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The 2008 Horse Race

by RonChusid

Pamela mentions that the mainstream media has concentrated on Kerry’s comments on running in 2008 as a headline following his appearance today on Meet the Press. It comes as no surprise that the media concentrates on the horse race. While Iraq is the more important news, it is important to get out the message that Kerry learned from the 2004 race.

Some call for a fresh face, but cleaning up the mess George Bush will leave takes someone with experience in government. Despite the shambles Bush has made of the GOP, we can also anticipate that they will ultimately unite behind a strong candidate, backed by a strong network of supporters. Going with someone inexperienced in national races is a mistake unless we should find a candidate who is as naturally skilled a campaigner as Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan and qualified for the position. It takes this experience to successfully go up against the Republican Noise Machine, and perhaps to have the ability to shake free of the advice of the professional Democratic strategists who have not performed too well.

Looking purely at electability, Democrats should concentrate on candidates with this national campaign experience. The Democrats have a number of potential candidates who have gone through this. John Kerry and Al Gore have both experienced this first hand, while Hillary Clinton and John Edwards also gained valuable experience as first lady and Vice Presidential candidate respectively. For a variety of reasons, including their early opposition to the war and degree of experience, Kerry and Gore would be preferable to the others in this group. As long as Al Gore says he does not plan to run, this leaves John Kerry as the obvious leader.

4 Responses to “The 2008 Horse Race”

  1. Ron,

    Good points. The hope for someone from “outside the beltway” to come in to clean up the mess ignores the problems that Carter, Clinton and W all faced when they got in the WH. They didn’t know how the system worked, they didn’t know the players or personalities. And they went from small, weak Governorships to the Federal Government. Hell of a learning curve.

    The other side of this popular idea is that people inside the beltway are entrenched in the system and after awhile they can’t ‘think outside the beltway’. This applies to everyone, regardless of record, etc. That some individuals can and do maintain their integrity, their purpose and independent vision is not improbable or impossible. There are people who are as committed to public service as doctors are to medicine, etc.

    I’ve always believed that if you want to change something, you will do a better job working from within than from outside. It’s harder, and a lot of people won’t try because of that. The outside changes are often inappropriate and create more problems.

    The discussion keeps coming back to who will or who should run in ’08. Sometimes who can win the race seems more important than who can do the job. Maybe those who want to debate the ’08 candidates now will consider what the critical areas of qualification for President should include. Here’s some starters.

    Experience and knowledge of how the Federal Government works; the three branches, agencies, etc.

    Breadth and depth knowledge on issues: health care, Iraq,
    security, etc. I am not as concerned with a candidate’s plans as with what they know and how they think. What their record shows as far as coming up with solutions to other problems. Were they innovative and effective? Did they get changed when it was needed?

    Willingness to seek out and appoint or consult the best in the field. Including some s/he may not agree with. This is well established in both government and business as a basic factor of success.

    Critical thinking skills. Once all the input and discussion from the specialists, agency heads, cabinet members, etc. the president makes the final decision.

    Leadership style. Consensus builders have a better chance of getting it right early if not the first time. And the ability to change style depending on the situation is important.

    Communications skills. Listening is half of that. Being able to understand someone else’s point of view is as important as being able to express your own.

    Attitude is no joke. Morale is also related to moral. How has this person used the power of previous positions and how might s/he handle the awesome power of the US presidency?

    Awareness is a constant effort. Being open to what is happening and whether it is ok or not ok.

    Long vision. Beyond the polls and the next election.

    Ability to interact positively with the rest of the world as the leader of the superpower. Experience a big bonus.

    I am not willing to vote for candidates who are openly against government. It’s a self fulfilling failure. Experience running a previous national campaign is priceless. The most successful people are the ones who learned from losing, and tried again.

    For those who want to be aware and thinking of the future, it makes sense to follow some of the most likely candidates so you have a better idea of what their qualifications are.

  2. Nice analysis Ron. 🙂

  3. “Sometimes who can win the race seems more important than who can do the job. ”

    Bingo Ginny! 🙂

  4. The “Sometimes who can win the race seems more important than who can do the job. ”
    quote is dead on and has been one of the dems major problems when they are trying to get the white house the other is looking for a fresh face.

    We are indeed going to need someone with experience on how government works, how other governments work.

    As for edwards He couldn’t even win his home state how the hell is he going to win the rest of the country.

    Hil, she’s had 8 years in the white house to rule and with half the world on edge of the abyss she is not the one for the job.

    JK can do it and momma t will be a heck of a first lady.