I'm not really ready to talk about this, but everyone else wants to. So here's some random stuff on 2008.
- Chuck Todd finally writes the obvious -- the Democratic nomination is not Hillary's for the taking. But he still doesn't say the most obvious reason Hillary can't win -- she tops out in the early polls, a popularity contest, at 35-ish percent. Now, money is good to build name ID and to brand. But who doesn't have an opinion well-formed about Hillary already? She's only been around 14 high-profile years. She's got one direction to go -- down. Her chance for the nomination is a crowded field, where 30 percent nets her wins. And being the only woman in the field would help her out. But I just don't see Hillary as being a foregone conclusion. She'll be competitive, but so will lots others.
- Speaking of Hillary and Obama, Fox News claims that Hillary won't run because of Obama. And the Hotline thinks Obama is in.
Biden thinks Obama won't run:
Senator Joe Biden visited NECN studios for an interview with Chet Curtis. In the two-part show that starts tonight, Biden said: "I've decided I am going to run [for president]." Biden said he'd be surprised if Senator Barack Obama seeks the presidency.
Then again, Biden thinks he's a serious candidate, so what the heck does he know?
- I still think the frontrunner is Edwards. The primary schedule fits him best -- Iowa, where he dig extremely well in 2004, Nevada, where UNITE-HERE (which represents all Vegas casino workers) is an unofficial extension of the Edwards campaign, New Hampshire, where he only needs to show up and place top-three or four, and then South Carolina, where he should theoretically clean up.
- Of course, Bill Richardson will make a play for Nevada, counting on regional kinship and its Latino voters to pull him to the top and give him a boost headed into the next few primaries. In fact, Richardson is a big reason the Nevada caucuses even exist. Still, if it's a battle of Latino voters versus Labor, I would give the edge to labor. My people still don't vote in the numbers they should. But Richardson is also very popular in the Latino community. If anyone can get them out, it'll be him.
- Then again, Richardson (and Vilsack) are at a huge disadvantage. In the latest round of campaign finance reform, senators made sure they would get the upper hand by allowing themselves to transfer their senate funds into their presidential account. Governors are not permitted to do so. So senators generally get a $10-20 million head start on governors. Just another reason that the current campaign finance regime needs to be dumped in favor of a brand new, more sensical approach.
- I won't forget those Democrats who dug deep on behalf of our majorities, and those who didn't. There was no one more miserly than Evan Bayh. Out of all the candidates, I am hostile to one -- Bayh, and it's because he demonstrated none of the party-building leadership I expect from our nominee and hopefully president.
- Bayh's retort, I'm sure, would be that he helped three Democrats win House seats in Indiana. Other Democrats that can claim solid local gains are Vilsack, and, um, well, that's pretty much it. Clark has no real geographic base. Hillary didn't shepherd the kind of gains we should've seen in New York, both at the federal and state levels. Kerry lives in a state already dominated by Democrats. Richardson missed out on his state's one hot federal race (NM-01 and Patricia Madrid).
- Richardson, as head of the Democratic Governor's Association, can take some credit for the six big governorships we picked up, including a crucial one in Ohio. Compare that to Mitt Romney, who heads into the GOP race after having LOST six governorships as head of the Republican Governor's Association.
- Vilsack announced his candidacy this morning. He also announced it the day after the election. And I'm sure he'll "announce" several times more to see if he can get anyone to care.
- Still, credit due -- Vilsack was succeeded as governor of Iowa by another Democrat. Compare to Mitt Romney, whose handpicked successor was crushed in Massachusetts in a state that likes to elect Republican governors. Mike Huckabee, in Arkansas, also saw his Republican successor crushed by a Democrat. Other Republicans who screwed up in 2006 are out of the race -- Allen in Virginia and Frist in Tennessee. Romney and Huckabee, on the other hand, don't seem to care about past failures. Kind of like George Bush. On our side, Richardson was re-elected easily to a second term in his (barely) Red state.
- Then again, Gov. Richardson was unable to carry his state for Kerry in 2004. Neither was Vilsack. And Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards failed to carry his own home state of North Carolina. Clark gets no blame for losing Arkansas in 2004, but he also gets no credit for our gubernatorial victory there this year.
- Finally, there's Al Gore. No one knows if he's going to run. All indications say "no", though he's got a bunch of his supporters going around trying to drum up interest. It looks like an ego play -- get a reluctant Gore to enter the race to satisfy public clamoring for it. His entrance would be dramatic and welcome. And what better place to announce than when he accepts his Oscar for Best Documentary? Now that would be exciting.
- And speaking of announcements, the smart ones will do so on either the Daily Show or Colbert. In fact, the candidate should have a blog post ready to go, on a laptop, and have Stewart or Colbert hit "submit". Make it a Comedy Central/Blogosphere event. That would be fun. Why bother with a hostile press interested only in asking questions about Hillary? Primary candidates should go straight to friendly audiences.
- I am 100 percent undecided at this point. I don't even lean toward someone. I will date around, see if there's anyone I fall for. But I'm in no hurry, and none of us should be either. Make them work for our support.
But I will say that there are things I'll be looking for -- executive experience, a track record of leadership, especially in controversial issues, an outside-the-beltway mindset, loyalty to party, demonstrated material assistance to the Democratic gains in 2006, an embrace of people-power, and some Webb-style cojones.
I expect no one can meet all those guidelines, but the more, the better.
p.s. I guess I did want to talk about the 2008 presidential stuff... In any case, this was all stream-of-consciousness. So I'm sure I omitted potential candidates and misc stuff.