Now Getting to the Analysis of the Politics of the Presidential Nomination

While I was against Obama running initially, I’ve converted and I’m guessing he’s in and I’m on board (no not the campaign, as a supporter–I do accept free drinks).

Four posts by others point out why they think Obama is in a very good position.

Kos: 2008: If Obama runs, he wins.

Jerome Armstrong: On the ’08 Presidential field

Dan Conley: A Life All It’s Own

Pastor Dan: Obamarama

Let’s start off with what should be a fairly non-controversial statement unless you live within 10 miles of Washington D.C.

Hillary Clinton is not going to be the nominee. It’s great for Republican fundraising and it’s great for overpaid over the hill consultants, but that’s about it. She has no personality, no presence, and people don’t like her. They’ll say they’ll vote for her as long as she is the Democrat they know the name of the easiest, but once the other candidates raise their profile, she’s toast. For some reason no one has noticed that absolutely no grass roots Democrats are behind her and while the grassroots can be oversold, you have to have some support and buzz.

We can also stipulate that Evan Bayh and Joe Biden are wasting our time. I don’t care enough about them to worry if they are wasting their own time, but they are definitely wasting our time. Neither has a compelling argument to be President other than being ‘experienced’. Never mind much of that experience is being wrong about everything, but what the hell.

Biden is my favorite to watch though. There’s the great story of Joe Biden meeting with Iowa activists and spending all of his time grooming himself. Not just his hair on his head, but while pretending to talk to an A level activist, he groomed his chest hair out the top of his shirt.

The level of pomposity to do that is truly evidence that God has a sense of humor.

John Kerry was a horrible candidate once and he will be again, but without the shield of Dean to surprise everyone. Not to mention that foot is really hard to remove from his mouth.

Chris Dodd, who I happen to like a lot, is dead in the water. There is no space for him to occupy and I doubt he’ll even make it to Iowa. Richardson simply isn’t compelling–his ability to hit national security is limited by Clark.

That gets us down to Tom Vilsack, John Edwards, Wesley Clark, and Barack Obama. I like Vilsack a lot, but I just don’t see how you get traction. I tend to believe being from Iowa is a huge problem because it means people cede Iowa to you and then you don’t get the chance to field a strong grassroots organization to overcome other disadvantages. This is especially a problem for Vilsack who ran an incredible campaign in 1998 to become Govenor of Iowa. The very place he could do the best is the place he takes off the table.

Clark I like a lot and he’ll have to field a strong operation that he didn’t last time. He still needs to demonstrate he can do that–as Markos said, he’ll need to start a buzz early and build upon it.

Edwards is a favorite, but he has three significant problems. Many of the people who seem to most strongly support him seem to criticize Obama for a lack of experience. There’s an irony there. That said, he’s an excellent candidate and I voted for him last cycle. Second, he voted for the war and was an early vocal proponent even though he has renounced that since.

The final problem is one not talked about very often. Elizabeth Edwards is a person you love and pledge your undying loyalty to, or she’s a pain in the ass who is petty, vindictive, and overly demanding. She’s driven away many a consultant from one who was quoted explaining why Senators weren’t supporting Edwards–there was no criticism–just a description of what Senators thought, to Steve Jarding and Mudcat Saunders to David Axelrod (see Conley’s post here).

I know people who would take a bullet for the women as well and when they went to law school, one classmate always said they knew one of them would run to be President, but everyone thought it would be Elizabeth. The problem then? Campaigns cannot be run when the entire staff has to answer to someone outside the traditional hierarchy. It creates fear and people tend to avoid taking risks.

A final option is if Al Gore gets in the race. I’m torn on this because I remember him being a giant ass in his primary against Bill Bradley and frankly his condescending tone drives me batty. Probably because he has been mythologized by the 2000 election debacle and not many blogs were around to document the obnoxiousness of that primary, he’s seen positively. He’d be a strong contender in that race though I think many of his annoying traits might surface again.

Of the above, there’s only two who I can’t stand and wouldn’t feel enthused about in a general election and that’s Bayh and Biden. Even Clinton I could deal with, but I don’t believe that’s a real concern.

Finally, Barack Obama. I’ll stipulate his legislative record at the federal level is thin and that he doesn’t have executive experience. Then again, only Richardson, Bayh, Vilsack, and Clark have run large organizations. Only Dodd and Biden have long legislative records. Kerry has a decent record on investigations such as BCCI, but his legislative record is weak. Clinton’s experience legislatively is weak and her experience in the administration was damn near disastrous.

Compare him to what Democratic voters in the primary want and he comes away doing very well. He was against the war and wants us out starting soon. He thinks the war is a failure and its time to move on. He is strong on health care, his foreign policy experience is slim, but substantial for someone with his experience, he actually has real ideas for energy policy, and he led on reform. He was a strong voice for immigration reform that values a path to citizenship for those who work in the US.

Other than giant screams of triangulation which does not actually rest on what he said when taken in context, he fits with what most Democratic primary voters want and he is inspiring. For some inspiring language doesn’t count for much, but the primary power of the President is to persuade and that is not something to dismiss. To some activists it’ll seem as though he’s not fighting the way they want him to do, but his abilities to communicate go beyond simply fighting the same fight better, he wants to fight an entirely different fight on his terms, not the press’ or the Republicans’.

Edwards looks to be putting together a strong labor team, but Obama is likely to do well with SEIU which has been one of his strongest supporters in Illinois–in fact, if you want to point to a reason he did well in the primary, it wasn’t Blair Hull’s implosion, it was the SEIU’s support and a strong volunteer corps along with great media and a good plan. When you talk to people in Illinois, unless they were Hull partisans, virtually no one believes Hull’s numbers were going to improve significantly or take the remainder of votes out there. Then again, maybe some people think SEIU is all about private jets.

Stoller has suggested he’s weak with the netroots, but that would be true of just about anyone at this time in a race other than those who have run before. I have some concerns about the online strategy the campaign might try, but in 2004 he hired much of the Dean team after the primary, but the entry of Keyes made that unnecessary.

But I think Stoller misses a larger point—candidates can improve their relationship with the netroots, but many of the strongest operations come from individuals on the net doing it on their own with campaigns coming in to open up communication and responsiveness.

Finally, as much as I believe in on-line activism–John Kerry had very little presence in 2004. 2008 will increase the importance of online activism, but it isn’t everything.

Let me add one other thing—Stoller says there is no Dean in the race. That’s true. Obama is to the left of Dean in general. What’s most strange about the complaints about Obama is here is the guy who was against the war from the beginning, trumpeted the EITC and civil rights and death penalty reform in Illinois. Dean’s record was relevant in Vermont when it came to civil unions. Why isn’t sponsoring SB 101 relevant in Illinois? Or how about passing a serious racial profiling law? Extending CHIP? I know early education and care aren’t big issues to the young male dominated blogosphere, but how about many bills to improve the quality and affordability of care for infants and toddlers?

Oh, and he introduced a bill for public financing of judicial elections in Illinois and a Constitutional Amendment for universal care in Illinois. I mean, if filing a bill counts by Sirota’s position, that’s a hell of a record. In fact, what he did pass was impressive.

32 thoughts on “Now Getting to the Analysis of the Politics of the Presidential Nomination

  1. Then I guess he would make an excellent Governor, given his legislative experience is on the STATE level, not the FEDERAL level.

  2. It is true Obama is to the left of Dean (except maybe on School reform). But, “there is no Dean in the race” when it comes to style. No one in the field is currently as pugilistic as Dean. Obama, in particular, goes out of his way to distance himself from raw partisans, to say nice things about Bush as a person, to “not one of those people who cynically believes Bush went in only for the oil”, to say that the Daily Kos is doing interesting work because it doesn’t come up with contrarianism for contrarianism’s sake, etc. Again, this doesn’t happen that much in the major speeches; in the Saddleback speech he largely stands on principle. And perhaps the press is hyping his “maverick” image.

    Gore is probably the closest to Dean on style, if he runs. Kerry keeps trying, but I think the netroots have dumped Kerry (personally I think he deserves a fair chance at another shot). Richardson, Vilsack, Bayh, etc., have yet to define themselves on this front.

    Also, let’s not knock Dean around too much; Dean expanded health insurance for children in Vermont to over 97% coverage.

  3. You’ve had a few great pieces deconstructing the current blogosphere fad of beating Obama to a pulp — regardless of the facts. Stoller even went on and on about how Obama is a “corporate jet” sellout, seemingly unaware that Obama put a moratorium on taking private jets because he feels they could be perceived as a conflict of interest, and because they keep politicians insulated. But still, he’s a corporate jet sellout.

    I volunteered for Obama’s primary campaign in 2004. Since I had recently moved into the area, I actually did quite a bit of research about the field before choosing who to help. That’s what makes all the intense scorn hard to take — this guy is one of the most liberal, progressive people to enter the public stage, ever. And he is a very real, very viable, possibility to be the President of the United States. And his name is Barack Obama. That is nothing short of astounding.

    Instead of seeing the victory that having such a progressive in the Democratic field is, many in the “netroots” feel compelled to rail against him any time he dare critique the Democrats, or the progressives, or state a position that maybe, just once, a Republican agreed with as well. Many in the blogosphere are revealing themselves to be people who, unless you scream at the top of your lungs about how injust it is that Republicans even exist in the world, unless you’re willing to call Bush an asshole to his face and in every speech you give, you’re not worthy.

    If many of these guys were honest, they’d admit that much of the intense anger toward Obama is directly related to Obama’s unwillingness to headline a single rally for Lamont. I don’t blame them for being angry about that. I was not a particularly “energized” Lamont supporter, but I do very much believe that if the Democrats in the primary pick a person who is a credible candidate for Senate, the Democrats should support him. Period. It’s not like Lamont was a crazy left-ist, by any stretch. He was a very reasonable, very credible candidate that Obama and others should have supported completely and whole-heartedly. I’m disappointed that he only did so in a half-ass way.

    But guess what? No politican is my ideal. Not a one. Every one disappoints me, at some point, in some way. Clinton started out inauspiciously with his appalling “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise; and then we had “welfare reform” and monica facing us later. Dark, depressing times. The vast majority of Congress voted for Iraq, despite real pleas from those of us begging them to snap out of it and look at the real picture. Blago, who I could barely defend voting for in this last election and never even put a button on for while canvassing.

    But guess what? Blago drove legislation for and then passed an increase in the minimum wage days after his victory. Clinton did many, many positive things for the progressive movement, and for Democrats, and continues to be one of our inspirations. The Dems in Congress who voted for Iraq are the hardest to defend, but with more time, even they I could support.

    I’m confident Obama will both continue to inspire and continue to disappoint me in his political career. But there is no doubt in mind that he is the person, above any other possibility, I want as a leader.

  4. ===Gore is probably the closest to Dean on style, if he runs. Kerry keeps trying, but I think the netroots have dumped Kerry (personally I think he deserves a fair chance at another shot). Richardson, Vilsack, Bayh, etc., have yet to define themselves on this front.

    I think you make some great points–though I still have a hard time seeing Gore as closest on style. I remember a rather bad candidate in 2000 that ran on stupid phrases and only could loosen up in black churches (where contrary to cw, I thought he was fantastic).

    And my intent isn’t to criticize Dean on policy-in fact, I’m probably closer to Dean on policy than Obama in many ways. That said, I’ve been drawn to the ability of Obama to redefine the issues. I don’t knock Dean at all in terms of record. My point is only that people begging for the most progressive candidate might see that Obama is slightly to the left of him in policy, if not rhetoric.

    === I’m confident Obama will both continue to inspire and continue to disappoint me in his political career. But there is no doubt in mind that he is the person, above any other possibility, I want as a leader.

    I will probably elevate this to the front page tomorrow as I think it makes a point very well. I do disagree with him from time to time and sometimes very strong–the Schiavo bill for example, but at the same time of all the pandering on that bill, Obama provided a rather nuanced point–that more due process is seldom a bad thing. I disagree not becaue I think due process is a bad thing, but because I think there was excessive due process in the case already, but the thought process behind his vote was far more challenging than anyone else defending such a vote. If that’s the worst I can say, I’ll be quite happy.

    ===Then I guess he would make an excellent Governor, given his legislative experience is on the STATE level, not the FEDERAL level.

    What’s most fascinating here is that his experience is equal and probably greater than most of his opponents at either the state or federal level. Critiquing his legislative experience is legitimate. However, critiquing it without comparison to the alternatives tends to distort his supposed lack of experience. Compare it to anyone in the Presidential race other than McCain, Biden or Dodd and his experience without relation to merit is quite strong. If one is a Democrat, I’d argue only Dodd offers a legislative record of any quality.

  5. Obama also got tarnished in the netroots because Lieberman was assigned to be his mentor.
    So that must mean he’s another Lieberman.
    Somewhere along the line he voted for a piece of big business legislation. So, he’s DLC. (Note – He is NOT a member of the New Democratic Caucus, which are the DLC’ers. Bayh, Biden, Clinton, Lieberman are DLC. So is Tom Vilsack and Bill Richardson. So is netroots favorite Mark Warner.

    Weird how that works, Obama is tarnished as a DLC’er when he’s not, while Warner is lionized while being an actual DLC’er.

    For all the anger people have over him not campaigning non-stop with Lamont (I’m only slightly exagerrating), few seem to give him credit for helping get Jim Webb elected. And I’m sure Harold Ford would have done worse without Obama’s help.

    Locally, people are smarting over the Cegelis/Duckworth thing, and that can translate onto the netroots in general.

    But the thing that burns me most is that article that people regularly reference to knock him on the strawman thing. In that same article, hell, I think on the same page, he takes a shot at the DLC. He said something like (and I quote from memory, this ain’t exact) “take these DLC people, they don’t want to do anything on National Healthcare, because they’re afraid of being called a ‘tax and spend liberal.’ But that’s not a good enough reason not to do something. People need healthcare.”

    He marches to the beat of his own drummer. I wish he would stop with the strawmen, talking about “some on the left” or whatnot. Its bad for the party at large. And its unnecessary to say that. He should say what he believes, and if he wants to contrast himself, contrast himself to the other side, not his own side.

  6. Howard Dean remains the first and only politician I have actually really wanted, and it it precisely because of what you term his “style” here, not policy. However,”style” is a superficial-sounding thing, and it’s not that. What I think became so inspiring to me and many others comes from his personal willingness to admit that a lot of this bullshit is bullshit, which suggests a much more direct and open leadership style, a repudiation of the gradual trend towards governance-via-propaganda (or vis media if you like) that began with Regan and reached its apotheosis with Clinton and Bush Jr.

    This seems dreadfully important, to move back towards rational and fact-based conduct in public affairs. What sold me on Dean was that he personally represented this, and his campaign evidenced that he was willing to walk the talk. The fact that he took this line with passion and came out doing so in the very dark hours of early 2003 is the kicker.

    Barak Obama seems like a nice guy, but I have no idea what he really believes in, and unfortunately I doubt that I ever will. He does not strike me as authentic in his public appearances; he is not open. He’s got a decent track-record in the State of Illinois, but not being around to see any of it go down I don’t know whether this is just because he’s got liberal-wonk ideas and was able to maneuver them through the legislature, or if its because of something greater. I’m tired of actor presidents.

  7. I agree with a lot of the points here. I think Obama is the class of the field right now. Experience is overrated and a campaign hinderance. I think he’s probably a little too conciliatory and smooth sounding for many in the netroots, but that also makes him a more acceptable general election candidate. What he really has is the ability to inspire which none of the others seem to have.
    I’d like to point out that Elizabeth Edwards may be a tyrant (I hadn’t heard this before) and that may be something that is a hindrance or less appealing in a candidate, but if you look at Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton, I don’t believe you can say that it is a death sentence to a campaign.
    I also agree that Dean’s support sits hugely on his early denouncement of the war (which Obama did as well) and his fiesty style in the campaign. However, if you were to ask Vermonters when he was governor if they thought he was particularly progressive, or even if he was particularly fiesty, I don’t think you would get the same response you’d get in 03 from national netizens. Vermont has Bernie Sanders as a real example of progressive and feisty and Dean was seen (as governor) as something of a conciliatory centrist.

    What I’d really like to see is Obama with Richardson as his VP nominee (takes care of foreign policy experience, the mountain west, and hispanics) and Gore as his specially named Czar of Global Warming and Energy policy (in a newly announced cabinet level position with authority over EPA, DOE and an office at State–this announcement made early so Gore could campaign on those issues he’d be useful on).
    I’d also like to see Clinton bow out gracefully and early, and take her safe seat and national prominence and become the next Ted Kennedy in the senate.

  8. Barak Obama seems like a nice guy, but I have no idea what he really believes in, and unfortunately I doubt that I ever will. He does not strike me as authentic in his public appearances; he is not open.

    Try paying attention next time. He’s open, honest, answers questions fully, and tell questioners with whom he disagrees why he disagrees. If you think he’s not open, you don’t know what the word means.

  9. I plan to email mydd and tell them to read this. they seem to bash Obama just to bash him because the media likes him right now.
    I have wondered many times why the media and pundits do not read the blogs to get a reading on what we think since we are the ones who vote. Maybe it’s because no one supports queen Hillary.
    I am also bothered by the experience thing when his experience is the same, no more, than Edwards. And then the claim of DLC and centrist. I have suggested they look up his activities in the state and his real positions and not just think it.
    For some reason the netroots don’t like him outside of Democratic Underground. They seem mad and I don’t know if they are righties, hillary supporters or really mad. but, thier charges are so frustrating.
    Obama is intellegent and thoughful and more than capable of being president. And he is alot better than Hillary who is one person I would never vote for.

  10. I know early education and care aren’t big issues to the young male dominated blogosphere, but how about many bills to improve the quality and affordability of care for infants and toddlers?

    I stopped beating my wife three years ago, fyi.

    I’m not against Obama, and I didn’t argue that he’s weak in the netroots except by design. He doesn’t care about us. Should he? I don’t know. Maybe not.

    What I am is skeptical of Obama. I want him to develop into a great leader, but I don’t see him moving down that path as of yet.

  11. Saying he doesn’t have a progressive record and then ignoring a very progressive record on an issue that is critical to working families is a problem Matt. Criticizing him for not taking on serious issues ignores what he has done. Dean’s record was relevant as a Governor, so should Obama’s as a State Legislator. SB 101 was a big deal. So were the other bills he passed.

    His initiatives in the Illinois Senate covered critical areas for Demcracts–campaign finance reform, EITC, Early Childhood Care and Education, human rights, criminal justice reform, and early health care.

    Some of these issues are ignored by the young white male dominated blogosphere all too often. It’s not just you, it’s a pattern on several issues for the blogosphere. And I apologize for singling you out this time–as I’ve made the point before, but it kind of fit. How many posts have you done on Early Childhood Care and Education? Can you think of a more critical anti-poverty program? I can’t. Yet, how many times when talking about a candidate’s policy positions is it mentioned? How is it any less critical than universal health care? Or trade policy? It’s intimately linked to those two issues. The issue was a big issue and we almost got a universal bill passed in 1994 at the national level IIRC (1993 if not). Since then what?

    At the federal level what about Lugar Obama–he cosponsored the major update to Nunn-Lugar–that’s a serious accomplishment. What other similar piece of legislation have the other candidates passed other than Biden or Dodd or perhaps Richardson?

    He increased the amount of Pell Grants—a critical tool for poorer college students.

    He passed the contractor transparency bill

    He’s introduced a new plan to deal with CAFE standards–one that at least might break the logjam on the issue.

    His actions in the Senate are an expansion of what he did in the Illinois Senate. He’s led on foreign policy in three critical areas: AIDS, Non-Prolif, and Darfur.

    He’s worked on energy with CAFE standards, his first big vote was to shoot down Clear Skies, and he works on alternative energy (even if I don’t like the damn ethanol bias).

    He’s worked on education with the Pell grant.

    On immigration he headlined a huge immigration rally in Chicago.

    He’s offered strong defenses of the New Deal programs and has been consistently against the war starting in 2002 and speaking out against it on the eve of the war at a rally in Chicago agaisnt the war. While you might disagree about the speech, look at progressive religious blogs and see how they interpreted that speech compared to how you and some others did…it isn’t seen as a slap at Democrats, but a full throated challenge to Republican claims on religious values redefining the debate.

    As I’ve said, it’s fair to criticize him for a lack of executive experience and even legislative experience, but who in the field accomplished as much as he has within 2 years in the US Senate? And how else has been able to lead on AIDS, Darfur, and immigration.

    The problem with the criticisms of him aren’t that they are criticisms, it’s that the examples are odd. A tort reform bill that moved bills to federal jurisdiction in the case of interstate commerce and required greater transparancy on coupon settlements. An amendment to a bankruptcy bill he voted against, the amendment never got a hearing, and he tried to filibuster the entire bill. The Oman Free Trade Act. Err..what is the industry even fleeing to Oman?

    I have a hard time imagining what an acceptable candidate would be given the criticisms of Obama. What else do you want? More executive experience would be a reasonable standard, but that’s not the criticism. He’s taken clear positions against the Iraq War, perhaps you want to shorten the time frame (I do). He’s taken on AIDS. He’s taken on non-proliferation. He’s taken on immigration. He’s taken on government transparency. He’s addressed educational opportunities. His work in the Illinois Senate covers many anti-poverty programs. He has worked on criminal justice reform and had one of the best defenses against the bills on habeas corpus and military commissions. He’s for net neutrality.

    I’m trying to figure out what he should be doing that he’s not–being nicer to bloggers? Using different rhetoric on a couple issues? Leading on different issues? What?

    ===. He doesn’t care about us.

    What does that mean even? It sounds like a parody of the Washington Press corps because they haven’t been catered to in the right way. I’ve had a great relationship with his people as have other Illinois bloggers. Yes, he hasn’t done what Warner did, but he’s also just deciding much later.

  12. Usually I would let a post like this slide, figuring life is short and no one bats 1000%. But I also know how lore is built, particularly on the internet. The post itself is a great example of that actually, moving from a post elsewhere about the 2004 differences between David Axelrod and me (David Axelrod knows that I like him personally then and now) to a conclusion in this post that I was, well, a pretty awful sort of person altogether, with an odd reference to Mudcat Saunders. Mudcat and I are a dear friends; I have always respected him and I think the feeling is reciprocated. It has been that way from the beginning and I have remained one of his strongest cheerleaders. The post is simply wrong. Wrong on the facts but most wrong in the huge leaps it takes.

    But listen, wives have a tough time in this. Do I want the best for John? You bet, but not one smidgen more than Christie Vilsack or Cindy McCain do for their husbands. And these women will — when and if the time comes — spend a lot of themselves in the campaign that bears their husband’s — and their — name. They will know although it is not their campaign, it is their life that will be affected. It was unfair in 1992 to suggest that Hillary not speak up in Bill Clinton’s campaign; it is unfair to suggest that if one of us expresses our opinions, pro or con, on anything that we are being petty and certainly unfair to suggest that we are being vindictive.

    You can have at me. You don’t have to like all you see. None of us ever expects to bat 1000%. But — and this is not just for me but for all the spouses — be fair.

  13. I am surprised to see so many people avoiding the fact that Al Gore is easily a stronger candidate than anyone else being floated. Given his opposition to the war from the start, his victory in 2000, his de facto ownership of the global warming/ environmental issue, his centrist position on economic issues and his ability to tap into “Bush Fatigue” in a way few other candidates (Hillary excepted) can he would be an unstoppable figure in both the primary and general election. And unlike most of the people writing about Gore, I actually felt he performed well on the campaign trail during the post convention period.

    It would appear to me that Sen. Obama floated an idea about running for POTUS largely to help sales of his book and boost his national profile. Like many he was surprised with how much the media was truly hungry for a political story to write about ’08 -other than the obligatory unstoppable Hillary story. He may run, but I for one believe that he does not have the depth yet to handle a national campaign and that he is going to be subject to a great deal of overhype because of his amazing story/ appealing background. But the truth is that a lot of Americans – no matter what they say right now- are not going to cast a vote for a President who’s name is Barak Hussein Obama nor are they likely to vote for a non-Anglo. Look at Harold Ford -who ran a great campaign- but ultimately could not pull off a win. There is still a lot of latent and largely unspoken racism at work in the mind of the average American. Republicans are speaking about how amazing Sen. Obama is least in part because they know that if he is the eventual nominee then it buys them at least 5% of the vote on Election Day. That is a big hurdle in modern American politics and one that I do not believe our party is able to overcome in the likely political environment two years from now. Add to this fact that the Republicans -for all the posturing right now- are likely to nominate Sen. McCain who has successfully (if not truthfully) positioned himself with most Americans as a real centrist and a plain dealer. Sen. Obama will not have to face a polorizing candidate like Dubya or George Allen in the General Election and against McCain I do not believe he will not be able to achieve the necssary momentum to overcome our society’s undercurrent of racisim.

    I like Sen. Obama on the issues, but he would do well to seek a VP slot (which may actually be his aim) now and let the American public’s perception of both his name and race become less of an issue over the next eight years of seeing him at work on the national stage. A Gore-Obama ticket would be dynamic in that it would play to the advantages of both men and could ultimately serve as a bridge to changing the climate sufficently for the US to actually elect a non-Anglo President.

  14. Barack Obama will be the John Edwards of the 2008 primary season: a genial and charismatic but very green candidate running this year to a) build up name recognition and campaign infrastructure for the purposes of a more serious Presidential run down the road or b) emerge as the logical VP choice.

    Unlike Edwards, however, Obama will not have to defend his Senate seat and so he has nothing to lose and everything to gain by throwing his hat in the ring.

  15. well, i’m one who pledges unyielding devotion to Mrs. Edwards, and it’s partially because she has no idea why I do. I was an advance man in 2004, and after a particularly chaotic night, Mrs. Edwards decided to show up with her entourage. I was responsible for orchestrating the logistics for the hotel, and there were, literally, no rooms left. So only after considerable shuffling and negotiating did we manage to accomodate Mrs. Edwards and her staff. I’m not complaining at all. Far from it. It was my pleasure.

    But it was even more my pleasure when, on the following day, I stepped off my plane in orlando and checked my voicemail, and there was a voicemail from Mrs. Edwards thanking me for the work I had done the night before. Ladies and gents, the reason she’d made the sudden decision to travel with Sen. Edwards was that earlier that day, she’d learned she had cancer. I’ve never encountered more of a class act in all my life.

  16. Come on man, this is bush league: 70% of the blogosphere is over 30, and the largest ten-year range is 41-50. I expect that sort of mythology from Very Serious People, but you need to know this!

  17. Edwards at the top of the ticket and Obama as VP is how I see an unbeatable ticket. You can pick up the south (probably not the deep south), both coasts and the mid-west. Talk about a youthful and good looking admin! Hell, the spouses on their own are an excellent representation of the depth of intelligence in this country!

  18. “He is strong on health care, his foreign policy experience is slim, but substantial for someone with his experience,…”

    What the Hell does that mean?

  19. Edwards is the candidate for the people! As long as he is in the top spot, I trust him completely to pick the V. P. of his choice.

    Minimum wage,
    Poverty (not just US – worldwide and has been on the ground in the Sudan)
    Universal Health Care
    Fixing the donut hole in medicare
    College for those who want it,
    Timed troop withdrawal from Iraq

    Restoring the broken image of the USA around the world.

    America is better than this, America can do better than this! ~John Edwards

  20. This morning, Matt Yglesias quoted the NY Times saying, “in two speeches and a news conference, Mr. Obama called for universal health care — the issue with which Mrs. Clinton, the New York Democrat, was once closely identified — a battle on global warming and a timed redeployment of troops from Iraq.”

    First commenter out of the box responded, “I hear he’s also in favor of cold ice cream, warm, furry puppies and the smell of freshly cut grass,” which I thought was completely unfair. While those may be long-settled issues in Left Blogostan, there aren’t that many current Dem Congresscritters who would stand up for even two of those three.

    And if you’re going to pick three issues for 2008 – not on how they’ll play, but on what the serious problems are that this country and its people face – those are the three to pick.

    So Obama scored some points with me when I read that. And that was even before reading what archpundit said here @13. I think I’d still rather have Al Gore (right as rain from the beginning, and I think he’s changed as a potential candidate – it was clear before that he was always playing not to lose, rather than to win) than Obama, and I’ve been a big Edwards fan from three years back, but if Obama is the Dem nominee in 2008, that’ll be great with me.

    I really think we’ve got four topnotch potential nominees out there – Gore, Obama, Edwards, and Clark. I’d support any one of the four without reservation. It’s just too bad we can’t clear out some of the underbrush – the Bidens, Bayhs, Kuciniches, etc. – before we hit that sudden rush of primaries in January of 2008.

    Can’t we have a better primary system? It’s like the Kentucky Derby – the horses spend a year or more being prepped for the race, then it’s over in two minutes.

  21. Somewhere along the line [Obama] voted for a piece of big business legislation.

    Which bill is that? Sirota smeared Obama for, among other things, voting against an amendment to the Bankruptcy bill which would have capped credit card rates – voted against because it would’ve overridden State laws. He voted against the Bankruptcy bill iself, but you wouldn’t have gotten that impression if you’d only read the Sirota hit piece.

    I’m not committed to anyone in ’08 yet. But this relentless targeting of Obama is nothing less than weird, AFAIC.

  22. Good for you, Elizabeth, for having the guts to speak up for yourself. What a sexist statement by ArchPundit. A favorite tactic for attacking a male candidate with a sneak, indirect attack is to diss their woman, just to fluster the candidate, put them off their stride. Trying to remember the boo-hoo guy who cried when his wife was attacked. Was it Muske? Glad to see Edwards has something other than a Stepford wife. Keep it up, girl!

    As for the rest, I just hope we don’t end up with one more in a long line of Democratic cold, dead fish losers to vote for, making us hold our noses as we do it.

  23. Yeah, I thought the suggestion of some sort of schism between Elizabeth Edwards and Mudcat and Jarding and Axelrod didn’t ring true to me. In fact, it sounds like someone was repeating or creating a rumor as part of an agenda. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

    An Edwards-Obama ticket in ’08 would defeat McCain-Graham ticket by 80 electoral votes, easily.

    And Elizabeth Edwards writes blog comments. How cool is that?!

  24. Frankly, I’d be happy with any of them except maybe for Hillary.

    That said, we’re so much in the silly season with all of this. We won’t come out the other end till the Summer — or more probably the Fall at the very earliest.

  25. Obama voted for the Republicans’ “Let’s overrule Terri Schiavo’s husband” bill? Is that correct? Damn, if so, that’s seriously disappointing.

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