Truth has served Gore well in that is has removed the "wooden" moniker that was hung around his neck during his 2000 campaign.

When Al Gore begins to win over conservatives, that is certainly something worth watching.

#5. Mark Warner (Last Week's Position - #5)

Warner remains tangled in a controversy related to Kos founder Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga and the blog's support for Dean in 2004 and Warner in 2008 - support which allegedly comes with a pricetag. This is, of course, a gross oversimplification of the story, but it's not doing anything good for Warner.

Beyond this, Warner hasn't made a whole lot of forward momentum as of late. This isn't necessarily a bad thing at this early point in the race, but if it turns out that Warner is "just" a Centrist, with no other real cache, he will lose almost instantly to Clinton in the Primaries. Moderates like Warner and Bayh will be the first to fall to Clinton's pursestrings, with candidates who are able to separate themselves from the pack surviving.

Warner continues to make trips to Iowa, but as potentials like Bayh and Vilsack seek to make inroads, Warner will be a likely target with which to begin.

More unfortunate news for Warner came in the murder of one of his Campaign staffers in Georgetown. As the Chief of Police in Washington calls the current situation a "crime emergency," the death of any staffer, typically the most devoted and hardest working members of any campaign, is tragic.

#6. Bill Richardson (Last Week's Position - #6)

What is true for Wesley Clark is largely also true for Bill Richardson. He's been out in front a bit on the issue of North Korea, but we really should be seeing him more on this issue than we have. Polls clearly show him is a very, very confortable position with regard to re-election in New Mexico. Now would be the time that he could spend more time on a national front.

It was recently reported that Richardson cut taxes in New Mexico, lowering the top rate from 8.2% to 4.9%, while cutting the capital gains tax in half in the state. The result has been a half billion dollar surplus, as well as an increase of 27% in tax revenues. This might be an issue that Richardson could get some traction with - particularly with fiscal conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Instead, as voting itself becomes a volitle issue, Richardson has remarked that he wants to make a national issue of returning to a paper ballot system. I'm all for a paper trail, but does ANYONE remember what happened in 2000? I don't know that this is the winning issue to bring Richardson to the top of the pack.

#7. Wesley Clark (Last Week's Position - #6)

Wesley Clark got some face time related to North Korea's actions over the July 4th holiday.

Otherwise, there's not a whole lot of noteworty news to report on Clark, and that's a problem for him. Sure, he's made the rounds with many other potential candidates, but he's not surfacing in the news as a result - a fact that will kill his chances if not remedied in a crowded pack of candidates.

#8. Hillary Clinton (Last Week's Position - #10)

Clinton moves up a few notches this week, with great resistance from me. She still strikes me as the John Kerry of 2008. But even John Kerry came close to a win against Bush in '04 - a race that should have been a landslide for Democrats. The results, I fear, will be even worse should Hillary run. She basically moves up because she's not as stupid as Joe Biden, and she's not John Kerry.

Hillary spoke at the Sojourner's conference last month, as well, but her story was largely drowned out by Barack Obama.

She was nearly excluded by her fellow Democrats from a press conference on legislation which she introduced.

These are typical stories I read about Clinton lately. And yet, I then see stories like the one James Carville penned, talking about "The Power of Hillary" , or this Forbes article, which largely suggests positive outcomes for Clinton.

Everyone seems to claim that Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner. I don't buy it.

If she's truly the frontrunner, then WHERE is the excitement for her? Where are all of the polls saying that not only Democrats, but Republicans and Independents would vote her into office, and be excited to see her as our first female President? Especially given the "precedent" of the Presidency, there should be HUGE excitement - but it simply doesn't exist. Could this be simply because her name doesn't allow her to be elected? Or is it because she swings back and forth like a pendulum, thrying to be everything to everyone, rather than simply standing on principle? It may not be too late for her to correct this... but given her larger-than-life personna, it might just be too late.

#9. John Kerry (Last Week's Position - #9)

Yup... this is the way to win friends and influence people. After Faux News does everything and anything possible to torpedo the campaign of John Kerry in 2004, the logical place to go for an exclusive interview would be Faux News, and specifically with Bill O'Reilly. Way to legitimize the attacks they made on you, John. Way to ignore the fallacies and lies they perpetuated. Yeah, I'll support you in 2008.... shhhhuuuure I will.

To his credit, Kerry was one of the few who spoke out publicly about the need to revive the bin Laden tracking unit. Using the same philosophy that Republicans use with regard to the war in Iraq, he said, "disbanding the bin Laden unit sends the message to the terrorists that they can kill thousands of Americans without being held to account...."

#10. Joe Biden (Last Week's Position - #8)

He said his comments were taken out of context. Watch the video. I don't see how he could claim there was even any context to begin with. He's hanging on in this list by a thread, and ONLY because he's the only candidate who has officially announced his candidacy.

Well, that's a wrap for this week. Next week, we're going to begin tracking a few others here, as well - folks like Chris Dodd, Tom Vilsack, Evan Bayh, and anyone else who might have the potential to shake up our list a bit.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:50 PM /


  • Blogger Reel Fanatic posted at 6:23 AM  
    Interesting stuff .. my money's on Warner, for the moment .. Shockingly, Mr. Gore's movie has managed to make it to my little corner of the world this week . I'm going to see it today and really looking forward to it

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