©07 The Media Desk
The field is really crowded across the board. From John Edwards and Barack Obama and maybe Howard Dean on the far left to John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Joe Biden and Bill Richardson more or less in the middle to Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Tommy Thompson more or less on the right.
There is the superstar politico of Hillary Clinton and the "who's that?" of Mike Huckabee in the field. But even the longshots will raise and spend millions of dollars to 'get their message out', even when the message is patent nonsense which is basically telling everybody whichever politician it is isn't a hopelessly crooked shyster who's skimming a quarter off every campaign dollar they have ever raised to pay for their vacation home.
Biden has run many times and has for the most part gone down in flames every time due to his own missteps (as he has apparently already done with his mindless comment about Senator Obama). McCain seems to run every four years just for something to do.
Speaking of Senators. The last person elected to the Presidency from the Senate was John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Historically the Senate has been seen as leading to the White House, but in the last forty years or so (ten Presidential Elections) those elected have either been a State Governor (Carter, Reagan, Clinton and etc) or previous VP (Nixon, George HW Bush) before moving into the Oval Office. A time frame that includes LBJ who was elected after being JFK's veep.
One problem with running from the Senate is that you have an extensive voting record and recorded speeches for those that want to look at which are part of the public record. Something which came back to haunt John Edwards in 2004 when it was pointed out that he missed the majority of the Senates votes during his one and only term in the chamber.
Another is the lack of executive experience. Governor's have the 'buck stops here' sign on their desk as far as state government goes. They have to appoint and live with a cabinet, and have to answer to the voters for whatever their administration does. A Senator is part of a committee, no matter how they voted, they can deflect some of the criticism to the rest of the Congress and to the President that has to sign the bill and get away with it.
Anyway. In a field crowded with egos as large as the ones we have mentioned one has to really work to stand out from the crowd.
One way to do that would to really shine at a televised debate where a sharp answer or joke or even a "There you go again" can win a debate and change the entire character of the rest of the campaign. Reagan used those four words to absolutely destroy everything President Carter had just said during a discussion of Medicare in a debate just days before the 1980 election. Some say that answer won him the election. It's possible. Remember the joke about his own age effectively took Mondale out of the race in 1984 with about two weeks to go.
"... I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."
But another way is to decline the offer to participate in debates before the primaries, as some of the current Dems are doing. Especially if you are one of the headlining acts with the most to lose. The risk of looking stupid is a real factor, as George HW Bush did at a debate where he was absolutely clueless as to the plight of those out of work during the 1992 recession. From there on in it was clear that Bush 41 was his own worst enemy on the campaign trail. Of course, his "Read My Lips" statement about taxes didnít help any, especially after he later signed one of the largest tax increases in US history.
Being out on the stump is risky enough. Saying or doing something stupid within reach of TV cameras, such as Dr. Howard Dean's scream after the Iowa caucuses in 2004 which led directly to the implosion of his campaign, is a risk many candidates and campaign managers want to avoid until it becomes inevitable that they will have to go on the record saying something serious about the issues.
Some see debates as a mine field where one exchange or line or even the way the candidate appears on the TV screen can change the way the public views their candidate as was demonstrated by the first televised debate in 1960 between JFK, who looked smooth and polished and handsome and every inch Presidential and who came to the debate complete with well rehearsed answers and sitting VP Richard Nixon, who had just gotten out of the hospital and didn't feel well, wore a suit that looked like the back drop on the nation's black and white TV's, and in general looked disheveled and somewhat shifty and who answered more or less off the cuff. Those who listened to the debate on the radio thought Nixon had won based solely on the way they answered the questions, but those millions who watched the curiosity of the first debate on TV went for Kennedy, and so did the election.
Nixon learned the lesson well and when the time came in 1968 for him to run and win, he was ready. He didn't like the medium, he didn't trust it, but he knew how to work it to his advantage.
A lesson other politicians have learned as well, some to an astonishing degree, or conversely, failed to learn to an equal degree:
The scene, Vice Presidential Debate, 1988 election.Moving on....
The players, Moderator TV News Anchor Judy Woodruff. Republican Nominee Dan Quayle. Democratic Nominee Lloyd Bentsen.
The question was about the VP Candidate's readiness to become President if the situation were to arise:
Senator Dan Quayle: Three times that I've had this question - and I will try to answer it again for you, as clearly as I can, because the question you are asking is what kind of qualifications does Dan Quayle have to be president, what kind of qualifications do I have and what would I do in this kind of a situation. And what would I do in this situation? ... I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.
Moderator Judy Woodruff : Senator Bentsen.
Senator Lloyd Bentsen: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. (loud applause) What has to be done in a situation like that is to call in the -
Woodruff to Audience: Please, please, once again you are only taking time away from your own candidate.
Quayle: That was really uncalled for, Senator.
Bentsen: You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator - and I'm one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.
[available from many public record sources]
The Candidates then the ODDS.
DEMS Senators Barack Obama (IL), Joe Biden (DE), Hillary Clinton (NY), Christopher Dodd and Joe Lieberman (CT) and John Edwards (Former Senator from North Carolina), Dr. Howard Dean (former Governor of Vermont, Current DNC Chair), Bill Richardson (Current Governor of New Mexico), Dennis Kucinich (Congressman from Ohio), Rev. Al Sharpton (Black Activist), Al Gore (Former VP), Rev. Jesse Jackson (Black Activist), and John Kerry who has recently said he isn't going to run again which means he is until he says he is then he won't.
GOP John McCain (Senator from Arizona), Rudy Giuliani (Former mayor of New York City), Mitt Romney (Former Governor of Massachusetts), Newt Gingrich (Former Speaker of the House from Georgia), Tommy Thompson (Former Governor of Wisconsin), Mike Huckabee (Former Governor of Arkansas), and Sam Brownback (Senator from Kansas)
Current Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is very popular with just about everybody, but has said she won't run. Besides, any time a Black Conservative (Alan Keys, Michael Steele, Lynn Swan, Walter Williams, etc.) goes out in public, liberals throw Oreo cookies at them. And nobody knows who Colin Powell is any more, so he's out of the picture.
And now the odds.
Going in from here it has looked for a long time like the race was Mrs. Clinton's to lose. Well, she's trying very hard to lose it. She is out in front of TV cameras directly contradicting things she said, also in the presence of TV cameras before the war in Iraq. She said she voted for the war with conviction, now she's saying she was misled. Well. It is a woman's place to change her mind, but is it a President's?
Senator Obama is the current media darling, but has to deal with his own party about his racial image. According to various black leaders, Obama isn't 'black enough', yet Tiger Woods is. Something is clearly wrong in the heads of various ethnic leaders of the party. For a certified 'black leader' to say Barack isn't a black man and then turn around and fawn over a white woman should make anybody with any sense at all scratch their heads in puzzlement.
So where does that leave us?
Hillary is still the odds on favorite in the early primaries. The party activists and far left wing hustlers that support her will run out in spite of the worst ice storm and blizzard ever seen to vote for her. She's liable to walk into the convention as her coronation unless.....
.... Unless ....
Unless CNN and the other networks decide to start running the tapes of her saying things like:
"So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed."
Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
10 October 2002
[available the US Senate web site]
A few broadcasts of that and other statements since then will prove to anybody paying attention that Mrs. Clinton is just like every other politician and especially her husband and will say anything she has to at the time to get whatever she is after depending on poll results and study groups. Personal convictions and opinions have no bearing at all on their position on any issue at any time, it is all about getting and retaining power and position.
This is not a trait exclusive to the Clintons, or to Democrats for that matter, it is a disease a lot of politicians catch and "We the People..." end up living with the results.
As an example- how many politicians have uttered the phrase 'fiscal responsibility' and then voted themselves (or allowed to pass without a no vote) a bill giving themselves a pay raise once in office?
In any case. If character and integrity do matter, if standards and honor amount to something, and (one hates to use these terms but they are the only one that fit) personal beliefs or faith count for anything any more, then there are very precious few of the field in either party that wouldn't wither if questioned about their statements and actions in either the pursuit of or conduct while in public office.
Now, all that having been said AGAIN... we'll set the odds.
Hillary's odds of taking the Big Chair.... right now, pretty good, three to one for in the primaries, and depending on who the GOP comes up with she had better than even odds in November.
Obama, even in the primaries, but in danger of dropping below .500. He's the media sweetheart, but his own party is leaving him by the side of the road. If he can pull it off in the Primaries and win the nomination, peg him at Even, right now, in the primaries. If the Republicans nominate an idiot (which is the odds on favorite) Obama could swing into the fall as the fave.
John Edwards. Falling into the longshot club. His speech about 'two Americas' rings hollow even to liberal Democrats when he is building one of the largest houses ever seen in his home state. Peg him at 3 to one against and falling. No odds on November.
Biden, Kucinich, Richardson, Sharpton, and company (which includes three quarters of Hollywood). The Pack. Uncle Joe is already done. Kucinich is a kook, Richardson sounds good but lacks the supporting cast of Celebrity types that campaign for Dems these days. The Reverends Al and Jesse are a one act circus, once they paraphrase Kanye West's statement as "Republicans don't care about black people" they are out of things to say. The whole pack is sitting at about 7 to 1 against for winning the primaries and more for the General Election.
John McCain could switch parties today and nobody would be able to tell the difference. He's a Republican in name only no matter what he says on late night comedy talk shows. As far as voting records go, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut is closer to a true Republican than Mr. McCain is. But their record has never stopped anybody from running for anything. John Edwards is running as a former Senator and he barely voted on anything at all as he has one of the worst attendance records the Senate had Ever seen. Put John as the bare favorite at something like 5 to 3 for winning the primaries. Head to head against Hillary, right at even. It would be an interesting mudbath for three months. Running against Obama, the charges of racism against McCain and by extension all Republicans, from those who are now saying Barack isn't black would be almost too humorous to stand, yet CNN would go wall to wall on the coverage of the charges. It might be close, but look for McCain to win, which would spark another two years of "selected, not elected" crap from the Dems.
Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are right there behind McCain, but they are just a hair over even. Giuliani has the name recognition and a wife that can be good looking if she works at it, but the Republican core primary voter is suspicious of his somewhat liberal stand on things like gun control, abortion and gay rights (he's more or less for all of them). Romney has the same problem, he sounds good to conservatives, but they're not sure if his being a Mormon is an instant disqualification or not. Being a Mormon is also likely to hurt him in the South where they are seen as little more than a cult with a great choir. They are both sitting at something like half a point over even in the primaries. Against Hillary, again, it would be a mud slinging contest of epic proportions. Even with the burden of having Bill following her around, Hillary might be able to bake enough cookies to pull it out. Put Rudy and Mitt as close but just behind her. Against Obama, make them even.
The Pack: Newt, Huckabee, Brownback, Thompson and just about everybody else in the House and Senate. 7 to 1 longshots all in all races.
Countdown to Election- ONE Year, nine months.
The article from 2005- the list is a little different, but not much.
winter '05 and the Primary Date Shuffle!
Other Political Coverage
[NOTE: The Desk is registered as a Conservative Independent Libertarian. It has never voted for a winning candidate in any major election, although it votes in every major election. thank you]
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