The rumors have begun that Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN) is aiming for a 2016 Presidential run. Klobuchar first ran for Hennepin County Attorney in 1998 and was reelected in 2002. Soon after her reelection victory she began touring Minnesota relentlessly. Nobody was surprised when she ran for US Senate in 2006.
She walloped rising MNGOP star Mark Kennedy in the 2006 MN-SEN race and her popularity has always remained high. In her 2012 reelection bid, she klobbered Ron Paul minion Kurt Bills who barely even campaigned after winning the MNGOP nomination.
I've spoken with plenty of political insiders and hacks who are convinced Klobuchar will run for President. Personally, I always thought she's angling for a Supreme Court nomination. It wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. Either way, these rumors are rampant.
Now we have a well-connected woman urging her Facebook followers to tell Klobuchar to run.
So what is the deal? Does she have a chance? What are her strengths/advantages? What are her weaknesses?
Her chances hinge entirely upon one and only one name: Hillary. If Hillary Clinton does not run, she is well-positioned to vie for the nomination.
Klobuchar the Moderate
Sen. Klobuchar has positioned herself as a moderate. Despite the clear and obvious dysfunction of the US Senate in that the minority (concerned only about political posturing) virtually controls the Senate via the threat of filibuster, she always talks up bi-partisanship and explains how she works across the aisle.
She has a liberal voting record on all the important issues and she's reliably voted the right way on the big issues. Democrats can trust her to do the right thing.
On the other hand, she rarely takes a stand on the issues of the day.
She's vote correctly, but she won't lead. For example, she was absent during the health care reform debate. When pressed she offered non-commital statements about how important the issue is.
Her triangulation toward the middle is probably an advantage nationally, but progressives in MN consider it a weakness. We want a leader and this is something Klobuchar hasn't done.
She is quick-witted and funny
Klobuchar is great at the unscripted moments. She is really calm under pressure and this is a huge advantage over the stodgy, over-scripted alpha males she'll face if she runs.
Furthermore, she's often quite funny.
There is no better way to make voters comfortable with you than making them laugh. She'll never get herself in trouble, either, as her humor is self-effacing. Her jokes are about herself and her family or about her interactions with the press or other politicians.
Don't discount the ability to make non-offensive jokes that make people laugh. It's a rare ability. I think she has the ability cut through to the heart of issue in a memorable way.
Klobuchar will likely join Michele Bachmann and make it two Minnesotans (and 2 MN women) to vie for their party's presidential nomination. One representing the wackiest far right and the other a confirmed moderate.
Unlike Bachmann, Klobuchar will not embarrass us if Hillary decides not to run. It will be nice to have a Minnesotan on the national stage who isn't crazy.
So ... who has Hillary's cell and can ask her what she's planning to do?