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    Monday, February 06, 2006

    2008: Yes, It's Too Soon To Tell, But ...

    From US News and World Report:

    10 Democrats and Counting for 2008
    Our friends at the Democratic Party have been drawing up a list of who's running for president in 2008, and they tell us that it's already reached 10: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, ex-North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, and Wesley Clark, a former NATO commander. Nearly all, we're told, are hiring key staff and raising money. And nine of the 10 share a big hurdle: "They're all waiting,"says our source, "for Hillary to decide."

    Let's put these folks under the My Amusement Park microscope, shall we?


    Voting records for all the Senators are remarkably similar. The differences primarily arise when it comes to who was at certain votes and who was away for those votes, which is not to say that any one of them is a chronic vote-skipper, contrary to popular opinion.

    All the Senators voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq, except Feingold. Unlike the Governors who didn't have a chance to say yea or nay with the force of a vote and unlike the other Senators who chose to put a ridiculous level of trust in our President, Sen. Feingold can really stand up to Bush on Iraq with very little "flip-flop", with utter clarity. Though Sen. Kerry, the day of the vote made that speech to be careful, nothing says "consistency" like a NO vote in the first place.

    One other major vote sets Sen. Feingold apart from the rest of the Dem Senators, which is his YES on John Roberts.

    Let's also remember that Sen. Biden has cast almost 12,000 votes, having been a Senator since he was 29. There's got to be a few in there that could trip him up.


    Clinton: Armed Services Committee, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Environment and Public Works, On Aging.

    Bayh: Armed Services, Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Small Business Committee, On Aging.

    Biden: Foreign Relations (Ranking), Judiciary (don't we know it, ugh). He's also part of the Drug Caucus.

    Kerry: Foreign Relations, Finance, Commerce, Science and Transportation, Small Business.

    Feingold: Judiciary, Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Budget.

    Edwards: formerly Small Business, Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, Intelligence, Judiciary.

    Senators Bayh and Rodham Clinton are well-positioned in the Armed Services Committee, which, given the likelihood of the war remaining a major issue on the table, could be helpful.

    Sen. Bayh is also on the Intelligence Committee, with Sen. Feingold, which gives them both a chance to make a splash where the domestic spying is concerned, as well as the Patriot Act, etc.

    Senators Feingold and Biden (especially) also made a mark in the Roberts and Alito hearings, but the potential of the Judiciary Committee to facilitate any more star turns before 2008 is, thankfully, low. Sen. Feingold's vote for Roberts, then, looks a little less troublesome.

    Sen. Rodham Clinton position on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is important as I'm willing to bet a billion that voters are going to be looking at someone who can deal with the health care crisis. Does the fact that she tried to reform our health care system under her husband's administration help or hurt her? I'm not sure.

    And Foreign Relations is always a good place to be, but especially these days, given the very precariousness of most of our diplomatic relationships, as well as the diminishing reputation of the US around the world.

    None of these folks is on the Energy Committee, but ...

    Now, for other issues.

    Sen. Rodham Clinton is getting skewered Left and Right, and I mean that literally. Stalwart liberals, WOMEN liberals, like Molly Ivins, Cindy Sheehan, Arianna Huffington, and other strong voices are coming out swinging against the Senator and she's long been tagged with a bullseye by the Right. Is it possible for her to get positive press? I wonder.

    Let's check out the Governors.

    Former VA Gov. Mark Warner is a mixed bag. He's nothing if not a Moderate. But you've got to worry about some of his ideas. Examples:

    1. He's against seeking UN approval for US military actions. The last thing we need is another President who wants to undermine the UN as well as out international relationships.
    2. His immigration preferences are quite conservative. That may work in Virginia and may not hurt too many Virginians, but how many votes for Prez would need to come from California and New York?
    3. His tax policies appall me: he's a borderline flat-taxer. I cannot deal. If that's what our party is coming to, leave me the hell out.

    I'm all in favor of his, non-Democrat views on Gun Ownership; he's a definite Second Amendment guy. But I wonder how most Dems would feel about that. And I adore his outgoing move for LGBT rights.

    Gov. Vilsack is another mixed bag Moderate. Can't get excited about his record on choice, that's for damn sure. I wouldn't want to live in his state, where Medicaid won't pay for abortions unless you've been raped, will die, or the fetus will be "abnormal". I'm also worried that, even though he let all the legislation mentioned above get past his desk, he refuses to take a public position on abortion rights. On the other hand, the guy supposedly liked the ERA. He also won't come out for LGBT rights, though his state does recognize domestic partnerships. Another thing that bothers me is his wish that we provide greater funding for the so-called War on Drugs. Ummm, yeah, because it's been ever-so-successful, Governor Vilsack.

    Governor Bill Richardson is EXCELLENT on repro rights; by far the best of the Govs. I'm not a big fan of his tax policies either; he too wants to diminish the "disproportionate" taxing of the wealthy. Now, all the Govs are pro-death penalty, but this guy loves it a bit too much.

    Now, how about Gen. Clark?

    A'ight. I wish he didn't think late-term abortions were cool to outlaw as long as the "mother" (pregnant woman) won't have her health compromised. But, other than that, the guy's pretty cool. I could deal with him.

    Now, of course, there's the $ issue.

    Gov. Warner, Gov. Vilsack, and Sen. Kerry are the guys with over a million stashed in PAC coffers, which will let them spread cash around the country, garnering love and likely votes. We all know Sen. Rodham Clinton could snap her fingers and wealth appears though, so who knows how HillPAC will be doing six months from now when 2006 elections are hot hot hot.

    I think the Democratic Party is going to have to seriously consider whether or not they want to run someone America knows well. The American public at large is well-acquainted with Sen. Kerry, John Edwards, Sen. Rodham Clinton. Slightly less Gen. Clark. Since Biden can't seem to keep his mouth shut in the press longer than overnight, people probably know him.

    Another issue is, having just run a Senator and lost, are we going to go with the much-more-tried-and-true Governor? It might be nice to have someone who wasn't involved in debacles like the War in Iraq, etc, and whose success or lack thereof as a legislator couldn't be held against her/him.

    Finally, who are the Republicans running? We can all hope and pray that McCain and Rice are off the table, though the former is unlikely to keep his ass out of the limelight. Wouldn't it be lovely to have Brownback or some other known weirdo quantity? And maybe Harry Reid would be a good candidate for their side.


    Blogger YurmaBoyBlue said...

    Russ is one of a few members in Washingoton that has enough backbone to demand answers and accountablity. He is the lone ranger when it comes to protecting our civil liberties. He is a deficit hawk that won his seat in WI in 2004 by 3000% more then Kerry. He had 300,000 pro-Bush supporters vote for him.


    8:06 PM  

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